Mobile operating systems

Test of Android 4.4 KitKat on the Moto G smartphone

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We’re entering an era where cost doesn’t mean we have to compromise on accessibility. Last year, Motorola announced its $US179 Moto G smartphone. Here, Dr Scott Hollier, who is legally blind, road tests the device and Android’s latest operating system, KitKat.

As we reported in November, the Moto G is arguably the world’s cheapest accessible phone. And while the operating system that runs on it, Google Android, is not quite as good as Apple iOS, there are simple tricks you can use to ensure lower-cost Android phones and tablets suit your needs.


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An accessible smartphone for under $200

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Motorola has produced a smartphone that for $US179 carries all the accessibility features of premium models.

The Moto G, an Android phone, runs on Jelly Bean 4.3, but Motorola has stated that it will be upgraded to the most recent version, KitKat, in January. This means that the phone includes accessibility features such as Android’s built-in screen reader and screen magnifier. In addition, other apps can be installed to help you customise the phone to suit your needs.

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The Android accessibility journey: a vision impaired user perspective

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Despite the Apple iPhone leading in accessibility, many blind and vision impaired users eschew it in favour of Google Android phones. Dr Scott Hollier, who is legally blind, talks us through how he has made Android work for him.

In 2009 when the iPhone 3GS first appeared with a wealth of assistive features, it seemed like the Holy Grail of accessibility had been achieved. Before its launch the words ‘touch screen’ were often followed by ‘inaccessible’. But all of this changed when Apple bundled in the VoiceOver screen reader, the Zoom screen magnifier and the high contrast features into iOS.  

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Apple’s ‘budget’ iPhone 5C still not affordable

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Apple unveiled its iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C at this week’s launch, with many disappointed about the pricing of its very first ‘budget’ phone, the iPhone 5C. Despite being regarded as one of the most accessible smartphones to people with disabilities, Apple’s smartphones still remains expensive in comparison to others on the market.

Leading up to the announcement, it was hoped that the lower cost iPhone 5C would allow low income earners access to a smartphone with impressive accessibility features. This would have been a significant development for Australians with disabilities.

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