eReaders

Accessibility added to Kindle Fire as blind group plans protest

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Amazon has announced it will add accessibility features to its Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets, increasing access to content on the tablets for blind and vision impaired users. This comes after the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) in the US announced it would stage a protest against Amazon's plan to push the use of its Kindle devices and eBooks at schools.

Running on a version of Google's Android operating system, the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD (both 7 and 8.9) tablets will include text-to-speech technology, a voice guide, and the ability to change text size and colour. These accessibility features will be available on the tablets in early 2013.

The tablets allow users to access content on Amazon such as music, games, apps, magazines and eBooks, as well as browse the web through a WiFi connection. Kindle Fire uses standard definition while Kindle Fire HD uses high definition.


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In it together: NVDA gets help from Adobe on PDF compatibility

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Adobe has announced it is working with NV Access to improve the accessibility of its Portable Document Files (PDFs) with the free, open source screen reader NVDA.

According to a statement on the Adobe website, Adobe will help NV Access, the team behind NVDA, to improve the way the screen reader interacts with Adobe’s PDFs. In addition to PDFs, Adobe will help NV Access improve how its screen reader works with eBooks viewed in the Adobe Digital Editions software.

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New Kindle Fire disappoints on accessibility

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Amazon, the world’s most popular online ebook store, has updated its Kindle ebook readers with the release of four new models. The three cheaper e-ink models retain the accessibility of the previous Kindle, However, the flagship Android-based tablet/ereader hybrid, Kindle Fire, has proven disappointing for people with disabilities.

The Kindle Fire, priced at $US199, is likely to provide strong competition to the iPad due to its similar functionality, compatibility with Amazon’s ebook, music and streaming video services, and its remarkable affordability.  As with many tablet computers, the device can connect to a Wi-Fi point and provide access to a variety of online material through its built-in Web browser, access to a variety of music and allow the storage of ebooks. Its touch screen, a significant step forward from the previous Kindle, is likely to prove popular with consumers who like the iPad-style experience.

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Transcript: how do Apple and Google compare?

Roberta: Both Apple and Google have received a lot of attention about the accessibility of their mobile operating systems, iOS and Android. Today we are joined in the studio by Sarah Pulis, Manager of Digital Media and Technology, from Media Access Australia, who’s going to talk to us about the different approaches that Apple and Google have taken in their mobile operating systems and what this means for you. Welcome, Sarah.

Sarah: Thanks very much, Roberta.

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