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Alva MPO Cellphone to support Braille display

ALVA B.V., a leading provider of assistive information technology for the blind and visually-impaired, announced the ALVA MPO, Mobile Phone Organizer, the assistive technology industry’s first fully-integrated cellular phone and personal organizer.

The ALVA MPO offers all the key features traditional cellular phone and PDA (personal digital assistant) users have come to expect, with additional features incorporated for blind and visually impaired users. With 20 braille cells, an 8-dot Braille keyboard, a high quality speech synthesizer, and ALVA’s Smart-ControlTM user interface, the MPO is unique in design and functionality.

Other key features include:

– Fully accessible tri-band GSM cellular phone;
– Essential notetaker;
– SMS text messaging;
– Agenda planner;
– Alarm;
– Calculator.

Upcoming, product features will include email, Internet browser, GPS (Global Positioning System), Daisy reader, and an MP3 player and will be released as optional software upgrades in phases beginning in Q3.

While leading vendors of cellular phones and PDAs offer some of these features in their current product line-ups, ALVA is the first manufacturer to develop a device for handheld specifically for blind and visually impaired users. The ALVA MPO interface and features are based on research into the needs of blind and visually impaired technology users. ALVA’s nearly 20 years of experience working with this customer group provides an unparalleled knowledge base for developing the MPO.

“The ALVA MPO represents a real break-through in mobile communication, data access, and organization for our customers,” said Eric Weldink, ALVA president and CEO. ” It’s so simple to use; if you can operate your CD player and heat water in the microwave, you can use an MPO. Sleek in design and full-featured, the MPO provides blind and visually impaired users all the benefits of a PDA and cell phone combined. Our GSM antenna and super-durable casing, designed solely for this product, are just two examples of the kind of detailed engineering that went into the MPO. As veterans in this field, we really understand that our customers are demanding more from the IT and telecommunication products they depend on and we have the resources to meet their expectations.”

The MPO has the familiar look and feel of ALVA’s popular SatelliteTM series of refreshable braille displays, with a special emphasis on portability and durability. The trademark purple ALVA MPO casing measures 9.4 inches long x 4.1 inches wide x 1.7 inches thick (240 x 105 x 45 mm) and weighs 1 lb. 9 oz. (700 g). The slim MPO fits easily into a handbag, backpack, or briefcase and features an attractive scratch-resistant finish.

“As soon as we heard the ALVA MPO product concept, we put in our request,” said Chuck Cohen, president of C TECH, a distributor of low vision products and adaptive technology for the blind, visually-impaired, and learning disabled in New York and New Jersey. “We’ve been in this industry for almost 20 years and our clients have complained in the past about always being left behind when it comes to new technology. These are some of the most sophisticated and productive technology users you could meet. It’s fulfilling to me to see that ALVA has put real care into this design, that it’s not just another ‘yeah, blind people can use it, too’ product. I am really looking forward to my clients having such a remarkable product.”

CSUN Attendees Get First Glimpse of MPO Those attending this week’s CSUN Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities will get a chance to preview the ALVA MPO at the ALVA booths 277 and 278 at the Marriott Exhibit Hall from March 19 -22. CSUN is an annual conference sponsored by the Center on Disabilities at California State University, Northridge. The event will be held at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott and Hilton Los Angeles Airport.

Availability and Pricing The ALVA MPO will be available in June 2003 through authorized MPO resellers. MSRP (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) and volume purchase pricing will be announced at that time.

About Fabrizio Pilato

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