Some time ago I purchased the LG HBS-750 Bluetooth Headphones, that are not only meant for making phone-calls, but that also use the AptX codec, to deliver high-quality sound, for my walking around and listening to music.
These headphones are associated with an Android app named “Tone & Talk“, that reads out notifications being displayed by other apps, using Text-To-Speech, in a hands-free way. That app in turn, has been updated by LG numerous times. Well it just received a major update today.
I cannot always recognize whether an update has changed the app for better or for worse, because doing so would require more time and experimentation with the app. What has happened though, is that this has triggered some quasi-philosophical thoughts on my part.
I think that the previous version of this app, would just use whatever speech synthesis engine was the system default, on our Android device. And in my case, that was a high-quality Samsung speech engine. But, some other people never set up a high-quality speech engine, maybe because they do not realize that having one installed, is independent of whether we actually have apps installed that use TTS. So some users could be asking, ‘What is the point of this TTS engine, that does not result in an app on my device, that does TTS?’
And so some other users may have had the default TTS engine on their devices, and complained to LG about how bad the Text-To-Speech voice-quality was, which they were experiencing from their Tone & Talk app.
In such cases it might be useless to explain to the user, that if he or she wants better TTS voice-quality, he or she needs to install a better TTS voice. Instead, what LG seems to have done is to replace the system default TTS engine with one of their own choosing.
And this was also the first change which I noticed as a result of the update. On my phone, the new voice sound harsher, but also seems to sound most-recognizable. I am more likely now to understand what the app is speaking, even in noisy environments. Before, I had a sublime voice read out notifications to me in a subtly-hinted way (with a distinct British accent).
Now I suppose that nobody will be told to install a 3rd-part TTS voice anymore, because the new app uses its own.
BTW: Just in case I ever wanted to demonstrate to another person, the fact that I have a TTS engine on my phone, and that TTS exists, I also have a small app just named “Talk“, that acts as a front-end, and which speaks whatever text is given by me.