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Chinese Language Features
in Android Smartphones and Tablets

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Android logoMost smartphones and tablets with Android version 2.x or later have simplified and traditional Chinese locale support, which gives you Chinese fonts and the option to change the entire interface into Chinese.

If you're not sure Chinese is included in your device at all, see my FAQ on how to look for Chinese language support, and what to do if it's missing. But most of you can skip this.

Most Android devices can read Chinese websites and documents on your device right out of the box, so your only question may be how to write Chinese. That's easy: with just one or two quick downloads from Google Play, any Android device will have Chinese input methods.

Some manufacturers may preinstall one of these or their own proprietary Chinese keyboards — in which case you could just skip to my page on how to switch input methods — but stay with the rest of us, I think you'll want to know about other Android input method projects too.

Android Market iconUsing the Google Play app on your device, search in English for these free downloads:

Google Pinyin IME logo Google Pinyin IME (谷歌拼音输入法) for simplified and traditional character Pinyin, stroke, handwriting, and voice input, and/or,
Android TC IME logo android-tc-ime or the Zhuyin-Cangjie IME Unofficial for traditional character Zhuyin / Bopomofo phonetic and Cangjie input (注音輪入法, 倉頡輸入法).

More input methods are listed in my quick survey of free Chinese IMEs for Android.

Android Google Pinyin settingsAfter the IMEs have installed themselves, go to Settings in the main menu (2.x) or via the Settings icon (4.x). Scroll down and press "Language & keyboard" or "Language and input" or whatever that's called on your device. Each input method you want to use must be selected with a checkmark.

If you want Google Pinyin to work in traditional characters, press "Google Pinyin settings" and press to check the box by "Traditional Chinese".

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