Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC will begin shipping handsets equipped with a Myanmar-language operating system later this month, a source in the industry said.
The phones will be available from showrooms in Mandalay and Yangon from the third week of January, said U Tun Myint, owner of Min Computer, which produced the San Myanmar font used in the operating system software, known as Myanmar OS. Min Computer will also partner with HTC to sell the phones in Mandalay.
“They will launch seven models with Myanmar OS ranging in price from K150,000 to more than K600,000. The HTC showroom will open in Yangon at KMD Centre and the showroom for Mandalay at Min Computer. KMD will also be the authorised service centre for HTC,” U Tun Myint said.
“For android phones, people can only use about 20 percent of functions in Myanmar language. But these smart phones from HTC will use a complete Myanmar-language operating system, it is totally different because the menus in the phone and commands are all in Myanmar language,” he said.
“But HTC have also put a program to convert from San Myanmar to Zawgyi because many people use Zawgyi.”
The agreement between the companies was reached when HTC chief executive officer and founder, Peter Chou, visited Myanmar in May 2012. Mr Chou was born in Mandalay.
“When Peter Chou … came to Myanmar we discussed about the Myanmar font and I explained the advantages of San Myanmar. We got a contract with HTC for Myanmar OS,” U Tun Myint said.
HTC did not respond to requests for comment last week.