Mumbai-based mobile app development company MoFirst which recently launched its first self-branded Android smartphone under the brand Firstouch, plans to launch smartphones with support for all Indian regional languages by March 2015, reports PTI.
MoFirst Solutions co-founder and CEO Rakesh Deshmukh told the publication that they recently launched a smartphone which supports Gujarati language and going forward, they plan to launch 10 regional Android smartphones in the price range of Rs 3,500 to Rs 12,500 over the next year.
They plan to launch Hindi and Marathi variants next month, Tamil, Telugu & Bengali variants by September, Kannada & Malayalam variants by November and the rest of the regional languages by March next year.
MoFirst claims to have developed a swipe technology, which allows consumers to translate messages from English to Gujarati and vice-versa with a single swipe. It has also apparently developed a 48-key predictive Gujarati keyboard which has features like auto-complete and word suggestions among others.
Gujarati App Store
What’s particularly interesting is that the phone seems to have a dedicated Gujarati app store featuring Gujarati apps across various categories. This is quite significant, since Google Play Store primarily consist of English content and doesn’t offer much regional content to consumers yet.
The phone also comes pre-loaded with eight apps including Hungama, Ver Se’s NewsHunt and Ganeshaspeaks along with a call recording app and dedicated Gujarati stocks, entertainment and games app.
Update: Firstouch website previously had a screenshot which suggested that the app store will also feature Gujarati variants of international apps like Pocket, Ingress and Avocado among others. However, the company has now informed Medianama that the image was representational and has replaced it with the actual screen shot included above.
Besides this, Firstouch does have a developer site, which allows app developers to sign up for an account and distribute their apps, movies and music to users of Firstouch mobile phones.
Tech Specs: According to Firstouch website, the phone has a 4-inch capacitive touch screen, 1.2GHz dual core processor and is a dual-SIM phone. It runs on custom version of Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 and has all the usual connectivity options like WiFi, Bluetooth and USB among others. It has a 2 megapixel rear camera and a VGA front camera.
Robosoft Indic phone: While most of the handset players have started including Indic keyboards in their handsets, the closest implementation of an Indic smartphone has been Robosoft, which had launched an Indic Android phone called Wiwos Super in April 2012. It worked on a localized version of Android operating system which supported 6 languages including English, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam. (our review here)
Robosoft founder Rohit Bhat however had later mentioned that the handset didn’t do particularly well from a market acceptance perspective.
Other Indic initiatives
– Last month, Micromax had launched Android smartphone called Unite 2 which claims to allow users to type in 20 Indian languages beside English. It is using Reverie technologies‘s multilingual pack to offer this feature.
– Nokia Asha 501 also offers keyboards for 12 Indian languages.
– Samsung had rolled out Indic language interface for nine languages to select Android based smartphones and tablets in August 2013.
– HTC had rolled out full language support for Hindi, Tamil and Marathi to select phones in its HTC One and Desire smartphones series in June 2012.
– Google had also recently introduced system wide support for Hindi through the Android 4.3 update in July 2013.