Tamil internet conference to revive Tamil mobile

For rural masses:The Ninth World Tamil Internet Conference is expected to revive the process for having a standardised Tamil keypad in mobile phones.

For rural masses:The Ninth World Tamil Internet Conference is expected to revive the process for having a standardised Tamil keypad in mobile phones.

COIMBATORE: The Ninth World Tamil Internet Conference, to be held here as part of the World Classical Tamil Conference, is expected to revive the process of standardising Tamil letters on a mobile keypad.

The Tamil Nadu Government made an attempt in this regard in March 2007.

It set up a committee to ‘look into the matter of standardisation of coding and keypad layout for Tamil in mobile phones and to recommend a good scheme as standard.’

The government appointed M. Ponnavaikko, Vice-Chancellor, Bharathidasan University, as head of the committee and nominated C. Uma Shankar, the then Managing Director, Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited, S. Krishnan, General Manager, Mobile Service-Development, BSNL, A. Elangovan of Cadgraf Digitals Private Limited, Chennai, V. Krishnamoorthy, vice- president, Kani Tamizh Sangam, and P.R. Nakkeeran, Director, Tamil Virtual University, as members.

In appointing the committee, the government said, “There is a need for use of mobile phones by rural masses in their local language, Tamil. Further, keypad layout standardisation is necessary to facilitate the development of tools and technology for the use of Tamil in mobile phones. Also it will help the manufacturers of mobile phones implement a common keypad layout.”

The committee consulted experts and conducted two levels of tests – using emulators in the first level and mobile phones in the second. It also sought the opinion of 80 students during the testing process.

Finally, the committee came up with a keypad after taking into account the current and future needs of keypad for various applications and factors like user friendliness, key position recall, over-all design, suitability for different type of input methods and key press efficiency.

On the suggestion made, the report says, “The suggested layout is suitable for implementing four different types of input methods – multi tap, the two-key tap and select, the alternating consonant-vowel method and the T9-like single tap method.” As per the committee report, the 18 consonants have been placed in nine pairs from one to nine on the keypad.

The vowels also come in pairs (short and long) except ‘i’ and ‘ou’ which are placed with ‘5′ and ‘7′ respectively.

The ‘pulli’ or dot is the first choice in ‘#’ key as it is often used in Tamil. Letter ‘sri’ is also incorporated in ‘#’ key. Other special letters follow ‘sri’. These suggestions in the report are yet to see the light of the day, as the government is yet to act on the same.

P.W.C. Davidar, Secretary, Information Technology Department, says the government is yet to act because there has been no consensus and the Tamil Internet Conference will offer the right platform to discuss the same.

Source : The Hindu

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