Hanzi Recognizer 1.7 Released

The latest and greatest version is now live in the Android Market. Upgrade now and read on to find out why.

The most significant feature in this release is Android text-to-speech support. Once you enable it, you will have access to audio pronunciations for single characters, as well as compounds (premium version  only). Android's default text-to-speech engine doesn't support Chinese, so you will have to install and enable the eSpeak engine. The app will prompt you to install it the first time you access a character or compound details page. Once you have it installed, open Android's Settings menu, select 'Voice input & output', then 'Text-to-speech' settings, check 'eSpeak TTS' to enable it, and select it as the default engine. See the screenshot below for how all this looks like:


Once it is enabled, you will see a small speaker icon next to the star button in the character and compounds details screens. Press it to hear the pronunciation. Bear in mind that this is synthesized speech, so it may not be as good as a real native speaker recording, but it should help you get all those tones right. Here's how it looks for a single character:


And for a compound:


Another improvement in this release is the new option to set the candidates font size. Smart phone screen sizes are getting bigger by the week now, and some users have found the default font size a bit small. Now you have the choice between a small, medium (the default in previous versions) and large candidates font size. If you have a Honeycomb tablet, a larger font will automatically be selected. Here's how the large font looks on a 3.7 inch screen:


The app is still optimized only for phones, but the first steps to supporting tablets are in place. Besides the larger font size, the initial resource download screen now properly supports running in landscape mode.

Since Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) is finally getting wider adoption, the app now supports some 2.3 features. Most notably, downloaded resources are now managed by the system if running on a Gingerbread phone, and will be automatically deleted when the app is uninstalled. For devices running pre-Gingerbread versions, the behaviour hasn't changed -- you will need to delete the resource folder using the 'Delete resources' menu in Settings or your favourite file manager.

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