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Android speech engine is updated with a lot more voices

Siri seems to be the hardest word
Thu Mar 06 2014, 17:24
Speak now

WITH APPS THAT TALK BACK becoming more prevalent, Google has released an updated text-to-speech app for Android.

The app will roll out over the next few weeks and includes a tweaked interface and a range of new voices.

Last year, the UK English voice for Android was changed from a curt robotic male to a somewhat husky estuary accented female, however for the first time, users now can choose from a variety of voices in their own regional dialect.

Choices are male and female in high or standard quality, however make no mistake, users need to be committed to the high quality versions - the female UK English voice is a 276MB download, which is a fair chunk of a phone with 8GB of internal storage like the Moto G.

Alternative speech engines such as Svox, Pico and Ivona have long offered a choice of voices for your Android phone, but they all come at a price.

The rollout of Google's own free versions will be a blow to these established alternative voices. We downloaded the new high quality voices and were impressed with how good they are.

The male voice sounds like he could be reading the shipping forecast, while the female voice makes you realise what Spike Jonze had in mind, though we haven't checked if the US female sounds like Scarlett Johnannsen.

Other languages available include German, French, Italian, Korean and Spanish. We still love the Welsh voice in Ivona, but that's just us. µ


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