Google releases two new Android apps for those with hearing problems

Smartphones should definitely make our lives easier and better — and Google has been doing a fantastic job helping those with accessibility issues use their smartphones to their fullest. Yesterday, Google announced it was releasing two new Android apps for those with limited or no hearing — Live Transcribe, and Sound Amplifier.

Google has been steadily releasing accessibility-increased apps for a variety of people over the last few years — from the release of Lookout and Voice Access, to the ability to use Morse Code in the Gboard keyboard app. Now, these two new apps aim to help the hard of hearing in everyday situations.

The first, Live Transcribe, uses the power of Google’s speech recognition to provide real-time transcriptions of conversation to the user. It’s an exceptionally simple app, made of text on a plain background, and it starts transcribing as soon as it’s booted up. It’s capable of recognizing over 70 languages and dialects, too, making it usable around the world, right off the bat.

One of the major advantages of Live Transcribe is that it provides a hearing-impaired person with a way of easily communicating with hearing people if there isn’t a sign language interpreter around — but it doesn’t stop there. Haptic feedback alerts the user if someone behind them is talking, and a volume indicator in the corner lets a hearing-impaired person know if they’re in a particularly loud environment, and will need to speak louder to be heard. If the speech recognition fails, there’s also a manual keyboard option.

google live transcribe and sound amplifier released

The second app, Sound Amplifier, can be used as a hearing aid, damping down some sounds while emphasizing others. For those with reduced hearing who may struggle to hear friends and family while in a noisy environment — such as near a road — using this app in combination with a set of headphones will allow them to hear only the sounds they need to hear.

The unreleased version of Live Transcribe is currently available from the Play Store, while the full version is available worldwide on a limited beta. You can sign up to be alerted when it’s fully available — Google has also mentioned it will be pre-installed on all Pixel devices from this point on. Sound Amplifier will also be included on Pixel devices, and you can find it on the Play Store, too — though it’s only available for devices running Android 9.0 Pie at the moment.

Emerging Tech

How emotion-tracking A.I. will change computing as we know it

Affectiva is just one of the startups working to create emotion-tracking A.I. that can work out how you're feeling. Here's why this could change the face of computing as we know it.
Product Review

4K in home security is finally here, thanks to Arlo’s Ultra UHD smart cam

The 4K home security camera is finally here! Class-leading image clarity and a super-wide field of vision makes Arlo Ultra an early contender for the year’s best smart cam. While there are definite quirks to the device, the device…

The number pad on HP’s Chromebook 15 makes spreadsheet work a breeze

HP's Chromebook 15 comes with a 15.6-inch display, a metal keyboard deck with full-size keys, and a dedicated number pad, making it the second Chromebook model, following Acer's Chromebook 715, to be suited for spreadsheet work.

The OnePlus 3 & 3T both receive an open beta for Android Pie

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Product Review

The Xperia 10 Plus feels great in your hand, but you'll still want to put it down

There has never been a better time to buy a smartphone with an unusual design, and one of the cheaper models out there vying for your attention is the Sony Xperia 10 Plus, with its 21:9 aspect ratio screen.

How to save yourself money by buying a refurbished iPhone

There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking for a new iPhone, and it can be very expensive. Save yourself some heartache and some money with our guide on how to buy a refurbished iPhone.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

BlackBerry Messenger to shut down in May, be replaced by enterprise version

BlackBerry Messenger for consumers will shut down at the end of May, nearly six years after it was launched. The app is going back to its roots, in a way, as it is being replaced by the much simpler BlackBerry Messenger Enterprise.

Apple Watch Series 3 and Samsung Gear S3 smartwatches get big price cuts

The Apple Watch Series 3 and Samsung Gear S3 are at some of the lowest prices we've seen since so far this year. With discounts from Amazon and Walmart, now is a great time to find spring savings on wearables.

These are the key settings to change on the LG G8 ThinQ smartphone

The LG G8 ThinQ is finally available. There are a lot of settings turned off by default that may be useful in improving the experience of using the phone. We've rounded up 11 key settings for you to change on the G8.

LG reportedly files patent for triple selfie camera on smartphone

LG has reportedly filed a patent for a smartphone with three front-facing cameras. However, if the patent turns out to be true, it may come down as just another gimmick for the struggling mobile phone manufacturer.

Best iPhone 7 Plus screen protectors to shield your big, beautiful display

Cracked screens are expensive to replace. Fortunately for you, we've rounded up what's available in terms of protection for Apple's large iPhone 7 Plus. Here are the best screen protectors you can buy.

Samsung says the Galaxy Fold needs more improvements before it's released

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.

Add style and functionality with the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases

No tablet should be without protection, especially an expensive one. Check out our picks for the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases, so you can add some protection, functionality, and style to your new device.