One of my most used free apps, Pocket, added the ability to read articles aloud on Google Android devices on Tuesday. Formerly known as Read It Later, Pocket lets you read saved web pages while offline, and the newest version takes advantage of text-to-speech capabilities in Android. With the “Listen” feature, you can now hear the text of saved web pages anytime you have a few minutes in a quiet space.
I tested the new Listen functionality in Pocket and it works quite well. On my Galaxy Nexus phone with Android 4.1, there was no configuration involved, nor any speech engines needed to install. I simply updated Pocket, went to a recently saved article in the app and hit the Listen button in the app menu. You can pause the reading and control the speed through a Fast/Slow toggle bar.
One of the main reasons I use Pocket as my web clipping platforms is the widespread support across many devices: I can save articles from any browser and read them on practically any device, including those running iOS. Unfortunately, the Pocket team has no immediate plans to bring the Listen feature to iOS because “iOS doesn’t currently provide a text-to-speech API.”