The robotic monotone output of Android’s stock text-to-speech engine doesn’t sound all that pleasant when employed to speak large blocks of text. If you’re into TTS-based apps (the likes of Drive Safe.ly or GoogleReader Reading), you might want to try out IVONA Text-to-Speech HQ for Android, a TTS engine that has a more realistic-sounding output than that of the native engine and comes with support for a variety of downloadable male and female voices, all of which, like the app itself, are free. As of this writing, however, only one voice (Kendra US English beta) is available for download. The rest, as it seems, will be available shortly.
Installing IVONA places a shortcut to its online store in you app drawer. Download the a voice installer from the store, run it from the app drawer and let it download. The beauty of IVONA is its smooth integration with a variety of TTS based Android apps. For instance, it can work perfectly fine with eBook readers to help you with reading aloud the content of your favorite publications. If you can’t miss out on your crucial text messages and news feeds while driving, you can benefit from the services of IVONA to listen to the content as it flows in. Talking of driving, IVONA can be selected as the default TTS engine for your preferred navigation app to get directions to your destination. To cut it short, IVONA can be made to work with almost every speech-enabled app, and the option to switch between the default TTS engine and IVONA’s own engine means that you have the choice of resorting to the service as per requirement. You can switch between multiple voices from the engine’s settings menu (Settings > Voice Input & Output > Text-to-Speech Settings > IVONA Settings).
To begin using IVONA, you must set it as your default TTS engine. To do so, navigate to Settings > Voice Input & Output > Text-to-Speech Settings on your device, enable the engine from the bottom of the menu, then tap Default Engine and select IVONA from the list that appears (In the MIUI custom ROM, the path to the same menu is Settings > Language and Input > Voice Input & Output > Text-to-Speech Settings).
IVONA is free in the Android Market, and can be downloaded via the link provided below. IVONA supports multiple global languages, and there is the option to download a standalone variant from the market that supports your local language only.