The Android TalkBack team has rolled out a significant beta release to Android's default screen reader. The first beta of TalkBack 4.2 offers the ability to customize gestures and keyboard shortcuts, a built-in screen dimming feature, and various other improvements and bug fixes. To get the beta, you must opt-in to the beta test group and be a member of the Eyes-free Android list from an account also linked to your device. Here's the complete changelog, as posted by Google's Kristian Monsen:
- More gesture customization available. All gestures can now be customized with all actions. .
- Assignable keyboard shortcuts.
- Option to suspend and resume TalkBack by long pressing both volume buttons. This must be enabled in TalkBack settings.
- Optional new local and global context menus. These can be shown as a regular Android list, the default is the circle style in this release.
- Optional screen dimming. If enabled the screen brightness will be reduced to almost zero when TalkBack is on and not suspended. The first three minutes after screen dimming is enabled it can be turned off by quickly pressing both volume button three times. During this time there are instructions on the screen on how to disable screen dimming for users who are not familiar with TalkBack.
All new features are opt in for this release.
- Sliders, or SeekBars, can now be controlled with the volume keys like EditText.
- EditText movement with volume control has been improved. Volume keys will now move cursor in EditText if it either has accessibility focus or if it has input focus and there is no accessibility focus on the screen.
- Checkboxes in preferences should now announce the correct value on Android L.
- Autoscrolling have been tweaked and will not mostly scroll lists.
I'm probably missing something obvious, but once downloaded, how does one offer feedback? There's nothing shown on Google's download page. Do all comments go to the Eyes-Free list? Thanks.
darknexus Monday, 27-Apr-2015 7:42 PM ET:
Been running this on my Moto G 2nd gen for about a week now. A very nice release indeed, and the changes to gesture customization and the way granularity is handled are most welcome. Apparently they really did read the responses to the feedback survey they circulated. For Bluetooth keyboard users though, there is a bug in this release where arrow keys won't read as you move your cursor. Hoping they get this fixed soon. Editing with the screen itself still works so it's an annoyance but not a complete show-stopper.
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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.