Since the debut of the iPhone 4S in 2011, we’ve become accustomed to asking our devices for assistance with various tasks thanks to the iOS-exclusive Siri. But there was a time when owners of Android devices nearly had the A.I. helper at their fingertips.

In a truly excellent look at Siri’s history, The Huffington Post reveals that prior to its acquisition by Apple, the software was destined to come pre-installed on all Android smartphones from Verizon. However, after a deal to purchase the company behind Siri was personally brokered by Steve Jobs, a kibosh was quickly put on these plans.

Also to be found within the exhaustive look at Siri’s backstory is the tale of how the concepts behind software got their start as a project of the US Department of Defense. Only instead of finding nearby restaurants and setting alarms, the goal of creating a military-grade virtual assistant was to aid top brass in day-to-day base operations and other important tasks. We can’t help but shudder at the idea of it interpreting a general’s request to “order some flowers for mom” as “deploy all our nuclear bombs.”

[Via The Verge]

Inside Siri’s military origins and how it almost came pre-installed on Android originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 23 Jan 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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