September 25, 2012
By Times Reporters
Officials are canvassing public opinion to help decide on the best Lao-language keyboard for use on smartphones, before selecting and announcing Laos’ official model. Several designs of three-line and four-line keyboards have been prepared, and the general public are encouraged to vote for the model they like most with a short explanation of the reasons why on the website: www.phetsarath.gov.la.
The design that receives the most votes will be influential when the decision is made and the official Lao language keyboard model for smartphones is announced.
Deputy Director General of the E-government Centre of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, Mr Valaxay Dalaloy, told the Vientiane Times on Thursday that the selected model will be the first ever official Lao language keyboard used in smartphones.
Smartphone users have already been using Lao language keyboards for some time, but they have been using differing and unofficial models. Some use three-line keyboards, while others use four-line keyboards, meaning Lao language keyboards are not st andardised.
“By having no official Lao language keyboard, telecommunication companies might become confused over what model they should offer their customers,” Mr Valaxay said.
There are four major telecommunication companies in Laos: Lao Telecom, Enterprise of Telecom Laos, Unitel, and Beeline.
Mr Valaxay believes that once an official Lao language keyboard for smartphones is announced all keyboards will be standardised.
The E-government Centre has also modified the existing three-line and four-line keyboard by relocating the positions of the letters, making it different from those on a computer keyboard for customers who find it more convenient.
Currently, many Lao smartphone users have been using a number of languages when messaging, mostly Thai and English. Officials hope that introducing an official keyboard will encourage more people to message and chat in Lao.
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