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Does the Stream have a future? Of course it does.

During the past 24 hours, there has been a lot of discussion regarding a possible new incarnation of the Victor Reader Stream manufactured by Humanware. The VR Stream has for a number of years been a portable recorder and player, designed specifically for the visually impaired. Operated by a well-defined tactile keypad, it allows people to play books in a variety of formats including DAISY, hear text-based audio and to record notes.

If what we have heard is authentic, in addition to the existing functionality the new Stream will include enhanced text to speech capabilities(using Acapella voices), a redesigned physical structure, a clock, USB charging and the ability to record in stereo using an external microphone. Wifi is also on board to embrace digital libraries of the future.

But my reason for posting this blog entry is because people are already questioning whether the Stream has a future even before the product is launched, if it is. This is understandable to some extent because of the advancements in technology on the Android and I O S platforms and those devices offer similar functionality to the possibilities which would be provided in a new Stream.

Humanware have a very tough job on their hands as They have to keep up-to-date with new technology which the previous hardware in the current Stream could not possibly accommodate. They have to give people what they are wanting for the future. But they have to do that within the context of simplicity, and that's the point. There will always be a need for devices like the Stream because there have to be products of this nature to assist people who want a very easy to use interface without the complexities of a phone or similar device. There are also people like me who would like such a player to listen to books and to undertake high quality recordings so as to keep the phone free for calls and other tasks.

It doesn't matter what the mainstream devices can do. It doesn't matter what the technically able people can achieve with alternative platforms. I submit there is a need for specialist devices for the reasons set out above and others and there will be for some time to come.

To say again, I would definitely like one if at all possible. I use my existing Stream all the time, and if the speaker is of a higher standard, that would make the new model appeal to me even more. It will be interesting to know what the price is.

So there are exciting times ahead! I wish Humanware all the very best for the future of either the existing Stream or a new one if it is brought to market.