My nephew Jared turned me on to this app. DriveSafe.ly is still in Alpha and only on jailbreak at the moment. At some point they will release it via the app store, but without backgrounder, I’m not sure how useful it is. The app is simple enough; every 5sec or 1min it checks for new SMS messages. If a new message is found, it converts the sender’s name and message to voice and plays it on the iphone. Natch! The app is still a touch buggy and it does not always work for me, but in the one ‘real’ use case, it proved useful. I normally do not ride with earphones unless it a long ride and if that long ride is mostly freeway. However, I agreed to meet a friend at a Thai restaurant in the Palo Alto after work. I work in San Francisco. So I turned drivesafe.ly on, set it on background, pulled up my ‘ipod’ and took off. BTW, I only use 1 ear plug when I ride, its the law in California. So 2/3 the way down, I got an SMS asking ‘are you here?’ Seems I miscalced my riding time and had to pull over to SMS back that I would be 15 min late. Perfect! That is EXACTLY what a SMS to voice app is great for.
You can choose between a male and female voice on the paid version. I’m using the free one (which is female be default) but the voice quality is good and so far, the translations have been impressive. The only complaint I have is it also reads SMS messages that I send. Not a full FAIL because its suppose to be when you are driving, but still..
There is more I want to try though. Next time I’m on a long ride, I’m going to have my email forward to my phone. Then when new emails come is, I will at least hear the first few lines. Same for the next time I’m on a long drive in the car.
Here is more info on motorcycles and state laws in case your curious.