[BCAB] Georgey Review

Mobeen Iqbal mobeeniqbal at gmail.com
Mon Feb 18 23:21:33 GMT 2013

Hi Everyone. My appologies in advance to the mods if this is off topic. 
I'm posting this review here in case people are interested.

This was written in august of last year. At the time, i was using an
older version of android, i don't think georgey works with newer
versions. If they have improved anything i've mentioned below, please
let me know. Constructive comments welcome, the comments below are
mearly my opinions and i do not wish to start a debate on list or slam
the developers intentionally, my appologies in advance.

Main app interface:

the first criticism i have is the fact that all
navigation has to be acomplished via a touch screen. Trying on a samsung
galaxy pro, i could not click any of the controls via the keyboard even
though they are recognised as buttons. I could also not dial a phone
number via the keyboard, something i was very very surprised at!
something so simple that's been around for years has been over looked?
this is probably because you have to hover over each item on the screen
with your finger. on to my next point. it took me a while to figure out
that you have to hover over a certain icon for 2 seconds or more until a
tone is heard, then lift your finger to activate it. being used to the
double tap system normally used in android, this came as a little qwerk
i could've done with out, though i can see the logic behind it i guess.
The logic being cut out the need to tap the icon twice and risk hitting
another icon while you're at it. Also, i would've liked the ability to
turn off the dog barking sound when the app is launched, and every time
you return to the home screen from outside the app. nothing against
guide dogs, but it could be a bit of an embarrassment in public places!
Also, my phone really started lagging, something its never done with
other applications no matter how many i've had installed at any one
time. while i'm writing this, the phone's completely crashed, i'll go on
to the apps when it reboots.

On to the apps:

Now my battery's back in and the thing's booted, by default, you can try
out all the apps in the trial. i liked the fact you can adjust screen
contrast/colours, and also the simplicity of the interface. there needs
to be more user input in to what can be configured/added for the price,
i can see this being aimed at a minority market relating specifically to
the elderly or motor impaired.

I did not like the fact that the volume rocker is taken over by the
software. there are meant to be 3 pages, each page containing the
various apps in various catagories. The volume rocker, instead of
allowing you to alter the volume of the app in realtime cycles through
the various pages. it also appears to unlock the phone when its been
locked, something which i wasn't too impressed with. on android, its
standard practis that all buttons are locked and the power button plus
jesture is used to unlock. I've known people in the past when using blackberry handsets, the phone has unlocked in their pocket and sent pictures at random of their back side to friends! if georgey unlocks your phone in your pocket, i dread to think! you're sat there listening to a consert or even worse in an intimate moment and there's a barking dog and text messages potentially being sent at random? back to the point. page1 has your standard apps, messaging
dialer etc, page 2 goes on to OCR, colour recognition etc, page 3 is
thankfully nothing rood, its your lifestile apps containing twitter,
audio book services, talking newspapers etc. I would've apreciated it if
the developers had enabled scroling so you could scrole to page 2/3, or
again provided a setting to switch between various modes for various
functions i.e the ability to turn things on and off, or use alternative
jestures for commands.

Also if people request, i may consider doing an audio
demo all be it opinionated giving each app a chance, to save people
installing it. I would also have liked to see tighter integration with
google maps. At the moment, yes you can find out where your nearest bus
stop is, taxi information, but you don't appear to be able to send these
to google maps to navigate to the destination in mind.

The voice applications also appear, or may rely on the internet. I
haven't tested the application offline yet with no internet connection,
but suspect that because of past experience, the phone will be sending
what ever you say, dictated text messages, numbers, etc to google's
servers then back to your phone. Any android user using this app may
wish they were on some kind of data plan if this is the case.

I have also tried the colour recogniser application. ironically, a
freely available talking colour application from the android market,
Colour ID,  produced better results than their app! Their app just
stated my teashirt colour as black, the colour ID app was kind enough to
be more specific and tell me that it was brownish black, and that the
colour of my door was grey.

The OCR app appeared to be doing something, though it requires the user
to have the phone level, i.e as if resting flat on a desk before it'll
scan. this could proove to be an issue if reading a sign/business
information that isn't necessarily on a flat surface. oh dear, where's
the gents? i'm getting desperate now!

You can configure settings remotely for georgie via the web, or sight
and sound can do this for you. i'm not comfortable with this approach.
I'd like to know how secure the remote access app used is? is it
encrypted? how safe is user data? Privacy is at risk, what if they can
read your text messages? one user complained that sight and sound or
someone sent him an unsolicited text message because he posted a bad
review! this could be a error/over reaction or mistake  on his part,
but? i've installed this on a handset i'm not bothered about but i'd be
hesitant to install this on a handset i'm using for daily use.

I would've liked to see inclusion of an email application, as well as a
web browser of some kind. georgie at present won't support this at
present so you'd have to use talkback to surf the web.

I also couldn't find an option to access the rest of the phone's
settings, though i haven't customised it or atempted to unlock advanced
settings if any are available. apparently you can control what the user
can do on the phone and provide/limit access to certain functions, so
we'll see if in the next few days i unlock this supposed functionality.
An option to access the android market or the app draw would've been
nice, though again this doesn't appear to be their aim. The app draw is a list of all applications stored on your phone, its like locking access to your start menu in windows! their aim
appears to be make the phone as simple as possible for a basic user, and
that's it. for a hefty price tag! The app also froze, and i received a
force close message on screen informing me that georgie had terminated.
i then had to reactivate it via my home button. that, by the way was
when i tried to access the georgie news option. this option is meant to
provide you with the latest updates from the world of georgie, i have
visions of them providing georgie with his own personal blog! there are
after all pages on facebook for pets. nothing wrong with that of
course... but? anyway back to the point.

the contacts app, call/phone app,
messaging app, colour recogniser app, and even the OCR app using google
goggles all have free alternatives. Google maps are a lot better now and
its becoming easier to find your location, to navigate to places, to
find local places of interest, and its all free! even if you do
pourchase mobile accessibility, at least you can use it outside its own
homescreen if you wish! What would then prompt me to buy this. I would
buy it if i had a really basic android user in mind, though i'd first
try my very hardest to go the free/lower cost  root not because i'm
stingy, but a lot of the time people don't have money to burn and also
there are apps out there that do the job. the eyes free shell home
screen is perfectly customisable and allows you to make things as simple
as they could be for someone by adding/removing the apps the user has
access to. Mobile accessibility is basic enough for most people. Also,
if my client just wanted a basic phone, basic second hand and brand new
nokia symbian phones abound on the internet. the haven phone could also
be imported to the UK, and i saw a phone that spoke the numbers dialed
for £15 in tesco the other day. The only reason i would personally spend
any money on this application is the OCR capability, and possibly the
audio book/talking newspaper ability though at that price, do we get a
free subscription to the services in question? perhaps we should? Let me add here, that developers of an app called scanthing retailing for £2.97 are working to make it accessible for the blind, giving us access to OCR. google goggles also has basic OCR functionality and that's free.

the pricing model is also unclear. they state that £150 will get you the
default apps. now as far as i know, that's just the basic apps, dialer,
messaging, contacts, georgie news and help, the phone dialer, and the
call log. mobile accessibility offers all this and more for almost a
third of the price! yes MA isn't perfect but that's not the point, who
is? £25 extra each for the lifestile and communications apps doesn't net
you much. the audio books app, the camera app, again a free alternative
available, OCR, tweet by voice, ask any question by voice anyone ever
heard of freely available jeanie? talking newspapers, podcasts, and lets
not forget the amazing voice blog. If anyone wants to hear me singing in
the shower, please let me know! the potential is amazing isn't it? the
sarcasm is partly intentional, sorry i'll stop it now...

So, from this hotchpotch email, a conclusion: the app is very over
priced, even code factory who i expected to charge a lot more for their
app haven't charged much at all, its even available stripped down in the
US for free. If users have free alternatives and are only paying for
simplicity which can be achieved with selection of a few choice free/low
paid apps, what will compell people to buy this? now if they'd included
a turn by turn navigation aid like wayfinder for symbian if anyone
remembers that, that would've impressed me. I really hope that the
company does well, though there's still a long way to go. I hope it does
not go the same way as thunder i.e get knocked out by an open source,
free!  effort like NVDA. I never really managed to achieve much with the
thunder screen reader, it was rather embarrassing when atempting to demo
it as part of training a few years ago it kept crashing. we couldn't
even get it to read out word documents or the web in a satisfactory manner.

As i have already said the opinions i express above are just based on
early findings. A lot could change over the next 2 weeks. I may end up
loving? georgie, though i doubt i'll be paying for it. If i've been
harsh on the developers, it wasn't intentional. the georgie app only has
a 2.2 star rating on the play store at the time of writing, and the majority of the reviews are
from those that are experiencing frustration using the application. some
can't get it to work though this could be user error. i wonder how many
phones they tested this on?

 From a business standpoint, if you set the right price people will buy
your product, set it too high and they'll turn to other sollutions. £300
with a handset included? a Nokia C5 with talks costs £100, a basic
handset like the sony experia pro with jellybean which is
totally accessible would only cost £180 at the most. A sony Xperia Mini Pro, the pro's little brother would only set you back £140 with accessible apps installed set up ready to go, ahem anyone want one? i have access to a stock of nokias and xperias and will train and set them up.

finally, i'd like to round things off by quoting a comment from someone
called justin on the eyes-free list with which i agree. i hope you don't
mind me quoting you justin, though i don't know you personally.

Justin<justinmacleod at hotmail.com>   Aug 01 10:06PM +0100

That's what I think is so scandalous. They are indeed targeting older people
and those who are less up to speed with computers, those who don't know
better or those that can't, for whatever reason, cope with the free, cheeper
alternative that actually does more. Why should they have to pay more for

Anyway, it would be great to hear people's experiences. If i'm wrong
about anything in this email, i'll gladly stand corrected and i'm still
giving georgie a fair chance. People are also welcome to write to me off

mobeeniqbal at gmail.com

is where you'll find me. Its taken the best part of 2 hours to write
this, anyone for a cup of tea?

Thanks for reading,


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