Mobility

ReadItToMe reads your SMS, calls, and app notifications

Jack Wallen takes a look at ReadItToMe, an Android application that tells you who is calling and reads your text messages to you when you need hands-free mobile computing.

If you're a mobile power user, you most likely spend a lot of time on the go. Because of that, there are occasions when you simply should not have your hands on your phone (such as when you're driving). So, how do you avoid missing important SMS or calls? Having your phone speak to you to indicate who the call or message is from could help you from missing out on a critical connection. Fortunately, there's an app for that!

ReadItToMe will translate your SMS text to speech as it comes in. You can set this action to only occur with specific contacts and much more. Here are some ReadItToMe features:

  • Read incoming SMS
  • Read incoming caller's name
  • Read always/when Bluetooth is connected/when headphones are connected
  • Translate text speak before reading (such as LOL to laugh out loud)
  • Define translations of specific words
  • Reads SMS over music
  • Icon in notification bar when running
  • Fully customizable

There are two versions of ReadItToMe:

  • Free
  • Pro for $2.74 (USD), which offers these extra features:
    • Read incoming notifications from other apps, such as WhatsApp Messenger
    • Voice reply for SMS

There are just a couple of minor caveats to ReadItToMe:

  • If your phone is on silent, you won't hear anything
  • Bluetooth devices must support A2DP or they won't function

Installation

The installation of ReadItToMe is simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Stor
  2. Search for "readittome" (no quotes)
  3. Tap the free version (best to give the free version a try first -- if you like it, then you can purchase the Pro version)
  4. Tap Install
  5. Tap Accept
  6. Allow the installation to complete

Usage

Once the app is installed, you'll find it on the home screen (if a launcher is not automatically added to the home screen, you'll need to manually add it) or from the app drawer. When you first start the application, you'll see a handy walk through (Figure A). Figure A

ReadItToMe running on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy S III.

The brief walk through will show you each of the configurations you need to hit. They are:

  • What to read: SMS, Calls, Other (Pro only)
  • When: Always, Headphones (connected), Bluetooth (connected)
  • How: The following options define how ReadItToMe works:
    • Lower music volume: This will lower the volume of the music stream so ReadItToMe can be heard
    • Translate: This will translate "text speech" (such as LOL) to standard English
    • Show Icon: This will show an icon in the notification bar that ReadItToMe is running
    • Use music stream: This will send the ReadItToMe notifications to the same output the music is being played through (headphones, external speakers, Bluetooth)
    • Dual output: This is an experimental fix to stop ReadItToMe from outputting to multiple output devices (and only works on some devices)
You can also go into the Contacts tab (Figure B) and configure individual contacts to be read out at specific times. By default, all contacts will be set to Always. Say, however, you want a specific contact to only be read when headphones are attached. To set this, tap the headphones icon associated with that contact. Figure B

Every contact on the phone can be set individually.

You can also silence contacts by tapping the mute button that's associated with a contact in the Contacts tab.

Once the app is running, all incoming SMS and calls will be read as such:

New message received from CONTACT MESSAGE

Where CONTACT is the contact's name and MESSAGE is the text within the SMS.

Calls will come in as such:

CONTACT is calling.

Where CONTACT is the name of the contact.

You can also translate text speech by going into the General tab of ReadItToMe, typing in the text speech in the Translate text area (Figure C), and tapping the Translate button. Figure C

Standard text speech can be tested here.

If the Translate button doesn't come up with the correct text, you can enter the correct text and save it. This allows you to create your own text speech.

With ReadItToMe, you have a handy app that will tell you who is sending you texts and what the texts are, without having to pick up your phone. Drive safely while you are on the go. Just be careful when you're in public, because the wrong text read out loud around the wrong people could get you into trouble!

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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