Listen to That Android Show Episode 16: Need To Do Accessibility Another Google I/O has come and gone. With the smoke all cleared, and sadly no Blimp in sight, the team takes a look at the new and noteworthy news from the Developers Conference. Ricky and Joe, from the SeroTalk Weekly crew, drop by and hang out with the new Hangouts app. Plus, Ana talks about the core Email and Gmail experiences. Oh, an even more email and iReports in the mailbag. So sit back, check the My Apps section of Google Play and listen to us as those progress bars update in the background!
**In The Google I/O News:
Why Google’s Big Conference Will Be Quieter This Year
Google to sell unlocked Galaxy S 4 with stock Android 4.2 on June 26
Google gives developers app beta testing, multiplayer API
Google Play services get substantial API update
Google beefs up Hangouts into text, photo, video chat powerhouse
Google overhauling flagship search with “Answer, converse, anticipate”
Google unveils new music subscription service to compete with Spotify
Google pushes Android tablets for the classroom with its new educational initiative
Google Maps adds better directions, suggestions, and 3D Earth rendering
Everything announced at the Google I/O 2013 keynote in one handy list
Google engineers discuss fragmentation, hardware, and Project Butter
Larry Page wants to ‘set aside a part of the world’ for unregulated experimentation
What we didn’t get at Google I/O 2013 (Key Lime Pie, smartwatch, and more)
**App Overview: Hangin’ Out With Ricky, Joe And Google Hangouts
Ricky and Joe walk us through portions of the Video Calling features of the new update to Google Plus and Google Hangouts on their nexus 7 tablets and some other device designed by a company in California we shall not name here. We will say that this unknown device does have a better mic than the nexus 7 though.
**App Overview: Ana Shows off The Stock Email and Gmail Apps
We’ve gotten a lot of questions about how to go about using the Email and Gmail apps in Android. This month, Ana takes us through some of the menus and options in both these important applications.
Lets start off this month’s feedback with poetry from Chris;
“And Ode to Google Now There’s a miracle on my cellphone All I did was click ‘allow’ Now it’s tracking all my movements It’s known as Google now There are cards that report the weather Sports results and even more It collects my personal data But for what I’m not quite sure It even knows my bladder For my life I can’t think how It said ‘To make it to the bathroom’ ‘You need to leave the bedroom now’ Just because I work from home And avoid the traffic strife I found it quite insulting That one card said ‘Get a Life!’ So my thanks go out to Google For watching all I do I’ve pulled the blind and locked the door At least it’s private in my loo! Chris Ankin”
Thank you Chris for that very much well needed classing up of the joint. Poetry corner starts up on an episode of “That Android Show’ very soon. Get your coffee and jazz records ready folks.
“Hi Guys, Inspired by TAS 13, I’ve bought myself a Nexus 7, wow what a lovely tablet, from the moment I got it out of the box I was in love!, I have to agree with all your comments this device exudes quality and having only had an Archos G9 tablet to compare it to, it’s worlds apart and SO slick in feel and use. I wanted to pick up on something Jo mentioned whilst talking to Byron about ‘Aqua Mail’ being accessible, I went and got it from the Play Store and have now bought the Pro version. For anyone who recalls my email a few months back where I was desperately searching for an email client that actually READ my emails, this is the one!, you can add multiple accounts so simply all the hard work is done for you, it’s just a case of entering your email address and password and bingo!, I have two hotmail accounts plus my Gmail all on the one app. Most importantly I can simply move my finger down line by line, or hold position at the bottom of the screen and the whole thing reads out. There are some accessibility features included like colour contrast ‘white on black’, use of web scripts. Sound notifications with an option to turn off during the night with specific times. All in all this is by far the most usable email app I’ve come across on Android. Having listened to Steve’s review of Moonreader, the book reading apps that I’d throw into the ring would be ‘Go Read’ and ‘Read Books’ and possible even ‘Auto Reader 3D’ is worth a look. On the Audiobook side ‘Coolreader’, ‘Listen Audiobook Player’ and my favourite ‘smart Audiobook Player’ – for some free aduiobooks either streamed or downloaded check out ‘LibraryVox Audiobooks’ Looking forward to show 15! Kind regards, Chris”
The team also mentioned the Akimbo app as something that Chris may want to check out as well. Next up, Denis with a question.
“Hello team, Is it possible to label objects with Talkback? Thank you.
Sadly, no not yet. However, we’ve got our fingers crossed for Android v5 or a later version of Talkback. Stay tuned. And now ken asks a question we often get asked on TAS;
“Hi That Android Show Team,
To cut a long story short, I am forced to consider upgrading to a smart phone. My current phone battery takes less of a charge over time. I am a Verizon customer and their feature phones are becoming more limited over time. This is especially true of contact management. I only use my cell phone to make telephone calls. Verizon has excellent coverage in the area ware I mostly use my cell phone so I want to stay with them if possible. I am still using a LG 4650 because of an accessible windows PC contact management program. I can enter or edit all contact information in a fully accessible windows PC program on my computer then transfer that information to my phone. I do not have to try to enter contact information using just a phone keypad or virtual keypad. Is there anything comparable to this program in the Android Eco system? If there is, please direct me to where I can get that program. JJ and Joe is the Droid 4’s physical keyboard good enough to enter contact information efficiently and comfortably. Thank all of you for any help you can provide.
Best Wishes, Ken Scott”
As JJ and Joe said a few shows back, the Droid 4 is a pretty good phone with a darn good hardware keyboard. And that it runs v4.1 is an amazing bonus! It is still a mid level phone, working towards entry level, one year into its life cycle and it has seen three OS upgrades. Its possible it might even get v4.2 as well. If you can live with the fact that this hardware is aging and may be left behind in about 8 months, it’s a great buy. But if you are looking for better support on newer hardware, you may want to look at some from the Samsung line that have hardware keyboards instead.
“Hi, just wanted to say I have learned a great deal about Android and it has peeked my interest. I am an IOS user at present. keep up the good work, considering a Nexus 7
Thanks John, we welcome all to listen. Even those on Windows Phones, Firefox OS or those devices that begin with a vowel. The Nexus 7 is a great starter on the road to Android and it doesn’t require a cell contract. Which just makes it even better for beginners. Our last two emails are from James Mannion.
“Hi That Android Show team,
I wanted to write in and share my observations after having gotten some hands on time checking out the HTC1. I do not own one and I did not get to check out everything in depth or really research the possibilities of resolving the minor issues I did find, but here is my perspective. I am happy to report I found it to be good and not at all a disappointing experience. I checked out the AT&T model in the store. The home screens as well as the apps drawer do read. This includes the home screen that HTC dedicates to what they call blink feed. The keyboard does read and is functional although you have to double tap on a character to enter it. I do not know if this is a 4.1 issue, an HTC issue or an old version of Talkback on the device. I know I have heard of the Samsung Note II having the same issue. Quite annoying, but really a minor issue in my opinion. The next minor issue I found is that the buttons within the notification shade were not labeled. These were the buttons to clear notifications and to bring up settings from within the notifications shade. Again, updating talkback might resolve that issue. In the stock lanucher that HTC puts on the device, within the apps drawer you scroll up and down instead of left and right and it moves up and down by screen that way. I actually prefer that. The biggest issue I found is that when touching the top of the screen it only reads the clock. It did not report battery or signal status or any other information. That information is important, but the issue may be able to be resolved by updating talkback, using a different launcher, I have come to prefer Nova anyway even over the Android stock launcher on my Nexus 4 anyway, or there may be entries in settings to change how these items are displayed. I did not get to go any further in depth than that and I would be interested in hearing any information you have on it as well as any thoughts on if using a different launcher should have an impact on those status items reading or do they remain how they are at a deeper system level and unchanged by what launcher you load. Finally, the phone feels very nice in the hand, is made of quality materials and is very fast and responsive. The speakers sound fantastic although I heard something about the speakers becoming the subject of a law suit and injunction against HTC concerning the speakers used? From what I heard I was not clear on what the end result would be. My understanding on that is incomplete and please feel free to correct me if what I do understand is incorrect.
“Hi That Android Show crew,
I just wanted to write to share and express my frustration and wondering about what seems to be sighted people posting negative reviews all the time on the play store on Talkback. I seriously question their motive. It really seems like they are people who don’t need the assistance and run the thing anyway and then post it as some sort of huge problem that it “jacked up their phone” and other things. They have to first ignore the message that it will change the gestures, look for nothing but how to get around the tutorial about how it works, have launched it with no research on what it does or what it is for and then complain like it is a complete fault of the system that it caused them some sort of issue?? I can’t stand this age we live in where people absolutely refuse to take any responsibility for anything and absolutely everything is someone’s fault regardless of what the individual trying to fault someone else did or didn’t do relevant to the situation. Is it simply exploration with an unwillingness to be diligent about what they are doing or is it some bad intention and some sort of hate against our access??”
To be honest, we aren’t surprised about the HTC Sense UI. Historicly this has never been a great skinning of Android for TalkBack and many on the team felt that there would be little change coming in version 5. As to the comments, it’s the internet. Nothing surprises us much when it comes to those out there who comment on apps without reading release notes, app descriptions or even app permissions. Much of the problems with those who sideload and spread ill fated apps probably can be drawn back to app commenters. We’re joking of course, but as you heard a few episodes back, some developers don’t even look at the Play Store comments anymore for constructive criticism.
**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
Ana’s Accessible Android blog or
JJ at AndroidAccess.net.
Finally, Check out Steve’s Twitter feed.
Thanks for listening!
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