Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Top 10 Stories of 2015: 6. These Are The Droid Apps You Are Looking For

The ballots are in and the votes have been tallied. It's time to count down the top 10 biggest and most influential stories of 2015. This year's panel included Jeff Bishop, Shelly Brisbin, Ricky Enger, Chancey Fleet, J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, and Joe Steinkamp. You can go here for our previous stories
Each panelist gave us their opinions on the biggest stories in assistive technology and we've compiled their votes to create our annual list. We'll reveal a new story each day on the way to number one and announce the winner on the next Blind Bargains Qast. Our 6th story of the year may prove to be more relevant than some might initially think when the word "Android" is mentioned.

One of 2015's biggest stories may end up playing a major role in a huge story for 2016 if current rumors are to be believed. Apple rumor sites are reporting that the company is considering the removal of the 3.5 millimeter headphone jack from the upcoming release of the iPhone 7.
Some have speculated that this removal is to force adoption of Apple's Beats audio line
while others suggest the move is to improve the sound quality of Apple Music.
Social media ran with these rumors and then went off like new year's fireworks with some even wondering if they could move to Android

if faced with the need to get a Lightning to 3.5 jack adaptor with their shiny new iPhones. As improbable as a mass migration to Google's platform might seem, the age old debate from those who have considered switching before has been "Are the Blindness apps I want even on Android?". And for the first time in Android's history the answer is probably "yes" for most users.

2015 saw the tipping point of the seesaw lean towards more parity with iOS with stalwarts like NLS Bard, KNFB Reader and VoiceDream Reader all making their way to the Google Play Store. This illustrious group join apps like Diceworld and APH's Nearby Explorer GPS who have been residing on Google Play for some time. Combine this app selection with recent changes in Google's Talkback with its reliance on context list menus, and less on the circle based UI used during the Gingerbread and Kit Katt years, and you get an access platform maturing into a viable alternative for some gadget buyers. One major sticking point sadly pops up with Android when it comes to Braille. However, Google's Brailleback was recently updated with UEB support. Hopefully this trend continues in 2016 as the community truly needs alternatives when it comes to reliance upon the major mainstream tech companies for access on a daily basis.

Is there still a "must-have" app for you on iOS that needs to make its way over to the Play Store before you would consider an Android device? If so, let us know in the comments section below or send us a line in an email

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Joe Steinkamp is no stranger to the world of technology, having been a user of video magnification and blindness related electronic devices since 1979. Joe has worked in radio, retail management and Vocational Rehabilitation for blind and low vision individuals in Texas. He has been writing about the A.T. Industry for 15 years and podcasting about it for almost a decade.

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