Caller ID gets legibility boost

It should be much easier for blind and visually impaired mobile users to tell who is calling them if a system being showcased at this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona takes off.

The C-CallerID service creates high-contrast images of the initials of anyone in the phone’s address book, so that when they call a highly readable identifier will appear on the handset’s screen.

“I invented the system because my wife was being driven mad by not being able to read her phone after a cataract operation,” said Simon Marks, founder of ClearCaller.

Having conceived of the idea as an app, the company has now turned it into a Web-based service that works with mobiles that can run Java and connect to the Internet. Users register a mobile on the company’s website and are then sent a link, which, when clicked, uploads the phone’s address book to the site. Users then go through their address book on the site, choosing combinations of colours and initials for each entry. Once they’re satisfied, the images are inserted into an image slot of each address-book entry and sent back to the phone. The service will be available for a one-off fee or as a subscription.

“People in the demographic that we are aiming for have a choice of buying a big-button phone that marks them out as someone who needs help, or they can buy our service that they can use on their current phone without needing their reading glasses,” continued Marks.

ClearCaller is now trying to make the system work with as many mobiles as possible, which is more difficult than it appears.

“Each phone implements Java differently and structures its address database differently so each phone has to be individually accommodated," added Marks " A lot of work has gone into making it work on the majority of phones, but we want to be able to handle all mobiles that have Java, have contact photos, and that will connect to the Internet."

The company will be showing off its system and announcing pricing at Mobile World Congress.

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