Sneak Preview: BuzzVoice for Android

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Call me crazy, but my Android phone and I have been having some great conversations lately.

With Google's new Voice Actions, I've been using voice commands to control my handset every day. And now, thanks to a new app about to hit the Android Market, my phone's started talking back to me, too.

The app is called BuzzVoice, and it turns your favorite blogs and news sites into personalized streaming podcasts. It's aimed at making it easy (and safe) to keep up with news on-the-go -- in your car, at the gym, wherever -- and it has the potential to change the way you consume information.

I was able to spend some time with the program in advance of its upcoming launch. Here's an exclusive sneak peek at how it works and what it can do for your phone.

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BuzzVoice for Android: The Vocal News App

BuzzVoice works by literally reading you the news. The program offers feeds from more than 1600 sources -- everything from The New York Times to Slashdot -- so it isn't hard to find something you like.

When you first open BuzzVoice, you'll spend a few minutes building your personal playlist. BuzzVoice breaks down the news into a dozen categories, each of which has a handful of subtopics to help you discover the sites you want. After selecting "Technology," for example, you can narrow down to sources specific to Android news, gadget news, social media news, and so on. With the basic BuzzVoice service, you can keep up to 15 different feeds in your playlist at any given time.

Once you've filled up your playlist, you just click onto any source to see a list of its latest stories. You can select stories one by one and have BuzzVoice convert them to audio on-the-fly, or you can tap an "auto" icon and have the app read you all of a site's recent stories without interruption.

BuzzVoice alternates between a female and a male voice, the latter of which sounds only slightly like Johnny 5. Aside from the occasional mispronunciation of a person's name, the voices actually do a pretty good job at playing anchorman (and anchorwoman). They're surprisingly lifelike and generally quite listenable.

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