Mobile operating systems

Samsung Galaxy S4 accessibility

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Samsung’s latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, was launched on Friday with Samsung claiming the device would “bury” its biggest rival, the iPhone 5. Samsung announced a suite of new features, including some that have benefits for people with a disability such as eye-tracking, enhanced gestures and improvements to the voice-activated assistant, S Voice.

Samsung is yet to release a list of the phone’s key specifications, including which assistive technologies it includes. The Galaxy S4 runs on the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system which comes with a screen magnifier, screen reader and gesture mode by default. However, as Android is open source, manufacturers such as Samsung can pick and choose which features they include. This explains the wide inconsistencies in levels of accessibility across Android smartphones and tables.

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Top take-aways from CSUN 2013

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The world’s largest accessible technology conference took place in San Diego, California last week. The Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, commonly known as CSUN, showcases emerging technologies set to make an impact over the coming years. Here, Dr Scott Hollier details his favourites.

The open web: where consumer products meet web standards

A big focus of presentations this year was the convergence of consumer products with web standards. This means that more products will be designed in an accessible way that works better with the accessibility features on popular devices.

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Winners of the inaugural Golden Apple awards

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AppleVis has announced the winners of its first ever Golden Apple awards, celebrating innovations that enable and empower blind and vision impaired Apple users. The winners were determined by popular vote amongst AppleVis readers.

The Golden Apple went to Fleksy, an app which uses advanced predictive text software to allow accurate typing even without looking at the screen. The app also took out the award for Best iOS App of 2012 and earned its developers, Syntellia, Developer of the Year.


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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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