Uniquely Android is a series we started that shines the spotlight on those apps that take advantage of the unique capabilities of the platform and provide an experience that you wouldn’t find in most other phones. Previously, we have featured Plug In Launcher, AirDroid, Shush, Llama, Swiftkey 3, SwipePad, Widgetsoid2.x, Unified Remote, AirCalc, WiFi Keyboard, Puzzle Alarm Clock, Notif Mac Remote, and Everything.me Launcher.
While several apps have positioned themselves as a “personal assistant”, notably Iris, Evi and also Google Now, there was one particular kind of feature that has been missing across all of them that I was longing for: the ability to lead a completely hands-free life. Or at least in certain scenarios, in particular driving.
I searched and searched for my own Jarvis, so much so that at one point a couple of years ago I actually started building out something that ultimately got buried other work. Procrastination meant I never got back to it, but thanks to ReadItToMe, I never need to now.
ReadItToMe essentially reads out texts that you receive, or the name of the person calling you and, in the pro version, also notifications from any app as well as the ability to respond to texts by voice. It also allows you to customize the experience for yourself in almost excruciating detail. You need to open the app to see all possible permutations, but some highlights are whether it should notify you every time, or only when you headphones plugged in or are connected to your bluetooth headset. This can also be broken down per contact.
Additionally, you can personalize the message that is spoken, such as “new message received from <contact> <message body>”, which is the default, can be switched to “you have received a text from <contact> <message body>”. You probably won’t need to, in my personal opinion, but some may be grateful for the ability.
If there is one thing I don’t like about the app, it is the UI. It feels like a complicated collection of settings (which it is) instead of being something that an average user would like to dabble with. I hope the developer spends some time improving the overall experience, particularly understanding the major use cases. One example of what I would like to see ReadItToMe as, is developing it as a driver’s companion app, allowing you to turn it on or off when you connect it to a dock or by the press of a button, adding more voice commands to suit the use case (primarily the “navigate to” action) and also possibly an “always listening” mode allowing you to send texts or make calls without pressing any button.
On the whole, the free version is certainly worth giving a whirl, before spending $3 on the Pro version. As always, let us know your thoughts on ReadItToMe in the comments.