Computers/Hardware: Portable Devices
Portable hardware such as MP3 players, book players, and memo recorders
Freedom Sientific has released version 6.5 for their PAC Mate Omni PDA, as well as lowered prices for the entire line of PAC Mate Omni devices.
The speech-only PAC Mate is now $1495, the 20-cell version costs $2895, and the 40-cell model costs $4695. The 6.5 release adds support for RealSpeak Voices, Mundu┬« IM and FS DAISY Player is now built-in to the firmware. Version 6.5 is available for free to existing PAC mate Omni customers.
Blind Mice Mart has refurbished i.d. mate Omni Barcode Scanners for $699.88. With free shipping, this is at least $500 off the cost of the i.d. Mate Summit. The Omni has the capability to hold the current bar code database and comes with all standard accessories.
For a reader, OpticsPlanet.com has the Brunton Braille Compass for $57.99. With free shipping, we couldn't find this item for less elsewhere. It includes braille labels at the four cardinal directions and dots for other points.
Handy Tech North America has the Olympus DM-4 Digital Voice Recorder for $299. With about $10 for shipping, we weren't able to find a better deal on this item. The Dm-4 features a 2.2-inch color LCD display, 8GB of built-in storage, the ability to play and record in MP3, WMA and Wav formats, 29 hours of battery life, and support for Daisy, audible and other books. The DM-4 also features voice guidance, which speaks the device's menus and settings, as well as Nuance Vocalizer text-to-speech for reading TXT and Daisy books. To this point, no NLS support has been included in the unit.
GW Micro has anounced the BookSense DS, a version of their digital book player that features an OLED display. The screen can display what the BookSense is saying, as well as display books and documents. The BookSense DS features 4GB of memory, a SDHC slot, and keys which are more spaced apart than the existing BookSense. A price and ship date have not been anounced.
Humanware has released version 3.1 for their Victor Stream audio book player. This new version adds support for nested folders within the DAISY bookshelf, support for the spanish electronic braile format, and it is now possible to copy DAISY books from USB flash media to the stream. Note that the promised support for books in the EPUB format is not in this release. Version 3.1 is a free update for existing Victor Stream customers.
Guerrilla Technologies, Inc. has announced Visionary, a portable OCR solution for $1500. The system consists of a Dell Mini netbook, capture stand and digital camera. At launch, the product will only be sold with this netbook, although a version without the computer is being considered. This product is expected to be released within the next 30 to 60 days.
GW Micro has announced that the Book Sense audio player will be supporting content from the System Access Mobile network in the near future. This is similar to the feature found on the Plextalk Pocket and the Victor Stream. This will be a free update to existing Book Sense owners and SAMNet subscribers. A release date has not been given.
Shinano Kenshi Corporation and Serotek have announced a partnership which will allow content from the System Access Mobile network to be played on the Plextalk Pocket digital book player. This functionality is similar to that offered by the Humanware Victor Stream.
Here's an editorial piece from Serotek founder Mike Calvo on the Intel Reader, questioning the motives of Intel, Humanware, and others. There's many interesting and valid points here, and it's definitely worth a read. Via Serotek Blog
We have received an annonymous report describing the Intel Reader in detail, and their impressions with The unit. The Intel Reader is being marketed as a stand-alone reading device, able to turn a page of text in to speech. Read on for details.
An EBay seller and Blind Bargains reader has posted a Victor Reader Stream portable media player with a starting bid of $200. With $10 for shipping, that's nearly $140 off the cost of a new unit. Plus, an 8GB memory card is included. Auction ends October 31.
Orbit Research has just released the iBill Talking Banknote Identifyer for $99.99. At this price, this is the least expensive bill identifyer currently on the market. According to the manufacturer, this device recognizes every US banknote in circulation in about a second and is able to announce denominations by voice, tones or vibration. The iBill runs on 1 AAA battery and can be ordered immediately.
An EBay seller has relisted a like-new KNFB Reader Classic, now for a starting bid of $1,100. This is the PDA model and comes with everything necessary to start reading printed material. By comparison, the KNFB Reader Mobile retails for roughly $2,200. Auction ends November 5.
An EBay seller has listed a used TSI Optacon, model R1D, with a BuyItNow price of $399.95 with about $20 for shipping. or, make an offer. The Optacon is still one of the most sought-after reading devices available, allowing the blind to feel raised print. The unit is being sold as is, and comes with rechargeable batteries.
An EBay seller has listed a like-new KNFB Reader Classic for a starting bid of $1,200. This is the PDA model and comes with everything necessary to start reading printed material. By comparison, the KNFB Reader Mobile retails for roughly $2,200. Auction ends October 25.
An new update has been released for the LevelStar Icon and BraillePlus PDA's. Among other features, vesion 1.11 adds support for the Audible book format so users can download and listen to books from Audible.com. Also, a new feature called the workspace has been added, which allows for users to view recent RSS feeds, files, or a welcome screen. Some bugs with some National Library Service books were also fixed.
AccessibleWorld.org will be featuring a presentation on the new features in the Victor Reader Stream 2.0. The interactive chat will be held on Monday at 8 PM Eastern, 5 PM Pacific in the tech talk room, which we've linked to on this post. We don't have any concrete details on new features as of yet, but Windows Media and braille support have been ideas talked about in the past. If you have any insight, you can send us a note. You can send us a tip anonymously if you wish for this or any other breaking news story.
The LevelStar Icon and Icon BraillePlus have added support for NLS digital downloads in their latest update, version 1.1. You can get it via the link on this post. It's a free update for current Icon owners.
Thanks to Top Tech Tidbits among many others for the tip.
Humanware has released an alternate US English voice for the Victor Reader Stream. The male voice Tom is contained in an alternate version of the just released 1.2 firmware update. Voice samples, other languages and voices are also available.
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