Amazon’s Kindle goes multilingual

The Kindle 3 was announced last evening.

The big news about the device is the price — starting at $139. You could argue that this is the first mass-market e-reader.

Of course, going truly mass market means going multilingual.

Last year, I asked where was Kindle’s support for non-Latin characters.

I was happy to find this morning, buried in the product description for the Kindle 3, this product blurb:

Support for New Characters
Kindle can now display Cyrillic (such as Russian), Japanese, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), and Korean characters in addition to Latin and Greek scripts.

This is great to see. I guess asking for bidi support (Arabic and Hebrew) would have been a bit too much.

PS: I’ve got a book on the Kindle now — though only in plain ol’ Latin script. Still, this is great news for when my book is translated into Russian, Japanese, etc. I can dream…

Chinese IDNs have arrived

ICANN gave approval to Chinese IDNs — for China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

This is a significant development — particularly since China was one of the major forces pushing ICANN to support IDNs.

To give you an idea of how these new IDNs are poised to change the Internet as we know it, I’ve overlayed the approved IDNs onto my Country Codes of the World map.

You’ll notice both simplified and traditional script IDNs for both China and Taiwan.

Here’s my running list of all IDNs that have passed string evaluation stage.

IDN application update: Egypt, Russia, China…

So who’s applied for IDNs so far?

According to ICANN, 10 applications (representing five languages) were submitted over the first four days.

ICANN won’t announce exactly who applied and for what until each application is successful — which pushes us well into 2010.

So I’ve had to turn to press reports from the registries to piece together the data.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Egypt (Was the first country to apply)
  • Saudi Arabia
  • UAE
  • Russia
  • China
  • Bulgaria
  • Israel

Unless a country made more than one application (which I don’t believe is allowed under fast track protocol) I’m still missing three countries. I’m guessing there could be one or more additional Middle East countries. And perhaps Taiwan.

What do you think? What countries/languages am I missing?