Listen to notifications on Android with SpeakMe

Bring a bit more hands-free functionality to your Android device with this outspoken app.

Alerts on our connected Android devices can sometimes pick the worst moment to sound off. For instance, when you're in the middle of working with raw meat in the kitchen or carrying in 10 bags of groceries at once -- these are prime opportunities to get alerts... right? Yeah, not really. So why not just have your device read the alert to you? That's exactly what SpeakMe does.

The capability to read notifications out loud is available on most versions of Android. However, that option also reads each menu item, each action -- and everything in between -- to you. This can become quite bothersome if you're just using the feature for convenience. SpeakMe will not speak each action to you, and will allow you to set custom wait times between incoming messages.

To get started, you'll need to install a copy of SpeakMe on your Android device. After installing, open the app and you'll be greeted with a tutorial. The app may tell you that you need a voice library, but this is not always the case. For this reason, it's best if you skip through the tutorial and correct issues later.

Steps 1, 2, and 3. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 1: Tap the furthest left icon at the top bar of the app. Here you can pick which applications you want to hear notifications for. Just check the box next to an app and then decide how many seconds you want SpeakMe to wait between notifications.

Additional part of Step 1. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 2: Press on the next icon to the right, which opens the General Settings area. You can decide if you want to have an option for silencing the device, and also if you want to only hear the name of the app when a notification comes in.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 3: Touch Start in the middle of the screen. Now you'll be prompted to enable the app in the Accessibility menu. Just tap on SpeakMe and then toggle the switch to On.

Time for testing! Send yourself a text message and see if the app reads it out loud to you.

Possible troubleshooting option: If you don't hear your test message or any other notifications, you may need to grab the text to speech library from Google Play. To do this, open SpeakMe and then press Menu on your device, then choose Download Speech Library.

(Via AddictiveTips)