If all goes well, mobile users can start sending SMSes in Kannada in the next two or three months, thanks to the State cabinet’s approval on Tuesday to use of Unicode as the official standard for Kannada.
Using Unicode would enable usage of any Kannada document in a standard format in a month’s time.
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems.
Computer users will be to use the 12 new Unicode fonts and converters by the end of December, said Ananth Koppar, member of the Kannada Software Development Committee (KSDC) constituted by the government.
Another much-awaited facility that will be launched is the Kannada Braille software, developed by a Hassan-based software company, Maruthi Software and Information System, said Koppar.
He said 12 new fonts, including ornamental, were in the process of testing. The fonts will bear the names of popular Kannada poets and rivers of Karnataka.
Tender for development of eight tasks was awarded in mid-2012 on the recommendations of the committee headed by K Chidananda Gowda, former vice chancellor of Kuvempu University.
“The Committee is scheduled to meet shortly to discuss modalities and procedural nuances pertaining to the implementation of these new softwares. The fonts and converters are ready and there is no challenge to start using Unicode standards. The fonts can be both uploaded and downloaded. The converters on the other hand will be made available in the CD format,” Koppar said. The Committee, however is undecided about converting all the government documents to the new format.
Koppar said the government would shortly float tenders for development of Unicode mobile rendering engine, enabling users to download the Kannada application from any of the high end/smart phones which are compatible with Java-enabled platform. Two other tasks - Optical character recognition software and Kannada speech recognition software was being developed by the Hampi University, he added.
The State government has set aside Rs two crore for the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations.