Accessibility by accident? Possibly.

Over the few months leading up to the Christmas holidays, the original cordless phone set I had for the apartment–one of those older two-handset jobs–was really starting to let go of, like, everything. I had one who’s battery might last 30 minutes, and another who’s battery might last 30 seconds. My parents, who bought me those phones a few years ago, had the exact same ones–and were having at around the same time the exact same problem. I can’t even remember what model they were, but turns out they were pretty well crap. They were promptly replaced in both households by phones made by Panasonic instead. We got our hands on one of those digital answering systems–the phones, 3 of them for my place this time, come with their own built-in answering machine so you’re not paying someone for voicemail. I didn’t exactly plan to use that, but it’s nice to know they have that option.

We got them set up, and were introduced to a rather neat little surprise. It seems, though we didn’t know this at the time, the handsets in use at my parents’ place come with the option to have call Id information read out to you via text to speech built into the individual handsets. Now, granted, you can’t use the same method for being able to go back through your history of missed calls, but this is perhaps the second model of phone I’ve actually seen it implemented on–the first, a corded model several years ago, quite frankly made me want to pitch it out the window. And the thing wasn’t even mine. Naturally mine didn’t come with that option, but it was still nice to see some of them did.

I have no idea if Panasonic is actually starting to consciously make their equipment just that much more accessible, or if it’s another example of a measure of convenience just so happening to double as something you can use without requiring the ability to actually see your phone. The naive part of me would like to think the former, but here in the real world, it’s more than likely the latter. Still, it’s a nice touch for a phone system. I wouldn’t mind seeing this end up becoming a trend for other manufacturers. For the curious, here’s one of the models with talking call ID on Amazon. I wonder if it’s too late for an exchange…

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