Sprint to offer free accessibility to Android phones Article
)—Sprint (NYSE: S) is offering customers who are blind or visually impaired, as well as elderly individuals or those who cannot read print on smartphones because of physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive or learning disabilities, free solutions that will provide them easier access to their Android-powered smartphone’s functionality. The solutions include five new Accessibility Sprint ID packs – bundles of applications available on select Android-powered smartphones – and the Mobile Accessibility suite of applications.
“Code Factory is delighted that one of the most important carriers in the world decided to subsidize Mobile Accessibility for their customers and is helping to assure that the product reaches as many people as possible at no cost for them”
Mobile Accessibility, developed by Code Factory, is a suite of accessible applications that have been specifically designed for people who are blind or visually impaired. Mobile Accessibility, which features a simplified user interface and textual information that is spoken aloud using voice synthesis to aid navigation of the device, will be offered to Sprint postpaid and Boost Mobile prepaid customers through the Android Market for free starting this quarter.
The application is available for free for postpaid Sprint customers with Android-powered smartphones activated on a monthly service plan that includes data, such as the Everything Data plan starting at $79.99. The app is also free for no-contract customers with Android-powered smartphones on Boost Mobile’s Monthly or Daily Unlimited plans.
The application, which typically costs $99, will be available in English and Spanish in the Android Market under the names Sprint Mobile Accessibility EN & ES and Boost Mobile Accessibility EN & ES.
“Sprint strives to satisfy all our customers’ wireless needs, and with solutions such as these, we’re helping our customers with disabilities realize the full potential of their smartphones,” said Fared Adib, Sprint vice president-Product Development. “That is why we’re offering the Mobile Accessibility app and Accessibility ID packs free of charge.”
“Code Factory is delighted that one of the most important carriers in the world decided to subsidize Mobile Accessibility for their customers and is helping to assure that the product reaches as many people as possible at no cost for them,” said Eduard Sanchez, Code Factory CEO. “We are proud to be a new partner with Sprint and hope this is the start of a longtime relationship for accessibility for blind and visually impaired Sprint customers.”
The main features of Mobile Accessibility:
Touch navigation: Users can simply move their finger around the screen and the voice synthesis will read the text located under their finger. They can swipe up/down/right/left and tap on the screen to navigate through the interface, and they can enable sound and vibration feedback.
Easy to input text: In or outside the Mobile Accessibility suite users can use the touch QWERTY keyboard or speech recognition to write text quickly and easily – making it possible to write an SMS or email using their voice only.
Voice synthesis: Provides customers natural sounding voice read back.
With Mobile Accessibility, users can do the following:
Phone: Make calls, answer calls, hear the caller ID and manage their call log.
Contacts: App tells user how many contacts they have and speaks the contact’s name they selected.
SMS: Virtual keyboard is larger and fills the entire screen. When the user clicks a letter on the keyboard, the app reads the letter to them. This makes it easier for them to compose emails or SMS messages. It also reads SMS messages to the user.
Alarms: Set their alarms.
Web: Full Web browser experience; also reads text from Web page to the user.
Calendar: Create, edit and delete a calendar entry. View all events per day, week or month.
Email: Full access to Gmail accounts; reads emails to the user.
Where am I?: GPS application that gives the user an update about their current location.
Access to basic phone functions, such as date and time, missed calls, etc. User can click on the function and it speaks to them.
“Having the ability to gain greater access to information on smartphones through the use of a free suite of applications is a very positive development in the blind community’s quest for more affordable choices,” said Mitch Pomerantz, president of the American Council of the Blind (ACB). “The American Council of the Blind commends Sprint for its willingness to take another positive step toward full product accessibility.”
Accessibility Sprint ID packs:
Today Sprint is launching five accessibility-themed Sprint ID packs, developed by Apps4Android, which are bundles of applications designed to accommodate the access needs of Sprint subscribers with print disabilities – people who are unable to read standard printed material, including text on their smartphone, because of blindness, visual disability, physical limitations, organic dysfunction or dyslexia. For more information about the Accessibility ID packs, read today’s press release.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 53 million customers at the end of 3Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index showed Sprint is the #1 most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all industries, over the last three years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
About Code Factory
Founded in 1998 with headquarters in Terrassa (Barcelona), Spain, Code Factory is the global leader committed to the development of products designed to eliminate barriers to the accessibility of mobile technology for the blind and visually impaired. Today, Code Factory is the leading provider of accessible mobile applications such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, and Braille interfaces. Code Factory’s products are compatible with the widest range of mainstream mobile devices running on Symbian, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry Smartphones, and Android. Among Code Factory’s customers are well-known organizations for the blind such as ONCE in Spain, and carriers Sprint, AT&T, Bouygues Telecom, SFR, TIM and Vodafone.
Kristin Wallace, 404-649-8222
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