Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Malayalam support on Nokia. Now!

Open Letter to Nokia

Hey guys,

I belong to a state in India, called Kerala. I am writing this in English so some of you can read and understand the urgency of the hour. We Malayalees are a bunch of very industrious and creative folks. I think there are about 35 million of us. That's twice as much as the Netherlands. Yet Dutch is a language supported on most of your handsets. Malayalam is not. Quite a few Malayalees actually work in your offices and development centres all over the world.

The Malayalam edition of wikipedia has over 10,000 articles making it the highest number for any Indian language after Telugu. There are over one million Malayalees who communicate in Malayalam via Blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Yet you seem totally oblivious to our existence. Over five million Malayalees are wealthy expatriates who have enough money to buy mobile phones for themselves, their kids and their pet dogs. So there need not be any doubts about the buying power of Malayalees.

Kerala is a young, vibrant and exciting place with over 10 million mobile handset users. Most of them buying your products. And this number is increasing by the minute. However very few of those handsets allow communication in Malayalam. As far as I know none of the high end business phones support Malayalam as a communication Language. They communicate using latin characters, which does not even come close to a proper solution. We cannot be forced into using English or Latin to express our deepest emotions. Our songs of love and grief are not in written English. Our hymns and lamentations were not written in English. Our martyrs did not sing their songs of revolt in English. They were written in our beautiful Malayalam script. We have a right to use our language to communicate at least within our own soil. We demand freedom of expression.

All we ask of you is to write a simple rendering engine to support indic-unicode and include it in all new Models of Nokia sold in India. I am sure this can't be difficult for you guys. I for one will gladly promote your handsets.

Help us win our freedom. Help us communicate.

Malayalam support on Nokia. Now!



  1. spread the word bro. spread the word. it's your cause. it's your language.

  2. kaippally, how do we spread the word? can't someone design a font which will run on Symbian OS, or google android?

    not sure if Malayalam is displayed on iPhone.

  3. @സിമി
    Google android is a joke. Lets face it Nokia is the market leader in Handsets. And regardless of what OS they use if Nokia want's their ducks to swim upside down with their wings, they will make it happen.

    It's a little more complex than writing a Malayalam ASCII hack font. That still won't be unicode compliant, and that would be regressive. After all these years of progress in Malayalam Computing that would be ridiculous at best. Furthermore a simple ASCII hack will only satisfy one end of the solution. Data delivery. However typing, searching and sorting cannot be solved by ASCII hacks. That's where a Unicode rendering engine is required. Something akin to the USP10.dll library found withing the Windows OS.

    And why has this not happened in all these years?

    The question in the minds of Nokia, Apple and Adobe would simply be a matter of demand. Is there a demand for Malayalam language Computing? Why should they spend money to deliver a service for an insignificant minority.

    The very same reason Why BBC does not have a Malayalam Service. They don't see the demand.

    I strongly feel there is a demand. The amount of educated folks within our community is not small. I am not talking about the large percentage of teenagers and some old farts who types for "Mallu Porn" all day long in google. I am talking about the serious professional who wants to put Malayalam Computing for productive use.

    So I urge you to call your tech support and ask them for Malayalam Support on your handsets. Write about it in your blogs in your own words. Talk to your friends about the potential of 400,000,000 mobile handset users who would be delighted to use SMS,Twitter and Facebook in their regional languages on their hi-tech mobile phones.

    And when 400 million people want something they will have it. But only if we ask for it. Remember we asked for our independence when we were far less in number. and we did get it then. Lets get it again this time,

  4. I had bought a nokia phone (average price) 2 years back from india. It had most of the indian languages including malayalam. One could use malayalam for all the menu options, and also for communicating. I am not sure if it is available on smart phones by nokia and for other high end aplplications. I guess you are asking for that?

  5. rocksea

    I have purchased at least two models of Nokia phones with Malayalam support back in 2007 thanks to the advice of fellow blogger KeralaFarmer. But these phones were too simple for anything beyond surfing the web using its tiny screens. I believe it was nokia 3100. This feature is not available on all nokia Models

  6. Most of the phone in nokia like model 1650 support all south indian languages.

  7. Since writing this post, the Mobile world has clearly changed. Nokia is slowly loosing it's lead in the smart phone market.

    Android and Apple will clearly take the lead. Apple iOS does support Malayalam, It's probably only a matter of time before Android handset manufacturers turn their attention to the huge Indian markets.


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