Comparing iPadOS and Amazon voice view.

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iOS & iPadOS

In the usual debates that rage in smart phone accessibility circles, two platforms dominate the discussion, apples iOS and Googles android.
To be sure, they both have their advantages and disadvantages but for me, iOS stands head and shoulders above any other platforms for visually impaired people who use screen readers, voice-over is one of the greatest feats of engineering ever, in my view.
But when it comes to tablets, things are more complicated.
I'm referring to Amazon voice view, the screen reader used on Amazon Kindle Fire tablets, Voice view has many of the same gestures as iPadOS including the two finger magic tap gesture to pause and play media and start and stop dictation, though it doesn't have a Rota gesture instead using a more circular jesture to access navigation by granularity.
And there are certain advantages to having an Amazon device, you're not locked into Apple's ecosystem, you can use USB sticks and regular chargers, and Amazon tablet are much cheaper.
Having said that, there are many disadvantages:
Amazonvoice view doesn't get updated nearly as often as iPadOS, and it doesn't support Braille screen input, though you can use an external Braille keyboard.
Beyond that, Amazons selection of apps is quite lacking compare to the other platforms.
So for now, iPadOS remains the best software for visually impaired people who need screen readers, but who knows, that could change in the future if Amazon steps up its game.

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Comments

Submitted by Wenwei on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

I am on the market for a device that I can use just to read my kindle books with a braille display because I'm tired of always being connected to my iPad for work and then pleasure reading. Do you have experience with voice view on any of the kindles? If kindles offer braille display, can you disconnect the bluetooth speakers or headphones after pairing your supported braille display? I can't find any information online specifically about the kindles, and I do not need another tablet in my life.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

I got one and the quality of the voice was bad. I ended up giving it away to someone. Regarding Voiceover I use Windows 10 and jaws. I prefer it. I do like my iPhone, My first was iPhone 4 and them I ended getting iPhone 4s, 5, 6, 7, xs, 11 pro max and 12 pro. I do also like my series 5. I use jaws to read kindle books in my PC.

Submitted by Chris Hill on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The same speech is also available on the echo show devices. They are cheap, but using alexa, they can leverage the camera for product identification. I'm half tempted to buy one just to try it out. Sometimes you don't need the best for a secondary device, $130 sure beats the price of an iPad.

My wife has an iPad, and frankly, my iPhone is easier to use and feels like a much more solid piece of kit.

Once I played with it, did not found it easy to use. I prefer my iPhone. If samsung ultra 21 have better voice I would get one.

Submitted by Daniel Angus M… on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Club AppleVis Member

I've got an Echo Show ten and use voice view on it. though the Echo Show has the ability to identify products, called Show and Tell, in my experience it doesn't have a lot of labels from Canada in it's database. the Echo Shows get update occasionally, and I haven't tried Show and Tell in a while.
regards,
Daniel

Submitted by Scott Davert on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I always hesitate to say something like this is better for that, as there are so many use cases out there, not the least of which to consider is money. The question becomes, which one of these devices meets your needs, or enough of them, with price as a strong consideration as well for many. VoiceView with a braille display is far from as advanced as what you will get from an iPad. However, if your main reason for using the device is to simply consume books, that's a lot of money for stuff you would spend for this task. In my experience, very little has changed since this article was published other than the braille screen input on Kindle OS being available. It does not offer the robust support you get from an iPad, and only some braille displays are supported under Fire OS. See this support article from Amazonfor further information. Also worth noting is that braille is only supported for the English language on Fire OS, so if you need to read content other than English with braille, it's a no-go for sure. I have no idea about Bluetooth audio stuff, I never bothered pairing any kind of audio device with it. I hope this helps.

Submitted by Justin Harris on Friday, June 11, 2021

Hello,
I have both an iPhone and a Fire tablet. I have also had iPads in the past but had to sell due to hard financial times. I picked up a Fire tablet, and while it isn't as nice feeling as any of the iPads, it is decent for the price.
The nice thing about the Fire tablet is that with some tinkering, you can actually install the play store on it, and have access to way more apps than what Amazon offers in their app store. You can also, with even more tinkering or hacking, install a more typical android launcher if you don't like the one that comes with the OS, and I certainly do not.
Having said this, I really do not like VoiceView itself. Navigation is good, very similar to iOS, but the voice selection is very bad. If we could have the Alexa voices for VoiceView, that would greatly improve the experience, but the current voices sound terrible. Also, I'm not a fan at all of the VoiceView sound scheme. It's not quite as bad as old school Talkback, if anyone remembers that, but it's pretty close. Said issues have made the tablet a major downer for me. It rarely gets used. Occasionally I will charge it up and look for a system update to see if things got any better, but when I realize they have not, then I just turn the device back off and it sits around collecting dust. I tried even installing the accessibility suite by Google, to see if I could get Talkback running on it, but no such luck.
Unless you really really can't afford anything else, I would highly recommend even the base model iPad over these tablets. If they could improve on VoiceView, perhaps that could change, but as of right now, it's a no go for me other than for anything but tinkering around.

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Friday, June 11, 2021

wow, i can't believe someone would come up here and say that voiceover is such a great feat of enginering. I'm sorry to break your bubble, but the lack of fixes when it comes to bugs in major releases such as IOS 13 isn't an example of great enginering in my book. that's just bad code, and sloppy work.

Submitted by OldBear on Friday, June 11, 2021

I bought a Fire tablet to watch movies and sometimes read books because I like doing that on a separate device from my smartphone. The Fire tablet was inexpensive in relation to my iPhone, and I didn't expect it to replace my computer, like my phone can do.
So with Voice View it meets my needs of scrolling through pages of movies, and I connect a Bluetooth keyboard when I need to type something. I don't have any problem with the voice quality. The gestures are a little different and less advanced but usable. I seem to remember purchasing something from the Amazon site with the tablet, so it is an emergency backup for shopping on Amazon.
Like I said, my phone can be used as an emergency replacement for my desktop computer, including being connected to the Web through the cellular network when my modem goes out or the electricity goes off. The bottom line is I have different uses for the two devices, and never expected my Fire tablet to do what my iPhone can do.