Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Does Windows Phone 8 support Dzongkha?

HTC's new 8X, running Windows Phone 8
Dzongkha on mobile phones still presents a major challenge. The Dzongkha-enabled Nokia N900 that we developed back in 2009 as a proof-of-concept is still the only phone that has full support of both the official Dzongkha keyboard and perfect rendering of Dzongkha/Tibetan fonts.

HTC and Nokia have recently announced new phones running Windows Phone 8, Microsoft's recent attempt to grab some market share for mobile devices.

Will Windows Phone 8 support Dzongkha keyboard or display? Well, not according to the specs. Here are the official lists of languages:

Display. The following display languages are supported: Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (UK and US), Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. The specific display languages that are included in your phone are chosen by your mobile operator or phone manufacturer.
On-screen keyboard. The following on-screen keyboard languages are supported: Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (UK and US), Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Ukrainian. These input languages are available on all phones, regardless of which display languages your mobile operator or phone manufacturer chose to include.

None of the supported Display languages requires complex rendering (such as letter stacking), which might hint that Windows Phone 8 has no support for complex scripts. Whether the support is there but just not enabled remains to be seen. In the meantime, if what you need is a Dzongkha-enabled mobile phone, don't count on Windows Phone 8.