January 17, 2008

Introducing the N73 SMS Reader

Free App Friday may be over, but not here at the S60 Weblog. Disgruntled with the lack of a Text-to-speech message reader on the N73, I decided to work on my own simple, no-frills message reader. The merits of such an application are plenty. Not only is it a convenient way to access your messages by having them read out aloud with minimal fuss, but it is also something that can be of tremendous use especially while on the move -- you could be driving, jogging etc. Moreover, this is a concept that is yet to make inroads and so, is quite fascinating to say the least!

It is a well-known fact that Nokia have already 'blessed' phones like the 5500, 5700, 6120c with a Text-to-speech (TTS) tool complete with different voices, while strangely ignoring the majority of Nseries devices. What is quite absurd is that this is a concept that was perfected around two years ago with the release of SilentComm's commercial TWT SMSReader -- for devices ranging from the Nokia 7650 to the 6600, 6630 and N70. And yet, here we are...

Anyway, the only message reader ever to be released for the likes of the N73, N80, N95 etc was Mobicrac's SMSTalk, which, unfortunately, left a LOT to be desired -- mainly because it could only read 3 words at a time, as ridiculous as that seems.

Ofcourse, that was a purely commercial venture, but one that was inspiring nevertheless. Another feature that I wanted my message reader to have was the ability of saving or backing up all text messages to a separate file. I borrowed this idea from David Siorpaes' SMSDump for the Nokia 6600, 6630 and N70 -- a handy, albeit commercial, utility that was capable of 'dumping' all text messages from the inbox to a text file. Incase your database of text messages got corrupted, you could always rely on the backup created by SMSDump.

After much scouring on the Internet for a message reader, I was finally able to find an app, called TTSMS, created by bugb in Python for S60. Sadly, that didn't work -- but since it was written in Python, it provided enough motivation ;)

Enter the N73 SMS Reader

The N73 SMS Reader (or TTSMS Reader) is a no-frills app that sits in the background and is activated automatically whenever a new message arrives. It requires Python for S60 to run. Upon installing, you will have a new icon labelled 'TTSMS' in the Applications folder of your S60 3rd Edition device.

Key Features:

  • Reads new text messages either at user request or immediately when they arrive
  • Simple and Intuitive controls
  • Message Preview Option for displaying the last received message without actually opening it
  • Inbox Backup tool for exporting all messages to file
  • Compatibility with ALL S60 3rd Edition Devices (N73, N80, N95 and more)
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Special Notes:

Whenever a new message arrives, by default the user is presented a list of three options:

  • To read the new message
  • To preview or display it
  • To ignore it

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Upon pressing the Read message option, the TTSMS Reader uses Python's Text-to-speech function to read the message out aloud. There is also a Replay Message feature that automatically kicks in whenever a message has been read, prompting the user for further action.

The Preview message option shows the first few lines of the sms content as well as the sender's number in a pop-up window.

Tip: Note that not only is 'previewing' the message quicker and less cumbersome, but it also gives the user a convenient alibi of 'forgetting' to read a potentially unwanted message as previewing does not notify the system that a new message has already been read.

The Ignore message option works by sending the program back to the Standby or Home Screen.

With Auto Read set to ON, whenever a new message arrives, the TTSMS Reader uses Python's Text-to-speech function to read the message out aloud automatically without requiring any user intervention whatsoever. The user is also prompted with an option to replay the message once it is finished reading.

Other Options:

The Export Inbox as TXT... option saves ALL the messages from the inbox to a text file compatible with Microsoft Word, WordPad etc.

Tip: Once activated, it normally takes about 20 seconds (depending on the size of your inbox) for the program to save all messages. It also displays the total number of messages saved as well as their location on the Phone Memory.

The Minimize and Minimize all options are something I picked up from the Microsoft Windows environment. The former simply minimizes the current window i.e. of the TTSMS Reader whilst the latter minimizes all windows in use and sends the user directly to the Standby Screen.

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Known Issues:

- The TTSMS Reader does not install any extra voice packages to the phone. Instead, it utilizes the device's built-in TTS capabilities. So, be wary of the accent (German, perhaps?) as it may not be able to pronounce accurately.

- While actual words are language-independent, numbers will be pronounced a digit at a time, depending on the language set in the phone.

- Once a message has been flagged as old, it can no longer be read. However, I'm working on a solution for dealing with this :)

- Incase of an unknown number, the program will read out the entire number.

Download Links:

P.S All the required files are provided below.

- Note that you need to install Python first to your device's Phone Memory. If you already have Python installed to Phone Memory, skip this step.

- The TTSMS Reader must be SIGNED before installation.

DOWNLOAD NOW

DOWNLOAD NOW (Mirror)

You may receive an 'Update Error' while installing in some cases. To rectify that, download this file instead. Otherwise, use the links given above.

Currently, this app has been tested on the N73 ME and the N95 only. However, it should work on other devices too without a glitch. Comments are always welcome!

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

the application failed to load after click the icon. I have a 6120c (v3.83), with English as system language, and English(UK) as default TTS language

Taha M said...

Did you install Python to phone memory? Please check and let me know.

Anonymous said...

yes, i have both Python and script shell installed, those scripts come with script shell installation work fine

Taha M said...

That's strange...I've posted two versions of the SMS Reader above; one of them resolves the 'Update Error' issue...are you using that one, or are you using the other one?

Anonymous said...

i uninstalled everything, python engine, script shell and sms reader and then reinstall again. it works now.

thank you for such a great application

Taha M said...

Great to hear that! I'm glad you liked it. Check back soon for an update :)

Anonymous said...

m also facing the same problem in my n73ME.. plz let me kno how to intall it.. its not working after clicking

Taha M said...

Assuming you've signed the app already, try this:

- Remove Python and the Python Script Shell from App mgr (From Menu > Tools > App. mgr)

- Now, install Python and the Script Shell to phone memory only.

- Run the app

It should work now.

Anonymous said...

yeah it works..
thanx mate..i really appreciate ur work..

Taha M said...

Glad to help out!

Anonymous said...

How do i sign the sms reader can you help me please.

Taha M said...

Have a look here for an excellent tutorial on the signing process.

Anonymous said...

Why is it a must to sign the application? I have been using several other apps, but none of the is required to sign.

Taha M said...

This app requires self-signing as it needs to access certain features of the phone that are constrained (and thus, unavailable) by the enhanced security on S60 3rd Ed devices.

The apps that you have been using probably do not require these capabilities, which is why signing isn't a pre-requisite.

Anonymous said...

Taha,

Please, email me on yaagoub.nujaidi@gmail.com. I would like to communicate with you in private about your application TTSMS.

Regards,
Yaagoub Al-Nujaidi
+966503800520

Juan Carlos said...

Hey.. it works just fine... but it would be great IT could read the messages in the Inbox not only the new ones... oohh and It doesnt work in spanish.. I had to change my phone settings, but It sound really weird when its reads spanish messages in english...

Qara'a said...

Taha,

Please, email me on yaagoub.nujaidi@gmail.com. I would like to communicate with you in private about your application TTSMS Reader.

Regards,
Yaagoub Al-Nujaidi
+966503800520

Wasim said...

it reads very fast.. can i decrease the pitch of the speech

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lolgame said...

be wary of the accent (German, perhaps?) as it may not be able to pronounce accurately.

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