Prospects for an accessible and open version of Android?

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Sun Jun 21 14:47:28 UTC 2020

> On Jun 21, 2020, at 00:47, (Janina) wrote:
> ... I wonder if asking an Android phone to serve this function is
> more an academic exercise than a practical one at this point?
> I say this because I'm just now in the process of buying my next
> (natively) Linux computer, and it's quite small. It comes pretty close
> to the size of an Android phone. So, I suspect it might be the easier
> path of practicality is the point. ...

There are a number of small systems showing up on the market these days.
I think this is great, but it doesn't really address the use case I have
in mind (a pocket-sized computer with instant-on capability).  The issues
include integration, cost, size, weight, and instant-on capacity.

The Intel-based systems tend to be pricier than the RasPi ones, but all
of them cost at least a few hundred dollars.  Adding an internal UPS is
going to raise that by at least another hundred dollars.  Also, someone
will have to engineer and fabricate the add-on UPS board, battery, etc.

A retired Android cell phone, in contrast, will already have a built-in
UPS and can be found for well under $100.  For a poor (e.g., third-world)
blind user, these may be critical issues.

Size and weight are also important.  The mini PC systems fit nicely on a
desktop, but none of them will fit into a normal pocket.  Carrying one
around would thus require something like a backpack.  Some users would be
OK with this, but I think most would not.

So, this is a serious practical question, rather than an academic exercise.
If we could find a way to put usable portable computers into the hands of
blind users around the world, that would be a major contribution.  Also, I
think the effort might lead to useful enhancements in at least some of the
mainstream Android distributions.

- Rich Morin

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