AT&T and Code Factory Bring Android to the Blind Through Mobile Accessibility Lite

Life for the blind is understandably difficult, but AT&T and Mobile Accessibility would like to make it a bit easier, at least when it comes to Android phones. The two companies have collaborated to make a version of Mobile Accessibility’s software available for AT&T Android devices, allowing the blind to use eleven apps on the phones: Phone, Contacts, SMS, Alarm, Calendar, Email, Web, Where Am I, Apps (I’m guessing they mean “app drawer”), Music Player and Settings.It does this by speaking whatever the user has their finger on, and also allows for voice to text input, at least on 2.2 and later phones. The software, Mobile Accessibility Lite, will be free on the Market or from the web for AT&T devices for a limited time, though no specific time period was given. Full presser and a video of the app in action after the break and additional information can be found here.

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Introducing AT&T Mobile Accessibility Lite, Free Application To Enhance Android Experience For People Who Are Blind Or Have Low Vision
Provides Audio Feedback So Customers Can Easily Navigate the Screen and Access Key Device Features
Dallas, Texas, October 03, 2011

AT&T* customers who are blind or have low vision can now access and enjoy their Android device in a fully accessible way. Introducing AT&T Mobile Accessibility Lite, a custom version of the screen-access application, Mobile Accessibility, developed by Code Factory. The application features a suite of accessible apps so customers can perform the most common wireless tasks enjoyed by most Android users. The app was developed for customers with visual disabilities and is available today as a free** download in Android Market.

“AT&T has long been committed to offering wireless products and services that are usable and beneficial to as many people as possible,” said Carlton Hill, vice president, Consumer Devices, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “As the first wireless carrier worldwide to offer Mobile Accessibility Lite, we are thrilled to make Android accessible to all of our customers.”

AT&T Mobile Accessibility Lite features a suite of 11 accessible apps–Phone, Contacts, SMS, Alarm, Calendar, Email, Web, Where Am I, Apps, Music Player and Settings. Each is designed to be intuitive and easy to use for the blind and visually impaired customer.

Once a customer downloads Mobile Accessibility Lite to their Android smartphone, they have the option of making the suite the device’s home screen. From within the suite, they can then easily navigate among any of the 11 featured apps just by moving their finger across the screen. The Nuance Vocalizer® voice  synthesis then reads the text under their finger, allowing customers to perform any number of tasks, such as answering a call, managing their contacts, writing an SMS, editing a calendar entry, sending an email, or accessing GPS to get an update on their current location.

Other features include speech recognition, allowing customers to use their voice to write text and email messages quickly and easily. The Music Player app, unique to AT&T Mobile Accessibility Lite, automatically lists all the music files that are installed on the memory card of the phone and sorts them by Artists and Albums.

Mitch Pomerantz, President of the American Council of the Blind commented, “I am pleased that AT&T will be offering AT&T Mobile Accessibility Lite to AT&T Android users who are blind or have low vision. Increasingly, providers of cell phones and other portable devices are recognizing that blind and visually impaired persons will purchase off-the-shelf technology if it is fully accessible to us.  AT&T’s announcement is encouraging and a recognition of our status as consumers.”

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), said: “To remain competitive in the workforce, the National Federation of the Blind believes that blind people must have equal access to the same products and services as the sighted.  Smartphone technology is increasingly critical to full participation in modern life. For that reason, this collaboration between AT&T and Code Factory is a positive development.  The NFB is carefully monitoring new and emerging technologies and hopes that more companies will voluntarily take the necessary steps to ensure that the products and services they offer are accessible to all.”

AT&T Mobile Accessibility Lite supports all Android phones version 2.1 and above***.  Customers who are blind or have low vision are invited to download the free app in Android Market or from the web at http://bit.ly/okQVzk.

For more information on AT&T Mobile Accessibility Lite or other AT&T resources or products for people with disabilities, please visit http://www.codefactory.es/en/products.asp?id=424 or contact AT&T’s National Center for Customers with Disabilities at 1-866-241-6568.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

**AT&T Mobile Accessibility Lite will be available for free for a limited time.

*** Speech recognition is only supported with version 2.2 and above.

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