Google is adding expanded braille support to Android with the next major update coming this fall. The company announced this on World Accessibility Awareness Day. The move comes after a similar statement by Apple earlier this week.
In Android 12 and earlier, visually impaired people who need Braille displays to make their phones easy to use will need to download the BrailleBack app from the Play Store and connect their Android device to a Braille display. Currently, the company is embedding support for braille displays directly into Android. It will be available for testing in Android 13 Beta 3, which is scheduled to launch in July.
“With this new update, there is no need for additional downloads to use most Braille displays. People can use Braille displays to access many of the features available in Talkback. For example, you can use the display buttons to navigate the screen and then perform actions such as creating an email, making a phone call, sending a text message or reading a book,” Nimer Jaber, Google’s accessibility analyst, said in his report. message.
Google is also improving the compatibility of its TalkBack service with braille displays. TalkBack is another service designed to help users with visual impairments use their devices, albeit relying more on voice instructions. This improves navigation with new keyboard shortcuts for scrolling, as well as additional ones that provide advanced editing features when working with documents. It will also be available for testing with the next Android 13 beta.
Google isn’t the only one making a better and more affordable operating system. Apple also announced that it will add new accessibility features to iOS 16, such as door detection, Live Captions and others. Both updates will come out pretty close to each other in time. Android 13 is expected to be released in September, with iOS 16 coming soon after.