Mumbai: India has about 340 million smartphone users. Research indicates the number of users typing in Indian languages on smartphones is more than the number of users typing in Indian languages on personal computers, because typing in Indian languages on personal computers is mostly done by professionals.
Many homes in India now also have more than one smartphone today. While chatting on Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, Hike, Viber and others, the user sees the chat on only half of the screen, while the other half is covered by the keyboard, especially in case of use of Indian language due to the script.
Under the main project titled ‘Re-shaping the Expected Future’ initiated by Future Interaction Technology Lab in Swansea University, UK and funded by EPSRC, the ‘Better Together’ framework was developed. This framework allows users to run an application on multiple phones at the same time while providing the overall interaction of a single application.
Under the ‘Better Together’ framework, the Industrial Design Centre in IIT Bombay has designed Swarachakra, a free Indian language keyboard for Android phones. Currently, Swarachakra is available for twelve Indian languages on Android playstore. Swarachakra is now integrated with Better Together. This allows users to type on one phone using the Swarachakra keyboard and see the conversation on the second phone.
The Better Together toolkit and Swarachakra keyboard will be launched between 10am and 4pm on Monday, March 20, 2017 at the Microsoft Research in Bangalore. The project is supported by a range of partners including IIT Bombay, Microsoft Research India, IBM Research India, iHub Research, Microsoft Research UK, MercyCorps, Social Impact Lab and University of Cape Town.