Monthly Archives: March 2011

Former President APJ Abdul Kalam cuts language barriers

Tushar Agarwal March 31, 2011

New language translation tool unveiled at the 20th International WWW conference. 

Former President APJ Abdul Kalam today launched the Machine translation (MT) systems, also called content multiplier tools, developed with funding from TDIL (Technology Development for Indian Languages) programme at the 20th International World Wide Web conference in Hyderabad.

Based on the Computational Paninian grammar (CPG), which works very well for free word-order languages, Indian languages in particular, the tools are available in three modules Sampark (Indian to Indian), AnglaMT (English to Bengali, Malayalam, Punjabi and Urdu) and Anvadaksh (English to Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Oriya, Urdu and Tamil).

 ”India has more than 122 languages of which 22 are official. More than a billion people all over the world speak either Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil or Urdu. With the availability of e-content and development of language technology, it is now possible to overcome the language barrier,&” Rajeev Sangal, director of IIIT-Hyderabad (one of the 17 institutions that participated in the development of the tools), told mediapersons.

 Sangal said three consortia comprising 17 academic and research institutions were involved in building 26 different pairs of languages. Right now, 12 pairs are available and the plan is to release more pairs every three-four months, he added.

“An amount of Rs 13 crore went into the whole exercise and about 200 students were directly involved in the development of these tools. An additional 200 students worked on the project as a thesis and their algorithms were embedded into the systems directly,&” Sangal said.

The MT quality, Sangal said, was better in case of translation between Indian languages because they were similar in many ways, both in grammar and vocabulary. Translation between English and Indian languages is harder and hence the output quality is likely to be inferior.

“We are now asking users to try using the tool as an experiment. Our only focus now is on improving quality” he said.

Stating that the MT technology is currently freely accessible, Sangal said the MT initiative would be monetised when special needs for further research arises. 

“Company-based efforts can also be initiated. We are already working with translation houses and publishers,&” he said, adding students at the IIT-Hyderabad were working on a text-to-speech system, and at some point these two technologies (text-to-speech and MT systems) will be combined together.


Smartphone Shipment Growth May Slow This Year, IDC Says

Tushar Agarwal March 31, 2011

Global sales of smartphones will probably increase at a slower pace this year, with Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android likely to become the world’s best-selling smartphone system, according to International Data Corp.

Shipments of handsets that allow users to surf the Internet and download movies and music may gain 49 percent this year to more than 450 million units, the Framingham, Massachusetts-based researcher said in a report today. The rate lags the 74 percent growth last year when consumers made purchases they’d delayed during the recession.

Android, which is available on handsets from dozens of vendors including Samsung Electronics Corp. and HTC Corp. (2498), has built its market share in less than three years to challenge Nokia Oyj (NOK1V)’s Symbian as the market leader. Nokia, the biggest maker of mobile phones, said last month it will move to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Windows Phone 7 as its primary operating system in a transition that is expected to last through 2012.

“For vendors who made Android the cornerstone of their smartphone strategies, 2010 was the coming-out party,” IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said in the report. “This year will see a coronation party as these same vendors broaden and deepen their portfolios to reach more customers, particularly first-time smartphone users.”

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 could be the second-largest operating platform behind Android by 2015 as it benefits from Nokia production capacity, IDC said today.

Android may have 39.5 percent of the smartphone market this year, passing Symbian’s share of 20.9 percent, IDC predicted. Symbian could fall to 0.2 percent in 2015, the researcher said. Windows Phone 7 and older Microsoft systems will run on 5.5 percent of units shipped this year, it said.

Android grew more than ninefold in 2010, according to Gartner Inc. research on unit sales to end users. The Google system had 22.7 percent of the smartphone market for the full year, compared with 37.6 percent for Symbian, Gartner said Feb. 2.


Firefox 4 now available for download

Tushar Agarwal March 22, 2011

Firefox 4 Release Candidate is now available for download. With competition such as IE9 and Google Chrome 10, does Firefox 4 have some tricks up its sleeve to withstand the competition?

For starters, Firefox 4 comes with a plethora of changes both aesthetically as well as under the hood. The first thing that you will notice is the change in tabs layout and the address bar. It looks a lot neater than its predecessors and has an IE9 feel to it. The tabs are located above the address bar giving them a more visual presence. It is now possible for a user to switch between tabs from the comfort of the address bar itself.

Firefox also helps you stay in sync on multiple devices. You can synchronize your settings, passwords, bookmarks, history, open tabs and other customizations across multiple devices such as your smartphones.

Managing add-ons and organizing your tabs is as simple as drag and drop on Firefox 4.

Firefox 4 claims to be 3-times faster and 6-times improved when compared to Firefox 3.6.12.

Under the hood, Firefox 4 is a beast!! With the new JavaScript engine, not only does the browser render web pages faster, but has also improved upon the startup time. It also includes support for WebM for HD-videos. The latest version also has very fast graphics acceleration with Direct2D and Direct3D on Windows and OpenGL on the Mac. Firefox 4 also supports multi-touch making it an ideal browser for mobile devices.

The download is available at this page – Download Firefox 4 RC