Android is a family of products encompassing many makes of smartphones and tablets.
Android can be viewed as a competitor to Apple. Unlike the iPhone or iPad which are only made by Apple, many different manufacturers produce devices running the Android operating system, like Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, Motorola and LG. They all use touch screen technology to control the device.
Most Android devices have built in accessibility through speech feedback and screen magnification.
Products range in size from compact screens of around five inches to larger ones at 12 inches. Phones and tablets can run many applications (apps) to add functionality.
Any Android phone or tablet needs to be set up with your personal details like email address, wi-fi network key, passcode or fingerprint and any data transferred from an older device. Many devices can be set up using TalkBack or magnifier even at start up.
A touch screen can seem a little daunting at first but with practice it is very usable even for someone who is blind or partially sighted. By touching the screen and using finger gestures such as flicking, tapping, sliding etc. you can control your device.
The magnification and speech options on an Android device give the user access to a huge range of functions on the phone. For example, you can make calls, send texts, email, access web sites and lots more. In addition, you can download a range of thousands of apps to enhance your smart device's capabilities. Different apps make it easy to play radio and TV, access music, find out about transport, read documents using the built in camera, identify products and locations, identify bank notes and colours, keep in touch with friends and family, read books, manage your bank accounts and so much more.
More and more products are accessible out of the box and don't require the purchase or installation of extra software. You can buy the latest device and have it set up within minutes all without any assistance.
Once you master the concept of the touch screen such a device will fit seamlessly into our lifestyle.
Not all Android versions are the same. Manufacturers tend to put their own version of Android onto their devices, changing how things are accessed or how they work a little bit. For example, Samsung have Voice Assistant as an alternative to TalkBack. Kindle on their Fire HD tablets have VoiceView.
You can buy new Android devices from as little as £100 up to more than £1,000 depending on specification, screen size and memory.