Cingular is adding new speech-enabled features designed to help the blind and “low vision” customers use mobile devices.

The “Talks” service includes menus, instructions and content that is converted to audio. The software applications were developed in conjunction with ScanSoft.

The voice services can be heard through the speaker on a Nokia 6620 model phone or through a headset that operates on Bluetooth wireless protocol.

Cingular is targeting the 10 million people in the US who suffer from blindness or low vision.

“Talks levels the mobile playing field by giving our blind and low-vision customers the ability to access and interact with some of the most advanced wireless products and services available today,” said Rich Guidotti, vice president and general manager for Cingular, in South Florida, in a statement.

Users can hear:

  • Caller ID information

  • Check logs for incoming and outgoing calls

  • Write and/or hear emails, text messages and notes

  • Manage contact information

  • Use an appointment calendar

  • Edit and add contacts and other information to personal preferences
  • “The American Foundation for the Blind applauds Cingular for its innovative approach to addressing cell phone accessibility for people who are blind or visually impaired,” said Paul Schroeder, a vice president with the American Foundation for the Blind. “This is the first advanced cell phone released in the US that allows users to access all of its many features through speech output.”