Most smartphones today already offer up a few accessibility options make using a device easier for anyone that may be hard of vision or hearing, but today Sprint introduced a new Android app that aims to make using a phone even easier for anyone that's hard of hearing. Dubbed Wireless CapTel, the service allows a user to place a phone call like normal and, when the receiving party picks up, his or her words will be transcribed on the owners device at the same time that the speech is being transmitted through the earspeaker. The service is powered by Raketu and works by automagically routing calls through CapTel once a number is dialed. Wireless CapTel is available as a free download in the Android Market to devices on Android 2.2 or higher and users on an Everything Data plan.
Sounds pretty neat, no? Not only is it great to see Sprint working to make using a smartphone easier for the hard-of-hearing, but the fact that CapTel is available as a free download on Froyo-powered devices means that almost all of the Android phones on Sprint's roster will have access to the service. Good on you, Sprint. If any of you out there decide to try and download the CapTel app to give it a go, be sure to let us know how it works for you!
Sprint Announces Next-Generation Mobile Solution for Hard of Hearing Android Users
Wireless CapTel® by Sprint® powered by Raketu® lets users read mobile conversations with the aid of captions
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), October 21, 2011 - Sprint (NYSE: S) today announced the availability of Wireless CapTel by Sprint powered by Raketu, an application on select Android phones that increases accessibility in mobile communications for individuals who are hard-of-hearing.
Wireless CapTel by Sprint allows users to read conversations with real-time word-for-word captions on their wireless phones. Wireless CapTel by Sprint users place a call in the same way they would when using a traditional phone – by dialing the number directly on the device. The revolutionary application then connects callers directly to the CapTel service when the phone is dialed. When the receiving party answers, callers can listen to what the other person is saying and also read captions on the phone’s display screen.
The application can be downloaded on select Android 2.2 or higher devices from the Android Market for free with an Everything Data plan*.
Wireless CapTel calls are automatically routed through a captioning service. Users simply give friends, family, and other contacts their specialized Wireless CapTel by Sprint phone number to receive captions on every call.
“Sprint Relay is pleased to add another groundbreaking solution to its portfolio – and bring to the market a service that improves our customers’ experience,” said Mike Ellis, director-Sprint Relay.
For more information about the service, go to www.sprintcaptel.com.
The Wireless CapTel by Sprint application marks another breakthrough by Sprint for the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. The company recently marked an industry first with the Sprint Relay ID pack – a bundle of applications, links, tips, icons, and widgets enabling a more robust wireless experience for those with hearing loss. The bundle includes voice mail transcripts, visual and vibrating alerts, and readable captions, all available in a single download. The bundle marks the first time a carrier has developed multiple applications in one package for those who are hard-of-hearing.
About Sprint Relay
Sprint is the largest and most technologically advanced Telecommunications Relay Service provider in the nation with more than 20 years of experience in providing relay services to persons who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or deaf-blind or have a speech disability to communicate with hearing persons on the phone. Sprint’s experience in this field assures Sprint Relay users receive quality service regardless of the type of relay service they are using. Sprint’s relay service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no restrictions on the number of calls placed or call length. For more information, visit www.sprintrelay.com.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 52 million customers at the end of 2Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
CapTel is a registered trademark of Ultratec, Inc. In partnership with Ultratec, CapTel services are available as a component of Sprint’s array of Relay services. Designed for people who are hard-of-hearing, CapTel users place a call in the same way they would when using any other phone – by dialing the number directly on a special Captioned Telephone. The phone connects callers to the CapTel service as the number is dialed. When the other person answers, callers can listen to what the other person says while reading captions on the phone’s display screen to catch words that may be missed. Captions appear nearly simultaneously with spoken words.
Ultratec, Inc. is the world’s leading developer of text telecommunications equipment for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Since 1978, the company has been responsible for numerous advancements in telecommunications technology, including a full range of text telephones, public telephones, amplified telephones, and signaling systems for people with hearing loss. Ultratec works extensively with government agencies, emergency services, and local and national advocacy groups to ensure equal telecommunications access for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
The Wireless CapTel by Sprint application is powered by Raketu technology. Since 2006, Raketu Communications Inc. has been developing leading edge applications that provide communications services for customers and businesses, across mobile, tablet, desktop and laptop devices. Raketu has developed and released many first-to-market applications, including mobile video calling, cloud based video calling, and server-less peer-to-peer communications. Raketu currently has users in over 150 countries around the world. For more information, visit the company’s website at: www.Raketu.com.
* No voice plan is required for Wireless CapTel by Sprint. Specialized reduced-cost plans for people with hearing loss are available at www.sprintrelaystore.com/wcs. You must have a hearing loss and be a resident of the United States to use the service. If you plan to make regular, non-captioned calls, you may be charged extra if you do not have a cell phone voice plan with a number of minutes allocated.