[aarontech] Wayfinder Access

  • From: "Valiant8086" <valiant8086@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <aarontech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2010 17:01:36 -0500

Recently it developed That a UK based mobile phone company called Vodafone had 
purchased all of Wayfinder's GPS products. This included Wayfinder Access. It 
then  announced that it was discontinuing Wayfinder Access.

Wayfinder is a mainstream GPS solution for Symbian devices. Wayfinder Access is 
a modified version of Wayfinder that works well with Talks and Mobile Speak, 
making it one of only two solutions for Symbian devices that blind people are 
able to use well. The other solution is the free Loadstone GPS solution, which 
is far inferior to Wayfinder Access, in my opinion. I'll try to get Loadstone 
to work again on my n86 and prove it at least to myself. The basic difference 
is that Wayfinder Access uses the data network and downloads maps for your 
surroundings and from where you are to your destination in real time. this 
makes it more efficient to use than the free Loadstone application which relies 
on user generated maps that must be downloaded from a website and placed on the 
phone, and then only small portions of those maps can be loaded at a single 

Wayfinder Access, and probably loadstone, were the only solution(s) available 
in some countries, like India.
 This means when copies of Wayfinder Access can no longer be found, users in 
certain locations will be without a GPS solution that they can turn to except 
perhaps the open source Loadstone. Blind people have been using GPS solutions 
for quite a while now to help with traveling. They can use GPS to know if the 
bus has stopped at the right place. Also they can use such a tool to perhaps 
travel alone as a pedestrian to a destination, be that familiar or not.

there is a petition out there that is aimed primarily at requesting that 
Vodafone, the company that now owns the rights to Wayfinder access, formally 
release an explanation of what the plans are for Wayfinder Access. One thought 
is that Vodafone may implement accessibility into their main GPS solution. 
However no one has heard what the plans are and we need to stand up and refuse 
to have our freedom of choice jerked from under us. Vodafone which now owns 
Wayfinder Access is a large company with obligations to set examples to the 
world that users  with limitations are able to use these products too and 
should have the right to do so. Vodafone is known to provide Symbian devices 
with screen readers installed on them already. Let's try and make sure they 
think about us with their GPS software.

For me, this hurts, a company says it's not going to sell me a product, why am 
I not important enough to them besides the small market? We go back to my 
thought that the company has an obligation to set good examples for the rest of 
the world that anyone can  make mainstream products accessible, allowing niche 
or minority users to use their products as well.

Apple can do this, Olympus can do it, why can't other companies start doing 
this too. Here's a link to the petition. I'd ask that even if readers plan to 
not sign this petition please read it and click on the more information link 
and read that too.


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  • » [aarontech] Wayfinder Access - Valiant8086