Amazon to Add Kindle Features for the Visually Impaired

Yesterday Amazon kindle_cropped.jpgannounced two new Kindle features for the blind and visually impaired: audible menus and a seventh, larger font. According to a press release, Amazon will add these features in a firmware update coming in Summer 2010.

There has already been much talk about the Kindle’s text-to-speech capabilities, allowing those with visual impairments to enjoy any of the content in the Kindle Store (provided the publisher enables text-to-speech for their books and magazines). These two new features–talking menus and a new font, which Amazon is calling “super size,” and which will be twice as big as the current largest font–go a long way toward making the Kindle an accessible device. Here’s Amazon’s press release, which includes a number of compelling emails from visually impaired Kindle users.

The tech blog SlashGear wonders why Amazon would be sending out this release so far in advance of the new features’ roll out, speculating the reason might have something to do with wanting to spread some fresh Kindle news to compete with reviews of the Barnes & Noble Nook.