Fw: BlindNews: Michael

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Geoff Stephens" <BlindNews@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "Blind News Mailing List" <BlindNews@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2004 8:47 AM
Subject: BlindNews: Michael

> The Associated Press State & Local Wire
> Thursday, September 16, 2004
> Michael
> A new cellular application promises to help vision-impaired people who
can't read the screen of a mobile phone. It responds to spoken commands with
> recognition technology and reads back menu options, text messages, and
other information to the user.
> The new TALKS application being introduced by Cingular Wireless Thursday
is initially available for use on one handset, the Nokia 6620. The software
> created in partnership with ScanSoft Inc.
> This is the first advanced cell phone released in the U.S. that allows
users to access all of its many features through speech output, Paul
Schroeder, an
> official with the American Foundation for the Blind, said in a statement.
According to the foundation, there are about 10 million people who are blind
> or have low vision in the United States.
> Basic cell phone features that are generally inaccessible to the vision
impaired include caller ID, phone settings, call logs, battery warnings, and
> appointments, as well as creating, maintaining and dialing from a personal
contact list.
> The TALKS service is designed to handle those tasks, as well text
messaging and e-mail, by responding to spoken commands and then responding
with a computer-generated
> voice. The software also can announce when email or text messages arrive,
or when calls are missed.
> In addition to the vision-impaired, TALKS could be attractive to people
who desire hands-free calling while driving.
> One possible drawback, however, is the cost.
> While special deals enable most cell phone users to get a high-end handset
for less than $200 or even free, the Nokia 6620 will cost $299 after a $100
> from Nokia with any two-year Cingular service contract.
> That doesn't include the TALKS application. The software is $199, though
an introductory offer from Cingular will count all or half that amount as a
> against against the monthly service fee, depending on whether the customer
signs a one- or two-year contract.
> --
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