It is hard to imagine that just ten years ago, we were struggling to find an accessible phone for the blind. yes, there were the Nokias running on Symbian but, that was basically what you had to deal with.
Today, thanks to innovation from Google, Microsoft and Apple, we have a choice between Android, Windows mobile and iOS. We also have a number of manufacturers giving us options in the hardware space. Huawei, Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, HTC, Nokia, etc.
However, as you know, we do not always know if the software works so nicely with the hardware as many network operators and manufacturers modifies the operating system features.
In this light, I have been asked how accessible this phone or that phone might be for a person here in South Africa who might be considering a new contract with one of the operators or who might be due for an upgrade on an existing one.
It is difficult to recommend phones if I have not worked with them myself. On paper, things might look (okay) but, many times, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
AG Mobile is a new local mobile phone manufacturer on the SA landscape and I have been asked specifically about the accessibility of these devices for blind and visually impaired persons.
It would appear that this phone is primarily available from Cell C but, I might be wrong.
At this point, I cannot recommend any of the AG Mobile devices to any person who is blind or visually impaired, as I have not been able to test any of these devices thus far.
There are a number of really good phones and if you don’t have the funds to waste, don’t spend it on something that is not going to work for you.
I was very sad when I learned of a fellow blind person who was promised by a salesperson that this AG Mobile device would be perfect for her and that it is exactly the same as Samsung, if not better.
It is not exactly the same as Samsung, or Huawei, or HTC, or whatever other phone’s name you want to mention. It is exactly as the AG Mobile device it is supposed to be.
Be careful, guys and girls. Do not just sign up and believe the sales blabber that you hear. Their job is to sell to whoever they can. They don’t give a damn about the fact that you don’t earn a lot of money or that you are blind or visually impaired.
If you find that it works for you, please let us know. Let’s empower one another by sharing info.
UPDATE 9 May, 2016
I’ve had the chance to play with three of the devices and all I can say is: STAY FAR AWAY FROM THEM IF YOU ARE USING TALKBACK.
The phones were buggy, crashed, hanged, restarted on its own and generally didn’t perform well at all.