Google is bringing some accessibility improvements to the next version of Android, including updates to the Talkback screen reader such as new gestures and volume settings, and new APIs.

There’s a Select to Speak feature which can read whole web pages aloud, or just allow you to scroll your finger over the display to choose the items you’d like to have your phone read aloud.

There’s also one brand new feature, called Switch Access. It’s designed to let you control an Android device using a physical switch so that you don’t have to touch the display. For folks with limited vision or mobility, this could make it easier to interact with an Android phone or tablet.

Switch Access works with a physical keyboard or a specially designed device called an adaptive switch, which is a hardware device that has at least two buttons (that can be mapped for “next operation,” and “enter”). The “switch” connects to your mobile device via Bluetooth.

Once enabled from the Android accessibility settings, Switch Access will let users move through menus, home screen icons, or other items and select the appropriate action. While there are certainly some Android apps that will be hard to control with just two buttons, Google is encouraging developers to test their apps to ensure they’re compatible with Switch Access.

via /r/Android

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One reply on “Switch Access in Google Android O lets you control phones from a physical switch”

  1. About time, I’d say. I don’t credit Apple for much, but iOS has had switch support for a while now.

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