Competitions boost Arabic development

One reason for Nokia’s popularity in the Middle East is its strong support for Arabic-language software development. For example, Nokia’s S60 development kits in Arabic and Urdu allow software authors to test localised language ap-plications on their PCs.

Nokia also launched a competition for Arabic-language developers, Bil3arabi, partly to eliminate threats from regional iPhone applications; the prize for the winning software is US$100,000, with top placement in Nokia’s Ovi applications store.

Other manufacturers are also working to persuade developers to support regional languages. BlackBerry, for exam-ple, has promoted Arabic-language software, while other specific applications exist, such as 
Al-Morafiq, an English-to-Arabic dictionary for various mobile devices, including BlackBerry. However, other platforms, including Android, still have only partial Arabic support. That will prevent adoption in the region until full Arabic user interfaces and applications are available.