PRESS RELEASE - Google produces Khmer language phones by integrating the translations provided by the NGO Open Institute

PRESS RELEASE Phnom Penh, 4 November 2013

Google produces Khmer language phones by integrating the translations provided by the NGO Open Institute

The SPICE program, executed by the NGO Open Institute with funding from USAID, has collaborated with Google most of 2013 to complete the translation of the Android operating system to Khmer. These efforts have reached their goal when Google announced last Saturday - at the Google DevFest event in Phnom Penh - that the newly released version of Android includes native support for Khmer script.
The translation of the phones was made by the SPICE program's localization team, which has over eight years of experience on the translation of software and phones. This team translated, back in 2005, the first Nokia phones to operate in Khmer language.

The new version is already available in the LG Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 phones. HTC has announced that it will soon integrate this version of Android in their phones, thus enabling Khmer script. Sony is expected to make an announcement soon.
The support for Khmer script by Android also includes the latest version of the Nokora font, produced by Danh Hong, a Cambodian typographer who has developed the most important fonts for Khmer script, including the Open Institute-funded KhmerOS series, which enabled the generalization and standardization of the use of Khmer in computers in the last decade. The Nokora font is specially designed to be displayed in cell phones.
Android 4.4 (KitKat) includes a Khmer keyboard. Users who prefer to have larger keys in their keyboard might also download one of the keyboards developed by the Open Institute (available in Google Play).

The companies LG and Samsung already provide translations of some of the Android phones that they sell in Cambodia. The standard translation provided through Google will facilitate in the future the standardization of the use of Khmer in Android phones, with the same translations and fonts in all phones.

A recent study made by the Open Institute has shown that one in every three phones in Cambodia are able to send and receive messages using the Khmer script, and also that 22% of Cambodians phone users have a Smart phone. It also showed that over 70% of these smart phones used the Android operating system.

Only versions of Android above 4.0 permit the use of Khmer script natively. The Open Institute has nevertheless developed a number of applications that enable all Android phones (independently of the version) to send and receive SMSs in Khmer, as well as to access websites in Khmer or consult a Khmer dictionary. These applications can be downloaded from the Google Play store.

The integration of Khmer language in Android phones is an important step forward towards the Open Institute's goal of ensuring that 90% of the phones in Cambodia are able to send or receive SMS in Khmer before the end of 2015. This capability is key for all Cambodians to be able to use this technology to communicate among them, eliminating the need to have to write Khmer using Latin characters, a form of writing that is limited and cannot be understood by most Cambodians.