Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Japanese on the Google/Asus Nexus 7

If you're reading this, you're probably already aware of aedict and ankidroid (my two favourite apps). Kudos to the development teams of those programs for keeping Android 1.6 compatibility so my old HTC phone is still useful!

I think its probably also worth mentioning that Japanese support is much better in Android 2+ (including the version on the Nexus 7). I use the built in Japanese IME, which works spectacularly, except that my UK keyboard buttons aren't mapped properly in it see edit below.

One thing I did find strange is that the built-in document viewer doesn't allow the selection of words in documents. This is a real pain if I want to read a Japanese document on the train, as I have to manually type the word into aedict... Assuming I know the kanji involved.

To fix this, I downloaded a number of document viewers and editors, but the best by far was Kingsoft Office. Japanese input works perfectly in it, with the exception of when you do go to select a word to copy it, the whole line can get selected, because the app only recognises spaces and punctuation as delimiters for words... Unfortunately, this makes the process of copying words from Japanese documents a bit cumbersome, and in that respect, I've failed in my original goal, but at least in the process I've found an excellent word processing app*.

*If you're wondering, yes, you can do word processing on a Nexus, it doesn't take long for the fingers to adapt to a keyboard the size of the screen. Try and get a keyboard with a tab key, though!

EDIT (15th April 2013): Regarding mapping of UK keyboards in Google Japanese Input, go to the "Language & input" menu, then hit the settings button beside "Google Japanese Input". Then tap "Preferences for hardware keyboards". Setting it to the system default worked wonders for me!

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