Friday, June 3, 2011

Nokia,Bangla (bengali) & a long fight

I bought a nokia 6670 in the yr 2005.Before that i was using a nokia 3315.I mentioned 3315 specifically for a reason,to be explained shortly.After buying the 6670,i was very happy.It had a 1 MP camera,quite a novelty at that time;plus it could play .mp3 directly(to play .mp3 in nokia 6600,the other popular phone of that time,3rd party applications were needed) and had free netfront browser-so overall a good investment seemed to me.
After few days of usage,i started receiving messages with squared boxes,nothing else was legible in those messages.
squared boxes were appearing like this
(its not from 6670 but 
the appearance is same)
It did not bother me initially.Later i found that i was missing customised offers from my service provider-say 1gb free data or 1hour calling at reduced rate-customised offer like that.So asked the provider.They informed me that they had been sending necessary sms to my number.Never missed such offer before with my 3315.So started wondering what's the problem!
After few days i found the problem-they were sending the offer in Bengali(or bangla,the native language of my state & the official language of my neighbouring country) and nokia 6670 could not show Bengali scripts.Actually no Indian languages were supported;amazingly though my 3315 was able to render those messages.
In short,what could be done by a nokia low-end handset could not be done by a higher priced,so called smart phone. 
That was in 2005.
In 2009 bought a nokia 5800,mainly influenced by nokia advertisements claiming these as multimedia computers.To my horror they still don't support Bengali;instead it supports pilipino language(probably Filipino but not sure).Never heard about it.

 supports pilipino but no Indian languages
So i wondered why no support for Bengali?E-mailed them.Their reply stunned me-”we do not support regional language”.....asked them about the meaning of 'regional language” in reply.Still waiting for the reply of that mail.
Lets share few information about Bengali language here
Its the 6th (fifth if different Arabic dialects are not counted as one language) largest language in the world.So its not like i am requesting support for an irrelevant or dead language like Latin or Sanskrit or Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Attaching some screenshots in support of this with some links--
(no Arabic dialect separately cross Bengali)

(other links--mediastory, they contain a bit older data.Wikipedia and ethnologue rankings are done according to the latest data).
Now lets come to 2011.
I placed few Bengali Unicode fonts(from in E/resource/Fonts folder and voila all of a sudden i could view Bengali characters!!!!!!!!!!
The result of this placement is shown in below screenshots--
my service provider sends me the benefit
of ₹38 recharge(previously it was just
squared box like the 1st screenshot)
my twitter update( as visible in 
default browser,not opera mini)
Bengali written in nokia 5800
with panini application
the default keypad in landscape
the default keypad with a particular font
(in it the Latin words are replaced by Bengali Unicode characters;
the Latin button,just left to the space bar,
used to change different words and options)
After all these experiments,my logical conclusion was that nokia default fonts do not support Bengali characters.So collected them from Z/resource/Fonts and analysed them using fontforge
Amazingly 2,out of 4,fonts do support Bengali!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So why could i not read or write my mother tongue in nokia 5800?Particularly when nokia 5310,and nokia27**(probably 2710,but i am not sure) could do so.Asked them in twitter.After a lengthy q&a round @nokiahelps forwarded my request.
Screenshots of my nokia conversion--
numbered the tweets serially;
(1 being the first &
7 the last)
So my q to nokia-
1.why are you supporting low-end sets but not so-called multimedia computers?why are showing stepmotherly behaviour to Bengali and your high-end sets? long do we need to continue to request you for basic features in high-end sets and you are continuing to ignore us?
3.i am not an MBA;but what is the business strategy to sell a handset in India without any Indian language support in it?
Could you dare to do this in France,Portugal or Russia?If not,why in India?
4.and why are you supporting a pilipino language in a handset sold in India?
How could that make sense,particularly when you are ignoring the 4th & 5th largest language of the world totally?
And all this after saying that nokia loves to provide locally relevant applications in its handsets!!!!!!
You guys are not even providing the language support;what is the benefit of providing application if people could not use it????????Suppose,you are providing a weather application for the benefit of a Bengali farmer.Since the handset does not support Bengali,he needs to learn either English or pilipino to use that application!!!!!!!!!!
Do you even recognise how ridiculous the situation is!!!!!!!!!
Lets finish with--i understand nokia probably will never read this post.They do not have time for ordinary customers like us;but i still wrote it.Took me almost 3 hours to complete it.
first,i promised a friend to explain why he could not use his mother-tongue in his multimedia computers
secondly,may be in future this could be used to explain what nokia did wrong in its business strategy ignoring the 4th & 5th largest language.
third,have some spare time before starting of my MD course