It might not matter how high the DPI on a screen gets cranked by each new model if you have trouble seeing it. Thankfully we have Google's TalkBack, Android's accessibility service for the blind and disabled. It reads what's on your screen, but it also provides feedback for actions allowing users to fully interact with their device. Now the latest update has left beta after a few months of testing, bringing with it even more features, like verbosity (an adjustment for how much or little content it reads, based on your preferences), character counts for password fields, and a new Select to Speak service that allows you to tap content to hear it spoken, and more.

The recent changes should go some ways towards easing accessible interaction with an Android device. Phones are pretty much a requirement these days to a productive life, and each new accessibility feature makes them easier to use, enabling everyone to have the same advantages in communication. Google first pushed TalkBack back in the days of Donut (1.6), but the current incarnation is so great an improvement over the original as to be unrecognizable. And the future for the service looks pretty good, too.

One thing worth noting — as I note with all apps like this — is that any app that uses Android's Accessibility services is technically able to do a lot of stuff, like see everything on your phone's screen, as well as intercept text that is typed (like usernames and passwords). Obviously this app actually needs access to all of that just to do what it's supposed to, but I always recommend some reflection whenever installing something that needs that permission. You should really trust any developer that makes an app which uses it.

The full changelog for the latest version of the app is below:

What's new in TalkBack 5.2

• New Speech Verbosity setting for spoken feedback

• New earcons

• Hear feedback when you turn magnification on/off or zoom in/out

• Hear character count in password fields in Chrome (56+)

• Shorter delay before usage hints

• Other fixes and improvements

New service: Select to Speak lets you tap items to hear them read aloud. Go to Accessibility > Select to Speak.

If you're excited to try out the new features, or just want to get a kick out of hearing your phone read you Renata Adler's Speedboat, feel free to check it out over on APKMirror or down below on Google Play.

[Update]

We have some more info about Select to Speak now that we've had the chance to play around with it, and it's a pretty cool feature. [/update]

Google TalkBack
Google TalkBack
Developer: Google Inc.
Price: Free