Today I’m reviewing a personal assistant for the iPhone, and its name isn’t Siri.
Alfred is your intelligent assistant for wining, dining, and generally having a good time. The app answers questions like, “What should I eat?” and “Where should I party?” Alfred learns over time, and pretty soon you’ll find that the charming little robot knows more about yourself than you do.
Inspired by Knight Rider and years of humans having to find restaurants and coffee shops on their own (I know, how archaic), Alfred acts as an omniscient being with recommendations that suit your preferences.
Developed by Clever Sense, Alfred is not to be confused with the popular Mac app of the same name. Alfred for iOS is taught to give you recommendations for food and nightlife based on the places you decide to visit, and the app becomes smarter as you use it more.
The app is divided into “ideas.” You can get results for lunch, dessert, coffee and tea, dinner, breakfast, drinks, and nightlife. There’s also a “Quick Picks” category to give you a more random recommendation.
You don’t have to choose something from a specific idea. If you tap the little robot at the top of the screen, you can create a new filter to find what you’re looking for specifically. Like other location-based recommendation apps, you can customize your desired location, price range, and other details, like “family-friendly,” “similar to,” “serving cuisine,” etc. I found this specific feature to be particularly helpful for finding a place to eat when I couldn’t decide on a specific category to choose from.
You can save places you’ve visited in the app to explore later. There’s a helpful “suggest more places like this” feature that makes discovering new locations a breeze.
When you open Alfred for the first time, you’re advised to “teach” the app. As you tell Alfred about the places you like near your location, Alfred’s learning percentage grows and the app gets “smarter.” You don’t have to completely teach the app at once when you first use open it; preferences can be taught over time. When Alfred’s brain hits 100%, well, you and the app may as well be the same person.
You can give Alfred’s recommendations a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ to teach Alfred what you like, and the app can also be connected with Facebook to improve your results. Once you’ve connected your Facebook account, Alfred will let you tag friends you’re with and base recommendations off everyone’s collective taste. Facebook’s check-in service can be tied in and synced with your Alfred activity as well.
Alfred is a smart, quirky, helpful app for location recommendations. The developers are continuing to update Alfred with new features, and the app’s interface is clean and easy to use. I have yet to come across a better app for generating recommendations.
Unlike Siri, Alfred is available on all iDevices, including the iPad, for absolutely free in the US App Store. The app was just updated with support for iOS 5, and it runs smoothly on both the iPhone and iPad.
What are you waiting for? Give Alfred a try and see if you’ve found a new friend.