In past posts, I’ve ranted about resistive vs capacitive screens for typing. Apple’s phone and tablet are great, but as a quad with poor hand function, most will prefer to use a finger nail to type. On my Nokia 5800 this works well and the new firmware has better smooth scrolling (inertia in the flicking though contact list for example).
Some technology that came from eye tracking has seen new use on tablets and phones. See full review of Swype at arstechnica.com. I think this is going to solve many disability related text input problems. Voice dictation is king, but to manage most applications, we need a pointer. A quadriplegic needs to keep a finger on the screen and not lift it. Hunt a peck is too problematic and nearly impossible if moving, say on the bus.
Now, my next phone/tablet won’t be an Apple — as much as I do love there products. Android is gaining ground, and as long as they don’t get the same fragmentation that J2ME had, well.. I’m betting an open development platform will eventually win out. slowly eating away at RIM, Nokia, J2ME too. As a developer, you are forced to choose what platform to build your app for. This why companies like PhoneGapare getting lots of attention. New frameworks for doing HTML5 and Java Script continue to improve and touch/gesture commands as well.
So, the future is bright for better input devices for quadriplegics.