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Nokia launches mobile phone for the deaf

Portable Talk-Type system developed with help of RNID

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The Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) has joined forces with Nokia to bring a more portable text phone to the deaf. The partnership is working to adapt the Nokia 9110 Communicator to handle a Talk-Type service. A representative of the RNID said that the move was important, as people came to rely increasingly on mobile technology and that the response from the public was more than encouraging. "We have done no promotion, no advertising and yet we have over 400 people on a waiting list for a phone that will not hit the shelves until the end of the year," she said. "This is especially impressive when you consider that the phone will cost in the region of £400, which is out of many people's price range." Telephones for the deaf may initially sound like a bit of a non starter, but the technology is actually very simple. Between two text phones, users simply use a combination of plain language text and codes. For example SKSK means stop keying and is used to signal the end of a conversation. There is also a text to voice service, sponsored by BT which operates much like a real time paging service. At present, the Nokia 9000i communicator can use the text loop system, on the Orange network. However, even Nokia will concede that this early model is a bit on the bulky side, and is keen to bring the technology to the new model. More information about services provided by the RNID can be found here. ®

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