[CoMoDev] Text to speech engines

  • From: David Beers <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <comodev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Oct 2004 18:14:35 -0600

I've often thought that text-to-speech was a good stepping stone toward the 
next mobile killer app: speech recognition.  (What does that make it, a 
"stunner app"?  No! sorry I said that to a group of computer geeks!  Please 
just recite the Monty Python parrot routine quietly to yourself until the 
feeling goes away! ;-)

Seriously, it would be nice to have your email, an ebook, or a web page read to 
you while you are driving, and to have browsers and other apps written with 
voice feedback to help you navigate menus without looking at the screen.  On 
your smartphone you'll be able to dial from your address book without looking 
at the phone or get a verbal caller ID in your headset instead of having to 
pull the phone out of a holster or pocket and look at the screen.  Put this 
together with even *very* minimal voice recognition (like the ability to 
understand a vocabulary of just a few navigational terms--"yes," "no," "next," 
"back," "address," letters of the alphabet) and you could have hands-free smart 
phones (or think industrial devices) that you operate completely through a 
small, bluetooth headset.  Powerful stuff, no?

I think we're just about there, now, and if I didn't have so darned much 
billable work to do I'd love to be working on this.

Here's a link to a new text-to-speech engine for PocketPC: 
Sounds very reasonably priced, which makes me wonder how good it is.

Here's are some text-to-speech products for Palm OS devices:



The second one is free, for Pete's sake, but neither seems to have a real API 
for incorporating the functionality into your programs in a flexible way.  
Gotta be something like that out there, just haven't seen it yet. Anyone else?

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing

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