OnStar's Text-to-Speech App Reads Your Texts

Ask most people about texting while driving and they’ll tell you that it’s irresponsible and stupid. Still, people do it. Whether they say it was an emergency, or that they were stopped at a traffic light not two seconds ago and just wanted to finish sending that one message, there are a lot of people out there who text while they drive.

OnStar knows people like this exist and are on our roads. In fact, the company cites a Pew research study in reporting that 42 percent of drivers have admitted to texting while driving. In an effort to please everyone, the company has just announced a text-to-speech voice communications app that allows you to receive and send texts without ever taking your hands off the wheel.  

The app converts incoming SMS text messages and Facebook updates from text to synthetic speech, then sends them via Bluetooth to your car's speakers. You can then choose to respond to your messages with one of several generic messages, such as, ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or ‘driving,’ or, if you really, really need to respond right then and there, there’s also the option for custom responses; this works like regular speech-to-text software in that it transcribes your message for you. These custom messages can also be posted as audio clips to Facebook.

Unfortunately this nifty app isn’t available to just any OnStar user. No, this one is Android 2.2 (and higher) only. No word on when the app will actually be available so you’ll just have to continue restraining yourself from texting while driving for now.

Jane McEntegart works in marketing communications at Intel and was previously Manager of Content Marketing at ASUS North America. Before that, she worked for more than seven years at Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware, holding such roles as Contributing Editor and Senior News Editor and writing about everything from smartphones to tablets and games consoles.