Kõnele is an Android app that offers speech-to-text user interfaces to other apps. Many apps contain a text area or a text field (e.g. a search bar) that can be edited using the input method editor (IME), aka the on-screen keyboard. Kõnele provides an IME that allows text to be created via speaking. Many apps (e.g. intelligent assistants, keyboard apps, navigation apps) also contain a microphone button that is linked to the standard Android speech recognition activity. Kõnele provides an implementation of this activity.

Kõnele can connect to any speech recognition service available on the device but we recommend using Kõnele service, which supports audio input of unlimited length where dictation results are returned already while dictating. Its backing server runs the kaldi-gstreamer-server software and is pre-configured to provide Estonian speech recognition, but being based on a fully open-source stack makes it easy to deploy (locally) and customize for other languages.

The main goals of the Kõnele project are to provide Estonian speech recognition on the Android platform, and to provide grammar-based speech recognition for voice command applications. Kõnele is an open, configurable and powerful alternative to the speech recognition apps and services currently available on Android.


Kõnele provides two user interface components:

  • the voice search panel can be called from other apps (typically by pressing a microphone button), and returns the recognition results to the app; in case the panel is opened via the Kõnele launcher icon, custom rewrite rules allow one to define which app is launched to interpret the recognition results (by default, the results are used to perform a web search using the default browser);
  • the IME can be used to dictate into any text field in any app, edit the result with swipe commands, and execute user-defined editor commands (e.g. “select”, “copy”, “replace”, “undo”, “move cursor to next regex match”).

Kõnele requires very few permissions (only the access to the microphone is essential), see the details in the manifest.

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Kõnele is free and open source software. Visit the Kõnele GitHub page for the source code, bug reporting, etc. The information and downloadable APK-packages for all the released versions are on the Releases page.

A recent stable version is also available on F-Droid and Google Play, and the latest testing version is available on Google Play after joining the testing program.


“Kõnele” is the Estonian word for “to speak” (imperative form).

Kõnele is part of the project that was awarded Estonian Language Deed (Keeletegu) for the year 2011.