Android Phone as a speaker?

I am using an Android phone and would like to simply have the app play a sound per event. Searching around, others asking the same question are given the answer to use 3 or more third part apps to do what should be handled within the one app. I am really hoping I’m overlooking something because this is unacceptable.

Task to accomplish:

  • Phone plays custom alarm/siren when the system is armed and a sensor is tripped
  • phone says (voice) when a specified door is opened (when in the shop, I would like a notification in my earphones/plugs when my wife opens the door. I saw a solution to change the overall notification sound… this will not suffice)

Unacceptable solutions:
text message (why? there’s an app that should be perfectly capable of self containing the solution)
3rd party apps (see above)

Temporary/current solutions I have seen:
big talker, tasker, lannouncer, sharptools

I have tried a combination of these apps with much frustration. Big talker would be great… but the option to use the phone itself as the talking device isn’t an option. I understand there is supposed to be a way to use it with lannouncer but the process seems pretty convoluted.

I have tried sharptools + tasker with limited success… the main issue is figuring out what the strings need to be.

The sites themselves have instructions, but seem to have gaps and are outdated.

I am open to this as a temporary solution… However, these features should be in the app.

Overall, I’m very disappointed with this app and system. I see great potential, but it seems you have to go through a ridiculous process in order to accomplish basic and what should be standard procedures. I think it’s great that this is open for development by users and third parties… that’s a major strength. However, it shouldn’t feel like you need to reprogram the thing in order to set up the basics. This is way more involving than it should be. It feels more like a hobbyist project than a home product.

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This has been moved to projects/ stories…?

It’s a story, sure… It absolutely feels like a laborious project… However, this is directly about the android app and it’s inadequacies.

I also want to make sure this isn’t misunderstood… I don’t want to use a separate phone or some other nonsense. I want the same phone that the app is on to preform these task. Don’t see a need for 3 + apps along with purchases to do this task.

You said you have Tasker and Sharptools already right?

In Sharptools, make sure you authorize the door sensor you’re after. Once you have it available in the Sharptools app, long press on it and add a subscription. This ensures that Sharptools gets notified when the contact changes.

Next, add a Tasker Profile: Event -> Plugin -> Sharptools -> Thing State
Under configuration, add the name of your door sensor, then attribute = contact

Then add a task: Alert -> Say, and under Text add something along the lines of

The door is %st_attr_value

I have something very similar, except I have Tasker send me notifications rather than speaking. The configuration should be nearly identical though.

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I moved it to projects so you could get individualized responses based on your own requirements and preferences. It’s not really a question about what the android app can do now, since, as you pointed out, it doesn’t do text to speech in the way that you are looking for. And the section of the forum that it was in is really for the official mobile app features. Even discussion of sharptools doesn’t really go there. So, these kinds of brainstorming topics typically fit better under projects.

Usually you’ll get more responses in the project section as well, because The discussions do go way beyond just what the official app can do. :sunglasses:

I suppose then i’ll make a post dedicated to the inadequacies of the app. The app is basically developed for developers with ultra simple/limited capabilities out of the box. Feels more like working with an arduino than a finished product.

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That makes sense. I put up a somewhat similar thread about a year and a half ago when I was personally feeling really frustrated about not being able to recommend the platform to friends who weren’t already strongly technical.

( I should add that the one big change since that thread was created is that there is now a community – created wiki. )

Anyway, Smartthings is marketed as an easy-to-use plug-and-play system, and it’s neither of those. It’s very powerful and flexible, but that’s not the same thing. But that’s a different conversation than seeing if there’s a voice notification method that would meet your use case.

indeed. I’ve used another system (oplink) where it was ultra easy to setup but limited in it’s features along with monthly fees to expand past a point. Their UX was spot on however.

This has awesome potential, which is why I’m gritting and bearing this for now, but the UX/UI is horribly executed. Excellent device, terrible user experience. In order to get one of the third party plugins to work, I had to reset my hub and make a smartthings account… for some reason it set me up with a samsung account the first time (through the app). Very convoluted.

What’s discouraging is the amount of post I have seen around this subject and similar being solved with what I consider to be band aids (third party plugins/apps). What’s more sad… I have seen some solutions that have been better than the app itself in many ways, at least in concept. Smarttiles/actiontiles being one of them. haven’t used it yet, but want to give it a shot.

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Thank you! I have gotten this far, however, the condition I didn’t get into is also having a couple of other parameters

  1. my phone needs to be present… if it’s not, then i’m not home and dont need to hear the alert. I can’t find a way to get the parameters needed for tasker to understand.

  2. security needs to be disarmed. the current mode won’t work, because if it’s armed and home it should sound the alarm.

these are the two variables I can’t seem to figure out.

I’m not foreign to programing, just need to know/understand the variables, but there doesn’t seem to be a list anywhere. Is there a reference for the strings/variables?

For presence, try creating a variable with your name or whatever you want to call it. Then set it as follows. In the screenshots below, Chris is the name of my ST presence sensor, and %Chris is the Tasker variable.



Then add it as a restriction to your Say task under the If section (the two options are present and not present):

You can do something similar with the alarm, set a variable with the alarm state and use that variable to restrict the tasks.


Thanks! I’ll give this a shot.


%st_attr_value should give you the state of any of the switches/contacts/presence sensors you need. Just make sure you subscribe to all of them​ from the Sharptools app.

I’m tagging @joshua_lyon here too, he’s the Sharptools developer and can answer questions with a lot more detail than I can if you run into problems.


You can also refer to the SmartThings docs for the list of the proper attributes and their values:

Although I normally just end up querying a device through Thing: Get Attribute from SharpTools and then print out the %st_attr_value using an Alert > Flash or subscribe to the attribute and print out the states as they change as Chris was alluding to.


I can’t find any way to get the armed/disarmed state.

I see where you can get the modes, but the condition I want is if the system is disarmed then do whatever. So this isn’t really helpful.

EDIT: Found how to create more modes through the site… the app appears to be broken since one of their updates. This can work to create the conditions, but ideally, being able to get the armed away/armed home/disarmed status would be very useful.

There’s an undocumented way to get smart home monitor arm status. Core uses it. But they have specifically said that might disappear at some point.

weird. Kind of seems important… being partly a security system.

I think their intent is to protect the paid of the security system from developer access for any of several reasons. But anyway on the method exists, I just don’t remember exactly what it is but it is documented in the forums. ( it’s code, and since I rely on text to speech, I don’t remember all the groovy phrases that are posted the way I remember the plain text).

SmartThings does reserve some options for the official features, like putting anything on the dashboard screen, so this isn’t unique.

I guess what’s strange about it… is they seem to make it very open, but then possibly block off what could be considered key elements… to top it off, make an app that barely gets the job done.

I’m still coming to terms with and shifting mindset that this is very much a dev type product… not the polished one they advertised.

they should change the advertisement from “so easy anyone can set it up” to “Do you like arduino? Then you will love this!”

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I spoke with the SmartThings team about this during the last SmartApp update to SharpTools and they indicated that they were not approving any submissions which included the SHM code. So community SmartApps that you manually install via the IDE can access this, but I wasn’t able to include it in SharpTools.

You could work around this by mapping the SHM states to a custom device type that you manually install. It’s less than ideal, but if there’s a will there’s a way.

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Ok, just installed CoRE. Now why wasn’t this brought up earlier! lol. I’m using this with lannouncer as the voice synth. so far this seems like the most practical solution.