Monday, January 14, 2013

First Burmese font smartphones launched

Monday, 14 January 2013 13:12 Mizzima News

Peter Chou, the Burma-born CEO of Taiwanese phone company HTC Corp., has announced the launch of the world’s first mobile devices designed to be used with Burmese text.

Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

In a bid to enter new markets ahead of rival companies such as Samsung and Apple, HTC have ensured the new devices can be used by buyers immediately by avoiding font installation problems.

“My aspiration is to design innovative smartphones that offer full compatibility with the Myanmar language, so that people in Myanmar can enjoy enhanced communications simply and easily,” said Chou in an interview with the BBC.

Until now, a failure to agree standardized fonts has hindered the development of Burmese-language systems, meaning that webpages and apps are often unreadable, adding to the country’s slow technology growth. HTC’s phones will also offer the first Burmese-language predictive text function and smart search.

“You don't have to spend two months to learn how to type it,” Chou said to Reuters. “You just type it. We want to give people here a computing device they don't have to learn. They just try it, they just use it, they just get it.”

In 2011, the World Bank listed Burma as the country with the lowest mobile phone penetration in Asia at just 3 percent. Currently there are only two mobile phone carriers in the country: Myanmar Posts & Telecommunications and Yatanarpon Teleport Co. This is set to change soon with the telecommunications regulator drafting a law to introduce up to five new telecom operator licenses.
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