Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Top 10 Stories of 2011: 8. A Major Android Leap Forward

We're continuing our look at the top stories of 2011. Our panel of Blind Bargains and Serotek contributors each independently submitted their votes for the top stories of the year. This year's panel included Joe Steinkamp, Jamie Pauls, Kevin Reeves, Matt McCubbin, and J.J. Meddaugh. Here are our earlier stories in case you missed them. We're counting down the top stories of the year over the next week, and will announce the number one live on Serospectives next Thursday. Number 8 takes us to the land of desserts.

To say this has been a rollercoaster year for Google in terms of accessibility would be an understatement. No company perhaps has been both praised and condemned more for their decisions or lack of decisions involving access to website services, computers, and Android. So when Google sought feedback from users during a focus group at CSUN and spoke of change at this summer's conventions, there was naturally many skeptics in the crowd. But Ice Cream sandwich, the latest iteration of the Android operating system, has at least proved that real progress is being made.

Google has started to address some of the major weaknesses in Android accessibility by enabling touch-screen exploration, the ability to independently turn on accessibility, and adding additional support for developers which should soon allow for braille display support, among other things. While there are still improvements to be made, the number of Google employees who appear to be tackling accessibility problems seems to be increasing rapidly. The hope of a companywide accessibility vision will still take time (exhibit A, the inaccessible Google currents app), but even Apple isn't perfect (exhibit B, the iOS productivity suite including Numbers and Pages).

Access to Android is important because the operating system is the most used in the mainstream community and it along with Apple gives blind people access to the top two mobile platforms. Android phones are also available for virtually every wireless carrier, allowing customers freedom of choice when it comes to choosing a wireless provider. We look forward to the future progress of Google's desserts in 2012. Ice cream sandwich is number 8 on our list of the top stories of 2011. Check back next time for number 7.

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.

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