Smart phones and Accessibility

Mobile phones are becoming more accessible, thanks to developments in screenreader software. First, there was Apple making the iPhone accessible with the addition of VoiceOver. And now, there will soon be a screen reader available specially for the Blackberry smart phones. Many other 'Smart phones' may also soon be become more accessible. This page seeks to highlight some of the available phones and what they offer in terms of accessibility.

Image of a blackberry mobile phoneBlackberry

Humanware, a company specialising in assistive technology for the blind, has created a screen reader specially designed for the Blackberry, called — Orator. It was created in collaboration with two other companies: Research in Motion (RIM), who designed the line of Blackberry phones, and Code Factory, which designed Mobile Speak, a screen reader supported on many other Windows and Symbian phones.

Orator is designed so that all core blackberry applications are fully accessible. Many of the third party applications developed for the blackberry may also have the chance to become accessible. RIM has created an accessible applications interface, which, if third parties chose, can help them streamline the process for creating applications that the entire potential customer base can utilise, even if some of those customers have disabilities. (original article . . .)

Blackberry Storm v iPhone

Screenshot of iPhoneiPhone

The iPhone could be considered the leader in accessibility as far as accessibility features is concerned.

The latest iPhone 3G Currently offers:

  • Touchscreen (with speech feedback)
  • Voiceover screenreader (as on the Mac computer range)
  • Universal zoom, which magnifies the whole screen
  • White text on black background
  • Mono audio combines left and right, so that both ears can hear the sound
  • More information about iPhone accessibility features . . .
The iPhone can now also be used as a Communication Aid, thanks to a new App called Proloquo2go. (more information about Proloquo . . .)

Google G1 Android

Made by HTC, this G1 was unveiled circa September 2008. iAugComm on an Android phoneThe image shows a G1 with iAugComm AAC software installed.

The Daily Telegraph ( published an early review of the phone. Here is an extract from their review website:

' Although the reviewers were given only a few hours access to the HTC-made handset at its launch, and most of their conclusions are cautious, there appears to be emerging consensus. Namely that although the G1 is far from ground-breaking, it offers an operating system that could, with improvements, tempt users away from the Apple iPhone. You can click on the website names to read the reviews in full, and offer your own first impressions of the handset at the comment box at the bottom of the story. It doesn’t have quite the finish of the iPhone (both in terms of hardware or user interface), but it comes pretty **** close. And more importantly, it matches the iPhone on many fronts. It’s got GPS, WiFi, a touchscreen, an accelerometer, a camera, Gmail, Google Maps, a Webkit-based browser (just like Safari on the iPhone), and an App market.
Tech Crunch

From a hardware perspective, the G1 isn't a game changer. But under the hood, the Google Android software greatly improves the mobile Web experience for users, making it a compelling competitor to the Apple iPhone and a hands-down winner when compared with other smartphones.

While I was more impressed by the T-Mobile G1 than I thought I'd be, the list of catches for Android and the phone are quickly piling up - some that might very well be dealbreakers. Topping the list, it's tightly integrated with your Google account - so tightly that you can only use one Google account with the phone.

Read more extracts and see the original reviews at: . . .

Android 2.2 Accessibility features . . .

T-Mobile Google G1 Review

What is Android?

Android was developed by the Open Handset Alliance. Android was built from the ground-up to enable developers to create compelling mobile applications that take full advantage of all a handset has to offer. It was built to be truly open. For example, an application can call upon any of the phone's core functionality such as making calls, sending text messages, or using the camera, allowing developers to create richer and more cohesive experiences for users. Android is built on the open Linux Kernel. Furthermore, it utilizes a custom virtual machine that was designed to optimize memory and hardware resources in a mobile environment. Android is open source; it can be liberally extended to incorporate new cutting edge technologies as they emerge. The platform will continue to evolve as the developer community works together to build innovative mobile applications.

More about Android . . .

Free software which allows HTC Desire (Android) to sync with a Mac computer (iTunes etc) . . .



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