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Cell Phone For the Blind? 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-you-see-me-now? dept.
brigc writes "Here's one that's got me stumped. A friend of mine who is blind asked me for help tracking down a cell phone for him. He's interested in a flip phone with well-defined separations between the keys, and as much voice control as possible. Battery life is the only other thing he mentioned. Preferably something that would work on AT&T's network in the US. We spent part of the afternoon in a local AT&T store checking out all the flip phones they had and didn't find one he really loved. Anyone have any ideas?" There was a story some months back about a phone that would read to you by interpreting pictures from the built-in camera, but it doesn't have much information about usability. I'm sure it'd be handy to have some sort of text-to-speech option for common cell phone features like caller ID and text messaging, or even just reading menu names.
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Cell Phone For the Blind?

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  • EyePhone? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:24AM (#24910059)

    Sorry...

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Let the dog dial it........
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Helios1182 (629010)

      On an Apple forum there was a guy who posted about how to best set up an iPhone for his blind wife.

  • by James Youngman (3732) <jay AT gnu DOT org> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:26AM (#24910077) Homepage
    Why not just refer to information from some local organisation of blind people? There's this survey of accessible mobile phones in the UK [rnib.org.uk], but surely there must be something similar for the USA.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:29AM (#24910107)

    Why not Jitterbug. It doesn't work with AT&T but it does have large well separated buttons and is relatively easy for people to use. I don't think your friend wants a "complex" phone -- more buttons and more potential for error.

    Here is the linky : http://www.jitterbug.com/phonesDial.aspx

    Good luck....

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And they have operator service which can make calls for you as part of it. So there is the voice-controlled part of it. And they will look things up for you and then make the call, too.

    • ^Seconded. (Score:3, Informative)

      by ShadowSystems (527521)

      My Grandmother is legally blind.
      She LOVES her Jitterbug flip phone because she can open it, hit one button (which is easy to find by feel) & tell the Jitterbug Operator which of her contacts she wants to call.
      The phone can be programmed with contacts in a "Speed Dial" arrangement, so she can do it herself, but if she can't remember which Speed Dial Number someone is, it's literally one button to get that info read to her by someone who seems to enjoy being a help.
      As she put it, it is THE best birthday p

  • Here's a possibility (Score:5, Informative)

    by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:32AM (#24910131)

    http://www.screenlessphone.com/ [screenlessphone.com]

    • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:34AM (#24910153)

      And here's an article from the American Foundation for the Blind. It's from 2004 but it mentions the above phone as well as two others: http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw050406 [afb.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nategoose (1004564)
      In addition to it's usability, the lack of a screen should also help out on power consumption.
      • Backlight consumes about 40%, so just turning that off will make a big difference
        • by rvw (755107)

          Backlight consumes about 40%, so just turning that off will make a big difference

          Backlight can be turned off on most phones, as it is useless anyway for blind people.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by TechwoIf (1004763)
      Does this phone reject SMS messages? I'me tired of getting charge $.50 per messages and like to block them sense they are nothing but spam.
      • by Henneshoe (987210)
        Call the phone company. They will block them, but it involves shutting off your entire SMS service so your friends can't send them either.
        • by Henneshoe (987210)
          Actually what I meant to say was you would not be able to receive them from your friends either.
    • by urcreepyneighbor (1171755) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:01PM (#24912465)

      Effective January 2007 the retail price of the Owasys 22C in the United States is $549.95.

      WHAT IN THE HELL?!

      No. This is wrong. Subsidize this mother fucker.

      SPECIAL PRICE OFFER! Receive your Owasys 22C at the special low price of just $249.95 (plus a $10 charge for your SIM card and a shipping and handling charge) when you order your ScreenlessPhone from Capital Accessibility with a TWO-YEAR T-Mobile service plan

      Still wrong. Fail. Bad. NO.

      These people are already blind. Do we really have to rape them?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kesuki (321456)

        sadly, $250 off the retail price with 2 year commitment is standard for all the wireless carriers. and i mean all of them. ironically, for 1 year commitment you get about $200 off, so most phones are priced just over $200 or more, so that the 'basic' phone is free, the slightly better model free with 2 years, and the premium phones cost $$.

        and a phone designed for the blind is a 'premium' although the phone probably runs linux, just like most of the other cell phones out there, blind users need something

      • by corbettw (214229)

        These people are already blind. Do we really have to rape them?

        People with disabilities encounter problems with everyday common objects and have special needs. News at 11.

        My guess is, there are already charities or government programs set up to help offset the costs of things like this. You'd have to be blind to miss them.

    • obviously more attention needs to be paid to this market segment. not only is this phone _way_ too expensive, it's also bulky and hideous (i know, i know. it's for the blind. but still...).

      button placement aside, most of its accessibility features could be easily duplicated on much cheaper conventional phones. it doesn't take any special hardware to implement text-to-voice accessibility features. any phone above $50 these days includes enough processing power to handle that sort of stuff.

      popular cellphone m

    • My blind sister uses an LG Env 2. It has screen reader software on it, so she can text message. It's pretty amazing actually. When she receives an incoming call, it says out loud who is calling. It's not quite as good as the screen reader on her computer, but it gets the job done. It has a full qwerty keyboard, which she uses since she knows the layout of a standard keyboard. Also, once it's closed, it has a standard key pad on the front, for dialing. She's had the phone for about 3 weeks now, and completel
  • Motorola F3 (Score:5, Informative)

    by NemosomeN (670035) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:33AM (#24910143) Journal
    Has voice commands (In that it will read the command name to you as you go over it), as well as well-defined separations between the keys. It, has good battery life, too. It's a candybar phone, however, and is very limited. I picked one up (with prepaid service) for about $12, but their full retail US is still only around $50. CDMA and 3G are both available.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jeti (105266)

      I think the Motofone is meant to work for illiterate people, but not for blind people. It can read out the menu options, but I think it can not read out phone book entries. However, the phone should work well for sight-impaired people as all text is large and easy to read.

      • by NemosomeN (670035)
        Yes, that is the intention. I think you're right about the phone book entries, I had forgotten about that, but I don't have it with me to confirm. In that case, one would have to rely on speed dial or memory, either of which would severely limit your phone book.
    • by Lisandro (799651)

      Seconded. The F3 is an excellent choice. I wish someone made a phone with a dot-matrix eInk display, because the F3 uses a segmented display, which looks great but hinders its functionality considerably.

      Otherwise, like the parent said, it's a winner - very small, sturdy, big buttons, voice guidance (it talks you through using the phone), great reception and the battery life is good too. It lacks internal memory though (contacts and SMS are stored on SIM chip) and the only extra it has is a programable alarm

  • did you search? (Score:3, Informative)

    by socsoc (1116769) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:34AM (#24910145)
    Google provides a lot of info [google.com], I found some interesting information and most of it appears recent. The 22C [screenlessphone.com] is a screenless-specific GSM phone that appears to be a good match.
  • by skallen (25946) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:34AM (#24910147) Homepage

    Check out http://www.codefactory.es/en/

    I have a blind daughter and she uses an Nokia N95 and it works verey good, i also know that there is some OCR software for Nokia N82 coming up soon which can read a photo, that could be an even better choice.

    • by osssmkatz (734824)
      Nokia's are a good bet. I have a blind friend that uses a Nokia candybar phone, because the function hasn't changed in all its models, so you can learn it and stick with it. (Buttons are always in the same place.) Good luck. --Sam
    • by fastfinge (823794)

      I have a nokia N82, with the OCR software, and GPS too. See:
      http://www.talknav.com/ [talknav.com]
      for the GPS and talking software. The OCR software is called the KNFB, but I can't think of the website off the top of my head. Try google. With a bluetooth keyboard and a good 3G plan, I find it replaces my laptop for most mobile computing needs.

    • by TaraK (1359641)
      There's also an amazing piece of software that is helping people who are blind, called the vOICe MIDlet. It translates live views from your camera phone (so it can be used on a Nokia N95) into sounds that you hear via the phoneâ(TM)s speaker or headset. So, basically, re-training neural nets, it can enable people to 'see' using sound. It's pretty fascinating stuff. You can read more about it here: http://www.seeingwithsound.com/midlet.htm [seeingwithsound.com].
  • by ptbarnett (159784) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:35AM (#24910167)

    He might find this meets some of his needs:

    Jitterbug [jitterbug.com]

    However, it looks like you have to also buy service through them.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:39AM (#24910197) Journal

    I volunteer in an NGO that helps blind people in various ways, and is also my passion, privately.

    I am VERY happy this question appeared here on /. for once, because last time I mentioned MP3 players that would be just as functional for blind as for seeing people, I was derided. But the truth is, making MP3 players and mobile phones with a user interface that is usable for blind people does NOT detract anything from the usability for seeing people. In fact, I'd argue that it makes them more usable for the seeing people as well - allowing for a whole new area of use cases.

    The trend is, however, unfavourable for the blind: touch screens and the related user interfaces make it impossible for blind people to operate such gadgets, unless they have a voice feedback.

    And now, to the point of the question, and related to voice feedback: there are plenty of Nokia phones with software designed to make it possible to be operated by a blind person. Such software would announce who is calling or whose call you just missed, who is the sender of an SMS and read the SMS to you, or give feedback on your commands. Nokia phones in general (especially the slightly older ones, say, 2006, 2007 generation) have a user interface that is more suitable for blind people than most other. I am just now trying to teach my visually impaired mother how to use a certain Panasonic mobile phone (only one extra phone in the house at the moment), and I notice how the UI emphasizes using the same button for several functions. Like, locking the phone requires two pushes on the same button. Unlocking it requires three pushes on that same button, and the only feedback you have is visual. WTF? Total rubbish.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:49AM (#24910275)
    • I volunteer in an NGO that helps blind people in various ways, and is also my passion, privately.

      I am VERY happy this question appeared here on /. for once, because last time I mentioned MP3 players that would be just as functional for blind as for seeing people, I was derided. But the truth is, making MP3 players and mobile phones with a user interface that is usable for blind people does NOT detract anything from the usability for seeing people. In fact, I'd argue that it makes them more usable for the seeing people as well - allowing for a whole new area of use cases.

      And now, to the point of the question, and related to voice feedback: there are plenty of Nokia phones with software designed to make it possible to be operated by a blind person. Such software would announce who is calling or whose call you just missed, who is the sender of an SMS and read the SMS to you, or give feedback on your commands. Nokia phones in general (especially the slightly older ones, say, 2006, 2007 generation) have a user interface that is more suitable for blind people than most other. I am just now trying to teach my visually impaired mother how to use a certain Panasonic mobile phone (only one extra phone in the house at the moment), and I notice how the UI emphasizes using the same button for several functions. Like, locking the phone requires two pushes on the same button. Unlocking it requires three pushes on that same button, and the only feedback you have is visual. WTF? Total rubbish.

      You've made a good point - clean efficient interface design helps everyone. Unfortunately, it's not the norm amongst designers.

      It's frustrating for a person to push 3 buttons whether or not they have 100% vision. Personally, I think UI designers should be forced to use their device for month while wearing gloves, eyeglasses with petroleum jelly smeared on them, and cotton balls in their ears.

      I think you'll slowly see more devices designed with physical impairments in mind as the boomer generation ages whil

    • by sam0737 (648914)

      Being a geek with 20/20 eyesight, I also hate the fact that I couldn't dial without looking at my Dopod phone. (I would pass about the voice feedback, I don't like the idea of announcing who I am dialing to to the people around me, and my low usage of phone don't warrant me to buy a bluetooth handfree)

      Sometimes when I am going from indoor to outdoor and when it's sunny day, it's also a pity to have to turn the screen backlight to full before I could dial.

      I hope someday programmable tactile feedback would co

    • by Snaller (147050)

      Both apple and nokia have been doing research into touchscreens with tactile feedback.

    • One of the biggest problems with throwing out a question like this on slashdot is that most slashdotters are not blind and are trying to throw tech solutions to problems that either don't exist or are are trivial (from a blind person's perspective). [OT, but we get the same sort of problems when slashdotters try to solve third world problems etc too].

      I do not at all make claims to understand a blind person's needs, but I have spent some time trying to understand a blind person's requirements as part of work

  • by dr_canak (593415) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:39AM (#24910203)

    I know nothing about this phone,

    http://reviews.cnet.com/cell-phones/samsung-jitterbug-dial-sph/4505-6454_7-32115117.html [cnet.com]

    but see it recommended often for older folks and those with poor eyesight. A real barebones phone, with limited features, big keys, and decent battery life.

    hth,
    jeff

  • by Auntie Virus (772950) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:41AM (#24910219)
    My blind friend uses an HTC Mogul, with a mobile version of JAWS. JAWS is probably the speech software for most blind computer users.
    • If he's using a Windows Mobile device, he's not using jaws. While Freedom Scientific does make a version of Jaws that works on Windows Mobile, they only offer it for use on hardware they've produced, no third party products. He's probably got either Mobile Speaks [codefactory.es] or Pocket Hal [yourdolphin.com].

      • He's probably got either Mobile Speaks [codefactory.es]

        D'oh! Yes, you're correct. I thought he had JAWS, but that was on an older device, and his PCs.

    • I can't believe you can mention Jaws on Slashdot without writing about the problem for Slashdot users.

      Jaws is software that reads, aloud, all the text on the screen (in a sensible way) for users with visual impairments. It has done the same thing for about 10 years and is on version 10... visually impaired users need to buy new versions of JAWS because it supports new OSs or applications.

      It costs >$750, for a visual impaired computer user JAWS is a necessity.

      There are many open source efforts to re
  • pointless (Score:5, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:42AM (#24910233)
    Why does he want a cellphone if he's blind? I mean, he won't be able to use the camera. He can't send text messages. Can't use it for games or videos. I suppose he could listen to mp3s. What? He wants to make phone calls. Good luck finding a cell phone that's good at that....
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A co-worker of mine has a deaf wife and his sister is blind. Both happened late in life, over the age of 40 to both women, and finding a usable mobile phone for both of them is something he's spent a lot of time investigating.

      Their lives have gone on - they're still trying to raise their kids, work and live in the world with everyone else. Without mobiles, both would be cut off from the world, as this is how most people communicate today.

      The deaf woman has a mobile phone that works for her - a smart phone

    • I understand that this post was loaded with sarcasm, but blind people actually can send text messages. There are multiple phones with screen readers built in.
  • Voice Dialing (Score:2, Informative)

    by JPGumby (579758)
    Some phones have voice recognition. I have an older LG VX5200 on Verison that has this feature, I press a button easily found on the side, and it asks for a command. The phone itself is otherwise not fat-thumb friendly. Lookup "Voice Dialing (Speaker-independent (automatic))" http://www.phonescoop.com/phones/ [phonescoop.com]
  • A couple of weeks ago I helped a blind guy, with a service dog, board a commuter train. I watched as, later, he whipped out a phone and called his party to let them know that he's on the way.

    I don't remember what model it was, but it looked like a fairly recent phone, with all the usual bells and whistles on it. So, even though I don't know the model, there are definitely some out there which blind people can easily use.

    Blind people often have a heightened sense of touch. I'd say you're probably lookin

    • by StRex (32430)

      Can't speak fully to the options, but the button size might not be the biggest deal for blind folks, based on my limited sample set. I work with a blind IT guy (fully without sight, not merely "low vision", and blind for >25 years), who went with a Blackjack II because it's one of the cheapest, easiest ways to get into a smartphone with full screen reader available (for $$$), and with integral GPS (which has some sort of megabuck$$ talking GPS software release due out soon).

      Perhaps the fact he's very co

  • by FonzCam (841867) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @11:00AM (#24910365)

    Hands down the best voice commands I've ever used in a phone is Voice Commander for Windows Mobile 5. (I believe it's now included with WM6 as standard.) Not only does it do voice dialling of your contacts and numbers by simply saying "Dial 555 1234" but it also gives you control over the launching apps, mp3 playback, reading SMS messages, signal status and time and appointments.
    For a full list take a look at the Microsoft website. [microsoft.com]
    It also doesn't need any training or any setup you just press and speak and it works surprisingly well.

    As for hardware that'll depend on your budget and availability but there are lots of options for Windows Mobile powered phones including candy bars and and flip phones.

    • by WimBo (124634)

      I was thinking something along the same lines, as I've been using a windows mobile phone for over a year now, and do most of my dialing with voice commands. The fact that it announces incoming calls as well is really nice.

      Unfortunately, I think all of the setup is visual menu based, and I know that the phone I'm using has way too many buttons.

    • by StRex (32430)

      Interestingly though, blind folks have far more trouble in interpreting the output of their phones. They can work with pressing a sequence of buttons to launch an app or place a call, but end up dead in the water when it comes to figuring out a message that appears on-screen.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://www.nuance.com/talks/premium.asp

  • RAZR2 (Score:5, Informative)

    by whterbt (211035) <m6d07iv02@sneakemail.com> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @11:17AM (#24910471)
    I have the RAZR2 (V8). You can operate the phone entirely through voice commands, including dialing people in the phonebook and just dialing phone numbers. You can set "Talking Phone" mode so that it reads each menu item as you go over it. The keys are not physically separated but there are ridges between the rows of keys, and the imprinting is raised so you can tell by feel when you're on a key. The phone has audible caller-ID, but for some stupid reason T-Mobile disables that on their phones. If you look into the RAZR2, be sure that features is enabled or get an unlocked phone.
    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      I'll second that, the keys aren't "well separated", but I don't think any are on mobile nowadays. They are raised lettering and raised bars between the number strips.

      It also lets you manipulate texts using keys on the side, and it can be set to read them out to you, which I imagine would allow a blind person to use texting as well as talk. Battery life is ok, and I understand it will work on AT&T as its a GSM standard phone (obviously you may need an unlocked one)

    • by KylePflug (898555)
      I also used the phone for a long time, and it would work for some basic features but I have some concerns. It's linux based, but the OS has some quirks and often has a lot of exploration through menus to get to things like bluetooth, ringtones, etc. The talking phone mode is very cool, but so much of the texting features rely on the exterior touch screen, which wouldn't be very useful to a blind person. Plus with the RAZR2 you're paying a couple hundred dollar premium for two big high-rez screens that the
      • by KylePflug (898555)
        Although it's worth noting that there are some very well thought out features such as vibration to confirm button presses and screen interactions, different sounds when you loop menus, etc. With some set-up help, this might not be a bad way to go.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by CoffeeBeanBen (612612)

      I have the RAZR2 (V8). You can operate the phone entirely through voice commands, including dialing people in the phonebook and just dialing phone numbers.

      For a blind user, inputting data is not the hard part. The difficulty is getting feedback from the device. I'm curious if this "Talking Phone" mode had pre-recorded voice sounds for each menu item or if it's capable of, say, pronouncing the names in your contact list like "true" text-to-speech.

      Also, what if the phone mis-recognized your voice and inputted the wrong command? How would the user know? I wonder how many times sighted users of this feature have seen the screen bounce to the wrong menu it

      • My old phone with a talking phone feature would confirm everything you said.

        "Call Mom"
        "Call Jill?"
        "Call Mom"
        "Call Home?"
        "Call Mom"
        "Call Tom?"
        "Call Mom"
        "Call Jonathan?"
        "Call Mom"
        "Call Dad?"

        That could go on for hours. But it did at least always repeated what it thought I said before doing it.

  • by limitedmage (1037292) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @11:17AM (#24910477)
    Get a phone from this list: http://www.nuance.com/talks/phones.asp [nuance.com] Then buy this software: http://www.nuance.com/talks/ [nuance.com] It's a screen reader for Nokia S60 phones. It is perfect for blind and visually impaired persons. My dad is blind and he's used it for quite a few years now. The supported phones are top of the line. My dad has a Nokia N95, I think, and he really likes that the Talks screen reader is compatible with most of the phone, including email, web browsing, media player, calendar, address book, and the amazing voice commands, which provide a great shortcut for blind users. I highly recommend it. And Nokia phones are the best, IMO.
    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      My E65 from Nokia had that thing embedded in device ROM. In fact, you can download additional languages via "Download!" in phone root menu. It has a new model (E66) which I am almost sure have same or better feature. The "E" series are business devices and E6x series are the tiniest screen having phones available. It doesn't make sense to pay for some great LCD screens for blind people.

      The stuff I talk about could be the "talks" licensed to Nokia BTW.

      S60 is a clear winner because of the gigantic 3rd party s

  • I'm not sure what network AT&T is, CDMA or GSM, but if I were to select something for a blind person, I would get a simple cellphone with very few keys, for example something like this one:

    http://www.gsmarena.com/lg_ku990_viewty-2070.php [gsmarena.com]

    By the way, the site above has pictures for quite a lot of phones so you should be able to find several easy to use ones.

  • I have a motorola razor, and although I'm not a huge fan of the address book functionality, the keys are an etced tin plate with a ruber ridge seperated them and the '5' key has a raise bump. The volume control is a large easy to find button on the side of the phone that can be pushed up or down to adjust the phone's volume. It can also take voice commands (voice button is also an easy to find button on the opposite side as the volume button). Battery life seems pretty solid on it. I toss it on the charger

  • Pantech Breeze (Score:2, Informative)

    by Liet Hacksor (571538)

    Just got my dad a Pantech Breeze from AT&T. It's quad-band GSM, nop gadgety features (like media/mp3/etc), does voice tags, has large buttons, has 3 dedicated speed-dial buttons (actual buttons, not softkeys), has good battery life, and does bluetooth.

    It's designed for old people, not blind people, but it has everything you described.

  • This would be an ideal problem to be solved by open source (other than physical issues like being able to easily mash the keys).

    What we have now is lots of phones with little to no support that don't share their efforts.

    Open source and open phones would allow users to benefit from a group effort/concern that is small locally but large online.

    • by plover (150551) *
      Unfortunately, the only serious open-source phone project out there right now is the OpenMoko. I say unfortunately because it's a touch screen.
  • Any Symbian series 60 phone can, in principle, be adapted for blind/low vision users using an application called Talks. The website is http://www.nuance.com/talks/ [nuance.com] There is a free trial download you can try.
  • The Samsung Jitterbug and the Owasys 22C (screenless) are useful for this.

    Current phones tend to be terrible at screenless operation. For use while driving, it should be possible to do everything important with voice, through a wireless headset. But that's unnecessarily hard with many phones. Reviews don't address this issue well. Things like the speed of voice recognition are important. Samsung phones seem to have voice recognition that takes 5-8 seconds to load, then about as long to recognize a na

  • Not the iphone (Score:1, Redundant)

    by erpbridge (64037)

    Sorry, but this is one situation where the iPhone CAN'T help... not only is keyboard all software based (no hard keys), but there is no voice dialing (yet).

  • Buy a simlock-free phone. Huh, wat? Yes, you've read that correctly... it's cheaper. Do it online where the phone you desire is the cheapest. Then also order a 'subscription' (damn English is not my native language) that is not tied to the phone by default. Calculate how long and therefore how much money you have to cough up during lengths of the contracts. Now pick the AT&T one that is equal or less than the amount of money that you're phone costs without a subscription. Do $Price_of_phone - $Total_amo

  • http://www.wireless.att.com/about/disability-resources/mobile-speak-magnifier.jsp [att.com] "AT&T now offers the latest in screen reader and screen magnifier software from Code Factory. This software works to enhance the functionality of some of our most popular wireless devices for those who have low vision or are blind. The screen reader and screen magnifier software is available for both Symbian and Windows Mobile Smartphone devices."
  • While I was using it a few years ago, I recall that the Hiptop (which T-Mobile rebrands as the Sidekick) was a cool way for younger blind users to get into using mobile phones. The interface is highly responsive and easy for a blind user to use. The keyboard was innovative when it was released and blind users loved it.

    However that's exclusive to T-Mobile, and in most areas, T-Mobile coverage is abysmal (if this user is in Boston however, I can say it's excellent in that specific area).

    An AT&T phone that

  • www.visioncue.com

    I know the owners of this business personally, and they're good people focused specifically on mobile devices for the blind / vision-impaired.

  • I work in this area (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Deliveranc3 (629997) <deliverance AT level4 DOT org> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @01:38PM (#24911775) Journal
    There are too many touch screen phones on the market these days.

    If you're blind and looking for a good phone look at the Nokia 6810... it has a good screen reader and an open source GPS system for navigation called Loadstone (which I did some work on).

    For a blind user, bluetooth is a must as it lets you keep a headset with a reader for interfacing. I walked around for a while with the phone talking to me and it freaked people out.

    Good luck on the search and message me if you want some more info...
    • I know there are several phones that can do voice calling. Having not used one myself, I wouldn't want to recommend one. I have also seen voice command computers that will type spoken words.
  • You want to check the Motofone F3 by Motorola. Then why not apply Braille to the keyboard? It's a simple mod. Any commercial options?

  • I'm not sure about AT&T, but I've got a few blind friends that use the LG VX8300 on Verizon. It's got dedicated music controls on the front of the phone and 512 MB cards for it are fairly cheap.
  • Kurzweil (Score:2, Informative)

    by davidwt (899238)
    Very good mobile products for the blind, though not cheap: http://www.knfbreader.com/ [knfbreader.com]
  • When blind people use a computer they use software called a "screen reader". It reads all of the text on the screen to them using speech synthesis (text-to-speech) or alternatively using a braille display. It requires using some extra keyboard shortcuts to navigate around and tell it what to read, along with the normal keyboard shortcuts all of us can use.

    There's only one mobile phone operating system that supports fully-functional screenreaders: Symbian. Almost all Symbian-based Nokia phones support scr

  • When I think of blind phone users, I think of regular phones, where you dial numbers and they reach people. While it would be nice to have speaking menus so a blind user could navigate their phone and access the spiffy features, perhaps some cool text to speech to handle text messaging, I think the main goal would be your basic no frills phone. Nice pad with a mark for the number 5, as well as an obvious send and end button.

    I can't think of the model, but tracfone had a Nokia in their lineup which was jus

  • While I was sure blind people usually had someone with them to help them and I'd think to make calls, I guess not always but there are plenty of standard phones that support voice recognition you could probably also find phone with braille keys or at least bold numbers.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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