Pocket is an app that lets you save web pages to read later, and then view streamlined versions of those sites formatted for a mobile device. The service used to be called “Read it Later,” which is more descriptive… but also a bit more of a mouthful.
Now Pocket has updated its free Android app so that in addition to reading saved articles later, you can now listen to them.
Pocket for Android taps into the built-in text-to-speech capabilities of the Android operating system. In order to listen to your phone or tablet read an article to you, just pull up an article and choose the Listen option.
The app uses your default TTS engine, so if you’ve installed a third party service such as Ivona, it will use that voice. The new Listen feature is a little buggy on my HTC One X. It sometimes takes a moment to load, and even longer to stop after I hit the pause button — and if I exit the app and return to it, the playback controls sometimes disappear for a moment.
But for the most part, Pocket now makes it possible to listen to news articles and blog posts as if you were listening to a podcast (with slightly stiff, robotic sounding delivery).
The latest version of Pocket for Android also includes a number of bug fixes, user interface tweaks, and improved full screen animation.
Pocket also offers an iOS app, but it doesn’t have the Listen feature, because iOS doesn’t have a text-to-speech API.