[Athen] Plextalk Pocket

Marks, Jim marks at mso.umt.edu
Thu Dec 18 15:01:34 PST 2008

A new device for reading audio and e-text books has been released, and
many will want to check it out. It's called the Plextalk Pocket from
Plextor. It's also called the PTP1. More information on the device is
located here:


The Pocket is a competitor for the Victor Stream. These devices play
audio and e-text. They also serve as digital recorders. Bothe the
Pocket and Stream are designed to play books from Recording for the
Blind & Dyslexic, the National Library Services for the Blind and
Physically Handicapped, and Bookshare. User Authorization Keys for the
Pocket are not quite available yet because the device is so new. Both
the Pocket and Stream include text-to-speech capabilities, so they serve
as e-text players for text and html files. The Stream plays more file
formats than does the Pocket, but the devices are upgradable with
firmware upgrades, and it's only a matter of time before both play the
same file formats.

The Pocket is very small, smaller than the Stream. It uses an SD card
for data storage. It can also connect to USB drives, and it can run a
USB CD player as well. Audio books can be sped up and read very
handily. E-text works well, although the text-to-speech engine,
Vocalizer, takes some getting used to because it is a bit fuzzy. The
Stream also used Vocalizer for its text-to-speech engine.

The Pocket has very highly developed recording capabilities. It allows
users to build Daisy recordings in a variety of recording formats
complete with bookmarks and headings. One can add voice notes to
recordings as well. It provides a revolutionary way of recording
lectures in ways that make the recordings useful to students. I've
never like recording as an accommodation because rarely is any lecture
worth listening to twice. With the Pocket, users can organize and
identify important elements in the recording, which permits users access
to the relevant information quickly and easily.

The Pocket costs about $360. It comes with a re-chargeable battery much
like those in cell phones. It can be charged with either a wall charger
or a USB cable connected to a computer. Files can be transferred in a
variety of ways, including via USB cable, the SD card, and from an
external device. The Pocket also plays MP3 files, so it can be used as
a music player.

Colleges Disability Service offices may want to purchase the Pocket to
loan to students who use alternate formats of their textbooks. That's
what my office does. We like the small hardware players because they
work so well, and students love them.

Hope this information helps. Plextor, the maker of the Pocket, gave me
a Pocket to try out. I really like the Pocket, especially since I know
the Pocket will be upgraded over time to improve its performance.

Jim Marks
Director of Disability Services
University of Montana
jim.marks at umontana.edu

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