Android App for Eyes-Free G1 Usage
Article by George Norman
On 06 Apr 2009
The open-source Android operating system, which Google has set up to power its G1 smartphone and HP is testing whether it is suited to power netbooks, can run plenty of applications, including one that enables you to correctly dial a number without actually looking at the device. The app has been developed by the Mountain View search engine giant so as to help visually impaired G1 users; just like the Talking Email Keyboard iPhone app that, well, makes the keyboard talk, this application is popular with all users, not just those with eyesight issues.

“Project Eyes-Free aims to enable fluent eyes-free use of mobile devices running Android. Target uses range from eyes-busy environments like driving, to use by people who are unwilling or unable to look at the visual display. Though the underlying source code has been available for some time from our repository on Google Code, we've now posted the first public release of the eyes-free shell on the Android Marketplace. Users of the eyes-free shell can conveniently launch talking applications. Along with this release, we've also made available a collection of applications to turn mobile devices running Android into eyes-free communication devices,” Charles Chen, Software Engineering Team and T.V. Raman, Research Scientist explain.


The Android app functions something like this: when you touch the device’s screen, that point of contact becomes the letter 5 (the middle number on a traditional phone keypad), making it easy to dial numbers without looking at the device. If you want to dial the number 2 for example, just touch the screen and slide your finger upwards (that’s where the number 2 would be); if you want to dial 8, slide your finger downwards.

The other releases mentioned above are as follows:
- Talking Dialer: the phone book speaks out the name of the contact you wish you phone.
- Knowing Your Location: your current GPS position is used to inform you where you are.
- Device State: tells you how much battery your G1 has, the strength of the signal, and whether a WiFi network is available.
- Date and Time: speaks out the date and time.

Tags: Google, Android, Eyes-Free
About the author: George Norman
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