1 (edited by jack 2017-03-02 00:36:09)

Well folks, anyone who predicted that Hims and Android just made Braille sense, well you're right. Have a look at this brand new Braille Sense Polaris from Hims that was announced at CSun just today. Now for my two cents. The positive, as there is a huge amount to this. I'm really excited to see Hims do this. Not that I had any doubt they would, Hims as always tried to stay mainstream as possible even with Windows Ce. But this is huge as far as collaboration is concerned. With the b2g, the Braillenote Touch, and now the Braille Sense Polaris, as long as people have those notetakers, they're pretty much on even footing as far as software is concerned. Sure, obviously there are interfaces built ontop of each platform that make them stand out, but generally speaking, anyone can use Google Apps, anyone can scan print with their device, anyone can access the same library of apps, you name it. I'm personally holding onto my Touch, but have nothing against  the Sense at all. I will, however, point out the stuff that each of the two does or doesn't have.

nfc? On a notetaker?

Yep, you heard right! The sense has an nfc chip, enabling Android Pay! The Touch doesn't have this. I personally don't fancy lifting my huge tablet up to a tap-and-pay, but then again I'm at an advantage with an nfc-activated Android phone. But this would make the Sense stand out among all the others if nfc is what you're looking for in a notetaker.

The Sense is not as touchy

The lack of a touchscreen is not a huge deal to most. I for one am a huge fan of Touchbraille and its completely silent usage. I'm also hugely supportive of the Touch's ability to have the screenreader disabled and the screen be fully available for a sighted person to use, after all I actually have had sighted people use my tablet before for collaboration purposes. While the Sense doesn't have the ability to disable the screenreader, at least not that I know of, it does have touch sensors to perform touchscreen actions, which I actually find to be a cool supplement to the keyboard. I don't even take issue to the Sense only having a keyboard, after all Hims is very well known for having impressively soft keyboards. So while there are advantages to each device, you can take comfort in knowing that there'll be no click-clack on the railroad track while using the Polaris.

Have to send the Sense in for repair, now where's all that data going!

While I'm not a fan of the off-the-shelf low-end sdhc card that comes with the touch, I absolutely am in full support of the removal storage approach. I don't know if Hims is gonna have a care program, if they do that's great, but either way, your data's coming along for the ride if your Polaris has to be sent in for repair. Better still, if it doesn't bother you too much, there are ways around it, Dropbox and the like, so while it is a disadvantage, it isn't a complete doorstop.
So those are just some of the things that each one does or doesn't have. Either way, these are both great devices, and now, for the first time ever, there actually is a freedom of choice when you go to buy your next notetaker.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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As a follow-up to Jack's post, according to Dave Wilkinson from HIMS, they expect the unit to ship in May. They also have plans to release a Mini version. I assume it'll be called the "Braille Sense Polaris Mini" like with the U2, and it'll have 18 cells. At this time, unlike older Braille Sense models, there will not be a QWERTY variant developed for now. The estimated cost is $5795, which if memory serves right, is almost the same as the Braille Sense U2, both Perkins and QWERTY models. A trade in program will be offered as well, with $1800 for trading in of either a Braille Sense u2 or BrailleNote Touch. A BrailleNote Touch 18 will get you $800.
As for me, I'll probably still hold on to my Braille Sense U2 for the time being, but it's great to see HIMS moving forward.

Hello. He-he-he-he-have some respect and don't spoil the game. It's impossible to have mysteries nowadays, because of nosy people like you. Please keep all of this between us. If you post it online, I won't make any more secrets. No one will be impressed. It will be your fault! He-he-he-he-ha-he-he-ha-he-he.
- abc_123_a.ogg, Undertale v1.000 -

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Hi.
Sounds awesome. The only question I'm having is if Hims is able to keep the Android version updated.
I got the chance to see a prototype of the unit last weekend, and it looks great.

Best regards SLJ.
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Happy gaming... :D

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5795 dollars was it, really? Do these people belong to royal families or what. With that amount of money I could buy a fancy car here and show off with it in the city. smile
Seriously, it's way too much extraordinarily overpriced.

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Lol Afrim. The sad truth is that high quality braille will *always* ramp the price up. Believe me, I know cheap braille when I see it. The orbit reader is in a league of its own so can't be compared to other devices, but the higher quality the braille display, the more it's gonna cost. Sorry.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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6 (edited by FamilyMario 2017-03-02 20:22:31)

@SLJ: The version of Android that the device is using (Android 5 Lollipop) can totally be upgraded, according to the Blind Bargains CSUN17 podcast with HIMS. As far as I know. This is the only device that runs a version of Android other than KitKat with access to the Google Play Store. The NeoBraille runs Android 5.1, but it doesn't have access to the Play Store, instead having access to the Amazon app store instead.
For those curious, the device is using Vocalizer Expressive Samantha for the Braille Sense side, and for the Android side, it will use whatever TTS you have set for that. Keep in mind that this may change when the unit starts shipping in May. There is also an early adopter's price that I forgot to mention, which is $5,295, which will last until sometime in the future.
For those curious about the specs who did not read the announcement from HIMS or listen to the Blind Bargains podcast, the unit is running on a 2.1 GHZ octacore processor, have 64 GB of onboard internal storage, 2 GB of RAM, and will support wireless charging, the same technology that's behind the Galaxy S6 and others. It also has a 12 megapixel camera, and the battery will last up to 17 hours on a single charge (the same as in the Braille Sense U2).
EDIT: Speaking of the U2, HIMS has also stated that their older Braille Sense products starting from the U2 onwards will still be actively supported, since it still has a big following, and the U2 does some things that the Polaris doesn't do by default, such as Macros, YouTube, and others.

Hello. He-he-he-he-have some respect and don't spoil the game. It's impossible to have mysteries nowadays, because of nosy people like you. Please keep all of this between us. If you post it online, I won't make any more secrets. No one will be impressed. It will be your fault! He-he-he-he-ha-he-he-ha-he-he.
- abc_123_a.ogg, Undertale v1.000 -

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Once again, HIMS is providing more realistic and modern specifications than Humanware. I feel a little better knowing that HIMS has actively stated that the OS will be upgradable. Still, we'll see what happens. Competition is good. I probably won't be purchasing these devices as they're so expensive, but this is good stuff.

Grab my Adventure at C: stages Right here.

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I know that for myself, I wish to try out both units. After all, I would buy both the braille note touch and this new braille sense if I had the money, but sadly I do not have that amount of cash lying about. I do have a few questions though. I will leave with this one and ask another later. How do you access the notifications on this device? Ok ok ok, here is another question. Is there any hope at having widgets on any of these type devices, if not then when? Just wondering, not that it matters.

All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.
DropBox Referral

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Just to clear the air, Humanware has not stated that the os *will not* be upgraded on the Touch, but it just hasn't been yet. Keysoft 3.0 is coming, and these Touch updates have been huge. 2.0 brought Knfb Reader, braille display support, and complete Nemeth to print translation on the fly. Keysoft 3.0 is expected to be a major update as well. Both companies are at work in improving/manufacturing these devices. Despite the Touch running kitkat, the gap between these two devices is not as wide as it used to be, except for the specs pointed out here. And as for the Neobraille, technically getting the Play Store installed on that thing is as easy as pie with an apk, but it is not a google certified device so it will not have the support of google, or if it does, it's probably more behind the scenes than it is with Humanware and Hims.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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@cw: Yes, there is a way to interact with notifications on the device, according to the HIMS Notetakers list, however Dave Wilkinson has said that he doesn't remember the keystroke to activate the notification at the moment, or if it has even been implemented yet, but there will be one.
For others who are curious, the device uses Chrome as its web browser, and will be updated as the developers update it. However, you can also use the Chrome stock Android app, and update it from the Google Play store, as well as download other web browsers like Firefox, and those will work too. This is very nice, because previously on the older Braille Sense models, since they were using Internet Explorer 6 Mobile, some websites would display the famous "Your web browser is out of date" message.

Hello. He-he-he-he-have some respect and don't spoil the game. It's impossible to have mysteries nowadays, because of nosy people like you. Please keep all of this between us. If you post it online, I won't make any more secrets. No one will be impressed. It will be your fault! He-he-he-he-ha-he-he-ha-he-he.
- abc_123_a.ogg, Undertale v1.000 -

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A quick correction on the specs of the device. The Polaris actually has 3 GB RAM instead of 2 GB of RAM. It also has a sort of wake command that you can use like Hey Siri, simply called "Hey Polaris". According to the Braille Sense Polaris brochure, this is used for navigation in addition to the built-in GPS, or at least I think that's what it's used for. Then again, we'll find out more as more info is revealed.

Hello. He-he-he-he-have some respect and don't spoil the game. It's impossible to have mysteries nowadays, because of nosy people like you. Please keep all of this between us. If you post it online, I won't make any more secrets. No one will be impressed. It will be your fault! He-he-he-he-ha-he-he-ha-he-he.
- abc_123_a.ogg, Undertale v1.000 -

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sorry for bringing this topic back, but I've gotten a grant to get a notetaker, and I am so, so glad I waited for this.
we use google sweet for everything at work, so I'm so glad I can leave my laptop and just use this for everything.  I'm very, very excited.

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I have to agree with afrim though. I could get a 200 dollar tablet and an Orbit Reader 20 and the cost is still not even close to 5000 dollars.
It's great that Hims is jumping ship from Windows CE to Android though.

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.
Isaiah 42:16

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Are they selling the Orbit, now? Last I heard was that they had a few they were selling on a first-come-first-served basis at the NFB and ACB National Conventions, and that was about it.

Some of my games
Keep up to date by following @Jeqofire on twitter!
Ear Ninja?

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I don't know. APH still won't give us a release date. Their website only says "coming soon."

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.
Isaiah 42:16

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Someone apparently has beta units, and support has even been added in NVDA, however I haven't seen any progress on its release.

And thus the beast grew powerful, and fire and thunder swept the land. But Mammon stirred in their hearts, and the beast Foundered, and its Corpse arose, and commanded "thou shalt not fly in my name." And the blazes shall freeze cold, and the souls of the followers of Mammon shall learn to tremble in the
face of ice as they did before the fire.
from The Book of Ice, 10:13

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