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Samsung introduces accessible Galaxy Core Advance smartphone

Samsung has introduced the Galaxy Core Advance, a new mid-range Android smartphone that boasts several accessibility options for the visually impaired.

The device sports a large 4.7in WVGA display and a "Soft Feel" coated back cover that "increases durability providing a warm, soft touch," Samsung said. It has a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory with support for microSD cards, and a 2,000mAh battery. The Galaxy Core Advance will be available "early next year" in Deep Blue and Pearl White color options.

The phone boasts several physical keys, including three underneath the screen, offering easy access to frequently used features like the voice recorder, camera, volume, menu, home, and power functions. Other features include USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and NFC with S Beam so users can share information like YouTube videos, contract details, and audio files with a simple tap.

While the specs won't blow you away, the device does feature a number of enhanced usability and accessibility features for disabled and visually impaired users. One such feature, dubbed Optical Scan, automatically recognizes text from an image and reads it out loud to the user. There's also Light Sensing technology, which uses the device's camera to sense light direction and brightness as well as Instant Voice Recorder, for quickly recording voice notes.

Besides that, there's a feature called Screen Curtain, which lets users operate commands on a black screen for greater privacy and less battery drain. Other accessibility features include text-to-speech and voice guided camera functions, which help users take photos by reading out the number of faces detected and their standing location.

Samsung isn't the first firm to introduce tech for visually impaired customers; Amazon rolled out an update to its Kindle services earlier this year that vastly improved its in-built reading app.