[tabi] Fw: [fcb-l] Android for the blind versus iPhone.

  • From: "Easy Talk" <Easytalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2013 11:57:55 -0500

Thought some might be interested.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Easy Talk 
To: fcb-l@xxxxxxx 
Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2013 11:56 AM
Subject: Fw: [fcb-l] Android for the blind versus iPhone.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Easy Talk 
To: Mostafa ; "Undisclosed-Recipient:;"@mail2.acb.org 
Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2013 10:44 AM
Subject: Re: [fcb-l] Android for the blind versus iPhone.

Hi Mostafa,

Hopefully this info will help you make the best decision for your needs and 
want spark a debate between which phone is best apple or android.  How ever 
when I am done you will certainly know which camp I am from.

First of all the Iphones lock you in to not much choice of the hardware,  
operating system and phone carrier you will use. There are many manufactures of 
smart phones that run various versions of android and offer a wide variety of 
hardware options.  Iphones use the Arm processors where as android phones use 
qualcom snap dragon and Nvidia Tegra processors which are faster than Arm 
processors.  Iphones are limited in the quality of the cameras where as the 
android phones give you a wider range and this is very important if you plan to 
use your phone with camera intensive apps.  For example, there is a OCR app 
called scan thing that is accessible but requires at least a 5 MP camera and 
does even better with a 8 MP camera.

The Ios system is a closed operating system which means you only get what Apple 
wants you to have where as the android OS is Open Source which means third 
party developers can customize the operating system and add features that may 
not be in the original os. The down side of this is that some third party 
developers may add features that aren't accessible to blind users.  In most 
cases when this happens, you can usually find an app that can replace the 
offending app and get around the problem.  For example I have a HTC One s and 
the custom internet and contact manager wasn't accessible.  I installed Fire 
Fox and a program called Acontact which are both accessible.

The choice of hardware is also important.  Here are some reasons.  Many of the 
android phones have what are called composite buttons meaning they are physical 
buttons usually located at the bottom of the screen and are always there no 
matter what you are doing on the phone.  Generally they are back, home and 
recent apps. You can not physically tell they are there tactilely and they 
generally don't speak, but if the hardware in your phone supports Haptic 
vibration, then as you move your finger over one of them, you will fill a short 
vibration.  Also many of the android phones use what is called a proximity 
sensor and android uses this feature to stop speech.  Many Android apps also 
use this feature for various things such as shaking the phone to answer a 
incoming call or placing the phone in a certain position to activate the 
speaker phone.
 With android phones you also have different screen sizes and are generally 
larger than those found on the Iphones.  This means you have more screen 
relistate so items are easier to manage especially if you have large hands and 

I find the user interface on Android to be simpler and easier to use than the 
Iphones.  This varies depending on which 
Android Os you are using.  Currently the two current systems in use are Ice 
Cream Sandwich and Jelly bean.  With ICS, basically you slide your finger to 
the item of interest and tap once on that item.  To scroll, you use two fingers 
slightly spread to slide up or down the screen.  You use two fingers to slide 
to the right or left to change screens.  A tap and hold brings up the context 
menu for a particular item.  Things get a little more complicated in Jelly Bean 
since a host of new features were added for accessibility in Talk Back the 
stock screen reader that comes with Android.  All the new Gestures are called 
angle gestures. There are 16 combinations.  Not all angle jestures are assigned 
to actions so you can assign the unused ones to meet  your needs.  Angle 
gestures mean you might slide your finger down and to the right which takes you 
to the home screen.  Others are slide your finger up and right, finger up and 
left ect.  To me that is easier than trying to remember if you use 1, 2, 3, or 
four fingers to tap, slide up, slide down, slide left or right and oh yes do I 
tap 1, 2, or 3 times as with the Iphones.

Now let's look at accessibility.  Both have built in screen readers and have 
established guide lines to make apps accessible.  Most certainly the Apple 
products were the first and most likely that is why you see more blind people 
with Iphones.  In the last year and a half Android has made leaps and bounds in 
accessibility. Siri was the new rave on the Iphones but with Jelly Bean it may 
have to take a back seet to Google Now voice actions.  Peoples opinions will 
vary as to which is best but unless things have changed Siri requires you to 
have a internet connection in order to work but Android Voice actions can 
search your phone with out a internet connection.  Android also has a feature 
called the notification bar that gives you information from various apps 
installed on the phone even when the screen is turned off.  You can determine 
which notifications you want to hear.  For example I use Cnn news and when 
there is a braking story I am told immediately.  Some other things you can be 
notified about are weather and the arrival of new mail. With Jelly Bean both 
now offer Braille support.

Another important factor is the phone provider you want to use.  With Iphones 
it's ATnT or Verizon
 unless you purchase an unlocked phone from apple which you will pay a premium 
for. Most phone providers offer Android phones with a range of hardware options 
and if you are renewing your contract, you can get one much less expensive than 
a Iphones.  Some of the pay as you go providers even offer lower end android 
phones that are accessible. Some of the popular Android phones used by blind 
people are the Samsung Galaxy S3 from Verizon and ATnT which are locked and the 
Nexus 4 which is a vanilla unlocked android phone and can only be purchased 
from Google.  The nexus 4 is most likely the most accessible Android phone and 
can be used on any phone network right out of the box.  Since it is a Google 
product, it will get new system updates much faster than phones that depend on 
the provider to push the upgrades.  However it isn't the best hardware 
configuration.  The Samsung and HTC models currently offer the fastest 
processors and highest resolution cameras.  Most Android phones from phone 
providers haven't been upgraded to Jelly Bean yet but should be upgraded soon.  
I am pretty sure the Samsung s3 from ATnT has been updated to Jelly Bean.

Here is a list of accessible android apps and descriptions.
Darwin Wallet currency identifier
The Voice of Android, GPS tracking, color identifier, Light detection.
Eyes free keyboard accessible keyboard for Ice Cream Sandwich only. not needed 
by jelly Bean
Eyes Free Shell, can replace the home screen for phones that don't have 
accessible home screens.
Fire Fox, internet browser
K-nine mail, email
Acontact, contact manager
CNN news
Etrade, stock tracking
Bank of America, banking app.
Jeanie, $1.94  Voice search, best for ICS not needed for Jelly Bean.
Scanthing $5.12 OCR, uses dedicated server for recognition takes about 15 
seconds for results. need at least a 5 MP camera.
Google Goggles, takes picture and gives description.

Most of the apps on my HTC One S were accessible out of the box such as Google 
Maps, My location, FM radio, and music player.
Hope this helps you choose Android,!!!!smile 




  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Mostafa 
  To: "Undisclosed-Recipient:;"@mail2.acb.org 
  Sent: Friday, January 04, 2013 1:55 PM
  Subject: [fcb-l] Android for the blind versus iPhone.

  Hello. Cellphone adaptive technology for the blind is varying. There are 
various compatible platforms to try. But, it's quite obvious that there are two 
major competitors now in the market. Android, and iPhone. Well, without 
mentioning further details of their pros and cons, I have some queries which I 
demand them to be answered sufficiently. I have no intention for expressing 
commercials. I am frugal, and I just am about to substitute my cellphone with 
another one. But I am virtually uncertain of what to choose. I quite comprehend 
that iPhone has constantly been the first blind choice when it comes to 
sophisticated smartphones. I am currently using a humble symbian based 
cellphone with Talks. For those who use it or were using it for a period of 
time, they perfectly fathom that its license isn't cheap. Therefore, I am 
asking, is it worth it to go ahead and get an iPhone? What are the advantages 
and disadvantages of obtaining Android with either Mobile Accessibility or 
  How convenient Android Apps versus iPhone ones?
  Any suggestion or recommend, that tremendously would be appreciated. Mostafa. 


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