Hanzi Recognizer v2.2 Released

A new release of Hanzi Recognizer is now available on Google Play. The new version features various UI improvements, a couple of search enhancements and support for the newest version of the eSpeak TTS engine.

As my other apps, Hanzi Recognizer is now officially free from context menus. All contextual actions are implemented as action modes, in line with the latest Android design guidelines. If you long-press a list items, it will be highlighted, and contextual actions will be shown in the action bar. Here's how selecting a dictionary entry in the search result list looks like:

Another Android design pattern implemented in the new version is the split action bar. On devices with narrow screens (mostly handsets), only two action items can be shown in the top action bar. The rest are stashed in the overflow menu, which poses a usability problem when all of the actions are equally used. To solve this, Hanzi Recognizer now uses a split action bar in the favorites and history screen which lets us display all actions side by side.  Additionally, filtering by entry type (single character or compound) is now supported for both search history and favorites.

Sharing has also been improved by integrating a share action provider. Share targets are now displayed in a submenu, and the most recently used target app's icon is shown in the action bar for quick access. Here's how this looks like in the dictionary entry details screen:

Dictionary entries now have an associated 'Look up all characters' action, available via a long press on a search result item (see first screenshot above, displayed with a magnifying glass icon), or via the action bar in the compound details screen. Pressing it will bring up a list of all unique characters in the word, letting you quickly check the reading and meaning of each hanzi.

Hanzi Recognzier has supported audio pronunciations of both hanzi and compounds since version 1.7 using the eSpeak text-to-speech engine. However, since the system's TTS interface changed in Android 4.0 (ICS), eSpeak was not available on ICS and thus pronunciations where not supported. Fortunately, this has been corrected with the recently released eSpeak version 1.46. Hanzi Recognizer is now compatible with the latest release and text to speech is available on all supported Android versions (2.2 and later). Note that the eSpeak package name has been changed to 'com.googlecode.eyesfree.espeak' (it's part of the Eyes-free application suite), so previous download links (including those offered by older Hanzi Recognizer releases) are no longer valid. To upgrade, you might need to uninstall the legacy eSpeak version and install the latest one from Google Play (if you have the older version, it should continue to work with Hanzi Recognizer though).

In addition to some bug fixes, the new release has also been internally restructured to make it easier to deploy on multiple app markets. Expect version v2.2 in the Amazon Appstore soon.


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