Another small step for a Tibetan keyboard on Android

There has been a lot of excitement this week about the robust support for the Tibetan written language in Apple’s iOS 4.2 for iPhone and iPad. This is a fantastic achievement that many contributed to, and that Apple should be loudly applauded for.

Unfortunately, the state of Tibetan on Android is still poor, but not hopeless. While Tom Meyer has provided a great starting point for rendering text properly, I still am not aware of any means for inputing Tibetan characters. With that in mind, I set out to investigate the ability to create a new Tibetan “Input Method” (as Google calls it) for Android, and quickly realized that one could just write a Language Pack add-on for the open-source AnySoftKeyboard project. This solution still requires you to root your phone and install the Dzongkha”རྫོང་ཁ font, but is still a step in the right direction!

You can find the open-source code for my new project, the Tibetan AnySoftKeyboard Language Pack on Github. If you would like to try it out, you must have a rooted device with the Dzongkha”རྫོང་ཁ font installed, then install the “AnySoftKeyboard” from the Android Market, then you can install the first test Add-on APK file, and the Tibetan option should come up in keyboard settings.

Below you can see a screenshot of the initial keyboard writing text into the OI Notepad app. It appears to be properly stacking characters as well, but I may be wrong. Also the current implementation does not yet support the SHIFT key or other modifiers. I would love to have some help setting up the rest of the QWERTY mappings in this XML file. Otherwise, any other comments, feedback, advice or pointers to other Android Tibetan keyboard work would be much appreciated!