|Palm working on Chinese OS for PDAs|
According to this article [news.zdnet.co.uk] from ZDnet, "Palm, the maker of personal digital assistants, said on Monday that it will launch a Chinese-language version of its popular operating system within a year and that it hopes to win market share of at least 20 percent within two years of entering China."
That is a HUUUUUGE market and I am surprised PALM has not made a assertive push for market share before now. As the article states, "The Chinese market is dominated by local companies selling PDAs that use proprietary operating systems."
That was certainly my experience whilst there. However these systems are totally self contained and do not "talk" to PC's.
There are Chinese OS overlays available, I found one programmed by a chap just up the road in fact, er, that's 1 hours drive in China. I believe he is doing a roaring trade with Chinese all over the world who want their Palm's to be quad-lingual.
It will be interesting to see how well PALM do this and how much inroads to the market they actually make.
It's been my take for the last eight years that handwriting recognition for glyphic writing systems such as Chinese is a killer app. You've got a market of >1 billion people, and learning how to use a keyboard to type Chinese is non-trivial.
From my own experience (I'm a Chinese, btw), Palm and PocketPC have been great in the Chinese speaking/writing societies, i.e. Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. The Chinese OS overlays, developed by local developers, have been available for as long as I can remember. In fact, I have been using a classic Palm III with Chinese input system built-in since 1999. Well, I do hope that my Palm did last that long... Chinese hand-writing recognition system certainly exist, but I do not have a Palm to try it now. The shops over there sell the machines with these Chinese OS overlay together. One of my collegue, who is also a Chinese from mainland, has this WinCE handheld that has Chinese built-in as well. In fact, the integration is so tight that it is actually not that usable in a English context. It was made by one of those no-name Chinese company, and it certainly can sync with your desktop computers.
I have not read the ZDNet article, but I think the proprietary handheld/OS is probably talking about the Chinese<->English translators, which lots of people (even primary school students) have one in their pocket. Some of them are credit-card size, and many do nothing but act as a dictionary. They don't talk to PCs, but I think they represent a completely different market than PDAs.
It is a big market, with more than 1billion people in mainland and millions of other Chinese world wide... However, the locals are there already.