The Milestone 311 accessible MP3 player is manufactured by Bones GmbH and will soon be sold by Independent Living Aids in the United States for $369. It was recently presented by Stephen Guerra on VIP Conduit’s Accessible Devices online voice conference.

At this time, in the opinion of this blind technology consumer, the Milestone 311 is overpriced for the feature set being offered. Here is a list of must-have features:

  • Separate external microphone / line-in connector.
  • Ability to monitor recordings as they are being made.
  • Recording level adjustment.
  • Recording bit rate adjustment.
  • Pause function during recording.
  • Replaceable batteries.

Check out these nice-to-have features:

  • Ability to play DRM content such as Audible, Apple FairPlay and Microsoft Plays for Sure.
  • USB 2.0 connectivity.
  • Support for additional file formats such as Ogg Vorbis.
  • DAISY support.

Though this device is surely not going to be well suited to blind podcasters or others interested in making high quality digital audio recordings, it does have great potential for the typical blind technology consumer who simply wants an accessible way to listen to their audio. With its current feature set, I estimate the Milestone 311 should be worth a price tag of between $200 and $250. While we must understand that the price of specialized assistive technology such as this device is naturally going to be higher than similar units for the mainstream sighted market, we must also expect a similar amount of features, flexibility, functionality and reliability as is currently enjoyed by sighted users of products such as Apple’s largely inaccessible iPod lines.

Thanks go to Stephen Guerra for his featuring this podcast during the Accessible Devices presentation. Absolutely no offense in this reporting is intended toward the manufacturer, Independent Living Aids, Stephen Guerra or anyone else.

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