Together with my new LG Tone Pro HBS-750 Bluetooth Headphones, there is a recommended app on Google Play, named “Tone & Talk”. It is not strictly necessary to use this app, when using the headphones, but it provides an advantage. This app will only activate, if it detects that one of the LG Headphones is BT- connected, that the app has on its supported devices list. The HBS-750 Headphones are on that list, and work in my case.
What this app does today, is somewhat different from what earlier versions of it used to do. The name of the original app was “LG BT Reader”, but when people download BT Reader, the latest version of it only tells them, that their membership has been migrated to the Tone & Talk app, which we should now install instead. There is a subtle difference in what these apps did.
LG BT Reader, had app-specific support, which enabled it not only to read out the text of notifications, but which also allowed it to read out the body of Facebook, Twitter, SMS and certain other messaging apps. Some users were interested in that, because people today do a lot of social networking – on their computers and phones.
In order to be able to do this, LG BT Reader needed to be enabled as an ‘Accessibility Aid’, which gave the app the ability, effectively, to observe how we tap, and then to tap in our place, on buttons within each app.
Tone & Talk has a slightly different approach. It supports a wider variety of apps, but only reads out the text part of notifications displayed by those apps. Just as with LG BT Reader, the user gets to enable specific apps which we want served. But with Tone & Talk, the list of supported apps is longer. As a trade-off, Tone & Talk will no longer go into each app, and read the screen of each app to us, which the earlier app used to do, to convey the body of the SMS or the Twitter announcement… Therefore, at least with Android Lollipop, Tone & Talk also no longer requires to be enabled as an Accessibility Aid, but only to have permission, to ‘Read Notifications’, as can be granted from the settings panel of our phone.
I had set up Tone & Talk as an Accessibility Aid, before launching it, and once it had detected the connection to my headset, it politely told me to unset this. It no longer needed this.
Now, there are some users who are upset about this change, because while they do a lot of SNS reading, they can no longer get the full messages of their Social Networking (Service) apps.
I, personally, am not even used to getting a lot of SMS messages, or other types of IM messages, and so the fact that Tone & Talk will not read those out, is no loss to me. I do receive a lot of email, to the 3rd-party app “Kaiten Mail”, and have this app enabled in Tone & Talk. What this means, is that Tone & Talk does factually read the subject line of any emails I receive, but not their body, and the former, only because the Kaiten Mail app makes the subject-line of received emails, a part of the notification text it displays.
I can actually appreciate that every time I receive a regular email, Tone & Talk will only announce the subject line to me, and that it will not attempt to read out the text of the entire email. I have Kaiten Mail set, to receive all the regular emails which I would also receive to my PCs and laptop.
Also, with the new app, I can set sundry other apps, so that Tone & Talk will read the notifications of each one. I already know which of my apps send me notifications which I am interested in receiving, possibly without taking the phone out of my shirt pocket, so that I can make this selection pretty much according to my taste.
What this means, is that some users have an understandable disappointment in the ‘Tone & Talk’ app, and have also not been given the option, to stay with the ‘LG BT Reader’ app. But I, for one, am not among the disappointed users, because I was never intending to use my headphones, the way those users were doing.
Note: There is one app, which the Tone & Talk app has specific support for, and that is the Phone app. These headphones, and / or their software, have a complex system in place, such that if we receive a phone call – which was the primary purpose in having BT Headphones not long ago – and if the caller-ID of the person phoning us was in our Contacts List, the headphones will play the name of the person who is trying to call us.
Well, because the Phone app is also an app, it appears in the long list of them, which we can check off, to have notifications read to us. To check off the Phone app here constitutes an error. It might lead, to a primitive series of digits being read to us, that the Phone app displays as part of its notification text, while the more-specialized software is also trying to read the name of the caller to us.
I have discovered that If I do check the Phone app, as one of those, from which I am to receive regular notifications, the Tone & Talk app recognizes this as an error, and un-checks the other app again.