For the longest time, Talkback has been the only good and useful screen reader on Android — though this was not always the case. Senior Android users might fondly recall Spiel, which was alive around 2011 last, a screen reader that even surpassed Talkback in functionality and speed. Google then suddenly changed the entire framework for how accessibility is done on their platform, and Spiel was no more. Although current compiled releases of it can be run successfully even under Android 5.1, the code is not often maintained and needs a lot of work to be a daily driver.
Late last month, We wrote about a brand new version of Talkback , Google’s screen reader for mobile devices. Fresh out of the Googleplex, it tried to fool us by using a minor version number which in reality included numerous major enhancements.
So, let’s start things off with a couple of questions… When was the last time you as a blind or visually impaired person went into your mobile carrier’s store and purchased a new device? What was the experience like? Was it smooth as silk or was it a bit awkward? If the latter, that’s typical when a sighted sales rep deals with a blind or visually impaired person. The experience I had yesterday, on the other hand could not have gone better, and I’d like to share it with you folks as an example of what the ideal interaction should be like between a blind/visually impaired customer and their mobile carrier.
By this point, Android users are quite accustomed to the version number of their beloved screen reader jumping from minor to major numbers without much consolation. For example, our jump from 3.5.x to 4.0 only introduced lollipop specific device compatibility, nothing too tangible for the average user.
Microsoft promised us that they would provide more frequent Windows 10 preview updates? For the most adventurous, the company is delivering on that with a brand new release today, numbered 10049. For now, it is only being sent out to those using the “fast ring” of the update mechanism, so users who prefer to still remain on the track of stability should stick to the slow branch.
Windows 10 has been building up slowly to a spectacular launch later this year, and the enthusiasm of transparency which Microsoft has demonstrated is no joke.
Here at Cool Blind Tech, we attempt our best to cover technology from not only every platform possible, but also every angle and perspective. In the coming weeks, we will be exploring an in-depth look at a segment of the tech world known by many, but only understood by a few. From podcast demos to future articles, this is just the beginning. Join us as we take an in-depth journey into the depths of operating systems in a way that even beginners will be able to understand.
If you are using Android, no doubt part of you enjoys the platform do to the high degree of customization it can provide. From your launchers to text messaging apps, and even notification managers to the way your phone presents web content… Wait, that can be changed too?
Windows10 Technical Preview for phones is now available for the following devices: Lumia 630, 635, 638, 730, and 830.