After one of my friends received the update to their Galaxy S22 plus Exynos, I was finally able to see some of the behaviour of the new Samsung accessibility API and frameworks and the news are all great.
Here’s what’s new. Note: I’ll keep updating this posts once I’ll be able to get my own hands on a device and even more so when my S10+ will receive the update.
How’d it go?
All of this happened remotely. The person received the update, installed it, then I guided them through a few things, but have also observed them using their phone usually. This post will have more information once I’ll get better testing environments.
No more accessibility equalisers when using TalkBack
Although this feature might need to be ported through custom ROMs to some lower end devices if Samsung decides not to disable it for these as wel, this feature exists.
As a backstory, with Google TalkBack 13.1 or 13.2, the equalizer that Samsung used on speakers for games and some apps like TeamTalk was also used for TalkBack. The equaliser was rather stupid, cutting off lows very much, plus a bit of highs and boosting the mids. On the subject device, this feature wasn’t enabled for TalkBack. There’s an even more interesting question that occurs here: Is this equaliser disabled globally, or has it only been disabled for accessibility channels?
I’ll come back with another update once I test this theory later today, but for now, we’ll take this change as part of the new accessibility API. Note that Backporting Samsung Talkback14 to Android 13(Requires Root and Lucky Patcher installed), won’t make the EQ go away.
The improvements that came with OneUI5.1.1 are all welcoming everyone in now!
Earlier this ear, with the launch of OneUI5.1.1, we experienced the second Samsung accessibility API update in a minor release.
When OneUI5.1 came out, it sported a slue of amazing fixes for the plenty of flaws OneUI5.0 came with. When OneUI5.1.1 came out, it expanded the stability of screen readers further by better recognising updatable and changeable content. As mentioned previously, this later change is best seen with Jieshuo, as well as the stability in progress bar handling.
In OneUI6, we have even more content that’s read if it’s updating. I can’t say much about progress bars yet.
Better window state change recognition
Screen readers are now able to recognise when windows change quickly happens. For example, in playStore when the menu button is clicked. The window changes once with the “Account and Settings” title, then it quickly updates itself to read the new content, “Signed in as google_account_name”, then back to account and settings. Although this whole process is happening in less than 10ms as a whole, screen readers are now able to capture it. We were only able to hear the sound feedback as Samsung TTS isn’t as responssive as to catch all that speech feedback. This feature will be updated once we have the speech feedback data as well. This behaviour is present both with Jieshuo and TalkBack.
This whole situation can only better state Samsung’s commitment to fixing and removing bugs. After the faulty Android11 and OneUI3 accessibility framework was as bad as all of us remember, Android12 came with the best accessibility framework at that time. After they broke things again in Android13, Android14 made Samsung Accessibility API34 and it’s frameworks the best we have so far. Let’s hope they don’t break something with updates, as I’m honestly so proud about this stability. I’m so happy that all my douts have been shattered. I’m sure that when Android14 comes out, if everything will go great for all the devices, it’ll be welcoming for everyone who receive it. Can’t wait!