Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]
With Microsoft’s recent move to release Windows Phone 7’s Mango update to certain publications (read TNW’s review here), the upgrade is undergoing its first real market testing.
Important for the growth of Windows Phone 7 as a platform is its coming support for several Asian languages including Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Microsoft wishes for WP7 to become a global smartphone player, and is taking the steps to make that possible.
Sadly, the new languages are tied to Mango, and are thus not due to reach the market until the end of the calendar year. Why the delay and not a simple immediate release? In the words of IStartedSomething:
East Asian support is not only the introduction of a new character set but actually a slightly modified implementation of the Metro design language.
To accommodate the bigger size of character-based writing, the Windows Phone design team is adopting a vertical text layout to reduce the amount of text clipping that would occur more frequently (than it already does). The vertical text will not be limited to just the date and time on the lock screen but will also be featured in hubs (panoramas) and other native apps.
This is what WP7 looks like running several of its new languages:
However, even though you can’t play with it, we are happy to bring you a short clip shot by WinRumors that demonstrates the typing process used by the newly supported languages:
TNWmicrosoft executed similar testing, and found it to be quite simple to create sheer gibberish in a variety of languages. If it is easy for a native speaker to type in their language is something that will require more investigation.
It’s only a small piece of Mango, but better language support certainly will not hurt WP7’s chances at a decent holiday season.
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