Local language usage is on the rise and the major hindrance for adoption is of course, the keyboard.
While few players provide the transliteration service that enables one to type in local language using Qwerty keyboard, Kalibonca goes a step further and has built the Brahmi Indian Keyboards.
The product boasts of a simple interface and is quite easy to use (switch on the caps key and you have characters in local language, switch it off and you are back to English keyboard) and is built on how Indians learn (and use) the local language.
Coming to the local language market, here are some interesting stats:
- ~50% of Internet access happens from Tier-II cities and only around 11 per cent of India’s 30 million Internet users prefer to browse online in English [source]
- 67% of online newspaper readers are from small towns (source)
- Indian media is embracing local languages – right from newspapers to content portals (google news/ Orkut are available in regional languages.)
But, I see lack of an intuitive keyboard as one major hindrance in adoption. The challenge is not just limited to content creation alone, it’s about PC adoption and unless the keyboards are localized, PC adoption will still be a challenge (PC penetration is less than 3% in India).
Kalibonca does solves a major pain point that goes beyond the digital world and will find significant adoption in schools. The keyboards are available in Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Oriya, Marathi, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil language;and Kalibonca also has a mobile version (Brahmi Smart Phones) which they are licensing to handset manufacturers.
Interestingly, the team got the patent almost after 6.5 years of applying! – well, this is the kind of patience that they would need to crack the Indian market.
What’s your opinion?
Related startup: Lipikaar