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IBM's talking browser brings Net to visually impaired
February 4, 1999
Web posted at: 5:39 p.m. EST (2239 GMT)
by Dana Gardner
(IDG) -- IBM on Wednesday announced delivery of a "talking Web browser" designed to provide audio access to Web-based
materials for blind and visually impaired users.
Called Home Page Reader for Windows, the application "speaks" the information that appears on standard Web pages
and sites, IBM officials said.
Home Page Reader is priced at $149 and combines IBM's ViaVoice Outloud U.S. English text-to-speech technology
and Netscape Navigator's browser software. The result is an application that recognizes HTML tags and accurately
translates text, tables, and graphic descriptions into audible Web-based information.
In addition to keypad-delivered navigation features, the software provides an e-mail feature so users can send messages
from the browser.
To operate, Home Page Reader requires a PC with a 150-MHz Intel Pentium with MMX or equivalent processor
running Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows NT.
It also requires 32MB of RAM for Windows 95 and
Windows 98, and 64MB RAM for Windows NT. A quad-speed CD-ROM drive is required, as well as 17MB of
hard disk space, which includes Navigator.
Originally designed at IBM's Tokyo Research Laboratory to speak Japanese, the U.S. English version is now available,
to be followed by other languages later this year, IBM officials said.
Dana Gardner is an InfoWorld editor at large.