Mandarin Support for Nokia Series 60 Devices

The information on this page is outdated and may not be accurate anymore, since I now use an iPhone, which has perfect Mandarin input (and font) support.

This page summarizes what little I know about adding Mandarin support to Nokia Series 60 devices.

Input Methods

As far as I know, the only way to add Chinese input methods is by re-flashing the unit with appropriate firmware, which:

  • Is just plain stupid (the whole point of Symbian is having a modular OS)
  • Does not allow you to keep most European language support (such as Portuguese)

Still, if you must, one way to do that is by changing the product code using a tool such as the Nemesis Service Suite and re-flashing the device using the official Nokia software updater.

Typically, APAC Singapore variants are the ones with Simplified Chinese support, so look for those product codes for your hardware.

Fonts and Browsing

I have so far tried the following techniques:

Using the “magic” font file XBDL.TTF

Finding that file on the Internet and dropping it into Resource/Fonts into my memory card worked (to a point):

  • I can read the body text in Engadget Chinese using the WebKit browser, although the titles are still unreadable (I assume it’s a typeface variant that this font file does not contain).
  • The built-in RSS reader could not render titles in the menu (or in items) as well, but item body text was perfectly readable.
  • Opera Mini 3 and 4 do not display any Chinese characters (I assume they must be using the same font that WebKit uses for titles)
  • I cannot activate storage mode on the phone, since the font file is loaded by the OS and (of course) locks the card.

(Putting the file in RAM is, due to its size and Nokia’s stinginess where it regards adding proper internal storage to its devices, not an option.)

Using simsum.ttf

This entails adding the Windows XP simsun.ttf to the Resource/Fonts folder in my memory card, renamed as nohindisnr60.ttf. The results were somewhat worse:

  • The system font used for the Active Standby screen and soft keys changed
  • All WebKit text seemed to change (which is consistent with the contents o simsun.ttf, but it still could not display titles in Engadget Chinese
  • Opera Mini 3 and 4 showed no improvement over the other technique (i.e., Chinese characters still displayed as blocks)
  • Overall, the Chinese characters displayed worse than with XBDL.TTF

Open Issues

  • Figure out why Engadget Chinese titles aren’t displayed in the browser
  • Figure out exactly what font Opera Mini tries to use, since it seems to use a single font for everything (and should therefore be simpler than dealing with the Nokia browser)