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  1. mdharter's Avatar
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       #1  
    Hello to everyone here. I'm hoping someone can answer my question or might know if Microsoft intends to release a built in screen reader/text to speech option in the upcoming Windows Phone 8? The reason I ask, I am visually impaired, almost 100% blind, and this is obviously, a very important feature for someone like me.

    I've been searching and searching online for any information regarding this and I haven't had any luck. And while I understand I am in a minority when it comes to a feature like this, I feel so left out in the world of technology at times when manufactures forget about people like me.

    And for individuals like me, screen readers and other adaptive technology is not cheap, I run J.A.W.S., which is the leading screen reader software by Freedom Scientific for Microsoft Windows, and can cost over $1000 for the inital purchase, and when I go to upgrade it, it can cost around $400 everytime. I run Nuance Talks on my Symbian based Nokia phone, another $300... But since Symbian is almost a dead phone OS, I am looking to update soon. I have been a die-hard Nokia fan since the late 1990's, and I currenttly have a Nokia e62, which is about 6 years old now. it's been bulletproof and has been a great phone, but it's getting time to replace it. I like the QWERTY keyboard, and while I've been looking to get a Nokia e7-00 because of the QWERTY keyboard, unfortunately, the e7-00 is running Symbian and there's not a Nokia Windows based phone with a QWERTY keyboard available at this time.

    I have friends who have iPhones, and they use the touch screen without any problem being blind with Apples built in screen reader for IOS, but I'm not a fan of any Apple products, and I'd rather have an Symbian or Android powered phone before anything overpriced, overhyped and overrated from Apple. The screen reader for Android, called TalkBack, is not bad, but still needs some work.

    Microsoft's Narrarator for Windows has never been very good, that's why many people like me spend the money to purchase J.A.W.S.. I spoke with the folks at Freedom Scientific, and they do not have any intentions or plans to make their screen reader accessible to Windows 8 Phones, only the desktops/laptops and tablets.

    So my question finally, what is Microsoft doing to make their Windows 7 and 8 powered phones accessible to individuals like me? I would really like to purchase a new Nokia 920 or 820 when they come out, but if there is not a screen reader available, or built in, Microsoft will be leaving out a part of the population that uses their products. (I do know others that would like a Windows Phone 7 or 8 with a screen reader available!) So does anyone know anything? Does MS have plans to make Narrator better? or at least built into Windows Phone 8? Or will MS force me to stay with Symbian, or switch to Android, and worse, actually make me consider going to the darkside of Apple?

    So anyone with any news, please share!

    thanks,
    -Mark
    Syd Bar likes this.
  2. AngryNil's Avatar
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    #2  
    Apple offers killer accessibility features. The improvements we've seen for WP8 have been text size customization, high contrast and screen magnifier, but no word on screen reading.
  3. Syd Bar's Avatar
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    Really Angry Nil? Your response seems very commercialized. Do you work for Apple?
    Quote Originally Posted by AngryNil View Post
    Apple offers killer accessibility features. The improvements we've seen for WP8 have been text size customization, high contrast and screen magnifier, but no word on screen reading.
    I'm in the same position visually as MDHARTER, so hopefully we will get a productive answer. Thanks.
  4. absonj's Avatar
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    #4  
    My dad is completely blind, and although would LOVE to get the windows phone, he is bound to iPhone because the really do well with the accessability. As for Windows getting on that same page, it wont happen overnight, and probably not for an excruciatingly long time. Windows accesability features are really lame, so hopefully the NFB and other orginizations can get on Windows and see if they cant give them a little pressure.

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