Google should enable Live Captions on all Android 10 devices

Google should enable Live Captions on all Android 10 devices

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Allan Xiao started this petition to Google, Inc

Like others with deafness or hearing loss, a lot of apps and sites with audio and video are inaccessible to me because they are not captioned.

With Android 10 though, a key feature hyped by Google was Live Captions, which really excited me and probably others as well. For me, it was the main reason I upgraded my OnePlus 6 as fast as I could back in January. And most likely why others like me did too, or perhaps bought Android phones.

However, after upgrading, I was very disappointed to find out my phone was unsupported. And moreover that it would only enabled for select devices, Basically Google Pixel phones.

At this point, I was already quite annoyed... So much for don't be evil...

Last week, I finally caved and bought a Pixel 2 refurb just so I could try it. And it turned out to be pretty much just like I imagined and pretty useful. There's a few seconds delay but otherwise it is pretty accurate, very similar to Live Transcribe. Now I can somewhat use all the workout and meditation apps... As well as watch any video and know what the people are saying.

What I never understood was why it wasn't made available on all devices that are capable of running Android 10 at launch... And still isn't.

In terms of hardware, a lot of devices beat the Pixel 2's specs and the feature is part of A10. It turns out it just needs a Google Personalization Services app to enable it.

When I first got the Pixel, it was A10 but had to update the app to get the option to enable it.

Also Live Captions does not need the internet unlike Live Transcribe so it doesn't cost anything extra for them if more people start using it. And would be good for us especially in hospitals or other locations where we cannot get internet.

In other words, all A10 devices already support it but just need the key to unlock the functionality.

This limitation feels like a direct extortion of people with disabilities, forcing us to buy new and expensive (Google) devices. Pixel 2 was discontinued long ago and even that ended up costing me $100...

  1. Pixel 3/a/XL (also recently discontinued) $200-400 (new) on Amazon
  2. Pixel 4/XL $799-899 from Google

All prices are for unlocked but mobile providers don't give these away for free either... unless maybe if you're a new customer.

But why should anyone need to buy a new phone or sign a new contract when their current one works perfectly fine and can be upgraded to A10?

To me, as a long time Android user, it feels like a slap in the face.

In a way, it feels like Google is abusing it's position as a platform to boost it's hardware business which screams monopoly and foul play...

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