emporia, which has been making phones for retirees for 30 years, has launched its first mobile specifically adapted for visually impaired seniors. It will be sold in Ireland exclusively by the charity NCBI.
The TALKactive phone is an adaptation of emporia’s ACTIVEglam phone, which launched in the UK and Ireland last year, with additional spoken menus, buttons and SMS text to assist users with sight loss.
A voice assist function reads text messages aloud and helps the user to respond by speaking the letter keys and providing the option to read back the typed message before sending. When receiving calls, voice assist will read unknown numbers, or announce the name of the contact saved in the phone book.
Large illuminated buttons with a defined pressure point make typing easier, while large on-screen text aids the partially sighted. An extra strong vibrate function alerts users to incoming calls and messages.
The clamshell design offers greater control over the handset: opening and closing the phone can be set to auto answer or end a call. The volume button located on the phone’s exterior is adapted to speak the time and battery level aloud when the phone is closed.
Priced affordably at €150.00, TALKactive includes a 2MP camera. It also comes with a charging cradle so users don’t have to waste time inserting the USB-C cable into the charger port.
The TALKactive comes with a set of uncomplicated, well-written user instructions available in large print, braille or audio, produced by emporia and NCBI.
As with all emporia phones, it is compatible with hearing aids, has extra loud and clear sound, and an emergency button located on the rear of the phone for extra peace of mind. If pressed, up to five emergency numbers will receive an SMS and be dialled automatically in sequence.
Chris Millington, managing director of emporia UK & Ireland, says: “Although smartphones have accessibility functions, the majority of blind or partially sighted users are older and unaccustomed to touchscreen technology prior to losing sight. Designed with much care and consideration, and tested by older users with sight loss during the development phase, the TALKactive offers simplicity and affordability and is vastly easier to handle for a majority of retirees who haven’t grown up with mobile technology at their fingertips.”
Kyran O’Mahoney, chief technology officer at NCBI, says:“Technology is a key enabler for people with sight loss and this talking feature will be a great help to many service users. It is so important to help people stay connected. NCBI is proud to be a supplier.
Be sure to stay tuned for our full review soon..