February maybe one of the shortest months of the year, however, it doesn’t seem to be a quiet month for Android fans. Google’s buying, selling and updating like crazy and we try to encapsulate the month’s recent news in this episode. Plus, Ana provides an interview with another Android Developer, a discussion on recent critical articles on Android’s accessibility and of course your feedback in the overflowing Mailbag.
In The News:
Steve notes that you have to suspend TalkBack first, try Crazy Bat
Developer Interview: PDF To Speech Pro
Ana sits down to discuss the parels of development with PDF, alternative formats and the challenges of keeping up with so many changes to it all over so many years. don’t miss this inside look at one of the veteran apps for TalkBack users. Also, not listed here, this app is also available for Amazon kindle users via the Amazon App Market.
App Demo: PDF To Speech
Ana calls this PDF To Speech “a media player for books”. And she may just be right. With options for so many formats, voices and gestures, you will see why this app is one of the best options for those who use TalkBack to read various text formats.
Discussion topic: Android Development Accessibility
The team sits down to discuss recent articles from Marco and Chris about their views on Android Development and how accessible these development tools are. To follow along with the discussion, check out these articles: From Chris: Testing Android Accessibility: I Give Up
Marco, previously interviewed on our show, has some info up about the challenges encounterd with firefox for Android
Be sure to send in your thoughts on these articles, or on our discussion of these articles, in an iReport or email. We’d like to hear what our audience has to say about all this. Who knows, your comments could be featured in an upcoming show!
Our first email is from Kelsey:
“Hi Guys, I just want to start off with a big thank you for all the great work you include in your Android podcasts and wish you all the best for 2014… bring it on podcast 25! My main topic is about Android – specifically, the Nexus 7.
I’m a dedicated iOS user; I started off with an iPod Touch 4, merged to the iPhone 4 when my Owasys 22c
blind phone broke down and now have an iPhone 4S. However, I took a risk just before the new year and dived into Android with the Google Nexus 7. This was after reading many articles with blind people moaning about how awful Android was compared to iOS and how it should be killed or destroyed or beaten up but I decided that I would decide for myself thank you very much. After un-boxing the Nexus 7 (which happened to fly across the room when I finally persuaded it to rather violently pop out of the box), I managed to set it up with TalkBack with no sighted assistance – one aspect I was very impressed with. I checked out the TalkBack tutorial and got my head around the basics. Next, I updated it to 4,4,2 KitKat and then set to work. The first thing I did was go to the Play Store, go to my iPhone and see which of the applications on my phone were available on the Nexus 7. I found a few and then went with the ones I knew.
Plume for Twitter just didn’t do it for me so I soon uninstalled that. I think that may be because I’m so used to checking Twitter on Twitterrific (a big shout-out to those guys) that I just couldn’t get used to doing it on the Nexus. It took me a while to hunt down what I think is one of the most important aspects of getting a new device – a case. Eventually, I chose a wired keyboard case with has a keyboard sewn into the case and room for the tablet to stand on top. I was very impressed with the ease of touch typing on a 7 inch physical keyboard. So, about four weeks into this Android experience, my reaction is far from
I'm a iPhone-ian... Get Me out of Here. I’m more in the
Android-ian Idol. I’m loving the Google Play / KitKat experience and I think I’ve found the key to why people are so reluctant to accept Android after using an iDevice. Android is different. It is a very unique experience and user interface compared to any operating system – mobile or desktop – that I have ever seen but once you get that idea and learn the way it works, it is so easy to learn about Android. And to be honest, your device isn’t exactly going to explode in your hands so you need to explore, customise and exercise your thirst for adventure. Try it in different situations, see how it works for you in day to day life and see if it fits your needs. Also, we Android people all seem to stare at people who say that Android is rubbish but we also have to accept that it is not going to be for everyone just as Windows is not going to be for everyone and nor is OS 10. Finally, I do have a few questions about Android (yes, hello Jo). Do you have any applications that may help me in day to day life? I’m talking about Twitter applications (I’m still open to that idea). How about other cool applications, mainstream or blindness specific? Really, free applications are for me as I’m under a tight budget but I’m interested all round. I’ve currently got iBlink Radio, Accapella TTS, WordPress, Skype, BBC News, BBC Weather, CamFind, Kindle, Hatchi, StemStumper and TuneIn Radio. Also, I know the basic gestures: flicks, double-taps, single-tap option, scrolling with left right flick, two finger scroll and the two-part, rightangle gestures. Is there any of gestures that I’m missing here? Well, thanks for your help guys and keep going with the good work. All hands on deck for promoting Android accessibility to all around!!!!
Thanks for that awesome report. Ana did a good job about describing gestures last year. moreover, most of the apps we’ve discussed over the years are still pretty much useable with Android [barring if they have not been abandoned by the Developer]. Take a look through our archives to see if any past recommendations strike your fancy.
Next, thoughts from Mike Arigo …
“I mainly wanted to agree with something Steve said on this show. I also wish developers would pay more attention to android. I too wish the developer of blind square would develope a version for android. The number of blind android users is continuously growing, and to say there is not enough blind android users is simply wrong. Hopefully developers will stop treating android like a second class platform and give it as much attention as they do on IOS.”
Wise words sir. Now we turn to an email from Christene.
“To Whom It May Concern, I am looking at getting the Samsung as my next cell phone. However, I understand that there is a new Samsung phone coming out in March. Here are some questions that I have they are as follows. What do you think of the Samsung mini cell phone? Also what do you think of the regular size Samsung cell phone? I would appreciate any information that you may be able to provide in this matter.
Thank you for your time regarding this matter.
Whenever someone considers a Samsung device, in the realm of android, the reality of it coming with Touch Wiz has to be considered. Unless, as some do, you choose the Google Play editions of a device that sports stock android instead of Touch Wiz. If you aare a low vision user, then you may find touch Wiz’s “Easy mode” helpful. And TalkBack users might find the extra chattiness of notification and tags helpful in learning android. We’ve also mentioned before that we wish more makers would add the ability to place the Accessibility menu in the Power Options like the option within Touch Wiz. And if you can deal with all of that, and some of Samsung’s bloatware, then you might enjoy using a Samsung device. If not, then go the play Edition route or look at using another device.
Next, an email from Robin
“I have tried a number of magnifiers on my Android JellyBean device. Cozy Magnifier and Microscope Free and Cozy Magnifier and Microscope Plus, No Ads, 99Cents, by Hantor, are great. The developer has responded to suggestions for increasing accessibility with updates and email responses. I have tried every magnifier I can find for my device, and this is by far the best. I read small things at close range and signs far away, and much in between.
I love That Android Show.
Robin Switzer Brunner”
Cool suggestions Robin! We hope to hear from our listeners to see what else they have tried or have seen with both of those apps you recommend.
Contacting the Team
We’ve had our say, now its your turn. Drop us a line at or send us a tweet at our official Twitter page.
You can also follow our hosts by visiting
JJ at AndroidAccess.net.
Finally, Check out Steve’s Twitter feed.
Thanks for listening!