Mobile operating systems

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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Video on demand

Traditional video formats such as DVDs have been completely outpaced by video-on-demand services such as iTunes, Netflix, Google Play, Telstra Bigbond, Foxtel on Demand, and myriad streaming services. These allow users to purchase TV shows, movies and other content and play them on a mobile device, computer, or smart TV.

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US Government sets assistive app challenge

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A challenge announced last week by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) could see a suite of apps developed to help boost employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The goal of the app challenge is to increase employment levels for people with disabilities by promoting resources using accessible mobile technology to assist both employers and job seekers. 

Each app submitted to the challenge should achieve at least one of the following goals:

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Accessible Android applications

The following table summarises the applications created by the two leading developers of accessible Android applications: IDEAL and Project Eyes-Free. This is not an exhaustive list of accessible Android applications, and there will be other mainstream applications that are accessible.

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The Marvin shell

The Marvin shell is a simple, custom-built home screen for eyes-free use.* Marvin provides a single-touch user interface that not only provides access all Android applications on your device but also easy access to some Eyes-Free ‘mini apps’ such as an application that announces the time and date, or your current location.

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