Amazon touts accessibility of Fire smartphone

Thursday, 19 June 2014 11:49am

Amazon has announced that accessibility has taken centre stage in its new Fire smartphone.

The company, better known for its Kindle e-reader and its online shopping site, has stated that its Fire smartphone contains features to address vision, hearing and motor-related impairments.

For vision-related impairments the phone features:

  • A screen reader incorporating Ivona text-to-speech technology, adjustable to five different speeds.
  • Navigation using accessibility gestures (including a tutorial on gestures) or through dragging a finger over items on the screen.
  • A screen magnifier activated by a triple tap on the screen. Users can pinch to adjust the zoom level on the phone and swipe with two fingers to pan around a page.
  • Options for high-contrast colour combinations.

For hearing-related impairments the phone features:

  • Closed Captioning for Amazon Instant Videos (though captions not available for all titles).
  • Adjustable captions (including text colour, size, opacity, font style, edge style, background colour).
  • Hearing aid compatibility (Rated of T4/M4 and compliant with the US FCC Hearing Aid Compatibility requirements).
  • TTY mode (text telephone/telecommunication device for the Deaf) offers Full, HCO (Hearing Carry Over), and VCO (Voice Carry Over) options.
  • Stereo to mono audio — users can direct all audio through a single channel (left or right).

For mobility-related impairments the phone features:

  • Amazon voice assist (voice dictation).
  • One-handed navigation and shortcuts — tilt, auto-scroll, swivel and peek to access menus.
  • Low motion mode — turns off tilt, auto-scroll, swivel, peek, and Dynamic Perspective features to avoid automatically launching any actions or panels.

The Fire is currently only available in the US and prices for the device start at US$199. Further details are available on Amazon’s Fire page.

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