Smartphones

VoiceOver saved in Apple, Samsung patent battle

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Apple's screen reader VoiceOver has been saved from being removed from Apple devices, after a German court ruled against Samsung's claim that VoiceOver breached one of its patents. The ruling comes as a relief to the blind and vision impaired community.

VoiceOver is an assistive tool that interprets text on screen and delivers this information back to the user in audible form. This enables blind users to navigate and access apps on their device. When VoiceOver was first introduced in iOS devices in 2009, it became an affordable alternative to other commercial screen readers.

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Assistive Android apps recognised

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The Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards were held yesterday in Belgium to celebrate innovative apps for Android smartphones designed to make things easier for people with a disability.

Funded by the Vodafone Foundation and supported by the European Disability Forum, the awards recognised apps in four categories: Wellbeing, Independent Living, Social Participation and Mobility. As phones which run on Android are generally less accessible than the Apple iPhone, encouraging Android developers to consider the needs of disabled users is very worthwhile.

Below are the winners and runners-up in each category:


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Indoor mapping to increase mobility for blind users

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Increasing the independence of people who are blind or vision impaired could be possible through indoor mapping technology, according to experts who attended last week's Indoor Positioning and Indoor Navigation (IPIN) conference. Held at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the conference brought together electronics, surveying and informatics experts to discuss the potential of indoor mapping, including how it could enhance the independence and mobility of people who are blind or vision impaired.

Thomas Gallagher, a researcher at UNSW, told the Sydney Morning Herald that indoor mapping technologies could further increase the independence of blind and vision impaired users, similar to how global positioning system (GPS) technology helps people navigate outdoor spaces.

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Apple iOS 6 accessibility

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The release of iOS 6, the latest version of Apple's operating system for mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad, has come with new features that improve accessibility.

There are a number of new features that have been introduced by the iOS software update. These include:


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