Tablets

Mobile technology and disability at the M-enabling conference

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The Australian Communications Consumer Network (ACCAN) has announced the major speakers at the M-enabling Australasia Conference. The event will bring together consumers, government and industry, and focus on how mobile devices, operating systems and apps can be made more accessible for people with disability.

The program, the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere, is designed to cater to the interests of people with a disability, policy makers, device manufacturers and software developers.


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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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NVDA adapted for Windows 8

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The popular free screen reader Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) has been adapted for use on computers with Microsoft Windows 8, including touch screen devices such as tablets and hybrid ultrabooks.

As Windows 8 focuses much more closely on the experience with touch, Microsoft has now ensured that assistive technologies can fully process touch input, and therefore provide a suitable touch experience for blind users. NVDA has been modified to allow it to receive input from a touchscreen that allows the user to not only read what is on the screen simply by tapping or dragging their finger, but also to activate other NVDA-specific commands or move around the operating system by object navigation.

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Windows 8 released with enhanced accessibility

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Microsoft has today launched Windows 8 and its tablet version, Windows RT, the latest operating system for computers and tablets. Rather than simply building on its predecessor, Windows 7, today’s releases overhaul the operating system’s design. 

As well as new features intended to help Microsoft compete with Apple and Google Android, such as an app store, Windows 8 is the first version since Windows 2000 to include radically enhanced access features.  


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