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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Verizon Customers, Welcome to Haven!

by Walter Gramza

It’s finally here! An affordable, fully accessible phone from Verizon Wireless.  As of July 29th, 2010, Verizon Wireless has available in its stores a phone for blind and visually impaired persons which is fully audible via Nuance speech.

There is no extra charge for the speech package, as it is already installed in the phone and ready for use out of the box. It is important to note here that when you go to the store, please make sure that you tell the person assisting you to be sure to turn on the voices called read outs, located under settings, then sounds, and down to voices. The six items to be turned on are:

  1. Menu read out
  2. digit read out
  3. alert read out
  4. flip open and talk
  5. text message read out
  6. full read out

In order for the phone to be audible these features need to be turned on.

Placing a Call

You can enter the contact list by pushing the right soft key in the upper right hand corner of the phone and then arrow through the contacts or by pressing the letter of the contact you wish to call.  For example, “v” for Verizon Wireless. Then you can hit ok to view the contact information and hit send to place a call.

You can enter into your call list of choice which are: 1. missed calls, 2. dialed calls, 3. answered calls, 4. all calls.  After entering any one of the lists, you can edit the list and if desired, delete the specific name and number within the list.

You can find out how much battery strength you have, signal strength, and how many messages, voice mails, missed calls, you have. You can use the alarm clock, set a time audibly, use the calculator, tip calculator, and send and read texts.

In short, you are prompted through every one of the functions you are performing. You can even ask it to call someone provided that they are in the contact list.

A Braille manual is available through Samsung. Remember, when you go to Verizon Wireless you’ll need to get the hex number, which they can give you. You then call Samsung at 888-987-4357 and provide them with this number along with your address and it will take about one month to receive the manual.

You can also purchase an extended battery which lasts one and one half times longer than the standard battery.  This is best as any phone with speech uses more battery power and shortens the life of the battery.  By having the extended battery it should bring you through the day safely. I always make it a habit to charge the phone each night so that I begin a new day, the phone also begins a new day as well. When you put the phone into the base charger it says “charging.” When the phone is charged it says “charge complete.”

If you are a Verizon Wireless customer and are eligible for an upgrade, you can get the phone for free. If you want to start a new contract with Verizon Wireless, you get the phone for $40.00 complete with speech software included.

If anyone would like assistance in learning the functions of the phone, they may contact me via email at:

I hope that you will go and get this phone seeing that this is the only other phone outside of the 3gs iPhone by apple that is accessible with step by step prompts throughout the entire phone.

Let’s show Verizon how grateful we are for a well planned phone by taking advantage of such a great item.

Article Source:
Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind
Click this link for a lengthy podcast demonstrating all the phone's features:

1 comment:

James Dean said...

There are tons of Samsung phones out there. No model name/number is given. In my opinion, this makes this article pretty much worthless. Also, this phone sounds great except for the fact that nothing is said about whether or not web browsing, E-mail, and other such functions are accessible with the built-in speech software. Verizon also has the Android, which, with some work-arounds, can be used to send/receive E-mail, browse the web, plus use many other third-party applications all with Talkback that is in every phone running the Android OS. Finally, the only two things that must be enabled to allow the Android OS to be fully usable by a blind/visually impaired person are "talkback" and "Kickback" instead of six different options. This might be a good phone for those who just want to use the phone as a phone and text messaging device. Just do your research, folks. Do not rely on this article alone before making a choice to purchase a phone you'll be for all intents and purposes stuck with for the next two years if you are under Verizon's contract.

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