Google announces Android 5.0 Lollipop

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Friday, 17 October 2014 11:55am

Google has announced the availability of the next version of its Android operating system, Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Graphic of a smartphone, smartwatch and tablet device running Android 5.0 Lollipop

Among many new features, the new operating system includes accessibility improvements, in particular, enhanced low vision and colour blind capabilities.

According to Google, users of devices running Lollipop will be able to boost text contrast or invert colours to improve legibility, as well as adjust display to improve colour differentiation.

These features add to a number of existing accessibility improvements in successive versions of Android:

  • TalkBack screen reader: this enables people who are blind or vision impaired to navigate the device using text-to-speech. The basic functionality of Android is well supported by TalkBack allowing users to effectively navigate the device and download apps.
  • Magnifier: a full-screen magnifier is available to zoom in and out. The magnifier can be used in either full-screen mode or to temporarily zoom in the area of the screen that is being touched.
  • Closed caption support captioning support across the platform has recently been introduced, although many individual apps such as YouTube also support closed caption playback on older Android versions.
  • Customised gestures: users can change the way that touch gestures work to make it easier to use.
  • BrailleBack: an additional app can be downloaded for free from the Play Store to provide support for Braille displays.
  • Project Eyes-Free apps: Google has an initiative that contains a variety of additional apps specifically to help people who are blind or vision impaired. These can be found in the Play Store
  • BIG Launcher: a popular third-party paid app that simplifies the Android user interface to six large buttons with high contrast features and TalkBack compatibility.

There are also many other features in Lollipop including changes to design, notifications, battery life, security, device sharing, settings, connectivity, performance, media and additional languages.

You can read more about the Android operating system on Media Access Australia’s site, more on Lollipop's features on Google’s Android page and on Google’s official blog.

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