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AFB  ®
Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 March 2011 Issue  Volume 12  Number 3

Letter to the Editor

A Cell Phone Question

Dear AccessWorld Editor,

I was reading your invitation in the February issue asking for comments and questions, and I will definitely be taking advantage of the opportunity. I very much like AccessWorld and the job you're doing. Thanks this time for including the letter about notetakers. I will be writing to the author for his proposal.

I have a rather urgent question about cell phones and a limited amount of time to act if I am to make an exchange. I wondered whether you could pass a question on to Darren Burton or another technology expert.

This regards the Samsung Haven cell phone. One thing the recent AccessWorld review didn't mention was that just about all the speech prompts come out of the speaker. From what I have been able to figure out, it appears there is not an easy way to adjust the volume for the ear piece and the speaker independently. I have hearing loss, thus I need to have the ear piece volume for phone conversations at its highest setting. By doing that, speech prompts are embarrassingly loud through the speaker. Do you know if there is a way to either set the volume for the ear piece to its loudest and the speaker to its softest, or better yet, a way to have all speech prompts come through the ear piece?

I plan to call Samsung and see if they have an answer. I hope it was something your reviewer might have included on the list you send manufacturers for improvements. I had been using an LG 4500. I am going to be looking at the Accolade mentioned in the January AccessWorld issue. I downloaded the manual, and it says nothing about voice output. Is the Accolade still available; are there any other LG phones I should check?

Thanks very much.

David

Editor's Response

Hello David,

Thank you for reading AccessWorld!

Regarding your questions about the Haven cell phone, you may want to check to see if it is possible to use a Bluetooth headset. That would allow you to keep it at a high volume without having it broadcast everything to the public. I'm not sure if that specific phone works with Bluetooth headsets, but it has a headphone jack for using a wired headset. It is not the standard 3.5 mm headphone jack, but is one of the thinner 2.5mm jacks, so you would have to make sure to get the right one. The Verizon stores should have them for sale.

As for the LG Accolade, it does in fact have voice output called Voice Commands. It is similar to that of the LG 4500 you own. However, it does work a bit differently from the 4500. Unfortunately, the manual won't be of much help. To activate the voice output, you go into Settings to find Voice Commands and turn it on, but you may need sighted assistance to do that. You may also want to use Google to find a better manual for the phone that might have been put together by a blind person. I'm not aware of one, but I do remember that some people did put one together for the earlier versions like the 4500. The LG Accolade is very similar in form factor to the 4500, but Verizon also has the LG EnV 3 which also has the same Voice Commands speech output functionality, but it also has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

I hope this information is helpful, and thank you for taking the time to write us at AccessWorld!

Sincerely,

Lee Huffman

Editor-in-Chief

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Copyright © 2011 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved. AccessWorld is a trademark of the American Foundation for the Blind.

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