Indian Languages on Andriod

Continuing  with Android R&D, I have now explored how font rendering works on Android.  If I am not wrong, Due to the internal memory limitation, Android don’t support all the languages. Only Latin bases languages are supported officially. Android uses UTF-8 standard for encoding. UTF-8 is the universal, and support all the languages and scripts.

Andriod have its own fonts and stored in /system/fonts directory.  This directory include the following fonts

  • DroidSans.ttf
  • DroidSans-Bold.ttf
  • DroidSansFallback.ttf
  • DroidSansMono.ttf
  • DroidSerif-Bold.ttf
  • DroidSerif-BoldItalic.ttf
  • DroidSerif-Italic.ttf
  • DroidSerif-Regular.ttf

As the names suggest, it support sans and serif font with bold, italic and mono spaced fonts. All these expect DroidSansFallback.ttf support only Latin based. And to support other languages, DroidSansFallback is used. when the non Latin characters are found in a text, its glyphs will not be present in DroidSans.ttf, but andriod will fallback to DroidSansFallback.ttf to fetch the glyph and present it in the UI.

DroidSansFallback is not complete set, and don’t contain any Indian languages. But if we replace DroidSansFallback.ttf with some Indian Font, say Sampige.ttf (Kannada Unicode font) renamed as DroidSansFallback.ttf , It would render Kannada characters and you will be able to read Kannada websites, twitts, Messages, mails etc.

However android doesn’t support conjuncts (how one character can modify the next or previous), Due to which the complex rendering doesn’t work, But still readable.

When it comes to Indian Languages we have many. I have worked an them and came up a Single Font for all languages . You can find this font on xdadevelopers forum. We don’t have to replace all the fonts, just replace DroidSansFallback.ttf font with this font.

Check this blog to know how to replace. we need to root the phone first.

Here are the sample screen shots of my android phone(Xperia x10 mini) with font installed.

Update: Latest Firmware from Sony Ericsson and Samsung  support Devanagari and Bengali Fonts. And the good news is that, It now support conjuncts (how one character can modify the next or previous). And its Perfectly readable.

For other Languages. The above procedure still holds good.

Here are the screen captures..

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