on Thursday unveiled a new writing solution for its Dana and Dana Wireless portable computing devices: a new word processor called Write:OutLoud To Go from Don Johnston Inc., paired with the new AlphaSmart VoiceCard. The combination of hardware and software enables students using the Dana to convert text to speech and hear what they’re writing — an effective combination for students struggling with the mechanics of writing. The VoiceCard fits into one of the two SD card slots available on the Dana and Dana Wireless.
AlphaSmart’s Dana is a US$380 Palm OS-based portable computer that features a full-sized ergonomically styled keyboard and large, wide-screen greyscale screen. It’s available in a model that transmits data to a host PC or Mac using a USB cable, or, for about $40 more, one with almost identical features plus integrated Wi-Fi wireless networking capabilities. AlphaSmart has positioned the Dana as an inexpensive alternative for schools looking to employ one-to-one computing solutions or portable computer labs without making the investment in full-featured laptops like Apple iBooks.
Write:OutLoud To Go will ship in early November and will be available for purchase either from AlphaSmart or from
Don Johnston Inc.’s
Web site. Pricing on the new combination was not immediately available.