Monday, July 15, 2013

Android Platforms: More "E-Accessibility!"

Accessibility features are publicized more for iPhone smart phones and iPads but our Android devices also have  accessibility features for the blind and visually impaired. I agree, there needs to be more but I don't want to short change what Android does have. My own smart phone and tablet are Android based and I have discovered several aps that my students and friends can use.

I use Vlingo on my phone along with the regular speech feature. It gives me hand free accessibility. It senses when I am in the car and comes on automatically based on the movement of the phone.    Vlingo asks me what I'd like to do and then it reads my texts. I an also return texts to senders by voice. However if one is riding in a car while voice texting,  the microphone may pick up extraneous noises from the tires on rough roads and get 'confused.' Of course one has to also make sure no one else is talking in the car and that the volume on the car stereo is turned down or off. Sometimes I use it with the blue tooth I have over my sunvisor for extra volume. The GPS device can be used for driving or walking and it speaks. It can also stay on when one is not in the car because it talks all the time to let me know when a texts arrives and who the text is from. It also reads the sender's phone number and the text itself. I even know when I get a tweet!

Talkback is another cool talking ap for the visually impaired.

My Samsung has a separate keyboard that slides out from under the screen so it can be accessed instead of using the touch screen. One of my former students says she likes this feature because she can feel the keys better. She is currently using an older model phone and is reluctant to get a smart phone. As a braille reader--and a very independent one, I might add--she likes to feel the keys and is used to their placement and functions. She said she might like the GPS function on a smart phone because she travels a lot. Expense may be an issue for some. It is possible to have and use free aps and to use a pre-paid system. I use a Go-Phone and a Lenovo tablet which is less expensive for me as far as having to be under contract.

Once again, I am not promoting one platform over another. I just want accessibility features to be presented for both platforms so that the reader can make his/her own decision about which is best for his/her particular needs.

Here are some other links that will assist in accessing Android features or provide more information:
YouTube Video:

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