The availability of Chinese dictionaries is often a deciding factor when buying a new mobile phone, which should make the following news music to the ears of Chinese learners everywhere – There is an Android version of the Pleco Chinese dictionary coming to Android.
Touted by some as the ‘be all and end all’ of Chinese dictionaries, Pleco has been available on iPhone for a good few years but is finally making it’s way to Android. It’s only in beta at the moment, though, and as such Pleco has the following warning on it’s website:
…this is an experimental, beta-quality app; it’s still under development, has lots of bugs / ugly interfaces and is missing several major features as well. If you’re not very computer-savvy, or you’re satisfied with your current Chinese dictionary app / with the version of Pleco you’re running on a different platform, you’ll probably be better off waiting for the finished version of Pleco on Android to be ready before downloading it.
Not being one to shy away from a beta, we decided to have a look. The instructions on the Pleco website are quite drawn out, but if you have used Android for any amount of time then the following condensed set of instructions should be sufficient. If not, please refer to the Pleco Android beta page, or ask in the comments below.
- Enable ‘Unknown Sources’ in the ‘Applications’ settings menu
- Download the data files
- Extract the archive and copy the PlecoData folder to your SD card, after which disconnecting your phone from the computer
- Install the app by visiting Pleco.com/GetAndroid on your phone
We’ll have a more detailed review over the coming days, but on first look the Pleco dictionary has the following features:
- Built in Handwriting recognition
- Search by Chinese Radical
- Voice recognition
- Optical Character Recognition
- Flash Cards
- Document Reader (with pop-up definitions)
- Multiple Dictionaries
The feature that probably stands out most is the Optical Character Recognition, which has been the envy of Android users everywhere since it’s release on the iPhone last year. It works suprisingly well on our HTC Desire, actually better than I remember it working on the iPhone 4 I saw it on last year.
Our full review will be coming soon, but in the meantime if you have an Android phone and want to try it out then let us know what you think in the comments below!