Blind Bargains: Thoughts on the BrailleNote Apex<div class="link_description"><p>Yeah, maybe I’m overly-negative, but HumanWare’s most recently addition to the BrailleNote family is priced way beyond the reach of most consumers. And although I agree that if someone can’t afford a note taker for $6195 they probably can’t afford one for $4000 either, but that hardly justifies this incredibly over priced piece of equipment. Worldclass GPS? Sure, there exists a fantastic GPS solution for the BrailleNote, but you don’t get it thrown in for your $6195.</p>

I obviously disagree with many comments made in the above linked article, however, I do agree that HumanWare *does* provide an easy-to-use note taking solution which is exactly what many users need and want. What users also need and want, however, is to have such solutions at prices they can afford. Why not take their solution and adapt it for use on a less expensive PDA while also focusing on ways to bring the cost of braille displays down? HumanWare started doing this with their Maestro, or Maestro Trekker product, a product which has sadly gotten little attention of late. The Maestro uses a mainstreamed PDA, can be used with bluetooth keyboards and although not as feature rich, does work with the Trekker GPS system. OK, Maestro admittedly doesn’t have braille output, but it’s what, 1/6TH the price of the new Apex?

The more solutions we as blind consumers have, the better off we are. I’m really not anti HumanWare, in fact I’d be the first to admit they’ve come up with some of the most innovative products for the blind. i am, however, very disappointed that their focus seems to be developing products affordable by a very few VS finding innovative ways to make their technology, especially braille display technology, less expensive.

So let’s get out those wallets, warm up those charge cards — who’s going to be first in line to buy the Apex?