Umano’s Voice Actors Will Read News and Inspirational Articles to You on iPhone and Android
With the massive amounts of information available nowadays, it’s not hard to find yourself overwhelmed. I’ve begun calling this overwhelming feeling “overly clicky”. I use it to describe that moment, generally early in the morning on weekdays, when I turn on my PC, grab a cup of coffee, sit down and start furiously clicking through news sites and Reddit, absorbing hundreds of headlines in a matter of minutes. By the time I finish that first cup, my right leg is bouncing and my eyes are wide and glued to the screen with what I’m certain is an intense look that screams: “More!”
Maybe that was a little melodramatic, but a lot of the times there really is just too much out there to consume effectively. It’s rare not to find myself scanning for the important bits of an article so I can zip off to the next link and instantly forget what I just read. Needless to say, I don’t find much peace in my news consumption. In fact, it’s utter chaos.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I heard about a relatively new app for the iPhone (and just released on Android) called Umano, which reads news and various inspirational articles to you. And I’m not talking about any sort of robotic, Siri-esque text-to-speech reading either. Umano enlists actual human voice actors to do the reading.
Umano’s interface is extremely simplistic, using a white-on-black theme. The homepage greets you with an aggregated article list from various categories such as must know, entertaining, and entrepreneurial. Browsing to categories or other functions of Umano is made fluid by gestures to swipe to and from a side menu. Users can long hold on articles to add them to a playlist or use the app’s built-in like function to save them for future reference.
However, there’s a lack of customizing what can be seen from the start. Categories and articles cannot be hidden, so the best way to assure you only hear what you want is to create a new playlist before each listening session. A social aspect is included in the form of Facebook integration. Users have the option to share listening habits and get notified of what their friends are listening to as well.
While its article selection isn’t the greatest and many of the voice actors are hit or miss, Umano is off to an interesting start. It’s the type of app that makes a walk more enjoyable. Or for any sort of urban commuter, it’s the perfect companion. There’s no reason to flip through headlines and struggle to read small print while you’re being bumped around on a bus or subway when you can sit back, relax and enjoy a soothing, non-threatening male voice tell you seven ways to make happiness last.