Monday, June 30, 2008

Mobile Magnifier for Seniors with Weak Vision

Several posts ago, I blogged about an AT&T service that is aimed towards seniors and persons who have disabilities. These services are offered on mobile phone for seniors and they aim to make handsets more user friendly towards the elderly. I blogged about Mobile Speak a few months ago and I felt that its time to talk about AT&T's Mobile Magnifier.

But before that let me give a quick recap on Mobile Speak. AT&T's Mobile Speak service for seniors is a a powerful full-fledged screen reader with an easy-to-learn command structure, intuitive speech feedback in several languages. This service automatically detects information that the blind user should know, just as a user with sight would easily find highlighted items or key areas of the screen at a glance. You can click here to see my full post on Mobile Speak.

Now let's move on to Mobile Magnifier. Like mobile Speak, this application is designed to help make good mobile phones for seniors. It is is a flexible, full-screen magnification application that supports low and high resolution screens. Mobile Magnifier can be used with or without speech feedback.

As it's name indicates, mobile Magnifier acts like a magnifying glass and enlarges the information a a mobile phone's screen. This magnification software is compatible with a wide range of mobile devices. A mobile phone equipped with this application would be a suitable mobile phone for seniors.

Here are the main features of this cell phone service for seniors:

  • Magnification levels from 1.25x to 16x
  • Font-smoothing for easier readability
  • Three different layouts: full-screen, split and distributed view
  • Different color schemes, including inverted color
  • Automatic panning and cursor-tracking
  • Automatic zoom function that detects areas of interest on the screen

Here are the devices that currently support this service (Additional compatible devices will be available soon):
  • Nokia N75
  • Nokia E62
  • Cingular 3125
  • Samsung BlackJack (Windows Mobile version 5)
  • Pantech Duo (Windows Mobile version 6)

I hope that many similar programs and applications will be developed by mobile phone makers and developers. Paul Schroeder, vice president of Programs and Policy, American Foundation for the Blind says that, "There is a real need for more wireless options for Individuals who have vision loss.We value AT&T for its leadership in addressing the needs of this community." Other companies should follow AT&T's lead.

Tune in to to this blog for more mobile phone for seniors news and info.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

LG Flare: A Good Phone for Seniors

I found out that I had received a wonderful from a reader who has appreciated the info offered by this blog on cell phone for seniors. After reading that wonderful comment, I felt obliged and inspired to make another post on a suitable mobile phone for old folks.

After spending a several minutes o9n the web, I decided that the LG Flare LX175 will be a good cell phone for senior citizens. Let's break down the elements that make this phone suitable for the elderly.

Despite having a flashy name, the LG Flare is a simple entry-level phone. Not that it's a bad thing. Simplicity is one of the essential elements that make a good handset for the elderly because complicated and flashy features will often confuse them. Even this handset's design is simple or basic and offers an all-black exterior that exudes simplicity.

The LG Flare LX175 is a bit curved on the side which offers a nice feel when the device is being held. The curves also make the Flare easy to grip. Seniors usually have poor grips or weak fingers so the curves are a beneficial attribute.

Lets move on to the displays. Unlike most basic phones, the LG Flare offers two displays, an external display and a bigger internal display. The external display measures 1-inch across and offers information on the standard date, battery, signal-strength and time. On the other hand, the external display that's 1.75-inch across that is big enough to offer a good view to seniors.

Senior users can adjust the font size for the messaging, browser, and notepad applications if they feel that they are too small. The backlight time, the foreground (clock/calendar or a greeting), the menu styles (list or grid) and the incoming call screen can also be changed to make them easier to see. Being able to adjust these features is a key element for any mobile phone for seniors.

The key pad of the LG Flare offers large buttons. However, they are a bit too crowded and are quite close to each other. Many have also observed that , the keys don't have a lot of give and need a bit more push than most even if they are tactile. This is the glaring weak point of the LG Flare when it comes to being a good cell phone for seniors.

Since the LG Flare is a simple or basic phone, it onle offers a limited number of features. It offers a decent-size phone book, text messaging, a speakerphone, a vibrate mode, a notepad, a scheduler, an alarm clock, a tip calculator, a regular calculator, a world clock, a voice memo recorder, notepad, voice dialing and Bluetooth support. The LG Flare do not have to offer a staggering amount of features to be a good phone for seniors because the elderly do not require them.

There you have it. Another good phone for seniors. But before I end this post let me add that the LG Flare LX175 is offered at $29.99, with no contract required. This is a cheap mobile phone for seniors. Tune in to this blog for more ingfo on cell phone for senior citizens.

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