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Nokia launches Rs 2,500 phone with Urdu language support

Targets 150 million Urdu speaking population in the country

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Handset maker Nokia released a low-cost device with Urdu language capability in the country on Thursday. The device, which targets the 150 million Urdu speaking people of the country, is priced at around Rs 2,500 and will offer services such as messaging and internet access in Urdu. The company offers several Indian language interfaces in its models. Nokia already had the Urdu capability due to its operations in West Asian countries and Pakistan, which has been customised for the Indian dialect.

P Balaji, managing director of Nokia India, said Nokia was the first mobile company to support content and user interface in 11 Indian languages in the country. “Introducing Urdu Keymat in Nokia 114 is another such initiative to reach out to our customers across the country.” He added the company was prompted to launch the product on a special request by minister of communications and information technology Kapil Sibal.

The company will initially target states which have high Urdu speaking population such as Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh among a few others.

Present at the event, Sibal said that it will benefit the Urdu speaking population in the country, which is one of the largest in the world. There are several initiatives running from the ministry of communications and IT to extend the usage of the language for the Internet, Sibal added.

It is often argued that one of the primary reasons for the high digital divide in the country is due to unavailability of content in local languages. Just about 10 per cent of India’s 1.2 billion population uses the internet.

This comes amid reports that the poll-bound government is planning to distribute 25 million mobile phones and nine million tablets with the aim of bridging the digital divide in the country.

The event also marks the first launch by the company after Microsoft announced it was acquiring Nokia in a $7.2-billion deal last week.

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First Published: Fri, September 13 2013. 00:26 IST