VoKnow is a cool little app that just might change the way you use RSS feeds.
The app takes new feeds and uses text to speech technology to read them out to you. It’s clever stuff, and a great idea, but it’s just a shame that it hasn’t been expanded on in its current form.
When you first load the free app up, you are prompted to create an account on the services website. It’s here that you can add feeds from a range of popular sites and channels. Everything from sports, celebrity and local news is included, and you can even add your own Twitter feed or even a separate Twitter account. You can either select each feed individually or tell the site your interests and it will populate the list for you
When you have created a custom Playlist from all these sources, you can then you log into your account on your device and listen to all the entries from this list.
The main fault here is that, although there are plenty of feeds to choose from, there should be a way of putting your own custom feeds on there. The option to have more than one playlist would be nice as well(and hey guys where is the feed for The Smartphone App Review? Tut tut…). When in the app, your playlist is shown as a list, and clicking on any of the entries takes you to the player, which starts playing the feeds. The player allows you to pause and play the audio and also to swipe the screen to move between feeds quickly.
The audio streams really quickly and the voice quality is excellent, with each feed being read out by a different voice to avoid the danger of monotony. The voices are so good, that someone who was in the room while I was listening to my playlist was convinced that it was being read out by a real news reader. Impressive.
The only fault of the app itself is that there should be a way of editing your playlist from within the app, instead of having to pop to the site to do it, and there should also be a way of going straight to the site that the feed comes from when you hear something interesting.
This app, and the service behind it, are actually really innovative. Having a mix of your Twitter feeds and RSS feeds read out is like having your own personalised news radio station, and is especially handy if you are driving or working with your hands and want to be kept constantly updated.
I have used it for neither but have still found myself switching the app on as I would a news radio station and chilling out to it. If your not convinced, give it a try, as the app is free and its easy to set up. It’s still early days for the service, but if they add the things I mentioned, than the developer has an app with a whole lot of potential.
Overall, this is an extremely interesting app that, while it lacks a few features, will find a place on your home screen as something that feels brand new, innovative and appealing.
Keep an eye on this one.
(Note: see the comments section for a word from the developer about an update to the app)