Code Factory has released version 1.0 of Mobile Accessibility, a suite of programs which aims to increase access to Android devices. The suite includes an accessible web browser, calendar, Email program, Where Am I? GPS tool, contacts manager, alarm program, phone dialer, and several other tools. A virtual keyboard and speech recognition make the suite usable on Android phones without a physical keyboard. Nuance Vocalizer voices are included and are used both inside the suite and for speech on the rest of the phone. Mobile Accessibility is not advertised as a full screen reader for Android, but it does nicely complement other accessible third-party apps that a are available, providing for a very usable and accessible solution for many previously unusable phones. It's available from the Android Market for 69 Euros, or about $95 U.S. currently. Check the link on this post to see Code Factory's product information page for the product. To listen to or view some audio and video demos of Mobile Accessibility, visit Code Factory's audio/video page.Source: Go to source
Once you have had a chance to experiment with this new suite, I would be interested to hear how this new solution, combined with other existing solutions you mention, stack up against Voiceover on the IPhone.
darknexus Thursday, 03-Mar-2011 12:03 AM ET:
The really sad thing is that, given the way Android is designed, this is the only thing Codefactory could do... and so much, by the way, for the rumored accessibility enhancements in Android 3.0. There's no way to implement a full screen reader for Android, since there's no way to query the system about the object you're looking at. Android's accessibility API is one-directional, i.e. access software can listen for events pushed to it, but cannot query an object that isn't focusable nor can an object be monitored. Apple's got them beat here, no question about that, and it's not even CF's fault. I don't know what they're doing over there at Google, but clearly they're doing the barest minimum they can get away with. And here we thought Microsoft were doing the bare minimum by coming out with Narrator, but at least they gave developers an accessibility API that can actually be used effectively.
RainParade Thursday, 03-Mar-2011 09:17 AM ET:
I didn't know that about Android accessibility. Can you refer me to an article that documents what you're saying about push vs. query? I really need to read up on this issue more. I get a lot of questions about Android accessibility but I confess I haven't explored it to the fullest.
darknexus Thursday, 03-Mar-2011 3:26 PM ET:
@rainparade: The Android accessibility API documentation is here: http://developer.android.com/reference/android/view/accessibility/package-summary.html And information on the accessibility service is here: http://developer.android.com/resources/samples/AccessibilityService/ The API is what the application developer would use to push events to the accessibility service, which is then monitored by the screen reader.
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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.