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.
- 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)
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
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.
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.
- 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.
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 (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!