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Kindle 2 Review from Lori Cates

Text-to-Speech on the iPhone?...

Iphone3g It was more than a year ago that I encouraged Amazon to consider adding an eye-resting feature where the Kindle reads to you.  I doubt my post had anything to do with it but I was pleased to see they've implemented this on Kindle 2, calling it "Text-to-Speech."  The big question now is whether Amazon will offer the same functionality to all their Kindle 1 owners (via either a firmware or software update).  Since the hardware capabilities exist for this in Kindle 1, there's no reason they shouldn't offer it; not doing so would be a sharp poke in the eye to all the early adopters who bought Kindle 1, IMHO.

As I've also mentioned before, I have no plans to upgrade to Kindle 2 since I'm leaning more and more towards the iPhone platform for my reading needs, which got me thinking...  When will we see a text-to-speech feature on the iPhone?  Many have complained that the iPhone's screen is too small and its backlit display makes long form reading less than comfortable.  Fair enough.  I tend to read shorter-length pieces on mine anyway (e.g., NY Times, USA Today, etc.), but text-to-speech would be a killer iPhone feature and it would undoubtedly lead to even more long-form "reading" on the device.

Lexcycle makes the extremely popular Stanza reader for the iPhone.  I'll bet it wouldn't be hard for them to add this feature to a future version...


Kat Meyer

oh, make it so, make it so! They've got to be working on this -- they've already got speech to text (which i seriously need to implement before i kill myself trying to text while driving), so how hard could it be (she asks, knowing nothing about such matters)?

PS - hold onto the Kindle. It's still got some stuff going for it, and maybe it'll become more useful if Amazon gets smart and opens it up for other possibilities.


Francis Hamit

Hate to spoil the party but audio rights are separate and valuable, especially online. I seriously doubt if anyone is going to bundle them with text. The Author's Guild has already taken note.


Hey there,
I thought you might like to know that Text to speech on the iPhone is already available.
Check out this link for more information
There's already an app in the iTunes app store that makes use of this feature, called iSpeak. iSpeak can translate from English to several languages and then allows you to hear the translation.



J Valentona

I just download the Kindle app on my iphone and I was trying to find out if it supports text to speech... that would be a killer feature. I already love this application - a library in the palm of my little hands :)) - but having text to speech would just be awesome. I hope they come up with this feature soon. I had the app for a couple of hours and I've already downloaded two books... I anticiapte and fear what will happen (to my credit card) when I can not only read but listen to the books...


I too am hoping the text-to-speech feature is added to the iPhone Kindle app. I've read that they'll allow rights holders to deactivate this feature due to audiobook copyright issues. Hopefully they'll tell consumers prior to purchasing a book that its text-to-speech has been deactivate. I love reading, but with the resulting eye strain I get headaches so having the option to have my iPhone Kindle app keep reading when my eyes have had it is something I'd truly treasure.

Mike Mintz

In my search for a good e-reader I too am leaning towards just getting an iPhone or iPod touch. The screen size is adequate (although not optimal), but what makes it attractive to me is the fact that you have so much functionality bundled into one device. This alone makes it superior to Kindle or any other e-Reader device.


A text-to-speech converter/reader application directly on the iPhone/iPod is probably not the best solution. A company called AudioBee has a text-to-speech technology that converts magazine and web content to audio and saves it as a podcast or link which can be downloaded to an iPhone or iPod.

iphone 3GS

So what's the best text to speech iphone app out there? Should I got with audiobee or iSpeak? I need to look for an iPhone app that can read kindle books directly on the iPhone. Any opinion or recommendation?

Lee Hendricks

I use TextSpeech Pro on the Mac. I drag MS Word documents to the desktop app, which then creates an .mp3 file that I can load to my iPhone via iTunes. It's a fantastic facility and with a 2 hour commute, I now make use of driving time listening to reading material traveling to and from the office.

I like what iSpeak can do but cut-and-paste is a bit of a pain. I am interested in text-to-speech capabilities for people with disabilities. I would like a seamless integration with any and all apps.


They need a text to speech app, that can automatically be configured for texting and email so that no one has to read them while driving and after it is doing talking ask if you would like to respond then convert speech to text and "send". I wish I knew how to create it, funding is easy...

Jon OBrien

@Larry. The items on your wish list are all capabilities that I can use on my android powered Nexus One. Anywhere there is a place for input, when the "soft keyboard" pops up, I just press the microphone and I can speak a text, email or search query (etc). Also, there are a multitude of apps from which I can choose to replace my stock SMS client that will read a txt from users on a predefined white-list automatically. There are also apps that I can use that run in the background and become active when a new email comes in and will read it aloud to me (if I check that option) and then I can likewise respond with just my voice. There are a number of factors that makes voice to text much more accurate, one of them being the dual mic set-up on the Nexus One that cancelled out garbage noise. I've also notice that my dictations have become more precise as the time goes on, for which I can only attribute to more people using the service and thus giving Google a large data set upon which it can "tune" it's predictions. It's become quite convenient for me to be able to just hit the standard "search" button (at the bottom of most android phones) and then be able to say "navigate to" or just say a search query and it figures out what I want and brings up the relavent navigation route or search results in the the browser. I can't wait to see this technology evolve further at the pace at which it already has.


There's an app called VocaTalk that turns text into podcasts to listen on iPhone/iPod. You can put your CD music as background to the podcast. It also does some fancy voice and sound fx to make listening more fun. Here's a sample episode 'The War of The Worlds by H.G Wells' on youtube:

anthony morrison

The screen size is adequate (although not optimal), but what makes it attractive to me is the fact that you have so much functionality bundled into one device. This alone makes it superior to Kindle or any other e-Reader device.


Hi- the best 'solution' I've devised is to:
1. Download Kindle for PC my cheap netbook PC. Choose the version that specifies additional plugin capabilities ((free from Amazon)
2, Download the NVDA (non visual desktop accessory) engine from and run the .exe programme.
3. Register the PC Kindle app with Amazon using the same ID info with which you bought the Kindle e books.
4. Open both the NVDA engine and your PC based Kindle. The Kindle app will sync with all e books in your archive/ library
5 Click Control R and listen as it reads from the previous endpoint!!
-This is obviously NOT an iPhone based text->speech function, but is the closest approximation to it!! Hope it helps!!

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