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September 26, 2005

KPN testing mobile handset for the deaf

From:, Netherlands - Sep 26, 2005

by Joe Figueiredo

Dutch telco KPN is working with TNO, the Dutch institute for applied scientific research; and AnnieS, a foundation for the deaf and hard of hearing; in the establishment of a pilot project to test its new mobile handset for the deaf and hearing impaired.

KPN, which since 1984 has been offering this user group a fixed-line, text-telephony service (which it said reached 190,000 text exchanges last year), is deploying the ever-popular Blackberry personal digital assistant (PDA) in the test.

Using the device's keyboard together with a special technique, callers will be able to communicate interactively through a mobile and fixed-line phone.

If the test is successful, its text telephone will be available on the market this year.

However, what KPN is doing is nothing new: Telfort, Vodafone and T-Mobile already have similar offerings on the Dutch market.

On another front, Dutch retail and investment bank, SNS Bank, has adapted its online investment services to cater to the blind.

According to the bank, which claims to be the very first bank to offer such services, its internet banking software is now able to work with existing Braille devices that already enable the blind to access the Net.

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