(02/03/2011) Mobile Accessibility: Code Factory Goes Android!
Features Touchscreen Navigation, Speech Recognition, Web and Email Access, and Nuance’s Vocalizer® Text-to-Speech
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Terrassa (Barcelona), Spain, March 2nd, 2011
Today, Code Factory is delighted to introduce Mobile Accessibility, a screen-access application that allows people who are blind or have low vision to use an Android phone in an intuitive, easy and simple way. Mobile Accessibility is the first accessible Android application that permits intuitive touchscreen navigation of Android phones, featuring text readback via natural sounding voices powered by Nuance’s Vocalizer® text-to-speech technology.
“Mobile phones have proved to be among the fastest-changing consumer technologies in the world – particularly with the advent of the Android platform. So making mobile phones accessible to the blind and visually impaired is therefore challenging, fascinating, thrilling and totally exciting all at the same time,” explained Eduard Sánchez, Code Factory’s CEO. “There was no doubt that we would target the Android platform, as we very quickly realized that there was a real need in this specific market for an accessible solution that can provide a user-friendly experience for all blind and low-vision consumers. Mobile Accessibility allows everyone, from beginners to the most tech-savvy, to use an Android phone, no matter if it has physical keys or is touchscreen-only.”
Mobile Accessibility is two products in one:
- A suite of 10 accessible applications (Phone, Contacts, SMS, Alarm, Calendar, Email, Web, Where am I, Apps and Settings) that have been specially designed for the blind and visually impaired. They all have a simplified interface whose textual information is spoken using Nuance Vocalizer® voice synthesis.
- A screen reader that allows users to get out of the suite and navigate the standard interface of their phone.
“Mobile Accessibility provides both access to the mainstream apps of the phone and access to special apps for blind people. Why? Because our philosophy has always been to allow our users to use the phone the same way as everyone else. However, we also believe that having some special apps for the most common tasks can be extremely useful if it means gaining in productivity,” added Eduard Sánchez.
The major features of Mobile Accessibility are the following:
- Touch navigation: You can use Mobile Accessibility not only with the trackball or the physical keyboard of your phone, but also with its touchscreen! Simply move your finger around the screen and the voice synthesis will read the text located under your finger. Or if you prefer, you can also swipe up/down/right/left and tap on the screen to navigate through the interface. And if you wish you can enable sound and vibration feedback.
- Easy to input text: In or outside the Mobile Accessibility suite you can use the touch QWERTY keyboard as well as the speech recognition to write text quickly and easily. Imagine writing an SMS or an Email using your voice only.
- Voice synthesis: Code Factory has been making mobile phones accessible to the blind and visually impaired for many years now, and they know that the voice matters... and a lot! For Mobile Accessibility, Code Factory has partnered with Nuance® to leverage its trusted Vocalizer text-to-speech technology, providing consumers with natural sounding voice readback.
“With around 314 million visually impaired persons around the world, we believe that it’s our joint obligation to facilitate access to information and mobile communication to everyone” says Arnd Weil, VP & General Manager Automotive / Consumer Electronics, Nuance Communications. “By offering screen reader functionality for Android phones using Nuance Vocalizer, Code Factory gives blind and visually impaired persons access to one of the most important mobile platforms with the market’s most natural sounding and intelligible voices.”
Inside the Mobile Accessibility suite of accessible applications you can do the following:
- Phone: Make calls, answer calls, hear the caller ID and manage your call log.
- Contacts: Manage your contacts, even those from social networks such as Facebook.
- SMS: Compose and read short messages. Manage conversations.
- Alarms: Set your alarms.
- Web: Full web browser experience, similar to what you can find on your PC. Jump by the control of your choice (links, paragraphs, headings, forms, etc.) to navigate faster to the information of your interest. Bookmark your favourite webpages.
- Calendar: Create, edit and delete a calendar entry. View all events per day, week or month.
- Email: Full access to your Gmail account
- Where am I? : GPS application that gives you updates on your current location.
- Settings: Change ringtone. Configure feedback and notifications (vibration or audio). Configure keyboard echo, punctuation verbosity, speech pitch and rate, etc.
- Quick access to date and time, phone status information such as battery level and network coverage, number of missed calls and unread messages, etc.
To hear Mobile Accessibility in action listen to videos and audio demos at http://www.codefactory.es/en/products.asp?id=415#video
Mobile Accessibility supports all Android phones from version 2.1 and above. Please note that voice recognition is only supported with version 2.2 and above. Note also that if you want to use the screen reader functionality of Mobile Accessibility you will need a phone with physical navigational controls such as a trackball or trackpad. You can find more information about Android phones at http://www.google.com/phone/#manufacturer=all&category=all&carrier=all&country=all&reset_filters=1
At the time of this release Mobile Accessibility is only available in English, but soon Code Factory will release other versions of Mobile Accessibility for Spanish, Italian, German, French and Portuguese. Note that Mobile Accessibility doesn’t support multiple languages at one time. If you buy the English version of Mobile Accessibility you will not be able to use it in another language like French or Spanish. There will be a specific version of Mobile Accessibility for each language and each version will have to be purchased separately.
You can now get a Mobile Accessibility Demo from the Android Market and try the product for free for 30 days:
- Mobile Accessibility Demo US: https://market.android.com/details?id=es.codefactory.android.app.ma.vocalizerenudemo&feature=search_result
- Mobile Accessibility Demo UK: https://market.android.com/details?id=es.codefactory.android.app.ma.vocalizerengdemo&feature=search_result
Soon Mobile Accessibility will be available for purchase through the Android Market at the price of 69 EUROS. You can purchase the application directly from the Market application of your Android phone, or from the web page https://market.android.com. Before buying the app make sure to check out our website at http://www.codefactory.es/en/products.asp?id=415 to see what carriers offer the product for free to their customers.
To learn how to use Mobile Accessibility for Android, please consult the user guide at http://www.codefactory.es/MA/en/ma_1_0_manual.html. For technical assistance, please submit a ticket through Code Factory’s Help Desk at http://www.codefactory.cat/helpdesk/.
For more information about Mobile Accessibility and Code Factory subscribe to the Mobile Accessibility mailing list at http://www.codefactory.es/en/list.asp?id=88, visit our website at http://www.codefactory.es or follow the company on Twitter at http://twitter.com/codefactory and use the hashtag #MobileAccessibility to talk about Mobile Accessibility.
About Code Factory
Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Terrassa (Barcelona), Spain, Code Factory is the global leader committed to the development of products designed to eliminate barriers to the accessibility of mobile technology for the blind and visually impaired. Today, Code Factory is the leading provider of accessible mobile applications such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, and Braille interfaces. Code Factory’s products are compatible with the widest range of mainstream mobile devices running on Symbian, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry Smartphones, and Android. Among Code Factory's customers are well known organizations for the blind such as ONCE in Spain, and carriers such as AT&T, Bouygues Telecom, SFR, TIM and Vodafone.
About Nuance Communications, Inc.
Nuance is a leading provider of speech and imaging solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Its technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with information and how they create, share and use documents. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses experience Nuance’s proven applications and professional services. For more information, please visit: nuance.com.