Text to Speech Apps! Make commuting productive
The daily commute listening material often leaves one stuck between a rock and a hard place. Go with the local radio stations with it’s questionable mix of adverts, a caffeine high rambling DJ and their repetitive music of the month or your threadbare mix tape. There is a third option, listen to any book of your choice. Here’s how to make your commute productive with text to speech apps.
Whilst the choice of audio books has come a long way, I am not going to cover this option. I prefer the flexibility of having any E-Book and being able to listen to it during the commute. With the wondrous advances in technology this capability is possible with the hand phone you have in your pocket. For both Android and IOS, Text to Speech Apps are available to covert E-Books, whether in EPUB or PDF format into audible format. So, you need only load the app, select the E-Book you want to listen to and enjoy! And, you can even get this for free! So, what’s not to like.
Let’s cover some of the options.
Text to Speech Apps
If you are a Mozilla Firefox user you probably will have noted the presence of the Pocket button on the toolbar as it now comes pre-packaged with Firefox. Clicking on that little button will bookmark and save the content to your Pocket account. While this is nice as a standalone function, it really comes into it’s own when utilized with a mobile platform. The Pocket mobile app will sync those previously defined bookmarks and download the website content onto your device. When you then are on the go, you can open Pocket and either read the content, or if driving utilize the Text to voice feature – my preference to listen to the text.
Pocket is intended for Web based content, but there are others dedicated to E-Book formats such as those below.
@Voice for Android
- Sync with Dropbox
- Recording sound files
- Adjustment of the viewing page (fonts, full page, styles etc.)
- Sync articles with pocket
- Speech settings
But, the primary one for the interest of this article is the raison d’etre of the App itself – text to voice. This is enabled simply by loading the E-Book of interest by hitting the folder icon at the top. This will load the book, usually taking some seconds for processing and then start reading it. Pausing, fast forward and rewind are possible from the big buttons at the bottom of the screen. Very simple and easy to use!
The @Voice App is available from the Google play store and from the reviews it has garnered to date, comes highly recommended.
The free version comes with adverts. Upgrading to the no ads version comes at a price of $4.95.
Since my daily app for text to voice is Android based I will handle this section with an element of brevity. The two big dogs in the IOS Text to Voice camp seem to be NaturalReader and Voice Dream reader. I have sampled the former and it pretty much does what it says on the tin. PDFs can be exported to the app and it’s very simple interface allows them to be read aloud. Different voices can be selected as can their reading speed. The latter is much more feature packed with a price tag to match – 14.99 of your finest dollars. Those features include,
A huge array of voices, 36 built in voices in 27 languages. An additional 200+ available for optional download.
- Text highlighting and annotation
- Access to cloud storage including Dropbox and Google Drive
- Integration with Pocket, Instapaper and Evernote
- Library sync across Apple devices using iCloud
Text to Speech Apps summary
So, head to your local Google Play or ITunes App store, download your choice of Text to Speech apps and give it a go!