While a stock text-to-speech feature is integreated on Android devices, we have to be honest and say that it doesn't really knock our socks off. And that's a pity, because text-to-speech is a useful feature if ever there was one, e.g. for the navigation feature when using Google Maps. The robot voice is a bit of a 'meh' at best.
That said, there's no sense complaining about any of this, as Android permits alternative TTS engines. IVONA Text-to-Speech HQ is a good example of such an alternative and we thought we'd shine our spotlight on it for you all today.
Start up the app and you will be asked for your email address, seeing as you are no doubt dying to receive the latest INOVA updates. If you're not keen to received said updates, hit the link in the confirmation email. Next, a browser window pops up from where you must download a language pack, as well as some other data.
You will then be notified that IVONA is not your current TTS engine, and you must change this setting in order to use the app. Once that's done you're pretty much good to go, unless, of course, you wish to download more language packs.
There are several English speaking voices to choose from, or more specifically several accents, and the ones I tried out (US and OZ English) were very pleasant. The app then runs in conjunction with other maps, e.g. Google Maps for navigation.
IVONA Text-to-Speech HQ is a viable alternative to the stock TTS engine. I've been using it for a few months and am satisfied with its performance.
Screen & Controls
This is where the app falls somewhat short—both the set up and controls are not ideal. There's no set up assistant, instead users are redirected to a website from where a second app must be installed in order to get IVONA Text-to-Speech HQ to run. However, to be fair we should mention that the app is currently still in beta phase, so lets hope for the best.