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Get iOS 5 and iCloud Features On Your Android Phone and Tablet

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Yesterday was the big day for Apple device owners as the iOS 5 update hit. Though the upgrade didn’t go smoothly for everyone, many are enjoying their updated iPhones and iPads right this second. Android owners are looking at the lack of Ice Cream Sandwich in their lives and thinking: “Where’s Mine?”

Even if you don’t have the very latest and greatest Android that doesn’t mean you can’t have all the cool features those iOwners get to enjoy with iOS 5 and iCloud. After all, many of them are already available on Android (most for free).

If you want to iOSify your droid, here are the apps you need to replicate Siri, Find My Friends, Photo Stream, iMessage, iTunes Wi-Fi Sync, and everything else.

Siri Alternatives

Vlingo app

One of the most popular speech control apps for both iPhone and Android is Vlingo. It offers many of the same features as Siri, including the ability to bring up an app and perform a function, search the web, read your email, and answer questions. It works with Bluetooth headsets and will listen for commands even if you’re not directly in the app if you want it to. Vlingo obviously isn’t as deeply integrated into the OS as Siri is, but you might be surprised at all it can do. You can get it free in the Android Market as long as you don’t mind ads. It costs $1.99 to remove them.

Speaktoit Assistant

While Vlingo is very cool, it doesn’t offer all of the natural interaction you get with Siri. If you want to be able to talk to your phone like it’s a person, try Speaktoit Assistant. Not only does it have the same intuitive language and task interpretation skills as Sire, but users can create an avatar (male or female with variations on clothes, skin tone, etc.) to interact with, making the experience a bit more personal. With the addition of a couple of other apps you can even change the assistant’s voice.

Find my iPhone Alternative

Lookout Security and Antivirus

Lookout Security & Antivirus offers many useful security features, including geolocation (even if the GPS is off) for free. However, if you want the remote wipe or remote lock features, you have to pay for the Premium service. You get many more bonuses, making the $2.99/month or $29.99/year price worth it.

Photo Stream and iCloud Document Sync Alternatives

SugarSync and DropBox will sync your data across multiple devices and platforms, keeping documents, photos, and any other files you add up to date without any effort from you. Personally, I like SugarSync better than DropBox, but the latter is the current favorite amongst almost everyone else I know.

Like iCloud, SugarSync offers 5GB of storage for free. DropBox offers 2GB.

iTunes Wi-Fi Sync and iCloud Backup Alternatives

iOS 5 introduced several wireless syncing options to the iPhone/iPad experience, including syncing with iTunes. There’s no one program for managing Android phones, but there are plenty of wireless syncing options.

DoubleTwist AirSync and Player

Media – The DoubleTwist player for Android is a sweet free media player. But add AirSync for $4.99 and you gain the ability to sync music, video and photos from your computer to your Android device. AirSync will pull in your existing player data (including iTunes) so playlists, ratings, and playcounts remain intact. Sync runs both ways, so you can send music, video and photos back to the computer as well. It works with PC and Mac, but does require you download the free desktop app as well.

Apps and Settings – the Android Market keeps track of every app you download and purchase. If you turn on Android’s Backup and Restore setting (under Privacy), app data and settings is stored on Google’s servers automatically. If you reinstall the app, Android will also reinstall your settings.

MyBackup Pro

Sometimes this process can be finicky, but you can always choose a third-party app for backup purposes. I use MyBackup Pro because it will backup app APKs as well as SMS, MMS, Contacts, Call Logs, System Settings, your Home screens, Alarms, even your playlists. You can save the backup to your SD card and to the cloud (with password protection and encryption) either manually or on a regular schedule.

Find My Friends Alternative

google latitude

If this service looked familiar when Apple introduced it, that’s because it’s the same concept behind Google Latitude, which is probably already installed on your Android phone and tablet. Latitude works on both Android and iOS, but is only useful if your friends agree to share their location with you.

However, if you’re looking to keep track of family members, it can be useful. Especially the Ping function, which asks your contact to check in with you.

iMessage Alternatives

google voice

I’ve been using Google Voice since I had a Windows Mobile Phone (don’t laugh) so I didn’t have to go through Verizon’s awful voicemail system to get my messages. You can listen to them through the web interface as well as read and send text messages. This service is even better on Android because it integrates deeply with the OS. I only text via Google Voice, which uses data, not SMS, so it’s essentially free texting.

eBuddy XMS

Of course, iMessage is more than just SMS, it’s a full-fledged messaging app. If you don’t have Google Talk (which requires Android 2.3.4) on your phone, then check out eBuddy XMS. This app has all the same features as iMessage but works across Android, BlackBerry, and iOS, so none of your friends feel left out.

Reminders Alternative

astrid tasks and locale

There are plenty of to-do lists available for Android (I like the ones integrated into SpringPad myself) but Astrid Tasks goes that extra step further by offering a Locale feature that ties reminders to a location. I’m a big fan of Astrid since it syncs with Google Tasks, which gives me access when I’m on my computer. It’ll also sync to Astrid’s own web interface where you can share lists and even assign tasks.

Aside from the Locale add-on ($1.49) there’s also a Power Pack that adds even more functionality: larger widgets, voice reminders, and add tasks via voice (just like Siri!).

iTunes in the Cloud Alternative

I’m a big fan of Google Music simply because of the sheer number of tracks you can store for free (up to 20,000). Plus, you don’t need to pay Apple to match the music you didn’t buy via iTunes ($24.99). Google Music will sync and store all of your music, no matter where you bought it. It works across multiple computers and Android devices.

NewsStand Alternatives

Barnes and Noble Nook app for Android

When Barnes & Noble introduced the Nook Color last year they also boasted about their vast full-color and layout magazine selection for the device. A few months ago they brought this same selection to all Android tablets (7-inches and larger) via the Nook app. I read magazines on my Samsung Galaxy Tab every month and love it. You’re likely to see the same selection as Nook offers over 180 magazines and 35 newspapers.

zinio

Zinio is another favorite among people who love their digital periodicals. With almost 5,000 titles in 33 languages you’ll probably be able to find any magazine or newspaper you want from across the globe. I also like that it works for Android phones (2.2 and above) as well as tablets.

K. T. is a lover of technology, gadgets, and all things geek. She has the enviable job of playing with evaluating mobile tech and apps all day. Follow K. T. on Twitter @KTBradford, on Google+ and Tumblr or email her via her website, KTBradford.com.

27 Comments

  1. Adam Truelove

    10/13/2011 at 1:45 pm

    Why not mention Google’s own Voice Search app as a Siri alternative.  It’s amazing!

    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.google.android.voicesearch&feature=search_result

    • Alexander Garcia

      10/13/2011 at 1:57 pm

      Voice Actions is another fun one for Android

    • K. T. Bradford

      10/13/2011 at 3:48 pm

      because it doesn’t do everything Siri does. I’m a fan, for sure, but if you want a digital assistant voice search doesn’t cut it.

    • Devin Jones

      10/13/2011 at 5:12 pm

      Yeah, Voice Actions is better. I could care less about vlingo. Shouldn’t have even been mentioned. Like you said, Google’s Voice Actions should have been up there.

    • stevenhugo

      03/05/2012 at 12:18 am

      Backup SMS from Android mobile phone to computer,Transfer Android SMS to computer,if you want to transfer sms and contact from android mobile to computer or new mobile phone you can use this tool http://www.recovery-iphone.com/apolsoft-android-sms-transfer.html

  2. Tim Hutchinson

    10/13/2011 at 5:24 pm

    The Winamp app for Android is also fairly popular as a media player and includes Wi-fi sync for free

  3. Willri

    10/14/2011 at 1:05 am

    I’m loving iOS 5!

  4. The Kid

    10/15/2011 at 11:24 am

    I reject anthing Apple on principle. They could have the best features in the world but I will always consider it as trash due to its restrictive ideologies that resemble a communist society.

  5. Anonymous

    10/17/2011 at 6:32 am

    Ios just doest it so better . Android is just a hassle .

  6. Joebloggs

    10/21/2011 at 10:30 am

    Or just… buy an iPhone.

    • Logical person

      11/08/2011 at 1:27 pm

      For three times the price? You really haven’t thought about this have you? What a genius, get this person a medal.

    • Joel Richard

      02/21/2012 at 1:01 pm

      BLASPHEMY!  Do you talk to your mother with that mouth?

  7. Tico

    11/14/2011 at 6:00 pm

    Iphone:   “If you want to be one of the nonconformists all you have to do is dress just like us and listen to the same music we do”

  8. Frank

    11/17/2011 at 8:39 pm

    “Google Music will sync and store all of your music, no matter where you bought it.” Not true – it has limitations on which formats it supports. It doesn’t support any DRM formats.

    • Josh

      04/18/2012 at 7:36 pm

      “It doesn’t support any DRM formats.”
      this is a FEATURE. Not a limitation.

  9. Gordon

    12/03/2011 at 11:57 am

    is there a reason to have google music and doubletwist? wont they both pretty much do the same thing? i cant decide between sugarsync and dropbox (which i currently have). myback pro costs $5, could i just keep installing the lite version every 30 days to do the same thing?

    • Gordon

      12/03/2011 at 12:01 pm

      also to use eBuddy XMS, you have to have people with the same app installed. whats the point compared to regular SMS?

    • Gslowejr

      12/13/2011 at 10:06 am

      Google music syncs with the music you buy from their music store and if you don’t want to download to your phone it will stream it, until you make it available offline. And I use Astro File Manager to back up my apps. No cost.

  10. Aberdongle

    02/01/2012 at 5:56 am

    Suggesting file sharing is a good alternative to iCloud is like suggesting a cork screw is a good alternative to a swiss army knife.

  11. Glen Holmes

    02/03/2012 at 11:42 am

    Is there a way to STREAM iCloud Tunes to Android?  I don’t want to save all of my music on my phone but I would love to access all of it.

  12. just telling the truth

    02/23/2012 at 9:29 am

    I have an android tab as i dont like apple but music production for android sucks balls, i should of looked into it more:?
    An i pad purchase is on the horizon as they have taken this part of the market in a big way.
    What sucks balls even more is that most people arnt creative in anyway and just want to talk to an inanimate object. Why would you want sir anyway? So you can be lazyer than you already are?
    Get a life, get a hobby, and stop talking bs on forums when you dont put your equipment to good use.
    And stop talking bs to your phone as one day it will be able to tell you your a dick:-)

  13. Thrash123

    03/05/2012 at 11:43 pm

    I wanted an iPhone but I’m on T-mobile…so instead of waiting for a T-mobie iPhone which may or may not ever happen, I just got their best Android phone, and I’m happy with it.  These alternatives are great.  Thanks for the article.

  14. Christina

    04/04/2012 at 7:29 am

    what about ical on mobile me?? I made the switch to a droid and after 29 days I am starting to LOVE it…. just one thing MY LIFE IS IN ICAL!!! Please help!

    • Christina

      04/04/2012 at 7:30 am

      BTW, thank you for this post VERY helpful!

  15. Susan Culp

    04/19/2014 at 8:42 pm

    My iPad is saying I’m running out of space and wonder if buying extra space will include books through my Nook app???

  16. Eric

    05/31/2012 at 12:14 am

    Hello, I had an iPhone 4S but had to get an Android phone because my fingers are so Big. Now i have an icloud account that i can’t access, but i have music and I that paid for, but I can’t access it. Can anyone help me figure it out? Please..
    Thank Eric

  17. Travis

    09/16/2012 at 9:27 am

    You can get Amazon cloud player both on your computer and phone you can then upload your iTunes library to amazons cloud service, and then you will be able to stream your entire music library without downloading any songs if you don’t want to. If you do want to download songs then that’s easy to do within the player as well. There are apps out there to transfer iCloud contacts and data as well to your android account, use google to search for apps that preform the function you need.

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