Monday, August 20, 2012
A new smartphone with an operating system in Tibetan has become a very popular product in the region of Tibet since it entered hte market in June. The cellphone produced by the Tibetan branch of China Telecom is the first to offer services in the Tibetan language and has been enthusiastically embraced as more Tibetans begin to use it and connect to the internet.
At the end of 2010 the region had a total of 1.2 internet users, almost half the total population. 90 percent of them access the internet via mobile and the rest prefer broadband services.
Users can switch between Tibetan and Chinese in the new device. "The phones in Tibetan help to popularize the use of the Tibetan language", said Tashi Dawa, a teacher at a secondary school in the prefecture of Shigatze.
Ranchers, farmers and lamas that have difficulty with Chinese or English are the main beneficiaries. Other mobile telephone providers had intended to introduce Tibetan in their devices. One iPhone application permits the use of the language, but its capacity is very limited and its price exceeds the purchasing power of the inhabitants in the most remote areas of Tibet.