Working for People with Sight Loss

BlindShell Talking Mobile Phones

BlindShell Classic (Black) and Lite (Red) mobile phones

By IT Trainer Daniel Dunne

The BlindShell Classic and BlindShell Lite mobile phones landed in Ireland earlier this year and already they are attracting a lot of interest and fanfare from the visually impaired community right across Ireland.

The phone at first glance takes you on a trip down memory lane to when the Nokia 3210 was “the-phone” that was a fashion statement at the turn of the millennium. They were tough too, even Y2K didn’t faze those tough nuts!

The BlindShell phones are equally durable featuring a quite similar keypad too. However, after powering on the BlindShell unit the world of Nokia you might have briefly expected fades back into memory lane’s rear-view mirror. Briefly an Android screen appears before BlindShell’s customised interface takes over. This is where the BlindShell really gets it right: you are greeted with a large display with simple items that flow like a carousel – it’s so simple, one item on the screen at a time, this is wonderful.

Wait, there’s more – Google’s voice then announces what is on the screen, now we’re talking! The BlindShell’s menu system is big without being too big. The number keys double up as quick navigation to different menu items, after a couple of hours one could sense that they could get familiar with this. There is voice control too, hold in the button and “wait for the beep” you are told – you can then command the Google Assistant to call contacts or numbers (Classic model only). Put the assistant to the test and compose a text message too or ask it the weather.

There is so much more to this phone that one can do – try out some of the QR code stickers supplied with the handset to label items around your home. Use the phone’s inbuilt camera to scan the QR codes and have the items announced back to you – there is a little setting up in this but it’s a great idea from BlindShell.

Exploring the Classic phone further and you will find Email, Messaging, Calendar, Alarms, Timer, Stopwatch, Voice Recorder, Calculator, Weather, and Dictionary amongst other functions, too many to mention them all here.
The guys at BlindShell work hard at improving their phones, occasional updates are released which not only improve the already perfect performance but they drop in additional apps too – for example recently the Telegram messaging app was included. While this is not WhatsApp, it is a similar functioning platform.

The NCBI are your go-to people in Ireland to find out even more about this phone and enquire about a demonstration or to purchase one of the two models offered.

To purchase a BlindShell phone or to arrange a demonstration please email labs@ncbi.ie or call 1850 92 30 60. You can also visit the NCBI Online Store.