Nokia unveils plans to include voice-to-text feature

Tuesday, 9 August 2011 14:20pm

Nokia has recently announced plans to include a voice-to-text feature on its new Windows Phones, a feature that could have a positive impact on sighted and vision impaired people alike.

The feature will allow users to compose text messages verbally and send, read or ignore incoming text messages using verbal commands. While the President of Nokia USA, Chris Weber, has suggested this feature could have a positive impact on unsafe driving, it may also allow people who are blind or vision impaired to compose texts more quickly and easily. The exact launch date of the feature has not yet been set.

The announcement may be in response to the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 which forces all US manufacturers of mobile devices to include accessible features. The voice-to-text feature has resulted from the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft, which joined forces to reverse their slowing sales in smartphone technologies.

The most accessible mainstream smartphone on the market for people who are blind or vision impaired is the Apple iPhone. The device includes a highly sophisticated screen reader, a full-screen magnifier and white on black for higher contrast. Nokia's voice-to-text could be an indication of accessibility becoming a key point of competition in the industry.

Smartphone accessibility features for people who are blind or vision impaired are discussed further in our Digital Technology section.

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