Purple Communications Introduces Next-Generation SmartVP 2.0 Videophone

Deaf Telecommunications Company Announces the Relaunch of SmartVP 2.0, Supported by a New, State-of-the-Art Video Platform for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

ROCKLIN, CA--(Marketwired - Aug 26, 2014) - Purple Communications, Inc. today announced the availability of the SmartVP 2.0 videophone specifically designed for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. The next generation of SmartVP features upgraded hardware and software, supported by new and powerful video platform to provide a seamless communication experience.

Initially launched in 2013, SmartVP is an Android™-based HD videophone that connects to a television, allowing deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to communicate with each other and with people who don't know sign language through the use of Video Relay Service (VRS). VRS connects a deaf individual to an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter who then vocalizes the conversation to the other party. Similarly, the interpreter relays what the hearing person says and conveys that to the deaf individual through ASL.

"Thousands in the deaf community are using SmartVP every day to connect with their friends, family and the hearing world -- we intended this to be a life-changing product and now we've taken the next step to provide users with the best possible VRS experience," said Purple Communications CEO John Ferron. "We've worked incredibly hard to improve not just the hardware and software, but also our network infrastructure to make the SmartVP 2.0 experience better than ever."

Indiana deaf consumer Ronelle Johnson was one of the first people to receive a SmartVP in the area. "I have had SmartVP for a year now, and it has really made my life easier by giving me equal access to communication. I love the features and apps that SmartVP offers, and the HD video clarity is like having an interpreter right in my own living room!"

The SmartVP 2.0's hardware upgrades along with the latest software update (version 1.2) ensure users can enjoy higher quality video and a more reliable connection on the most feature-rich device on the market. Current SmartVP users can also take advantage of the 1.2 software update through an over-the-air (OTA) update. New features in the SmartVP 1.2 software update include:

  • Yellow Pages®: The Yellow Pages app is now more robust than ever. Users can easily search for any organization or business and make a call with a click of a button. In addition, the app now includes interactive maps and reviews from local restaurants and businesses, creating a one-stop-shop for users to discover new local favorites.
  • Keyboard support: The SmartVP 1.2 platform now supports text input through external keyboards. Users can connect their favorite wired or wireless keyboards for quick and efficient text entry.
  • Text box: The platform also includes a scalable and movable text box that can be used for taking notes during a call. The text box can also be used to share more complex items that are harder to sign, such as medical terminology, prescription names, streets and addresses.
  • RSS feeds: With RSS feeds, users can subscribe to their favorite websites and have personalized news, entertainment, sports, vlogs and other content delivered directly to their SmartVP.
  • Enhanced deaf video library: SmartVP features an ever-growing library of deaf videos and movies, which now includes category folders that allow users to easily browse for and watch their favorites directly on SmartVP.
  • How-to videos: Instructional how-to videos in ASL to help users discover and master all available features of SmartVP. The videos can be accessed on-demand.

"SmartVP 2.0 is an important next step in the evolution of VRS, continuing Purple's track record of innovative firsts for the deaf community," said Purple Chief Technology Officer Tony La Rosa. "At Purple, we're committed to ensuring the deaf community has access to similar advancements in communication technology as the hearing world, and SmartVP 2.0 reflects this. We're continually working to improve SmartVP and look forward to integrating even more features and functions that will unlock the device's full potential."

Additional SmartVP 2.0 features include two 360-degree bright notification flashers, the market's most powerful remote and support for voice carryover (VCO) service, which give users the ability to use their own voice during a call. Other SmartVP 2.0 applications include YouTube for select ASL channels, a weather app and CaptionFish for finding nearby captioned movies and show times.

The SmartVP 2.0 and VRS are free of charge to qualified individuals, as are Purple's P3 software and mobile applications for PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. For more information, visit www.purple.us/SmartVP.

About Purple Communications, Inc.
Purple Communications provides a high-quality video relay service (VRS) available from multiple platforms -- TV, desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone. VRS is a free service for deaf and hard-of-hearing customers who use sign language to communicate via video conference and a video interpreter (VI). The VI voices/relays the signed conversation in real-time to both deaf and hearing individuals.

Purple's portfolio of solutions spans across telephone captioning services, text relay services, on-site interpreting services and video relay interpreting (VRI) delivering a wide array of options to meet the varied communication needs of businesses and customers, collectively make communicating with both the deaf world and the hearing world accessible to all. For more information, visit www.purple.us.

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Minh Le