Launched by Mangalore based Robosoft (in partnership with Bangalore based United Telecoms), WIWOS is India’s first Android device with Indic language support. The phone, priced at Rs. 5,499/ comes with Android 2.2 version.

First, the tech specs:

  • DUAL SIM
  • 2.8 inch QVGA Capacitive LCD screen
  • 3 megapixel camera.
  • Expandable memory of up to 32GB
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • Bluetooth v2.1, microUSB, GPRS and EDGE
  • 1500mAh battery (claims 3 days battery backup).
  • No WiFi support
  • Supports 5 local languages (Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada)
  • FM Radio sans the headset.

Review: WIWOS Device

WIWOS: Homescreen
WIWOS: Homescreen

The (main) home screen is beautifully laid out. Given the audience this device is trying to attract, the size of icons are well thought-through.

local_language_android_keyboard
Toggling between Malayalam and Kannada Keyboard

Talking about the local language support (the phone supports 5 local languages), the interface is divided in two parts – one is menu interface of the device and then, the keyboard support. You can select multiple keyboard languages and can change the input language on a runtime basis (the feature didn’t really work as-expected and had to use long press to change the language, which isn’t intuitive enough).

WIWOS KEYBOARD
WIWOS KEYBOARD

As far as character sequence is concerned, there needs to be some more work that should go into the next version. Apart from being unpredictable, the sequence isn’t clear which makes using the typing interface as-one-thinks-in-native-language more difficult. And it’s not just about the Wiwos device, but it’s all about the missing standard for local language keyboard which shows up in the fact that there are different keyboard layout across different devices of the same manufacturers (hence, better to stick to InScript layout).

Android : Local Language Keyboard
Android : Local Language Keyboard

As far as fonts are concerned, though the rendering worked as-expected (given the price range of the device), we noticed a few text rendering issues (with the font engine/layout) and even text alignment needs a bit more iteration. With few iterations, one will get used to the keyboard though.

Localized terminology : Input karen vs. Type karen? What’s the right messaging to use? We strongly recommend any local language player to bookmark BBC’s Hindi site, which uses the most optimized messaging for local language support – for example : home = pahla panna (and not ‘ghar’, as many of us would like to translate to! ).

IMG_0868

Since Robosoft has implemented local language support at OS level, we would expect to not do any custom implementation at app level (in the future version of the device) : for example, you should be able to type in your preferred language of choice on GTalk app, so while all the default menus and core functions (like contact book/calendar/search etc) render according to your choice of language, the third party apps still won’t work (even for local language keyboard support), but then this is just the beginning.WIWOS_settings

Overall, we were quite impressed with the device, especially the attempt that has been made to localize Android OS and we certainly look forward to the next iteration of the product.

The phone has a good battery life (I was able to stretch it for 3 days) and importantly, the touch works a lot better than some of the Android devices we have seen in this price range.

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