Best Smartphones and apps for Visually Impaired Citizens in 2020

HumanWare Communicator iPhone app

In today’s world, cell phones have become a must. Years ago it wasn’t possible for the people who have vision loss to use mobile phones. But nowadays, the advanced technology has enabled people with little to no vision to use mobile phones. The smartphones designed for the specially-abled boast of plenty of functions exclusively designed to make it a user-friendly experience. The list below has a few trendy and stylish best smartphones for visually impaired 2018. They are complete with features such as a broad screen and a large number pad. These cell phones for legally blind are bound to bring about a drastic change in the lives of people using them.

1. LG Vx4650 voice command cell phone:

The cell phones for the blind voice activated were introduced by LG Electronics mobilecomm USA, Inc. It was one of the first-ever smartphones especially designed for the people who are blind or have low vision. One of its striking features is the voice recognition system.
This allows the user to call someone or carry out any other activity simply by initiating a voice command. These cell phones for the blind voice activated also have features like vibration and silent mode, all of which are capable of working on voice command. The LG – Voice Command has an organizer – containing memos, clock, alarms, calendar, and contact register too.

2. Open Sesame- touch-free access:

Open Sesame- touch-free accessImage Source :

For people with any kind of visual impairment, even a touchscreen phone poses a lot of problems with use. Which is why the Open-Sesame touch-free phone is the most sought-after among all such phones on the same lines. Instead of relying on the touch screen or voice commands to carry out functions, this phone takes into consideration gesture movements, which makes it one of the best smartphones for visually impaired 2018.

It uses the front camera of the phone for understanding and recognizing the head movements which helps it to understand what the user wants. Locking and unlocking the phone, making calls, and sending texts can all be done via this feature. Almost all apps of the Google Play Store can be downloaded on this smartphone. It is compatible with Android devices and is made by Sesame Enable Ltd.

3. Samsung push to talk cell phone (Model Sgh-D357):

Sgh-D357This phone from Samsung is popular for its voice command feature, which makes it one of the best smartphones for visually impaired 2018. The user can make calls and send texts by virtue of the voice command. Not only that, they can even open, utilize, and close any application just by giving verbal commands. It has a Push-to-talk feature that enables the user to make calls by the single push of a button on the phone.

The Bluetooth feature in this device enables the user to connect to wireless devices too. Since it is an amazing voice-activated phone for the blind, one may assume this phone to be quite expensive. However, it is quite reasonably priced and affordable for the common man.

4. Sprint PCS Voice Phone (Model A560):

Sprint PCS Voice PhoneThe Sprint PCS Voice Phone has a colored screen, messaging feature with predictive texts, calculator, memos, alarm clock, calendar, and many other exciting features. The biggest advantage is that all these features run on voice command.

In addition to all this, it even has a GPS chip embedded in it for emergency situations. This can come in handy for a person with little to no vision,  making this phone one of the best smartphones for visually impaired 2018. It is made by Sprint Nextel Corporation and is quite popular by virtue of its amazing technical features.

5. Samsung Haven:

Cell phones for legally blind need to run smoothly on voice command. Samsung Haven and it’s voice command comes in handy for making calls and sending texts. The numeric pad of these cell phones has tactile buttons which are broad in size. Even with little to no vision, one can easily navigate their way around this phone using the huge number pad.

Also, whenever a particular number or feature is selected, the phone ‘speaks’ it out for confirmation. This feature is an important reason why the Samsung Haven is one of the best smartphones for visually impaired 2018. It has a bright big screen and a slot for emergency contacts. Not only that, there’s an option to increase the font size, alarms, and many more features. It is produced by Samsung electronics, America.

What is VAT Relief?

VAT or Value Added tax is a consumer tax that a person pays when they are purchasing any kind product for their needs or luxury. In countries like India; it is also known as GST or Goods and Service Tax. Although these taxes are applicable on most consumer products; however, for products that are made for people with special needs or disabilities, it is not applicable.  Best smartphones for visually impaired 2018 also fall under this category. No VAT is levied on the purchase of the above-mentioned cell phones or any smartphone on the same lines.

Past cellphone concepts for visually impaired people

1. Nokia phone will make life easier for the visually impaired

Target Customers: The visually impaired.

Developed by Peter Alan Smith, the innovative Nokia cell phone aims to revolutionize the way blind people communicate. While the phone will retail for just $600;  the most significant thing is the included $2,400 software, developed by KNFB Reading Technologies. This software called KNFB Reader allows the user to photograph the text and then reads it back. The user can listen to the translated speech through the ear piece. Peter Alan Smith, on his innovative phone, quoted…

At work, I can take a picture of two different documents to figure out which is which. At home, if I’m making chili, I can take a picture of a can to make sure it’s the kidney beans before I open it.

We have already seen a few communication devices for the blind in the past, including LG’s Reading Phone, Icon Mobile Manager PDA, and the Sens Inclusive Mobile phone concept for the visually impaired. The innovation continues…

2. LG’s New Reading Phone For The Visually Impaired

LGs-New-Reading-Phone-For-The-Visually-ImpairedImage Source :

Whatever you people call it, a marketing strategy or a noble step; I do welcome the LG‘s new ‘Reading Phone’; that has a special design for people with visual challenges.  The Reading Phone converts the texts files into voice.

The unique handset gives voice directions for every function, thanks to the text-to-speech converter. The print-disabled mobile users just needs to follow the voice guide; to access the DTB Library server. Other key specs of the ‘Reading Phone’ are Bluetooth headset, microSD, TV remote control and subway map.

3. Sens Inclusive Mobile phone concept for the visually-impaired

Created by designer Takumi Yoshida, the Sens Inclusive Mobile phone concept offers users real-time audio feedback to help visually-impaired people better interact with their phones. Specially shaped keys are all uniquely accessible making them more identifiable by touch. Since many visually impaired people have at least some ability to recognize light density or colors, the phone concept does away with text and uses color illumination to inform users of basic phone status. By creating a cellphone that people with visual problems can use; the designer is opening up a whole new level of possibilities. The creation of specialized communication devices help such people to live a normal life. Hopefully, mainstream cellphone manufactures will adopt this concept soon and come up with better and advanced versions.

Best Smartphone apps for the blind and deafblind

1. Good Vibes

Good VibesThe Good Vibes app has been developed by one of India’s leading ad agencies, Cheil WW India. It is one of the apps for the deafblind, which would enhance the two-way communication of deafblind people. It works via smartphone’s vibration capability combined with the Morse code. This vibrations represents the alphabets in binary fashion.

The application is the brainchild of Cheil India, and was designed as well as developed by the agency’s in-house team. It is a great example of technological innovation through creative thinking. The app aim is to spread a positive, ‘good’ vibe in lives of deafblind people.

This is one among apps for the deafblind which interprets the short tap as Morse’s dot and long press as Morse’s dash. The combination of these result in letters as well as words which are transmitted as vibration sets, and then can be deciphered by deafblind people.

Sense International India, an NGO which works for the benefit and support of people having deafblindness, worked with Cheil India. Cheil India developed what the company terms as the ‘invisible UI’, probably the first of its kind.

Good Vibes app was launched in 2020 April and has since won 4 Abby Awards. The app which takes tactile input and transforms into tactile output can open a new vista in deafblind people’s lives. The app is available for free via Google Play.

2. Hopstop

HopstopThis is one of the apps for the deafblind, which is can tell deafblind people how many subway stops they have left, before their stop comes. Apps like these help to make people who have deafblindness more independent and confident.

3. Color ID Free

Color ID FreeIt’s an iPhone app that can vocalize the color of the object the phone is pointing to. For instance, if someone points the phone at the sky, the answer will be cloudy or blue, or if the tomato is ripe and red in color, or if a particular tie will match a shirt or not. Color ID can help the deafblind to know more about their surroundings, which can help them outdoors and indoors.

4. Light Detector

Light DetectorAnother great app for the deafblind, this app emits a noise/sound when it the phone is held next to a light source. A deafblind person can know if lights in a room are off or on, and find doors and windows.

5. VM Alert

VM Alert is basically a motion detector.VM Alert is basically a motion detector. It alerts users when something or someone is approaching them. This app can come in handy outdoors while walking on the pavement or trying to cross the road. It can be used for security too, as deafblind people can be alerted is something or someone is coming at speed towards them.

6. HumanWare Communicator iPhone app

HumanWare Communicator iPhone appTill now, HumanWare had several solutions for the deafblind, blind, people with low vision and those with learning disabilities. Their product line includes BrailleNoteApec, a productivity device for blind in business, education and personal use. VictorReader products, the digital talking books which are a great help to the blind, TrekkerBreeze (handheld talking GPS), and more.

Now, the company has developed an app in collaboration with the Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille (INLB), called the HumanWare Communicator. It is the world’s first multilingual app which enables face-face conversation between deafblind people. This one of kind app for the deafblind, will help those who have deafblindness communicate with others on a daily basis.

This accessibility app connects a HumanWare Braille gadget/device such as Braillant or, BrailleNote Apex with iPad, iPhone or iPod touch through Bluetooth.

There is no need for an interpreter, as this app can help to carry out a conversation between the deafblind and those who have sight. The deafblind person can ‘talk’ through his/her Braille device and then hand over his tethered Apple device to another sighted person who can use the touchscreen to type and respond.

The conversation which is happening face-face appears real-time on both the Braille display as well as the iOS device screen. The deafblind have a way to independently talk with people without depending on an interpreter. As the screen is very similar to usual smartphone, the sighted individuals need a minimum learning curve to continue the conversation.


While selecting the best smartphones for visually impaired 2020, it is important to notify the salespeople about your problem. Try choosing one with a large screen, voice command features, and big buttons on the numeric pad. If you do not understand the features, or you want more, never hesitate in asking them for it.

Rely on customer reviews from current and previous owners of the voice-activated phone for the blind you intend to buy. All in all, make sure that the phone you purchase is in line with your requirements and does not fall short of the features you are looking to invest in.

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