Audiobooks are great. No matter where you are, you can pop in a set of headphones and listen to your favorite novel being read aloud with emotion and theatrical timing. But what if you could have your favourite articles, features or breaking news stories read aloud to you? Pocket has been pondering just that.
The company has announced a new ‘Listen’ feature as part of the app’s Android 4.2 update. Users will be able to tap the corresponding icon and then dictate the speed and style of speaking voice as Pocket begins reading the text in the article out loud.
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Announced on Pocket’s blog, the company has emphasised that the feature is still very much a work in progress:
Text-to-speech technology is still evolving, but Android’s OS simplified the process dramatically. Max Weiner, Pocket’s lead Android developer, built the “Listen” feature during one of Pocket’s Friday hack days (one of the many fine perks of working for Pocket), and it has given us a great opportunity to test the feature with our users.
For now the feature isn’t available on Pocket’s iOS app due to a lack of text-to-speech API. The company says they will “continue to look at bringing it to iOS”, but currently have no plans to do so.
Other features implemented in the Pocket app’s Android 4.2 update are as follows:
- Manage Site Subscription feature now working on all versions of Android.
- Improved full-screen animation in Reader.
- No longer shortening URL when Viewing in Browser, sharing to Evernote, or copying to clipboard.
- Minor UI updates.
A number of bug fixes have also been introduced as part of the update. You can grab the Pocket app for yourself on iOS or Android via the links below: