Viewing Telugu in mobiles and smartphones

Update (Jan 1 & Mar 13, 2014): Latest models of smart phones come with built-in support for Telugu. Here is a summary:

  • Android: Android has gained support for Telugu since 4.2 (Jelly Bean), which became available from about end of the year 2012. (Seach for Telugu in this page.) That means all new Android phones (from whatever company) with versions 4.2 and above should render Telugu correctly.
  • iPhone, iPad: Any phone/pad with iOS 4 or newer versions should support Telugu.
  • Windows Phone: Any phone with Windows 8 or newer versions should support Telugu.
  • Firefox OS: Any phone with Firefox OS 1.3 or above versions will support Telugu.

If your phone has the latest OS as said above and is not showing Telugu characters (say when you visit a Telugu website), it could be because the phone company stripped multilingual support. Contact your phone company.

You might want to look for apps for typing Telugu.

The below is earlier version of this post for reference purposes.

You might already know that iOS4 comes with a Telugu font and supports Telugu out of the box. So, you can view Telugu perfectly in iPhones and iPads that are running iOS4 and above.
Now, let us see what options we have on other mobiles and smartphones like BlackBerry and Nokia E71 E67 etc. The problem is that these phones do not come with a Telugu font pre-installed. Even otherwise, I do not think the browsers in these smartphones are smart enough to render Telugu text yet. When you visit a Telugu website, you see it as below:

A screen shot of Telugu website in default browser in Nokia E71, when Telugu text is appearing as boxes
A screen shot showing a Telugu web page in the default browser in Nokia E71, when Telugu text is appearing as boxes

However, there is a way to see Unicode Telugu on these smartphones. And, the way is to use Opera Mini with bitmap fonts setting on.

A screen shot of Telugu website in Nokia E71 using Opera Mini browser
A screen shot showing a Telugu web page in Opera Mini with the ‘Use bitmap fonts for complex scripts’ setting Yes

Here are the steps to set up Opera Mini for Indic and other complex scripts:

  1. Download Opera Mini in your smart phone, if you do not have it already.
  2. Open Opera Mini and go to opera:config
  3. Scroll to the end of the page to find Use bitmap fonts for complex scripts
  4. Select ‘Yes’ in the drop down for that setting.
  5. Hit ‘Save’
  6. Enjoy Telugu websites on your phone.

Since Opera Mini renders the font in their servers and sends to the client, we do not need to have a Telugu font installed in our mobile. (This might be a privacy concern for some, though.)

Other potential options:

  • BOLT browser: As per this press release from Bitstream, … the BOLT cloud computing browsing platform now also supports the following Indic languages -Hindi (India’s official language), Bengali ,Gurumukhi , Telugu , Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati , Malayalam and Oriya. But, it has not been made available to general public yet. When I contacted BOLT support, they said:

    Indic version of BOLT is currently available for network carriers and mobile phone makers only. We request you to recommend BOLT to your favorite network carrier or mobile phone makers so that they can make BOLT Indic version available to their users.

  • Firefox Mobile: Firefox Mobile is available for Android and Nokia N900 phones. I guess it supports Telugu. If anyone has tried, please share the experience.
  • NewsHunt: There is an app called NewsHunt for mobile phones that delivers news items from popular Indian dailies. Users can access latest news in regional languages on their mobile phones. I think that application uses proprietary encoding and not Unicode. And, it is not for general purpose browsing.

What is your experience with Telugu in smartphones?

Update: A friend of mine hinted to me that Windows 7 phones are likely to support (reading) Telugu when they start using Silverlight 4.

Update 2011-07-23: As per this Google+ post by Praveen, latest Android comes with Telugu support. (Sorry, this post was privately shared.)

Update 2011-10-31: Arjuna Rao reports that Samsung Galaxy Ace Android phone now supports Telugu.

Update 2011-11-13: You can now type Telugu in Android phones. See MultiLing Keyboard. To know how to install this app and use it on your Android phone, see the intro video (Telugu) by Nallamothu Sridhar.

34 thoughts on “Viewing Telugu in mobiles and smartphones

  1. thank you so much.i have tried it in my Nokia 6303 classic. now i can view telugu font through opera mini.
    thank you so much friend

  2. After lots of googling i found telugu fonts for nokia .since i have Nokia N900 i placed the fonts in fonts folder.All is set well.From blogs to news papers.

  3. for windows mobile 6.0 and above you can load uzard browser from uzard.com/en/ to display telugu fonts. for blackberry, android phones you can load uzard browser. it will display telugu fonts perfectly

      1. నేను ఎంత వెదికినా….ఎవరిని అడిగినా నాకు సమాదానం దొరికలేదు అందుకే మిమ్మల్ని అడుగుతున్న ….దయచేసి సమా”దానం” ఇవ్వగలరు
        ?? i am planning to buy Samsung Smart Phone…but the main Problem is Model…Galaxy Core vs Galaxy Grand Quarto win Duos …i am Dina-ma which is best Phone to buy….
        (( price , Screen size is not the matter))
        confused with PROCESSOR TYPE,GPU …
        plz gave suggestion which is best model to buy …???

  4. after seeing these posts, ii have downloaded opera mini version 2.5.27546. Still I can see telugu fonts as black color boxes only. I don’t see an option called config when I click settings, where do I see Config? I am using blackberry 9800

    1. You have to type in address bar as “opera:config” or “about:config” without quotes and go to last option “use bitmap fonts for complex scripts” and set it as yes. You have to do this every time you start the browser.

  5. Dear Veeven,
    Do you have any idea which font opera mini is using? The readability is very good for that font.

  6. Dear Veeven,
    Do you have any idea which font opera mini is using? The readability is very good for that font.

    I’m using Android Opera mini

  7. First of all thanks fo d nice info..This worked on my NOKIA BELLE PHONE ALSO using opera mini.. But how to get the same on OPERA MOBILE???

  8. Now no need opera mini to rendering indi font.Nokia belle fp2 gives all indian languages and a hindi keypad;by an update.second generation s^3 devices.ex:nokia 701 700 एटसेट्रा

  9. thank thanks a lot i have karbonn a5 android now it supporting telugu letters thanks once again just “opera:config” and bitmap fonts “yes” and see

  10. Thank you..! It worked like charm.. I can now view telugu.
    Guys, FYI, this option is available in Opera Mini only. Not Opera Mobile web browser.

  11. Hi friends,
    This is an ultimate way to watch TELUGU in opera. But I request developers with brain, to develop a good of method to read telugu e-book in Android mobile or phone. This certainly gives life to dying Telugu.
    Madhu

  12. hai veeven actually my problem is opera mini is supporting Telugu fonts but I have opera web browser in this opera how can i get Telugu fonts please give me details.

  13. hi..
    My mobile is nokia c7 n i had opera in advance ..so i went directly to opera:config n searched for bitmap fonts ..but i couldnt find bitmap in opera:config ..please help me out ..i want to read telugu e news papers ..thankyou

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