Windows Phone Mango taking over the world with languages

So we're all aware of Windows Phone 7 launching with five display languages; English (UK and US), French, German, Italian, and Spanish. We also know that Mango is bringing 17 new languages (opens in new tab) to the table including Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish.

What's interesting to note is the more detail we've received in this article. John McConnell, Principal Program Manager, stated the following about available languages:

"I want to stress that you might not see all these display languages listed as options on your phone. The exact display options depend on your handset manufacturer and mobile operator."

This makes perfect sense to prevent languages being present on a device that may not ever be used by the majority of folk in a particular country or with a carrier, thus saving space. Languages will be installed by OEMs or operators. To allow East Asian language support Microsoft is also adding four new fonts, which will only be available should your device feature the respective language. The fonts are as follows:

  • Japanese – Yu Gothic
  • Korean – Microsoft NeoGothic
  • Simplified Chinese – DengXian
  • Traditional Chinese – Microsoft MHei

As well as the above, Mango also includes the Segoe UI Symbol font, which includes emoticons (Emoji), the new Indian rupee currency sign among other symbols.

Read on past the break for keyboard languages, Bing services and the future.

Now, with display languages and fonts out the way, we can move onto type/keyboard language support. Mango will feature support for an extra 20 keyboard languages, which are: Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, and Ukrainian. All except Hungarian, Indonesian, Turkish and Ukrainian will support text prediction.

Keyboard languages will be present regardless to what languages are available to the user in terms of display through the OEM or carrier. Hopefully that will finally address T-Mobile's HD7 and Spanish situation.

While no specifics were mentioned, Xbox Live and Zune Marketplace will be available to a wider audience (opens in new tab) and more information will be released over the course of summer. Bing services will also be expanding along with languages to cover a larger volume of countries:

  • Bing Search: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States. 
  • Local search: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • Maps: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • Voice-to-text and Voice-to-dial: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and the Unites States.
  • Voice search: France, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States.

What's in stall for the future post-Mango? John McConnell explains the challenges:

"While I hope you’ll agree that Mango is a step forward, I’m all too aware that there’s still much to do. Two areas we’re working hard to address in future releases are languages with complex scripts and extending services to more markets. Let me briefly explain.Complex scripts are used to write languages such as Arabic and Hindi, where the displayed character depends on its neighbor (“contextual shaping”), and languages written right-to-left such as Hebrew and Urdu. Many of the controls used in Windows Phone require enhancement to properly display such scripts."

Microsoft must also continue to pour effort into pushing Xbox Live services, Bing services and Marketplace access to more markets, working beyond legal and organisational obstacles. We're told that more detail as to how they plan to go about this will be released at a later date. Exciting stuff! What do you guys make of a more-detailed-explanation-of-what-we-already-know?

Source: Windows Phone Blog  (opens in new tab)

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • So wait, let me get this straight:Say I order a Focus from the US and I am living in Japan, I won't be seeing a Japanese UI? Not even an option? Come on now.
  • Well I'm sure the device will be able to display a language covered by the operator. John said in the article that both OEMs and carriers will have the control.
  • Does any phone do that now? What happens if you buy an iPhone here and take it to Japan?
  • I'm guessing if you go to another region they may have "local-updates" to make it more friendly in the future?
  • Get it right Microsoft, just have any languages as an optional in that way people won't get confused.
  • That would take space from device's storage. Most people would not want localizations for all possible languages taking space that could have been used for something else.
  • i was kind of hoping they would open a config section where when u click on a language it would just download it to the device... that way at least if u need it, it just takes a few minutes to update
  • ridiculous! so a japanese/korean/chinese living in europe will be denied the use of the language? sad indeed.
  • Then they could enable the use of additional memory cards :). And the phone space problem is solved.