BOLT Offers Indic Language Support

Bitstream has announced the first complete mobile browsing solution to fully support Indic languages, specifically nine languages spoken as a first language by an estimated 1.3bn people living in India and the surrounding regions.

The solution, designed for handset manufacturers and mobile operators, is built on the award-winning BOLT cloud computing browsing platform and includes the BOLT mobile browser with Indic language user interfaces; the capability to perfectly render Indic text on a web page; and the ability for end users to input Indic text into the browser. BOLT is available in JavaME (also known as J2ME) and BREW, and can be used on mobile phones of all types, including those phones without native Indic language support.

In addition to English, the BOLT cloud computing browsing platform now supports Bengali, Gurumukhi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati, Malayalam, Oriya, and Hindi, which is India’s official language.

“Interacting with Indic languages presents unique challenges on mobile devices,” says Lokesh Joshi, director of research and development at Bitstream India. “Indic characters are not independent from one another the way characters are in Latin alphabets. Each letter’s size and shape is determined by the characters that surround it, making it a very complex language to work with in a mobile context. Bitstream’s heritage is in font technologies, and we have perfected the ability to render Indic fonts on consumer electronics. With BOLT’s Indic solution for device manufacturers and mobile network operators, Bitstream has also perfected Indic rendering in mobile browsing.”

Bistream notes that other mobile browsing solutions address the challenges of Indic text by either imperfectly rendering the text, or by displaying a static picture of a web page. Imperfect rendering makes reading text difficult and affects the aesthetic of a website’s design. Although displaying a picture of the web page solves the readability issue, it effectively eliminates the ability to manipulate the text and interact with the content. Bistream says that the BOLT Indic solution perfectly renders Indic text on a web page, and allows users to scale text to larger or smaller sizes, copy and paste text from within a web page, and interact with the content in a variety of ways, such as clicking embedded links or filling in web forms.
BOLT supports both Flash and HTML5 video, and also includes social network integration, with Twitter and Facebook widgets. Introduced last year, the free English language consumer version of BOLT is used by 3m people in India; 14.5m people use BOLT worldwide.

“Bitstream has engineered BOLT to maximize the utility of the Internet on mobile for end users, giving handset manufacturers an important competitive differentiator for their mobile phone lines, and providing mobile network operators another way to compete for new users as well as to better manage the data usage on their networks,” says Bitstream CEO, Anna Magliocco-Chagnon. “Now with the addition of Indic language support, Bitstream is introducing the mobile Internet as it was intended to be seen to millions of new users in India and surrounding regions.”

Bitstream will be demonstrating the BOLT cloud computing browsing platform, including its new Indic language support and a preview of the forthcoming Android version, at the upcoming India Telecom exhibition and conference, being held 9 -11 December in New Delhi.