Google is adding a built-in braille keyboard to Android. The company is rolling out a new update to Android devices running Android 5.0 or later that enables the new braille keyboard.
Andriod’s braille keyboard is the latest addition to its growing collection of accessibility features. The new keyboard, called the TalkBack braille keyboard, is integrated directly into Android and doesn’t need a third-party app.
The idea here is that users can use the built-in braille keyboard on Android to type on any app they want without using any third-party hardware or software. There are lots of different third-party products that enable users to type using such devices, but they tend to be expensive and difficult to set up.
Apple has a similar feature on iOS, too.
Google says the company worked with braille developers and users to help develop the new feature, to make the experience familiar to everyone who has typed using braille in the past. “It uses a standard 6-key layout and each key represents one of 6 braille dots which, when tapped, make any letter or symbol. To type an “A” you would press dot 1 and to type a “B,” dots 1 and 2 together,” the company notes.
The built-in braille keyboard can also be used to delete letters and words you type, add new lines, or submit the text. The feature supports braille grade 1 and 2 but is only available for English to begin with.