Len Klie

New Kindle Has to Have Better Speech

Amazon this week unveiled its new Kindle Touch 3G, which will begin shipping April 27.

Kindle Touch 3G is Amazon’s most full-featured Kindle e-reader yet, with a touch screen and free 3G wireless. And, most important to us speech-heads, it features the Read-to-Me feature, a text-to-speech application that lets Kindle read English-language content out loud. Additionally, Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G come with built-in speakers offering support for the TTS output, audiobooks, and mp3 support.

The text-to-speech software has been around since the Kindle 2, but hopefully Amazon has improved on it for this latest version. In the past, users have complained that the TTS output was too low and poor quality to be really useful in certain situations. The TTS voice has also been recognizably computer-generated, which is unfortunate for Amazon given the level of quality that’s available in TTS these days.