South Africa's largest mobile telecommunications company, Vodacom, unveiled Nokia's speaking cellphones, designed specifically to help blind or visually impaired people communicate over the GSM network and which include Internet access.
Blind and visually impaired customers now have full access to cellular communication including text messages with the Vodacom Speaking Phones Nokia 3230, Nokia 6670 and Nokia 6680.
These Speaking Phones will afford customers who are blind or visually impaired access to data services, such as text-messaging, multimedia messaging which are read out in voice. The Speaking phones will read and spell the text messages in clear audible voice quality, announce current time and date as well as the battery life and the signal strength of the network. Users will also be able to customize the pitch and speed of the speech.
Included in the Vodacom Speaking Phone are the instructions for "Talks" and handset features on audio cassette format.
"The communications revolution that has changed the lives of some 20-million South African cellular customers over the past decade has gone largely unnoticed by the several million South Africans living with disabilities and who would potentially benefit most from this technology," said Vodacom Group's chief communications officer, Mthobi Tyamzashe.
The initiative is expected to increase the level of access to mobile communications among visually impaired people.