Pocket, which lets you save articles and videos to your devices for later viewing, rolls out a redesign today with a new emphasis on listening to the items you save. The listening feature, powered by a new integration with Amazon's Polly text-to-speech service, is meant to make your article queue a personal podcast that you cure on your own, says CEO Nate Weiner. It's out today on iOS and Android.
The company, owned by Mozilla, also announces its first Alexa skills. Add it to your Alexa enabled device and you will access your wallet, no matter where you have a smart speaker.
Redesigned represents the first major visual change to pocket since 201
"It's a dedicated, quiet place to read, reflect and learn new things," Weiner says. "It's what people use it to. They save things they are fascinated by and become better people. We take that responsibility very seriously to complete that circuit."
Pocket users can be spotty readers and they often save far more Articles to the app than they will ever read. This led to the company taking a look at the text-to-speech feature, which was first introduced in 2012. While the feature had its fans, the robotic voice was right out of Radioheads OK Computer .  With the redesign, the listening feature now resembles a modern podcast app, complete with buttons to jump forward and controls to adjust the speed of the recording. As soon as an article is finished, the next one will start playing. It still does not support listening online, but it's coming soon, says Weiner. Meanwhile, if you start listening to an article before the subway goes underground, or if you lose your connection for a short period of time, the article you listen to continues until the end, he says.
The new listening feature, which includes both male and female voices, makes the narration sound much more natural. In the future, Pocket can experiment with using human voices to record popular articles, says Weiner.
With Pocket's new Alexa skills, that listening can now extend into the home. Say "Tell Pocket to Get My Articles", and your Alexa device can read everything you've saved on your phone or tablet.
"Text reading does not go away," says Weiner. "But as we get more busy and there is more and more content, one of the biggest things you hear," I saved too much for Pocket. "We hope to open up and free up the content so you can consume it in ways you have not been able to before."