Monday, September 8, 2008

Localization in mobile phone

Localization in mobile phone

I always keep working with mobile phone in my hand, when I am idle, seeing how this works and looking for what it has within it. One fine day, I tried to enter the digits "100" from my mobile keypad which was locked. Later, tried with digits "112" and "911". The digits appeared and option "Call" was displayed. My testing mind started to proceed further, with a question mark in my mind "Why not for 100?".

My dear reader, you might ask 'it is common in all the mobile phone that, either pressing the digits "112" or "911" from a locked keypad, still the number appears on display and a call can be made to any of this number i.e., "911" or "112".'.

Localization in mobile phone begins

Now, sit calmly and take a deep breath, I will wait for a minute.... OK, are you done. Can I know how old are you ? Also, can you tell appropriately how old your good friend is ?

OK, no problem I will wait; calculate your age............ . Did you complete doing that calculation; now can you tell me how old are you with a confidence........... . I heard how old are you, but still it was like that you are not very sure of the age you thought and said; anyways thanks for that calculation, you did just few moments ago.

Let me take you now to other conversations, that I had with few people of all age groups; the conversation with different people were like this:

** Abdul is aged more than 70 years. He has completed is BA degree from Bangalore Central College and owns a fruit stall. Me and my school friends go to his shop from my childhood days. Our conversations were in Hindi mixed with Urdu a bit. Writing those conversation in English below.

Me: Hi uncle Abdul ! How are you?
Abdul: Hi child. God's grace, I am fine. Come in. How are you? Where did you go this many days?

* after few conversations, I asked him:

Me: Uncle, how old are you?
Abdul: Might be 70 or 80 child..
Me: Did your parents provide right date of birth, while joining to school?
Abdul: Yes, my parents had given right date of birth of me. My mother always said me this.
Me: What is the phone number of local police station area ?
Abdul: I don't know that.. Why are you asking police station phone number child?
Me: I wanted to store it in my mobile.
Abdul: Dial karo 100 ko, awaz sunthi.... (Dial the number 100, you will hear a voice).

** Rammakka might be aged more than 75 years (as said by her Rammakka's daughter). Rammakka, did not get opportunity to get her education in those days. She stays near my friends house.

Me: How are you grandma?
Rammakka: Come man, how are you. See I am like a strong girl. Look, how thin are you. Don't your mother give you a food.
Me: Tell grandmother tell, whatever you tell I listen.
Rammakka: thale haraate, neenge budhine barolla hogu.. (mischief boy; go, you never get right wisdom)
Me: Grandmother, how old are you?
Rammakka: Why do you want my age?
Me: simply, just like that...
Rammakka: I don't know... Might be 80 years old..
Me: You have a mobile phone with you right?
Rammakka: Yes, my daughter gave me it as a gift last year....
Me: What's your contact number, please give me...
Rammakka: I don't know all those numbers... My daughter saved the number in this phone with my name. Take that.
Me: Do you have police station phone number with you ?
Rammakka: Ayyo Rama, beda kannappa... naange control room number gothu (Oh my god... I don't want that number... I know control room number)

** A person came to my home from my village. His name was Thimmana Bhat. He is a former and grows crops, vegetables, flowers and many more in his land. My conversation with him was like this:

Me: Uncle, how are you? Had your dinner?
T Bhat: I am fine... How are you? I had your dinner...
Me: How family members are doing? How is the crop harvesting going on? How is the heavy rainfall?
T Bhat: All are fine... Near to our place, a river was over flowing.. Police and other people came to help for moving people from banks of the river.
Me: Do you have the police station number of your village?
T Bhat: I don't know the police station phone number... If any such incidents happens, we will dial to control room..

** I had a conversation with our neighbor's child's who were studying in class 1, class 3 and class 5.

Me: Which class are you studying?
Dominic: LKG, UKG, 1st standard..
Me: What are you playing in my home?
Dominic: Hide and Seek with Kavana, Peter, Arjuna and Khadir.
Me: What is 911?
Dominic: It is 1.. 2... 3...
Me: What is control room number?
Dominic: Police number 100 to 103.
Me: 100 to 103 means what?
Dominic: 100, 101, 102, 103.
Dominic: I want to hide, leave me...

Like such conversations, I had talked to my friends and with people of various age group asking what is 911 and control room number. At majority, I got answer for 911 only from my friends and people who knew it from a SMS's which was like '112 or 911 is a number to be dialed in emergency and it will work if no *network coverage too'. While others said I don't know the 911 or 112 or police station number. Dial 100, its enough.
* without network coverage a call to 911 or 112 is not possible from mobile phone.

Reading the above things, you are asking me, "what are you gone mad, writing unnecessary and things unwanted". No, my reader, I am not doing so. This post topic's has begin already in few conversations above. I will get it much narrowed down now - Localization in mobile phone.

Take your mobile phone if you have and press number 100 with key pad locked (if you are in India and using cell & SIM of Indian service providers, dial 100; else 100 might be of no sense to other friends in/from other part of world). Did that number 100 appear in display to make a call? No, then press number 112 with keypad of mobile phone locked. Did 112 appear in display for making a call. Check for how long it appears for making a call, since the display takes off that number from *view. Similarly press number 911 with keypad locked and observe for how long it appears on display for making a call.
* some mobile phone displays digits 112 or 911 for 5 seconds and some for 10 seconds.

If you ask this 911 or 112 to many of us here in India, will not know what they are for. Probably, we might get answer as "I never heard of it". Might be our family members too and few of our friends too will say "I never heard of it" or "I don't know". If you ask what is the Police Control Room phone number, at least we will have majority of the people in India who can answer that, who said I don't know or never heard of 911 or 112.

Even, most of kids going to school nowadays tells all the emergency phone numbers like 100, 101, 102, 103 and other helplines which will be said by their teachers, parents and looking at TV advertisements. But, the information regarding 911 or 112 will not be imparted to them most of the time or to be specific not at all.

Now let us see, how the topic is related to Testing. This is were the Localization Testing comes to picture with the System Under Test or Application Under Test. To define what does Localization means, it is a process in software to adapt to a new region or culture. The other definition read from wikipedia is like, "In computing, Internationalization and Localization are means of adapting computer software to different languages and regional differences. Internationalization is the process of designing a software application so that it can be adapted to various languages and regions without engineering changes. Localization is the process of adapting software for a specific region or language by adding locale-specific components and translating text.".

When the application or electronic gadgets, is shipped or developed it should have both Internalization and localization customized within it. Today, testing this features i.e., Internationalization and Localization is turning out as a separate branch of testing, where the people who have expertise in this fields are being involved along with the local regional people.

No doubt, mobile phones comes today with the localization facility like selecting different regional languages etc. But, the basic one in localization should not be missed out like dialing of 100 is not possible in India like dialing 112 or 911 (dialing of 112 or 911 is possible in India as of today).

People across the country (India) speak different languages, which all of them cannot be incorporated into the design of mobile phone. But, the digit '100' which is unique through out the India and it is not localized in the mobile phones, that are sold in India. All the major mobile phone designers, manufacturers and service providers need to think of this during localization.

To have a more information regarding emergency call numbers information of various countries, click here.

Me tried to *dial this numbers i.e., 112 and 911 from my mobile phone for several times, but the call was not successful. One day, I asked my friend to try this from his mobile. For the first time dialing number '112', the call was successful from his mobile. Below were the conversation:
* dialing either 112 or 911, 'Attempting emergency call' will be shown on the display of mobile phone as expected.

Me: MSH, can you please try this numbers from your mobile phone.
MSH: Yes, I will try.
MSH: Dialed 112.
From other side we heard, "Namaskara swamy, Police Control Room" (Hello Sir, Police Control Room). I took the call, but due to the low battery, the call was aborted. Salute, to all those police team's who work sincerely & honestly 24x7 to keep law, peace and harmony with justice in society. After charging up the battery, dialed the number 100 from the mobile phone, a shock was heard "You seemed to have dialed a wrong number, please check the number you have dialed."

When, we can connect a call by dialing 112 or 911 which is not known by all of us, why not by dialing 100 in India which is known to all of us in India?

One more news recently published in English daily "Times Of India", is number 108 will going to be a national wide emergency helpline. Click here to view the news.

The mobile phone in India, should work strictly with numbers 100, 101, 102, 103 and for 108 too (if it is implemented as national emergency helpline in India) same as 911 and 112. It is in the hands, mouth and brains of the testers, to bring up such questions. Let all the testers, testing the mobile phones raise this questions to have a service hand for people of India and for other nation people, who don't have their own emergency call numbers like 100 in India, since all the people (in India) are not literate and today mobile phone can be afforded by any person. But all most all people who are not literate in India, they can surely know what for number 100 is, if not what for 101, 102, 103, 108 (in future days), 112 and 911 are.

Like India, many countries have their own emergency call numbers which might not be 911 or 112. People of such countries should get their localization in the mobile phone for the emergency call numbers.

Testers, join your hands to provide secure globe with safe technology and its application's by your testing.

Lessons learnt:
  1. During developing an application or an electronic gadgets, Internalization and Localization should be considered without any negligence.
  2. Localization in application or electronic gadgets is must, since all the people will not be literate in a country/state or might not know what are the standard internationalization features though educated.
  3. Testing should be very thorough, since good testing can save and yield good fortune and results. Bad testing always leads to destruction's and bad fortune.
  4. Being a tester, should think of such instances where the application or electronic gadgets can be enriched to provide better & safe world, rather than thinking of to get and increase the customers, clients and income revenues for the employer. Giving better world, in turn brings the employer everything on the winning edge.
  5. Testers, should never stop questioning. Other may think your question as silly; but they don't know your thinking testing question's may turn your product to the safe and productive one.
  6. Do not see or consider only one view while testing SUT. Think of all standards and measures.
  7. Talk to customers, peers, observe how people of all class use and work with the existing system. This helps and provides lots of inputs to Testing activity.
  8. Instead of testing the test cases, which are obtained by interaction, reviewing, designs, thoughts and analysis, do test something that are of needy one necessarily to people along with test cases (said this, because test cases may fail, but the needs of the people will never fail or die. My friend *Kantharaja, use to tell me that, a good test case is something that makes the application or system fails rather than making system pass the test).
  9. Before starting a test, read the SRS, SFS, Use cases and all other documents. Say, you have done tests for 'n' times and now started doing the tests for (n+1)th time, do not neglect to read the documents once again because they bring lot of questions, bugs, new features that must go in shipping.
  10. Importantly, give your test cases to your fellow testers, developers, customers, architects, business analysts as they can bring much more constructive into testing. If possible talk and exchange your views with them. And, at last never stop reading test case thoroughly and completely line by line before starting the test, though you have done and tested for 'n' number of times and the test has passed for 'n' times too.
* Kantharaja was the person, who brought me up the idea of writing a blog to share the passion of testing. He is a questioning tester and taught me lot in testing. I am thankful to him.

Love Testing !


  1. Ya Ravi, even the recent mobile sets won't dial 100 (when keypad is locked).
    The article was of importance and thought provoking. Keep up the good work.

  2. Hi Mahesh,

    Thanks for your encouraging words and surely this will keep my garage busy with work.

    Do come and write your suggestions for the articles of Testing Garage in future.


  3. Hey Ravi

    Write up is very good and informative. Keep up the good work!

  4. Madam,

    Thanks for your encouraging word !

    I am really happy, that you read my article on Testing Garage.

    Thank you,


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