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Accessible Mobile Handsets in India: An Overview

Posted by Prasad Krishna at Mar 10, 2011 07:40 AM |
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Over a thousand mobile handsets are sold in India today and new models are launched almost every few weeks. However, the number of accessible handsets continues to be disproportionately low. The Centre for Internet and Society conducted a research on the mobile market to gauge how many handsets in India are accessible for persons with disabilities. Handsets were judged on the basis of a few common accessibility features and pricing.

The findings reveal that 108 handset models came with screen readers and 100 were magnifier compatible. Thirty one of them were touch phones and only 15 models had QWERTY keypads.

The study found that the price of 60 of the available options was either high or very high (Rs. 10,000 and above) and only 48 handsets are available at a reasonable or low price.

For available handset options for persons with disabilities, click below:

Some of the major cross platform and proprietary mobile operating systems were also examined for their accessibility features. These included Windows Mobile, iPhone for Apple, Blackberry, Android, Symbian and Windows Phone 7.  All the operating systems offer features such as font customization, menu style, menu icons and voice recognition. However, only two offer built-in screen readers and only one OS offers a built in screen magnifier. Three operating systems support third party screen readers and two also support third party screen magnifiers.

The table [click on the links below] (also compiled by Mukesh Sharma) provides more details on the features offered by various operating systems: