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"It requires that many of them, for whom ASL is their first language, use their second language," says Ann Bardsley, public relations director at Sorenson Communications Inc., a company that provides communications services to the deaf and has an ancillary i Phone app.
To transmit text messages, these devices use traditional phone lines, which can transmit a maximum of 56 kilobits per second.More advanced 3G networks transmit at speeds up to 35 times faster.Wi-fi, which Apple's Face Time uses, promises a maximum about 1,000 times faster than a traditional phone line.Face Time is integrated with the phone's Contacts software, and using it is as easy as making a voice call or sending a text.After finding a friend or family member's entry in the phone's Contacts directory, the caller touches the Face Time button on the phone's screen.(TTY is also known as TDD, or telecommunication device for the deaf.) The deaf are also making use of Qik, Inc.'s video chat app for HTC's EVO mobile phone.
The app developers did not have the deaf or ASL in mind, but now the company is considering it as a future avenue, according to Allyson Campa, a consultant who is the acting head of marketing at Redwood City, Calif.–based Qik.Once connected, Face Time users rely on the i Phone's front-facing video camera to record their conversation (whether verbal or via ASL) and the phone's display screen to watch the person on the other end of the line.Apple has a Web page devoted to how the i Phone 4 is accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people, but the Face Time application is absent."E-mail technology, pager and texting technology, and now video technology, are starting to reach the point where they can be manufactured in forms that do meet these culturally mediating requirements within the culture of deaf people—and yes, the impact has been felt," Humphries says, although he acknowledges that i Phones are not cheap and these new tools might not meet every person's needs.Parents need to know that Monkey -- have fun chats randomly connects teens with other Snapchat users for a 10-second video chat.A commercial for the new i Phone, however, includes a brief conversation in ASL between a couple.