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Pocket redesigns its mobile apps to emphasize listening

Pocket, which allows you to save articles and videos on your devices for later viewing, is redesigning today with a new emphasis on listening to the items you save. The listening feature, which is powered by a new integration with the Polly voice synthesis service from Amazon, aims to turn the tail of your articles into "a personal podcast you take care of," says CEO Nate Weiner. It came out today on iOS and Android.

The company, owned by Mozilla, also announces its first Alexa ability. Add it to your Alexa-compatible device and you'll be able to access your pocket items wherever you have a smart speaker.

The redesign represents the first major visual change in Pocket since 201

2, when the company returned the original brand name Read Later. It reduces the density of app information in favor of more white space and slightly larger labels. Personally I liked the denser version of Pocket, but the new look is likely to affect many users as a more relaxing place to read and watch.

"It's a dedicated place, quiet to read, reflect and learn new things" Weiner says. "This is what people use to save the things they are fascinated and become better people." We take this responsibility very seriously to complete that cycle "

Pocket users can be voracious readers and often save many more articles about 39; app of how much they will never stop to read. This prompted the company to take another look at its voice synthesis function, which was first introduced in 2012. While the function had its fans, the robotic voice came directly from the computer OK of Radiohead . [19659006] With the redesign, the listening function now resembles a modern podcast app, complete with buttons to jump forward and controls to adjust the recording speed. As soon as an article ends, the next one will start playing. It does not support offline listening yet, but it will arrive soon, says Weiner. In the meantime, if you start listening to an article before your subway gets interrupted or you lose connectivity for a short period of time, the article you're listening to should still play until the end, he says.

The new listening function, which includes both male and female voices, makes the sound of the narration much more natural. In the future, Pocket could experiment with the use of human voices to record articles in the foreground, Weiner says.

With Pocket's new Alexa ability, that listening can now extend home. Say "Tell Pocket to get my items" and your Alexa device can read anything you've saved on your phone or tablet.

"Reading the text is not going away," says Weiner. "But when we get busier and busier, and there's more and more content, one of the biggest things you hear is," I saved too much for Pocket. "We hope to open and release that content so we can consume it – in ways you have not been able to do before."

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