Are you using Android's Text-To-Speech (tts) feature when you are using your device? You can use tts on select services such as Google Translate or Google Maps, and other applications that you install on your device may also make use of it.
Google is currently rolling out a new version of Text-To-Speech that upgrades it to version 3.0. Rolling out means that it will be available eventually for all users who use compatible devices.
Android Police has uploaded the new apk file which you can use to upgrade your version of tts to the new one.
The major change is that Google has added support for additional languages, Portuguese and Spanish (United States), and for high quality voices.
These HD voices are only available for English speaking countries at the time of writing, and not for the other supported languages such as French, German or Portuguese.
The HD voices need to be downloaded first before you can select them as the default language used by the Text-To-Speech engine. The United Kingdom HD female voice pack is the largest, with its 276 Megabyte size, followed by the US HD female pack with 244 Megabyte and the UK HD male voice pack with 100 Megabyte.
Here you define which language and voice you want the device to use when you use the text to speech feature of it.
Several users have reported that the new voices are too low in volume, and that there is no option to modify the volume of the voice.
I cannot confirm that, as the voices that I have tested worked just fine and with appropriate volume.
Still, it may be a bug that is only affecting select Android devices or versions, and not all of them.
The second issue was reported by Android Police. According to their tests, high-quality voice is not always used on Google Search. Depending on what you ask, results may sometimes be streamed from a Google server instead of the local system.
In addition, the selected voice was not always honored by it as well. While it did honor the selected language, it used a different voice pack instead of the selected one.
For other queries, the correct voice pack was used, but with a noticeable delay if a high-quality voice pack was set on the phone. According to Android Police, they experienced delays up to 10 seconds on a Nexus 5 before voice ran.
It also appears that Google Maps ignores the selected voice and uses the default voice instead.
Should you download it?
There is nothing wrong with download or allowing the update. Since you can keep the low quality voice, you won't notice any differences. Only when you decide to download the high quality voices, you might.
It is easy enough to trash them again if they do not work, or switch to a regular voice for the time being until the reported issues get sorted out by Google.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.