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Is Hebrew support built into Android? If so, is it in all versions?

2 Answers 2

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Here is my understanding as a developer:

Android 1.5-2.1: Right-to-left support is built-in, but most ROMs do not contain the letters. This means that Hebrew in most applications will show up as boxes (but in the correct order). This does allow individual applications to include their own fonts and thereby display Hebrew correctly.

Android 2.2: The default system fonts now include Hebrew characters. Right-to-left layout still works. (Although the rules for justification did change, annoyingly.) Based on some bug reports, Google did not yet consider support for right-to-left languages to be final in this version. (Note the comments by Google engineers, such as Romain Guy here: https://review.source.android.com/#change,15955).

Android 2.3: The SDK has been released, but no updates for actual devices. The SDK does include a Hebrew locale for the first time (http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-2.3.html#locs).

Also note that locale support ultimately depends on the vendor of the actual device (either the carrier or handset manufacturer). They may choose to remove locales they deem unimportant to save space, or they may choose to add some that they deem important for their targeted market.

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  • Hi, I'm new to Android. What does the OP mean with Hebrew Support, is it Hebrew keyboard/visibility (i.e. the OS is able to show Heb chars), or Hebrew menus, buttons etc.? Commented Oct 8, 2011 at 18:56
  • And what about Android 3? Commented Oct 8, 2011 at 18:58
  • I meant that the OS is able to display Hebrew characters. Hebrew keyboards are available with some of the third-party keyboards (AnySoftKeyboard, GO keyboard, many others in the Market). Hebrew menus and buttons require a localized version of Android, and that doesn't often happen outside of Israel. (Note that 3rd-party ROMs such as CyanogenMod contain the Hebrew localization.)
    – shmuelp
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 18:54
  • I believe that Honeycomb (Android 3) is the same as Gingerbread as far as Hebrew support. I don't have any devices running it, so I am less sure. Hopefully we'll learn more about Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4?) soon.
    – shmuelp
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 18:55
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Froyo/Android 2.2 added support for displaying text in Hebrew and Arabic (among other languages), including the needed fonts.

Unfortunately, previous versions do not have Hebrew support in the stock source, though I would not be surprised if a device maker added support to their device on an ad-hoc basis.

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