Tasker, the Android automation behemoth, is a tool limited only by your imagination — it has been used for everything from improving personal workflows to interfacing with enterprise systems. In the newest beta release, 5.7.0-beta, developer Joaomgcd demoed an interesting new feature, "Say Wavenet", which brings natural sounding Text-to-Speech to Tasker using Google's WaveNet algorithm (the same technology that powers Assistant responses).

The video above demos WaveNet voices in Tasker beta, and they sound a lot less robotic than the app's previous Text-to-Speech output — you can even make your phone speak in an old-lady's voice! The feature taps into the Google Cloud Text-to-Speech API, so you'll have to generate a personal API key as service can potentially be chargeable — you get a million characters of TTS for free every month and are then charged $16 for ever additional million characters. We did the math (using the conversion $0.006 / 15 sec), and that gives users of the API about 11 hours of free usage every month, which seems generous.

If you are looking to get into automation with Tasker, it's never too late — there are a lot of great learning resources available, and you could get quite far in a single weekend. The app received a Material Design makeover a few years ago and the UI is quite logically structured. Last year, Tasker was sold to popular Tasker add-on developer Joaomgcd, in a move that one AP reader said was like "being so good at bowling that they just give you the alley." Since then, the app has been regularly updated, though most changes have been at the back-end. This updated Text-to-Speech could be one of the largest new features since the change in ownership.

You can sign up for Tasker beta here, though you will need to have already purchased the app.

Tasker
Tasker
Developer: joaomgcd
Price: $2.99