Voice Brief: Turn Your iPhone Into Your Very Own Personal Assistant

If you have been looking for an application that will read content to you handsfree, check this out. Voice Brief will read you your local weather, your Facebook and Twitter updates, and will even tell you how your stocks are doing.

I find the app most useful in the morning as my iPhone sits in a speaker dock next to my bed. As I wake up, I reach over and start up Voice Brief and it instantly begins to rattle off my customized content. “That’s pretty cool Cody, but how difficult is it to set up?”

It’s so easy to get started. All you need is $1.99, and access to wifi because it’s a bulky 234 MB file. Once downloaded, you just open it up, and it will walk you through how to add content. Here you will be able to give Voice Brief access to your FaceBook and Twitter accounts, as well as tweak the number of updates that get read aloud.

RSS feeds can sometimes be a drag to read (unless you’re using Pulse Mini), so why not have someone read them to you? While I don’t see how they could have done it any better, I can’t say having my RSS feeds read to me was useful. With choppy articles and abbreviated headlines funneling through my RSS feeds, the voice seemed to be all over the place.

You are also able to enter in the names of stocks you want to watch. It’s really easy as you can type in just a portion of the company’s ticker symbol and it will auto-fill the rest in. Those who keep an eye on multiple stocks will find it useful to have them all read aloud to you, as opposed to looking them up individually.

While we are talking about the voices, I should note that they aren’t very synthetic. They are monotone and tend to read your content in an awkward rhythm. Although robotic sounding, the four voice choices aren’t bad. They read your information quickly and clearly. You can choose from male or female voices and either a British or American accent.

The app would get more points from me if it could read my email inbox. I’d like to be able to listen to all the comments from different blog posts that get forwarded to my Gmail, but I’ll keep wishing. As of right now Apple doesn’t allow developers to access the iOS Mail application. Voice Brief does have limited abilities to read Gmail inbox feeds, but it will currently only read the first line of the email, so it’s quite useless to me.

A nice little touch was the ability to have it read you a customizable line of text. For example, when my Voice Brief app starts up in the morning it says “Good morning Cody, here is what’s going on in your neck of the woods,” and then it continues on to read my local weather and stock prices.

Voice Brief has my attention for the time being, but is destined to be removed the next time I clean up my springboard. The addition of email support, as well as improved voice dynamics would make this app much less dispensable. I suppose that’s what updates are for. If you want to check this app out it is available for $1.99 in the App Store.

Does anyone use Voice Brief or a similar app? Tell us below!