Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Xtegos: funny accents for your Whatsapp voice messages

It's a fact, we can't help smiling when someone orders a drink in Spanish with a very strong English accent, the same way English people smile when I ask for directions with my Spanish accent. However, we really appreciate their effort speaking a foreign language.
I wanted to know how would people react if they had an app to recreate these international accents and share them with their friends. That is why I spent 8.5h developing Xtegos, an Android app that enables users to read any text with nine different accents and share the result as a voice message on Whatsapp.

The interface is extremely simple, literally a text box, nine voice selectors, a button to listen and another one to share on Whatsapp. In the backend I am using Android TTS after trying out some other free text-to-speech APIs. The best thing about this native voice synthesizer is that you can use it even offline.

The voices currently available are: English, French, German, Brazilian, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Indian and Japanese. All of them are female voices, and the selector buttons are illustrated with innocent stereotype pictures.

This MVP (minimum viable product) is completed with a website, a Google Play page, a Twitter account and a Facebook page (to engage with early-adopters). Some people have asked me to develop an iOS version but, unfortunately, I cannot do that until the value proposition is validated or I would spend too much time maintaining both systems. The same applies to the app language: if it doesn't work for Spanish, it probably won't work in any other language.
This week I am devoting some time to promote Xtegos among my initial customer segment: Spanish boys and girls from 16 to 25 years old with Whatsapp. I will post in this blog what I learn in these experiments and the pivots I make.

Is there any feature that you would like to see implemented? Your feedback, questions and ideas are very much appreciated.