[nfb-talk] Amazon's Kindle to get audible menus, bigger font

qubit lauraeaves at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 9 02:03:40 UTC 2009

Hi Dave --
This is indeed great news -- the only question I have is whether the current 
hardware needs to be updated, or is the change only to the kindle firmware? 
I just tonight bought a kindle for my mother for Christmas.  It would be 
great if when the new functionality comes out, I don't have to replace the 
whole unit. I can deal with firmware updates.

Anyway, have a great day.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Andrews" <dandrews at visi.com>
To: <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 6:59 AM
Subject: [nfb-talk] Amazon's Kindle to get audible menus, bigger font

Amazon's Kindle to get audible menus, bigger font

By Jessica Mintz

Associated Press
Posted: 12/07/2009 01:55:11 PM PST
Updated: 12/07/2009 03:47:24 PM PST

SEATTLE ­ <http://Amazon.com>Amazon.com will add
two features to the Kindle e-book reader to make
the gadget more accessible to blind and vision-impaired users.

Monday's announcement comes a month after
Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y., and the
University of Wisconsin-Madison said they would
not consider widely deploying the device as an
alternative to paper textbooks until Amazon makes
it easier for blind students to use. Both
universities bought some Kindles to test this fall.

The Kindle has a read-aloud feature that could be
a boon to blind students and those with other
disabilities including dyslexia, but turning it
on requires navigating through screens of text menus.

Amazon said Monday it is working on audible
menus, which would let the Kindle speak menu
options out loud. It's also working on an
extra-large font for people with impaired vision.
The additions should reach the Kindle next summer, Amazon said.

Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the National
Federation of the Blind, said Monday that the
organization doesn't know enough about the new
features to say whether they adequately address
concerns of the blind community. But, he said,
it's a good sign Amazon is expressing commitment to improve the Kindle.

Amazon released this year the $489 Kindle DX, a
large-screen model aimed at textbook and
newspaper readers. Several colleges including
Arizona State University are testing the gadget
this academic year and sending feedback to the company.

The federation for the blind, which is based in
Baltimore, teamed up with another advocacy group,
the American Council of the Blind, to sue Arizona
State in an attempt to block it from using the
Kindle as a way to distribute electronic
textbooks because the devices can't be used by      blind students.

It also filed complaints with the Justice
Department against five other schools
participating in the Kindle trial with Amazon:
Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, the
Darden School of Business at the University of
Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., Pace University
in New York, Princeton University in Princeton,
N.J., and Reed College in Portland, Ore.

Syracuse University and the University of
Wisconsin were not among the pilot-test schools.

Danielsen declined to comment when asked if
Amazon's proposed changes would lead the federation to abandon its 

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