Just recently, we reviewed three of the very best SMS/text message readers on the Android Market. If you liked or are currently using any of those three, we bet you’ll love this one. Hands Free SMS for Android not only reads out incoming SMS but also, as the name implies, allows you to respond to them via voice input using the native speech-to-text conversion application. And its free! DriveSafe.ly, one of the three aforementioned apps, offers the latter feature only after a paid subscription. Read on after the jump for more info on the free alternative.
However handy it might be, the application is new to the Market and far from perfect. Once the application is installed, it begins running as a background service and, as of this writing, the only way to disable it is to uninstall it. The application does not have a settings page, just a simple welcome screen. Let’s hope future updates will add a toggle option to the app.
Other than the mentioned problem, the application works like a charm – automatically displaying received SMS on a separate screen as they are received, while reading out the name/number of the sender and the message body.
After it is done reading the SMS to the user, the application displays the asks for a few voice confirmations, displaying a Google Voice Search dialog box each time. The voice queries go as follows:
“Do you want to listen to the message again? Say ‘yes’ or say ‘no’.”
“Do you want to reply to this message? Say ‘yes’ or say ‘no’ to quit.”
“Please speak what you want to reply.”
“Do you want to speak more to enter more text? Say ‘yes’ or say ‘no’.”
“Do you want to proof read the SMS message before sending? Say ‘yes’ or say ‘no’.”
“Do you want to send the SMS message now? Say ‘yes or say ‘no’ or say ‘clear’ to start again.”
After the user replies in affirmative to the last query, the application sends the voice-entered SMS on its way and returns the user to the home screen.
Note that you should have the Google Voice Search application installed on your device and an active internet (Wi-Fi/network data) connection for voice responses to work.
If you plan to use the application while driving, we would recommend using a hands-free device to maximize the chance of a successful voice confirmation without having to hold the device close to your mouth.
All in all, Hands Free SMS is a very handy application to have on your Android device and with a few tweaks here and there (adding the option to enable/disable the background service and limit the amount of voice queries), it could very well become the best of its kind on the Market.
Download Hands Free SMS
Update: Hands Free SMS might have been pulled from the Google Play Store but there are plenty of alternatives to try out. For instance, Sonalight Text by Voice that offers arguably the best hands-free texting experience on Android.