‘In Your Pocket’ Review

In Your Pocket, which used to be known as RNIB In Your Pocket, is a device which allows the user to listen to content from RNIB including talking books, national and local newspapers and magazines and podcasts.

In Your Pocket is based on a mobile phone, and recently, it has become able to make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages and store contacts.  A key concept of In Your Pocket is that it is primarily controlled by the user’s voice.  It is the first device I have come across which will let the user add a contact by voice, only resorting to an on-screen keyboard if a name has an unusual spelling or if a word is consistently misrecognised.

This device is ideal for someone who wants to read a lot of books and newspapers as well as the basic mobile phone functionality.  The device is supplied with an O2 data plan giving 3 gigabytes of data per month; enough to listen to a talking book everyday for 4 hours over a 1-month period.  This means that In Your Pocket is ready to use as soon as you take it out of the box and turn it on.  There is no setup procedure necessary.  In Your Pocket can also be connected to Wi-Fi rather than using up your quota of mobile data.

The In Your Pocket package is available on a 24-month contract for £22 a month.

Initially this was an RNIB project, but it is hoped that more sources of books and other reading and listening material will be available in the coming months.

All this functionality can be achieved using an IOS or an Android phone and joining the RNIB talking book library and paying £39 a year for access to the RNIB Newsagent service.  You then need to install at least 1 book reading app for newspapers, learn to use the RNIB Overdrive app for listening to talking books and use a podcast player for listening to your chosen podcasts.  This requires you to have a good knowledge of your mobile device as well as the ability to use it with the built in screenreader or screen magnifier as required.  This can prove rather technically challenging for many people.

In Your Pocket offers an all-in-one ready to use solution which can be operated using natural speech.  You are talking to a machine not a person, so while you can use natural language, you must be specific about what you want.  If you have used the Amazon Echo or Google Home smart speakers, using In Your Pocket should be quite straight forward.  I have found that most people pick up the idea of controlling devices by voice quite quickly and naturally.

For more information about In Your Pocket visit the website –http://www.inyourpocket.org.uk or contact the In Your Pocket helpline on 0333 772 7708.

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Photo of Graham holding an In Your Pocket device.

Written by Graham Page, ELVis Assistive Technology Adviser

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eastlondonvision

East London Vision (ELVis) is the subgroup for the 7 geographical areas that naturally cover all of east London north of the Thames: • Barking and Dagenham • City and Hackney • Havering • Newham • Redbridge • Tower Hamlets • Waltham Forest. ELVis is designed to provide an effective and efficient way of ensuring that vision impaired people living in East London get the support and services they need. It is an umbrella organisation with voluntary sector, user led representation in each of the east London boroughs. Our vision is that everyone living in East London experiencing, or at risk of, any form of sight loss, receives a high quality service relevant to their need and at a time appropriate for themselves. Our aim is to enhance & link vision impaired services and organisations throughout East London, improving the quality of life for blind and partially sighted people and increasing individual independence.

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