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Freedom Scientific Announces the PAC Mate Omni, the Ultimate Mobile Computing Solution for the Blind

(St. Petersburg, Florida - June 30, 2007)

Freedom Scientific today announced the next generation of the PAC Mate™ accessible Pocket PC, the PAC Mate Omni™. The PAC Mate series incorporates JAWS®, the world's most popular screen reading software, and Microsoft Windows Mobile® to create the world's first accessible Pocket PC device for blind people. The new PAC Mate Omni is a combination of enhanced hardware with expanded functionality and powerful new software that features the latest advances from Freedom Scientific and Microsoft®.

The PAC Mate Omni is powered by Windows Mobile 6.0, the very latest Microsoft operating system. With Windows Mobile 6.0, the PAC Mate Omni will provide users with a host of innovative features and tools that enable the blind to access virtually every application that sighted users of mainstream PDAs now enjoy.

"Freedom Scientific is very pleased to bring the power and the many features of the Windows Mobile 6.0 operating system to users in a form that recognizes the unique needs of blind people," said Jonathan Mosen, Vice President of Blindness Hardware Product Management. "Windows Mobile 6.0 is the most keyboard-friendly version of this operating system ever. With full support for soft keys in Windows Mobile products, the PAC Mate Omni enables users to install and easily operate a huge variety of off-the-shelf third-party applications that offer keyboard support."

When shipped to customers in the fall of 2007, the PAC Mate Omni will be available in the current PAC Mate models – the BX 400 with a Perkins-style keyboard and the QX 400 that offers a laptop-style QWERTY keyboard for data input. The same 20-cell and 40-cell PAC Mate Portable Braille Displays will also be available with both versions.

The new PAC Mate Omni features expanded flash memory of 128 MB. While a portion of this expanded memory is used for the PAC Mate Omni 6.0 software and the operating system, users will have approximately six times more available flash memory than before. All data is now stored in flash memory. This means that all user files and applications are retained, even if the unit is reset or the battery is fully discharged.

The PAC Mate currently outperforms all competitors in regard to battery life, and the PAC Mate Omni extends the performance even longer.

Other new features of the PAC Mate Omni include:

  • Access to the mobile version of Windows PowerPoint®
  • Microsoft's Direct Push Technology for real time synchronization of email, calendar, contacts, and tasks
  • Smart filtering for rapid location of email messages
  • Easy information searches via Windows Live Search
  • Support for the Windows Live Messenger voice clip feature providing users with push-to-talk functionality in instant messaging
  • Plug and Play support for popular WiFi and Bluetooth® cards

Current PAC Mate users can upgrade to a PAC Mate Omni for just $699. Users who have a current ASA can upgrade for just $549, and users with a PMA can upgrade to a PAC Mate Omni for just $449. Users who have both a current ASA and PMA can upgrade for only $299.

"We are mindful that while many customers are able to receive assistance for the purchase of blindness hardware, the cost of maintaining that hardware is often the responsibility of those who use the product," said Lee Hamilton, President of Freedom Scientific. "We set our PAC Mate Omni update prices at these unprecedented low levels to ensure that our loyal customers have the opportunity to take advantage of the very latest in mobile computing technology. In addition, anyone purchasing a PAC Mate on or after July 1, 2007, will be entitled to a free upgrade to PAC Mate Omni once it is released."

About Freedom Scientific

Freedom Scientific is a leading worldwide brand of assistive technology products for those with vision impairments. Freedom Scientific is part of Vispero™. Vispero has its headquarters in the USA and the Netherlands, and offices in Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. Through Vispero's multi-tier distribution, Freedom Scientific products are available in more than 70 countries worldwide.

Freedom Scientific® and its products are registered trademarks in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.