Ti­betan smart­phone maker ap­plauds new font re­lease

China Daily (Canada) - - TIBET - By PALDEN NY­IMA in Lhasa palden@chi­nadaily.com.cn

De­spite the com­pe­ti­tion, a for­mer com­puter sci­ence pro­fes­sor who cre­ated the first smart­phone to sup­port Ti­betan text is pleased that the in­tro­duc­tion of a bevy of new fonts is giv­ing users more op­tions to ex­press them­selves in their own lan­guage.

“With Ti­betan avail­able on many Chi­nese smart­phones, it has greatly pop­u­lar­ized the use of Ti­betan in China,” said Lob­sang, who founded Luozang Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy in 2008.

For many years, Lob­sang’s Luozang brand of smart­phone and the iPhone were the only two mo­bile phones sup­port­ing Ti­betan. And the Luozang, mar­keted first in 2011, was the only one with set­tings in Ti­betan.

The 17 new Qo­molangma Ti­betan fonts, cre­ated by the China Ti­betol­ogy Re­search Cen­ter and re­leased in Novem­ber by the In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter of the Minzu Pub­lish­ing House, mean Ti­betans can now down­load a stylish script to any smart­phone.

The re­lease might im­pact his busi­ness, but Lob­sang, 47, re­mains con­fi­dent about his brand.

“My phone has gained pop­u­lar­ity, es­pe­cially in the no­madic ar­eas and monas­ter­ies in Ti­betan ar­eas. It has the ad­van­tage of hav­ing all set­tings in the Ti­betan lan­guage, not just a Ti­betan key­board and type­face,” he said.

In ad­di­tion to the Ti­betan branded smart­phone, Lob­sang’s com­pany pro­duces 20 elec­tronic prod­ucts that use Ti­betan, in­clud­ing so­lar cell phone charg­ers, voice recorders, and 61 kinds of elec­tronic dic­tio­nar­ies.

The com­pany has more than 40 sales out­lets in the Ti­bet au­ton­o­mous re­gion, Hong Kong, Tai­wan, the provinces of Qing­hai, Sichuan, Gansu and Yun­nan, and some cities in the United States and Den­mark.

One of its prod­ucts, the Luozang Ti­betan-Chi­nese-English Elec­tronic Dic­tio­nary, is the first elec­tronic dic­tio­nary of its kind in the world, and the com­pany’s se­cond elec­tronic prod­uct, the Ti­betan-Chi­ne­seEnglish key­board and mouse, are pop­u­lar in Ti­betan-speak­ing ar­eas.

Lob­sang, a for­mer pro­fes­sor at Ti­bet Univer­sity, did his grad­u­ate study in in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia in the United States.

He turned his at­ten­tion to the phone when he re­turned to China, first us­ing the glob­ally uni­fied Ti­betan Uni­code.

Cur­rently, the world’s three key phone sys­tems — iOS, Google An­droid and Mi­crosoft Win­dows — all come with Ti­betan type­faces and key­boards, and ac­count for 99.3 per­cent of the global mo­bile phone mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from China Ti­bet On­line.

In ad­di­tion to the im­prove­ment of Ti­betan in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy on smart­phones, a newly cre­ated search en­gine in Ti­betan is ex­pected to be put into use later this year, fill­ing an­other dig­i­tal gap for Ti­betan speak­ers.


A Ti­betan woman, Yang­jen, chooses a smart­phone in a mo­bile phone shop in Lhasa, the cap­i­tal of the Ti­bet au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

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