Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

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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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Access Technology Versus Mainstream Technology

by Donna J. Jodhan

Well, what more can I say to add to this topic that is very near and dear to my heart. To put into perspective:

  • Access technology is much more expensive than its counterpart and much less available on the market.
  • It is extremely challenging to have access technology repaired as opposed to its counterpart.
  • There are less manufacturers of access technology hardware and less developers of software.
  • The profit to be made for those who develop and sell access technology is much less than for those who do the same for mainstream technology.
  • Access technology has to be developed in such a way as to adapt to the mainstream world.

So there is the picture. Now where do we go from here?

About 18 months ago, I bought a PDA that was developed for people who are blind; a real find for me and one that I found to be really forward thinking because of its features. A few weeks ago, I was told that this PDA will no longer be manufactured and as of June 2012, no more hardware maintennance agreements would be available. Accessories will still be available as long as supplies last. Quite a shock and now we are all left holding the bag so to speak.

I am not going to identify the manufacturer of this wonderful product but suffice it to say that it has made me rethink how I go about choosing my mobile devices. Do I continue to buy access technology that is extremely expensive and one that I am not sure will be around for too long? Or do I move towards the Apple world of mobile devices such as the iPad, iPhone, and so on?

Do I expose myself to heartbreak if I continue to buy these pieces of access technology only to learn that in a short space of time they are off the market and supplies of accessories or support is no longer available? Would love to see your comments on this issue.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

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