Pleco 2.2 drops, includes the new Optical Character Recogniser

Pleco has finally updated their iPhone dictionary to version 2.2.0 which includes the much anticipated Optical Character Recognition functionality that was shown off a few months ago.

Pleco OCR

The functionality seems to be a dream-come-true for Chinese learners who should be able to save time checking words when reading Chinese text – though whether or not it will have a detrimental effect on learning by making us lazy remains to be seen. Either way, there’s no denying this is an amazing feature.

The OCR is available as a paid add on for £8.99 from the iTunes store.

From the Pleco description:

• Added an amazing new “live” Optical Character Recognizer (OCR) system as a paid add-on; using this, you can point your device’s camera at a word to instantly look up its meaning (no need to take a photo and wait for a result). This is currently only supported on devices with autofocus cameras (i.e., the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4). To try a free demo version of OCR, open Pleco, tap on the menu button at the bottom right corner of the screen, tap “Add-ons,” tap on “Optical Character Recognizer” and tap on the button to download and run the demo.

Have you tried this out? What do you think?

Pleco Homepage | iTunes App Store

9 responses to “Pleco 2.2 drops, includes the new Optical Character Recogniser

  1. Be careful! If you expect that your newest iPod touch will do this OCR, it will NOT, because the camera in the newest iPod touch is NOT an autofocus camera (shame on you, Apple!).

  2. I bought it yesterday and it is definitively working VERY well for Chinese characters on flat surfaces:
    – works great by pointing at your computer’s screen
    – not so much for the non flat surfaces like a shampoo bottle (clearly tougher for the OCR).

    Note that you need to be quite steady to use it, i.e. not easy to use in a car.

    You have 3 options for this OCR function:
    – Lookup Words where you scan a group of characters and you *instantly* see their definitions and pinyin
    – Capture Flashcards (very useful if you always want to put vocabulary from a text book into flashcards)
    – Capture Text to scan a full block of text that you can then study as if you copied the text from somewhere else.

    A must-buy for serious learners. I would even say this is justifying the purchase of an iPhone 3GS or 4! That is, until the Android version arrives 🙂

  3. Just read this on the Chinese Mac Google Group:

    Trying to spread this as widely as possible, so I’m putting it at the top of this email: if you have an iPhone 3GS, DO NOT update to the new iOS version 4.2 (which should be released any day now) yet; due to a bug in Apple’s video capture code, our new OCR feature (see below) does not work correctly on 3GSes that have been upgraded to iOS 4.2.
    We’ve already submitted a new version (2.2.1) to Apple with a workaround, but it could be a week or two until they approve and release it. The problem appears to only affect the iPhone 3GS and not the iPhone 4, though we’re not quite sure why.

  4. hello there admin,
    I wanted to download you OCR in my i phone 4 which i recently bought but since i don’t ve creadit or david card i couldn’t download. So does it mean i can’t use this function. Is there a way u can provide em this software in free for my i phone or i’ll pay the money in yuan or dollar to u by any means n i can download n used it . since i’m having lots of language barrier in china i think this software ‘ll help me to study n understand chinese a lot . Thank you hope u’ll reply em sson

    1. Hi Sunil,

      You’ll have to contact Pleco directly since this is a simply a news article and we aren’t connected to the company that develops Pleco.


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