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Listen to your messages over Bluetooth:
Review of the DriveSafely MotoSpeak text-to-speech reader with the Motorola H17 headset

I’ve just been introduced to an excellent combination. Literally, within seconds of using it, I realized how much I’d wanted this kind of functionality. Unfortunately, it’s not available on my own cellphone yet (the Palm Pre), but should be soon.

What I’m talking about is the ability to listen to text from emails and messages over a Bluetooth headset. Here’s an example of what happens:

  • You send me a message (this could be an SMS text or an email).
  • The message lands in my cellphone.
  • My Bluetooth headset – resting in my ear – turns on and reads me the message

It all happens while the smartphone itself remains in my pocket. The Bluetooth activates automatically, reads me the message and then leaves me alone. I don’t have to move a muscle.

This text-to-speech-over-Bluetooth is available right now, and it works great. There is a free version of this service that will read SMS messages, and will read the first 25 words. If you’d like it to read emails, or read the whole message, or add additional handy features, you pay for the service. Pricing starts at $14 per year.

Here’s what you need:

1) The DriveSafely MotoSpeak application. This is the text-to-speech-in-your-Bluetooth headset application. On my phone, the application showed up as “MotoSpeak”.

2) A cellphone compatible with the DriveSafely application. Check their website to download the free version, or check compatibility and pricing.

3) A Bluetooth headset.

For my own test, I used the HTC Incredible as my cellphone and the Motorola H17 as my Bluetooth headset. (On a related note, the Motorola H17 is an excellent Bluetooth headset. It's tiny, yet has great transmission quality. I didn't want to give it back.)

The software behaves exactly as advertised. I had no problems, it just worked. I inititally worried about the speech synthesis quality, but all test messages I sent to myself (about 40) were “spoken” clearly and were easily understood. I’m confident enough to recommend purchasing the DriveSafely MotoSpeak software.

If I ever have a compatible smartphone and a Bluetooth headset, I will purchase the DriveSafely Motospeak text-to-speech Bluetooth application. This is a wonderful invention, and is a combination of technologies that I’m very thankful we now have. Smartphone usage will be faster and more transparent, and driving will be safer and more hands-free.