By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, January 19: The global IT giant Google, in its latest Operating System (OS), Marshmallow 6.0, has a good news for its Tibetan users. The latest OS has an a newly built-in font that supports the proper display of the Tibetan alphabet.
According to the Tibet Action Institute (TAI), which has been advocating for the development of Tibetan script in the androids-based phones said on its website, “Currently, the new OS is only available on Nexus devices sold by Google, but should soon be available on Motorola and Android ONE devices in India from Samsung and Huawei, and through third-party open firmwares such as Cyanogen.”
It is a welcome change for the Android users. Earlier, they had to install the Tibetan fonts either through rooting their phones or installing bunch of separate Tibetan font apps. This new development means that Apple iPhone, which had built-in Tibetan font, no longer has the monopoly in providing OS option for Tibetan language.
“Tibetan script is used to write Tibetan, Dzongkha, Sikkimese, Ladakhi and Balti, and is intricately tied to an identity that connects millions of people across Tibet, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Mongolia and Pakistan. Considered highly sophisticated as a vehicle for the transmission of complex philosophical teachings, the Tibetan language holds one of the largest reserves of Buddhist canon as well as contemporary literature,” TAI said.
The Tibetan organization on information technology also urged developers to include the Google ‘Noto’ Tibetan font in builds for Xiaomi, Cyanogen and all Android based OS, so that it will improve access for Tibetans around the world, and other regions that use the Tibetan script.
“This development will provide more opportunities for Tibetans to use more open-source communications tools to connect and communicate with their friends and family around the world, using their own written language,” TAI explains how it can prove as a lifeline for Tibetans living under China’s extreme state-sponsored repression and censorship.