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Vodacom expands range of phones for visually impaired

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Vodacom has announced the availability of two new speaking phones, the Nokia N97 MINI and Nokia C5 smartphones, providing more choice to visually impaired users. These high-end smartphones have been upgraded with the Talks software that enables the text-to-speech functionality to make mobile communication more accessible to visually impaired users.

The Nokia N97 MINI speaking phone is a high-end business phone with a touch screen that works with the Talks (text-to-speech) software. Now visually impaired users can enjoy the features of high-end smartphones, such as new applications, widgets, ringtones and other content which enable a whole new level of social sharing and communication.
It also sports Ovi Maps and comes with integrated A-GPS and compass along with voice navigation. The Nokia C5 also has many features such Bluetooth, Internet and e-mail, camera, radio and GPS that make richer mobile communication accessible to the visually impaired user.
Since the launch of the speaking phones six years ago, Vodacom remains a market leader with a variety of speaking phones that translate text-to-speech to make communication much easier for blind users.
“Vodacom’s key driver is to spread benefits of connectivity to all groups, especially to those with specific needs. With the almost limitless array of applications, smartphones can benefit users who are visually impaired,” says Romeo Kumalo, executive commercial director at Vodacom South Africa.
“It gives us great joy to be able to provide people with specific needs accessibility to mobile communications. People who are visually impaired are empowered to communicate independently using the latest mobile technology,” he says.
Tebogo, a blind Vodacom customer who provides HIV/AIDS counselling services in Soweto, recently started using a speaking phone, and she described the way the it has improved her life.
“It has changed my life completely. For the first time ever, I am now able to independently communicate with my customers by making appointments and building my network. I can even do cell phone banking all by myself, without any assistance.”
The handsets are now available nationwide from Vodashops, Vodacom4U stores and Vodacom Direct.