Bangalore based Tachyon Technologies has launched an Android application called Quillpad Hindi Facebook Chat, that lets users chat with their friends on Facebook Chat in Hindi, irrespective of whether the Hindi font is installed. The app is currently available as a free download on the Google Play Store.
We tried the app on our Android device (Micromax A90S) and found it quite simple to use. Similar to Facebook messenger, the app consists of only two tabs – Friends online and All friends and one can select a friend and start off a conversation. The app currently features a transliteration text input mode, which allows one to type in English letters, which automatically gets converted to Hindi/Devanagari font while typing.
This is quite similar to how Google Hindi input app works, except for the fact that Google Hindi input is a keyboard on its own while this app supports other third party keyboards as well i.e. one can use text input apps like Swiftkey or Swype and still make use of the transliteration input mode offered by the app. As we said earlier, this approach makes the process of writing in Hindi less cumbersome for those users who are affluent with English letters and find it difficult to use a Hindi language keyboard.
Note that Tachyon Technologies does not have a word prediction dictionary. Instead it relies on decision trees which maps every English character in the input to a one or more Unicode characters in the output language.
No Search? While the app does what it claims, the lack of search bar is disturbing. One has to endlessly scroll through entire list of friends on Facebook to select a friend to chat with. It’s more of a struggle when one has to chat with someone whose names start with ending letters of the alphabets. Besides this, we believe the app should also determine the list of friends with whom one chats more frequently and rearrange them within the app to offer quicker access to the users.
Dedicated Keyboard app? While the concept of a Hindi Facebook chat app is promising, we wonder why doesn’t Tachyon develop its own text input app for Android, which allows users to type in Indic languages across the system.
That being said, there has been considerable activity in the Indic keyboard segment in the past year. Swype added support for Tamil &Urdu in April 2013 and supports four Indian languages including Hindi and Hinglish. Swiftkey added support for Hindi and Hinglish in December 2012. Adaptxt offers support for 13 Indic languages like Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu among others and transliterated Indian languages like Hinglish (Hindi + English), Kanglish (Kannada + English), Tenglish (Telugu + English), Tanglish (Tamil + English), Manglish (Malayalam + English), Odinglish (Oriya + English) and Marathinglish (Marathi + English).
Google rolled out support for six Indic languages on Gmail on feature phone browsers, while messaging app Plustxt currently offers support for six Indian languages including Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati and Malayalam and mobile app development company Robosoft had partnered with the Bangalore based United Telecoms’ WIWO Mobiles to launch its first Indic Android phone, Wiwos Super in April 2012.