The latest release of TalkBack, version 18.104.22.168, has now been pushed out for Android users. Despite the long version number, this is actually a major update with new features for web users, text editing and multipage views, among othres. Those testing Android N, the forthcoming version of the operating system, also get some love in this release including features which support the new multi-window mode that will be availavle. It's a free update and available now from Google Play. The complete release notes, as posted to the Eyes-free mailing list, are below.
Hello TalkBack users.
We are happy to announce the official release of TalkBack 22.214.171.124. We were waiting to send out the release notes until the update propagated to 100% in the Play Store.
Below is the list of new features and fixes that are specific for all supported versions of Android. The last section of this post is specific to Android N which is currently in developer preview. Since we know that some Eyes-free users have been testing Android N for some time, we thought to list updates for this version of Android as well.
The TalkBack Team
Here is a list of new features and fixed bugs in TalkBack 5.0.4.
• TalkBack now announces when no element of a given type exists on a web page. For example, if the user swipes to the next HTML heading but none is found, a message will be spoken to let them know about this.
• TalkBack now supports text editing in Chrome. We are aware that copy/cut/paste actions are still missing from the Local Context menu.
• TalkBack does not repeat the current element when auto-scrolling.
• TalkBack will now announce when the user is in a multi-page view and provide feedback as to what page they are located on (when swiping left and right with two fingers), for example, “page 1 of 3”, along with the name of the page (if provided by a developer via the contentDescription). An example can be seen in the Phone app.
• TalkBack now reports the text that has been selected, copied, cut or pasted.
• There is a new option in the Global Context Menu called “Copy Last Utterance to Clipboard”. This allows the user to copy the last-spoken phrase to clipboard for further processing, i.e. pasting into another app, etc.
• The list of custom actions can now be opened with a user-defined gesture, in the “manage gestures” screen. It is “unassigned” by default.
• The shortcuts in the “default” keyboard map can now be changed by the user.
• The “pages” navigation settings has been removed from TalkBack.
• The “speak caller ID” setting has been removed as we have no way of making this work consistently across devices.
• TalkBack now includes phonetic spelling tables for most of the languages supported by TalkBack.
• Italian, Czech, German and other translations have been corrected.
Support for N FEATURES specifically:
• TalkBack notifies the user when entering multi-window mode and identifies window names and their position on the screen (message: Hangouts on top, Messenger on bottom in portrait mode and “on left” and “on right” in landscape mode).
• In multi-window screen the user can swipe to the screen splitter and move it up or down using custom actions (swipe to the splitter and then access custom actions via the local context menu, swipe up, then right).
• When using external keyboard, it is possible to switch between opened windows with a shortcut key. In multi-window mode the shortcut key will switch between all active windows, in a single-window mode, the shortcut key will move between navigation bar, main screen and status bar only. Default shortcut key: CTRL+ALT+up/down arrows.
• Seek controls will now move in increments of 5% when changing their value with volume keys. On pre-N versions the seek bar would only move in increments of 20%.
• When focused on a seek control, going into the Local Context Menu will allow editing the value of a control discretely, i.e. the user can type in the exact value they want to set the seek bar to. On pre-N devices it is only possible to use volume keys to change the value of seek controls.
• Richer information about grids and lists will now be spoken, for example, “20 columns and 5 rows”.
• TalkBack will now soften the volume of another audio stream when, for example, playing a video in Youtube or another app. For this to work, the “focus speech audio” setting should be turned on in TalkBack Settings.
• TalkBack will now speak the number of characters in password fields, for example, “9 characters”. Previously, TalkBack did not speak anything as if the field was empty.
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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.