Sunday, August 20, 2017

Samsung unveils plan for Burmese fonts

Speaking at a tech networking event in Yangon August 25, a Samsung representative announced that the company would soon be rolling out new smartphones that can recognise Myanmar script.

U Zarni Win Htet speaks in Yangon. Photo: SuppliedU Zarni Win Htet speaks in Yangon. Photo: Supplied

Though Samung’s devices are localised for Myanmar, compatability issues with Myanmar font systems Unicode and Zawgyi have caused major headaches for developers in the country.

Part of Samsung’s localisation strategy hinges on language. In Myanmar, both the Unicode and Zawgyi fonts are used by developers. But Android 4.4 KitKat, which powers many devices including Samsung’s Galaxy S5, only works with Zawgyi.

U Zarni Win Htet, head of the handheld products channel at Samsung Electronics’ Myanmar branch, first apologised for the trouble, and then announced it would soon have a remedy.

“It’s ready,” he said. “The next version to come out, Unicode and Zawygi both can be used together,” he said.

In addition, Samsung is launching a K97,500 smartphone to entice local customers. According to U Zarni Win Htet, market research revealed that nearly half of Myanmar is reaching the internet from devices that aren’t PCs or laptops – meaning that 45 percent get to the web from mobile phones. They want features like bigger screens and a front-facing camera. “You could say that under K100,000 is a challenge for Samsung, but we did it,” he said, “We’re not going to stop [at] that one. We will try our best to facilitate quality local needs.”