Driving safely with BlackBerry.
Using a mobile phone while driving is a dangerous practice that leads to scores of accidents and deaths around the world. DriveSafe.Ly Enterprise is an app made by ispeech.org that reads out your text messages and emails while you are driving or otherwise pre-occupied. The app works by reading out messages that you received through the default audio output which is often the phone’s loudspeaker if no headset is being used. This saves you from the urge to look at your phone whenever you hear your allocated message tone.
The voice used is female by default but can be changed to suit your preferences and they have a wide range of male and female voices in various accents and languages. In the settings menu there are quite a lot of settings you can play around with including whether to activate voice commands, the volume as well as speed and quality of the voice. Other settings include what it can and cannot read; whether to include the sender and subject and play emails or text messages. There are also advanced settings to adjust, whether to auto-respond to emails and text messages with an automated message you can set; whether to play acronyms such as “lol” and “brb” and whether to play audio notifications. You can also use it to read Facebook and Twitter texts and if you have multiple email addresses you can choose which ones DriveSafe.Ly can read from.
When you are notified that you have received a message, DriveSafe.Ly starts reading it out a while after receiving it; it doesn’t instantly read it out the moment it is received. I am not sure whether the app lags before it starts up or this is so that you can choose to disable the app before it starts reading. I tried using the EU Italian Male and EU Catalan voices to read out my emails and their voices were slow and rather sluggish even though the settings stated the reading speed was set to “Normal”. This might be due to the fact that it was translating words from English to Italian and Catalan on the fly. Using the default English, messages are read at a steady pace but I felt that sometimes they seemed rushed even at normal speeds.
Perhaps the most annoying aspect was when the voice reads out even the irrelevant parts of the message like the disclaimer which can take forever to finish. This can be quite frustrating especially when driving as you would then have to press the End button on your phone to stop it. Another issue I found was that even when you close the app using the “Exit DriveSafe.Ly” option in settings it will still remain in your active applications list and that might potentially take away resources that could be used for something else. Another issue I found was that I would have to disable the app manually if I didn’t want it to read my messages out loud or through my headset. This would not really be an issue if I was expecting an urgent message but if I was on my way back home after a long trip or a long day at work I would have to unlock my phone, go to the app and turn it off. Not really a safe thing to do when driving but being tired I would probably forget to disable it beforehand and that is the issue.
DriveSafe.Ly is a great app to own just as a Bluetooth headset or any wired or wireless headset is a great accessory for your mobile as it takes away the need to fiddle with your phone when you receive a call or message while driving. It is far from perfect but if it saves lives then it’s definitely worth your time to try it out. RIM are giving this app away for free ($79 value) until the end of the year so grab it while you can, your family will thank you for it.