Saturday, June 24, 2006

Could speaking mobile phones become an important tool for the visually impaired?

Acapela's text to speech (TTS) chosen by ONCE, the Spanish National Organisation for the blind, to voice enable its mobile phone offer...Mons, Belgium, 21 June, 2006 - Acapela Group, the first European Speech group, announces today that it has been chosen by ONCE, the Spanish National Organisation for the blind and one of the biggest of its kind in the world, to provide visually impaired people with speech enabled mobile phones.

These telephones, which are based on the Symbian platform, automatically make key features of the handset accessible by voice thanks to Acapela's golden tones and Code Factory's Mobile Speak software. *This new agreement reinforces the partnership established between ONCE and Acapela in 1998, which aims to provide visually impaired people with high tech solutions helping them to become more autonomous, and facilitating access to information and communication tools.

The use of mobile phones will finally become accessible to the visually impaired thanks to text to speech, by rising above the "all-visual" concept barriers, and available at an affordable price. From now on, end-users will be able to easily access basic information such as battery or network indicators and, of course, take full advantage of the functionalities on his/her mobile phone including SMS vocalization or online services.

The natural golden tones of Acapela's high quality text to speech will ensure intelligibility and comfort by transforming menu and phone features into vocal instructions."Visually impaired people make daily use of text to speech software and this has now become an essential vocal companion. It is therefore of vital importance that they feel at ease with the system.

Acapela's high quality speech synthesis is a perfect solution to our criteria: comfortable, intelligible and with natural sounding voices, - the three key elements that helped us to make our choice." said José Luis Fernandez Coya, CEO from ONCE.* Mobile Speak, a screen reader for mobile phones that provides speech feedback as you navigate through the phone's user interface, is compatible with the following series: Nokia 6680, 6260, Ngage QD, Nokia 3230, 6600, 6630, 6670, 7610, Panasonic X 700, and Samsung SGH D 720.Acapela Group also provides Code Factory with speech technology to voice empower the Mobile Speak Pocket, a similar product specially developed for the Pocket PC platform.

Mobile Speak was developed by Code Factory, a leading supplier of mobile solutions for the blind and visually impaired and is based in Barcelona, Spain.


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