It's time for another post in our annual look back at the year in assistive technology, the Blind Bargains Top 10 Stories of 2013. This year's panel included J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, Alena Roberts, and Joe Steinkamp. We'll be counting down the top stories of the year over the coming days and anounce the number one on Wednesday at 4 PM Eastern on Serotalk. In case you missed them, here are our earlier stories on the countdown. Alena has a tie at number 6 which involves two popular names in assistive technology with new releases.
"After this year’s voting we had a tie for number six. The best connection between these two innovations is that they demonstrate the importance of mobile and wireless technologies. In 2013, Humanware added the ability to download books from Bookshare wirelessly to the Victor Reader Stream. This change means that users no longer have to download the books first to a computer. It also means that if a student is in class when a teacher announces a new book, they’d be able to search and download the book right there in the classroom. This new feature will hopefully continue to make the Victor Reader Stream an appealing technology.
From accessing books wirelessly, we move onto turn by turn GPS on the iOS platform. After years of waiting, fans of Sendero’s GPS products finally got access to turn by turn GPS on the iPhone. In the six months since it’s release, , the app has had three updates which include dozens of new features. In it’s latest release, users can now run the app in the background and opt for a monthly subscription. This is the only full-featured GPS app available on the iOS platform that was designed with the blind in mind. Some of it’s notable features include: announcements of near by POI’s, description of intersections, and a getting warmer option."
To take Alena's points a step further, these two stories demonstrate a divide between assistive technology users. Many prefer modern mobile applications such as the Seeing Eye GPS and have moved away from specialized devices. Others like the consistent and familiar interface of a product such as the Victor Stream and are happy to upgrade their players to the latest release. Will there be enough dollars amongst A T users to support both sides of development? Only time will tell.
We're half way there. Stay tuned for number 5 coming up shortly.Category: Articles
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.