Devices

OwnFone launches ‘world's first braille mobile phone’ in Australia

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OwnFone has launched a braille-based mobile phone for blind and vision impaired users in Australia—a world-first, according to the mobile technology company.

By combining a three dimensional (3D) printing system and customisable, blank mobile devices, OwnFone allows customers to design a mobile phone with up to three contact names and numbers, which are automatically converted into braille buttons on the front of the device.

The phone features a single button dialling system, with pre-programmed options to call emergency services and contacts of the customer’s choice, including family, friends or carers.

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Spanish website provides accessibility reviews of smartphones

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Spanish organisation Fundación ONCE has created a website, Amóvil, designed to provide accessibility reviews of popular European smartphones.

Amóvil is a Spain-based initiative designed to help people with disabilities find a smartphone that suits their needs and preferences. It allows users to search for a particular model of smartphone and then read reviews about the device and its accessibility features.

The search function allows users to search by accessibility type, such as features only applicable to blind users, hard of hearing users and low vision users.

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Winners of US Awards for Advancement in Accessibility announced

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America’s communications regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the winners of the 2014 FCC Chairman Awards for Advancement in Accessibility.

The awards, presented at the M-Enabling Summit, seek to recognise innovators who develop communications technology for people with disabilities.

This year, seven award categories were available, including Advanced Communication Services (ACS), Employment Opportunities, Closed Captions, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Mobile Web Browsers, Social Media and Video Description.

The winners were:


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Tech companies urged to address ‘untapped billion’ disabled users

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Mobile device manufacturers have been urged to better address a great untapped market that is globally worth US$8 trillion a year — people with a disability and their immediate friends and families.

According to the recently published Accessibility White Paper, authored by Lewis Insight and commissioned by telecommunications company Telefonica, there are as many as one billion people worldwide with a disability.

However, these people — largely people with hearing, vision, learning, cognitive and physical impairments — have been under-addressed by technology manufacturers.

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Apple Yosemite and iOS8 accessibility roundup

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Apple this week announced the launch of its new Mac operating system, Yosemite, and its new mobile operating system, iOS 8, at its annual developer conference.

The new operating systems have a range of accessibility features, such as Spotlight which makes web searches and launching applications and documents easier for people with motor-related disabilities, and a ‘dark mode’ which switches black text on a white background to white text on a black background, aiding people with vision-related disabilities.


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