Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 25th Oct 2012 14:52 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, one of its most prominent and most controversial features was the on-screen keyboard. In as world dominated by devices with physical keyboards, it was seen as a joke, something that could never work. We know better by now, of course, but while I still prefer the physical feel and clicks of a real keyboard, a recent new endeavour of mine has made me appreciate the on-screen keyboard in a whole new way.
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Multiple languages input & system locale
by wekncdr on Fri 26th Oct 2012 01:19 UTC
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I'm so glad to see that you have pointed out smartphones' multiple input languages as a tool for learning foreign languages!

The on-screen keyboard is very useful indeed. I must also highlight one important feature - built-in support for multiple system locales.

Let's take an Apple device as an example here, from a neutral perspective. No matter which part in the world that I purchase an i-device, I will get the same number of languages support. I can switch my system locale to any language that I want, and I can enable any on-screen language keyboard that I want.

Similarly, Android devices also support all languages. But there are some differences. In terms of input methods, anyone is free to install any languages that they want, so they get to customize their devices.

In terms of system locales, the situation is very different from an i-device. Manufacturers scale down the number of system locale languages depending on which region in the world that they sell the device. It seems to me that they decide the bare minimum number of supported system locales that the users in a particular region would ever want to use as the default language in their devices.

As a person who is learning a foreign language reaches higher levels, she may decide to try using the foreign language as the default system locale, not just being able to input that language. She may do so for fun, for learning purposes, for any reasons. Depending on which brand of Android device she buys, she may or may not be able to set the system locale to a language that she wants, simply because that language is not built-in. As a layman, she may not know of an easy method to install system locales.

Let's take another example - Nokia Symbian feature- & smart- phones. Suppose I purchase a Nokia device from an English speaking country in Europe, I am likely to just be able to use English as the default language and nothing else. It seems that Nokia assumes that I only want to use English as the system language and not some other foreign languages.

I am not sure how many people out there share the same experiences as me. Hopefully, I am not the only one.

Edited 2012-10-26 01:20 UTC

Reply Score: 1