Friday, December 28, 2012

Viewing Telugu in Mobiles and Smart Phones

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You might already know that iOS4 comes with a Telugu font and supports Telugu out of the box. So, you can view Telugu perfectly in iPhones and iPads that are running iOS4 and above.
Now, let us see what options we have on other mobiles and smartphones like BlackBerry and Nokia E71 E67 etc. The problem is that these phones do not come with a Telugu font pre-installed. Even otherwise, I do not think the browsers in these smartphones are smart enough to render Telugu text yet. When you visit a Telugu website, you see it as below:
A screen shot of Telugu website in default browser in Nokia E71, when Telugu text is appearing as boxes
A screen shot showing a Telugu web page in the default browser in Nokia E71, when Telugu text is appearing as boxes
However, there is a way to see Unicode Telugu on these smartphones. And, the way is to use Opera Mini with bitmap fonts setting on.
A screen shot of Telugu website in Nokia E71 using Opera Mini browser
A screen shot showing a Telugu web page in Opera Mini with the ‘Use bitmap fonts for complex scripts’ setting Yes

Here are the steps to set up Opera Mini for Indic and other complex scripts:
  1. Download Opera Mini in your smart phone, if you do not have it already.
  2. Open Opera Mini and go to opera:config
  3. Scroll to the end of the page to find Use bitmap fonts for complex scripts
  4. Select ‘Yes’ in the drop down for that setting.
  5. Hit ‘Save’
  6. Enjoy Telugu websites on your phone.
Since Opera Mini renders the font in their servers and sends to the client, we do not need to have a Telugu font installed in our mobile. (This might be a privacy concern for some, though.)
Other potential options:
  • BOLT browser: As per this press release from Bitstream, … the BOLT cloud computing browsing platform now also supports the following Indic languages -Hindi (IndiaĆ¢€™s official language), Bengali ,Gurumukhi , Telugu , Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati , Malayalam and Oriya. But, it has not been made available to general public yet. When I contacted BOLT support, they said:
    Indic version of BOLT is currently available for network carriers and mobile phone makers only. We request you to recommend BOLT to your favorite network carrier or mobile phone makers so that they can make BOLT Indic version available to their users.
  • Firefox Mobile: Firefox Mobile is available for Android and Nokia N900 phones. I guess it supports Telugu. If anyone has tried, please share the experience.
  • NewsHunt: There is an app called NewsHunt for mobile phones that delivers news items from popular Indian dailies. Users can access latest news in regional languages on their mobile phones. I think that application uses proprietary encoding and not Unicode. And, it is not for general purpose browsing.

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