Sexify Your Navigation and Speech-Enabled Apps with Ivona Text-to-Speech HQ


This whole “having a conversation with your phone” fad seems to have been a hot topic ever since Siri jumped onto the scene. Yes, I know — we’ve been able to talk to our Android powered phones for a little over a year now but it always felt awkward to me. In effort to become “all things to all men,” I decided to try out the many Siri alternatives in the Android Market.

Recently, I featured Speaktoit which seemed to work pretty well in terms of speaking naturally to your phone and receiving answers but there was only one small problem. The hot user created avatar sounded like the 80’s Speak and Spell toy. You may have heard this same “voice” used in other speech-enabled applications in Android, most notably while using the Navigation app in Maps.

Thanks to my friends on Twitter, I came across a replacement text-to-speech or “voice” app in the Android Market called IVONA. Although currently in beta, IVONA will replace the stock Android Pico TTS with a voice that is both clear, natural and even… sexy? Hearing is definitely believing. Not only does it make using apps like Iris and Speaktoit more appealing to the ears but it helps when using when traveling in a noisy car and using Navigation thanks to its crystal clear voice.

Getting IVONA all set up and running is more or less the tricky part. After downloading the app from the Android Market you will need to enable the app much like enabling a replacement keyboard. Here are the steps:

  1. Install free IVONA Text-to-Speech HQ from the Android Market
  2. Go to your Settings > Voice Input & Output > Text-to-speech settings > Scroll down to “Engines” category and check the box that says IVONA Text-to-Speech HQ
  3. Scroll up to “Default Engine” and select IVONA Text-to-Speech HQ
  4. Enjoy!

Keep in mind some apps will require the user to enable IVONA in the apps settings. Also, Navigation in Google Maps always prompt the user to “install text-to-speech support from the Android Market” (even though it’s already installed) requiring the user to press “skip” each time.

IVONA Text-to-Speech HQ beta version will be free and work without any limitations until November 15th. Additional languages and voices can also be found in the Market under the developer name “IVONA Software.” Once you try it out, let me know what you guys think in the comments.

[Market Link]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Enjoy the painfully long wait while the voice downloads from their servers

    1. Is that why there’s a delay sometimes? I was wondering why I saw the app for the default voice in the market. I wonder if this would help? Hmmmm…

      1. Actually once you download it, it does sound pretty good

      2. I noticed a large delay most of the time, the voice sounds smoother than SVOX, but the delay is unbearable.

  2. I prefer SVOX. I use the British voice (which I paid a small amount for) called Oliver. Its a manly man voice, so you feel more comfortable taking directions..

    never had a problem using it with Navigation, so “Navigation in Google Maps always prompt the user to “install text-to-speech support from the Android Market” (even though it’s already installed) requiring the user to press “skip” each time.” doesn’t apply to me.

  3. actually, what is weird is that with SVOX I get some weird double team. Sometimes I get a woman speaking, other times I get Oliver. I’m not sure if its deliberate but it would actually be a cool feature to have two voices in TTS.

  4. I used both the SVOX and Ivona trial, and I ended up buying SVOX with the American Grace voice. First of all, it’s less cpu heavy and it doesn’t lag, and Ivona slings too deep for my taste. SVOX sounds more natural to me.

    1. I agree. I also use SVOX + Grace on my phone. It’s leaps and bounds better than Pico TTS.

      1. Pico TTS sounds like Stephen Hawking o_O

        (no disrespect)

    2. I hear ya, I love me some Grace.

      1. She sang a song,
        She made me laugh,
        So I captured her,
        In a photograph,

        …anyone who gets the reference will get +1 internet.

  5. …. and this is still pointless.

    1. Works great for Navigation which I use ALL THE TIME. Sounds nice and clear. =)

  6. Hey, is there an app that makes the android TTS sound like Jarvis, from iron man?
    (Tony Starks talking computer…)

    1. I was thinking Glados from Portal would be sweet too :D

      1. ive been saying that for years if they made an app i would so pay for it

      2. GLaDOS would be cool, but I’d rather like to have Mr. T giving me my navigation direactions:

        You missed a turn FOO!

      3. ever play team fortress..who is that lady?i want her on my phone.

  7. I’ve been using Voice Actions Plus, best so far

  8. These voices still aren’t as good as the Acapela voices, which are the highest quality tts voices, and the Acapela voices are now available for Android.

    However, the developers of the Acapela voices were stupid and instead of releasing an app for Android, they’re making each invidual developer add the voices to their apps by themselves, with a percentage of the revenue from the app going to the company.

    If Acapela would release an app for Android with their TTS like this one, they’d have a best seller.

    1. The quality of the Acapela voices is excellent, but the tone is wrong and a little unnatural compared to IVONA

  9. I have been using UK Amy as my voice, its by far the clearest voice that ivona offers. Yes there is a slight lag of usually >10s when using tts when its not loaded up into memory, but once it is for the voice its pretty much on par with pico tts (speed-wise of course because quality is a no brainier). So if you’re open up navigation the voice will start up as soon as your map finishes plotting its directions. Its been in beta for the longest time, I think I have been using it since atleast last winter. It still has a bug where a different woman’s voice will pop up out of no where, other than that its pretty solid.. slow but solid.

    1. Same here. Amy is my sexy, brainy-sounding assistant. (That makes me sound creepy doesn’t it?)

  10. it’s not working on droid x!!! help???

  11. waaaayyy better than pico tts.. thanks chris

    1. You’re welcome! :D

  12. The sound quality is just awesome, very human like. I still havent used it alot to comment on the delay you’re talking about.
    Anyway , WE NEED A GLADOS(from Portal) TTS ON ANDROID ! COME ON DEVS !

  13. download time of voice data is 1% per minute! what a big joke! rubbish! ahihihihi

  14. i uninstalled it right after it said it would collect all data

    1. all TTS engines and keyboards will give you that warning…

  15. I never knew too much about the standard voice in Android. My wife and I have always just called it “Pat” as in from SNL. Can’t tell what it is….

    1. this isnt a reply just lazy….i want to know maybe they let mike macfarlane use his stewie voice..

  16. The British voice still sounds American.
    Edit. Never mind. You have to go in and select the English(UK) in the settings, even if you open the UK voice in apps to test.

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