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Ice Cream Sandwich Release Date: Android Operating System More Accessible for Blind Users (VIDEO)

The new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, which was finally unveiled Wednesday at a Hong Kong event hosted by Google and Samsung Electronics Co., is more easily accessible to the blind, Android has said.

Android promises Ice Cream Sandwich will bring rich notifications, customizable home screens, re-sizable widgets, and deep interactivity. But the Google-owned software company also declared that a variety of new features will make it easier for blind or visually impaired users to operate Android 4.0.

A new explore-by-touch mode allows users navigate without having to see the screen, according to a statement on Android's official website. In addition, touching the screen will evoke a sound which identifies the UI component below, the company said. A second touch in the same component activates it with a full touch event.

In addition, Ice Cream Sandwich offers a variety of other new and exciting features.

The Recent Apps button, for example, lets users jump instantly from one task to another using the list in the System Bar, Android stated on its official website. The list pops up to show thumbnail images of apps used recently. Tapping a thumbnail switches to the app.

New home screen folders offer a new way for users to group their apps and shortcuts logically, just by dragging one onto another. From the All Apps launcher, users can now simply drag an app to get information about it or immediately uninstall it, or disable a pre-installed app.

Ice cream Sandwich features re-sizable widgets.

Another fun option is the possibility to swipe a finger on the screen in order to dismiss notifications, tasks, and browser tabs.

Throughout the system, a user's social groups, profiles, and contacts are linked together and integrated for easy accessibility.

A new "People" app offers richer profile information, including a large profile picture, phone numbers, addresses and accounts, status updates, and a new button for connecting on integrated social networks.

The Gallery app allows to edit photos and videos still on the device.

Earlier this month, Apple said there are more than 500,000 applications in the company's App Store. Firestone said the Android Market had more than 200,000 apps as of May 10.

Ice Cream Sandwich was unveiled only a few days after Apple's newest smartpone, the iPhone 4S, became available in stores.

Official Android Video:


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