Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email. Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email.
Amazon has announced it is porting two accessibility features, “Voice Guide” and “Explore by Touch,” from the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ to its standard Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD 7″ devices. The features, which help vision-impaired users navigate the Kindle menus and content, will be arriving “early next year” – Amazon did not give a more specific date beyond that.
These new features come in addition to optional text coloring and adjustable font sizes, all of which should appeal to Amazon’s vision-impaired customers. According to Kindle Vice President Dave Limp, Amazon already has plans to “deliver additional accessibility features” down the road, which will lead to “a better experience for reading, communicating and consuming media.”
Amazon’s Voice Guide, which leverages technology from IVONA, works by reading aloud every action the user performs. Explore by Touch works hand-in-hand with Voice Guide, announcing what items are as they are touched.
This, in addition to the company’s Accessibility Plugin for its Kindle PC app, should help make Amazon’s Kindle Fire a little more competitive with the iPad and iPad mini. Apple has long been known for providing a number of accessibility features in its computers, tablets and phones, even receiving an award from the American Foundation for the Blind in 2009.
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