Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Is Perfect For The Blind – Accessibility Feature Demoed [Video]


It’s something not many of us think about — what about all the smartphone users in the world who are blind or suffer from low vision? Wouldn’t it be nice if they had a mobile OS that was accessible to them?

Well, Google’s got you covered in Android 4.0 with its new accessibility feature. We’ve seen AT&T introduce an app suite very similar to this a few months back and this works in almost the same way. Simply slide your fingers across the screen and the electronic lady will speak out whatever happens to be under your finger like apps or menu items. Having this built in to a mobile OS that’s available for any and all devices is nothing short of revolutionary. Seems we’re finding new things to love about Ice Cream Sandwich every day.

Thanks, Austin!

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. wow that’s nice.

    now samsung has to release a GSM Nexus Prime to the states

  2. What program is he using to record the screen and user input?  All the programs I found tap into the ADB and push one frame ever 3 seconds.

  3. People is disabled, but the camera isn’t? 

    1. probably because you haven’t activated the phone.,

    2. I have to admit… when I heard that part the first thing that went through my mind was that the phone was making fun of people with disabilities…


  4. Huzzah! Google.  While most of us could care less, these devices have the chance to open up the world to the blind.  Apple has been on top of this already and the blind that I know only have Apple because of it’s accessibility.  I hope ICS changes that and spurs more development.

  5. Very impressive. Well done Google

  6. That voice will probably make the blind also want to be deaf too…

    1. yeah, the voice does sounds funny, but at least it gives the blind the chance to use a smartphone.

    2. Man you guys are all jokes, think if you were having a condition you would love for someone to invent something that would help your disability.

  7. Bravo Google, Bravo!

  8. Great tool android ftw!

  9. …why would a blind person need this phone.

    they wouldnt 

    1. Ignorance FTW! Why do you need this phone? You don’t. That doesn’t mean you don’t WANT this phone. Blind people surf the net too. And the ability to use voice commands to send texts, call people, and get walking directions (This one is big) make smartphones a GREAT choice for the blind. 

  10. @ Johnathon, Why would a Blind person need this phone? That’s like saying why would a blind person need Movies! Short answer because it’s a part of life we want to participate in – like the rest of society. 
    I’m a blind pro developer who dabbles in Android and IOS when I have the Time. A few days ago, I went to pick up one of these puppies and spent an hour or so checking out the accessibility features. Let’s just say, I left the shop without buying. I’m not going to go into a long list of things that don’t work in this comment, but for example, the browser is not speech-enabled out of the box and the web scripts which need to be downloaded do not work properly and there are numerous other examples I could list. 
    So, “perfect for the blind” definately not. A huge improvement over 2.3? absolutely, and it will only get better. Well done Google, not long before I buy an Android phone. 

    1. My wife is a person with low vision, and while this isn’t what she needs, I applaud the fact that it’s out there. She, her mom, and brother all suffer from Nystagmus, which gives her the equivalent of 20/60 vision with no way to correct. Her Mom’s vision is worse. While they could use this, In addition, I’d LOVE to see something like the magnifying glass app that’s available on PCs. Heck, I’d like an easy way (For them) to change the font and icons. There are some 3rd party launchers that can be used to up the size, and LCD Density also works, but all in all, I’d like something that doesn’t require root. 

    2. Gary – have you considered applying to Google’s Android team? It sounds like you might be a perfect person to help them perfect it! (no sarcasm)

  11. My mother is blind and she has a Droid 2 global with a screen reading suite pretty much like this. She is able to check Facebook and add comments or status, send and receive texts, make calls, all the usual stuff. Obviously she can’t play angry birds but android has helped her stay connected in a way she couldn’t before. Hopefully ICS builds even further on it.

  12. Thank you so much for posting this.  I have low vision and love Android but I had to switch to an iPhone due to the lack of accessability options in Android that work for me.  This looks like it will solve that problem!

  13. @google-b2f2c1c494688eb714705511a130fa32:disqus  FTW! Why do… my roomate’s step-sister makes $81/hour on the computer. She has been out of a job for 7 months but last month her pay was $8781 just working on the computer for a few hours. Go to this site http://bit.ly/su2Mfv

    1. Maggie Maggie Maggie, thats all I can say!
      is Maggie Maggie Maggie!

  14. Hopefully, there is more to accessibility with ICS (the narrator did say this was the first video for accessibility).  I don’t need (or use) a screen reader.  I do need large fonts, and prefer an inverted screen for reading (CyanogenMod has this option in the browser).  I shouldn’t have to hunt on forums for a hacked GMail.apk with a dark theme.  I would love to use Google+ more on my phone, but the text is so small.  I hope ICS is able to compete with iOS in terms of accessibility features.

  15. How do I turn this feature OFF (Droid 3) other than turning the volume all the way down?  I am not blind; this feature is driving me crazy!!

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