New smartphones in My Life

for several years, I’ve been using a Samsung Haven phone from Verizon. It isn’t a smartphone but it is, for the most part, accessible. When it first came out, it was quite the hit with visually impaired consumers, due to its fully accessible menu system. It couldn’t download apps but it made and received calls and, at the time, that was all I cared about. That phone has held up quite nicely for around five years and it has served me quite well.
However, during that time phones have become not only smarter but more and more accessible and user-friendly for people with disabilities.
My wife and I were both past due for an upgrade to get a new phone and we decided to look into what options were available to us for data plans.
She has used Android in the past and really liked the OS. While I was interested and curious about learning android, it goes without saying that the iPhone was the phone that I really wanted.
On March 31, my wife was going through the mail and saw an advertisement from Verizon indicating that we could get a free iPhone 5C if we were willing to sign up for a two-year contract. I’ve been with Verizon since the mid-1990’s and I am more than willing to agree to an additional two-year commitment for a free iPhone. Yeah, the 5s is what people really want but I think the fingerprint sensor is a bit overrated and it’s not as secure as people think it is. We called Verizon and found out that the deal was set to expire on March 31, so I’m glad we jumped on it when we did. Oh, and it’s the 32 GB model. I’d have been thrilled to have just 16 gigs, as that’s enough storage for me but I won’t say no to 32 gigs if it’s offered.
My wife decided to stay with android and ordered a Motorola Droid Ultra, which was also a free phone they were offering in exchange for a commitment to a two-year contract. As the plan we chose was just about what we’re paying for currently, there was no reason not to upgrade.
While my iPhone is on back-order and won’t be delivered for another few weeks, my wife’s Droid Ultra arrived in two days. While she was setting it up, she enabled the Talkback screen reader. As the phone is running android 4.4, I wanted a chance to see what this latest version was like from the standpoint of accessibility.
So far, I haven’t played with any of the apps. However, I’ve worked with the Explore by touch tutorial and was more or less able to navigate through the tutorial. The only confusing part was when it asked me to locate a specific icon and then I was supposed to open it by double-tapping, just like you do with iOS. I located the icon but double-tapping tried to open another icon, even though I’m 99% sure that I was doing it correctly. Aside from that, I was impressed with the accessibility and loved the voice, even more so than the speech from Nuance being used by apple.
I’ve already used iOS when I’ve had a chance to work with other iPhones in the past and so I’m not concerned about the learning curve. I’m quite excited about it and will write more once the new phone arrives.


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