If you own a smartphone, you have several options for hands-free text messaging, such as Voice on the Go and ZoomSafer, both of which cost money. Now, a new option called Drivesafe.ly is available for free–but, of course, there is a catch.
First, a bit on how Drivesafe.ly works. You download the Drivesafe.ly application either to a BlackBerry or to an Android-based smartphone. Before you hop in your car, you activate the application and put your phone somewhere you can hear it. Then, when you receive either a text message or e-mail, Drivesafe.ly uses text-to-speech technology to read your message out loud. You can also send a canned text-message response back, such as “I can’t respond now, I’m driving.” You don’t have to touch your phone once.
Here’s the catch, however. Drivesafe.ly’s free version will read only the first 25 words of any given message. To get the entire message, you’ll have to buy the Drivesafe.ly Pro version, which costs either $4 per month or $14 for the life of your phone. The 25-word limit might not faze people who text-message a lot (because SMS missives are short), but it will be a killer for long-form e-mail junkies. Drivesafe.ly will be available September 23, company representatives say.