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Monotype Imaging Releases iType Font Engine 3.0; New Version Enables High-Quality Display of Small East Asian Characters on Cell Phones.

WOBURN, Mass. -- Monotype Imaging's iType(R) font engine 3.0, the latest version of the company's embedded subsystem for generating text on consumer electronics devices, delivers a new level of display quality for East Asian text on mobile phones to meet increasing demands for emerging markets such as China.

Monotype Imaging has equipped its latest iType release to support patent-pending methods the company has devised for the high-quality display of intricate letterforms such as those found in Chinese, Japanese and Korean writing systems. The new capabilities will also enable customers such as handset manufacturers to reduce design and production complexities and gain time-to-market advantages.

"iType 3.0 is a significant breakthrough," said John Seguin, executive vice president and general manager of Monotype Imaging's Display Imaging group. "Cell phone manufacturers are savvy about display issues that can impact quality and production. The unique capabilities of iType 3.0 dramatically improve readability of East Asian text on mobile phones using scalable fonts without the need to embed fixed-in-size, non-scalable bitmaps for small-sized text. Bitmap fonts are typically customized for every handset model within a manufacturer's product line. By removing development bottlenecks caused by bitmaps and evolving our current solution to be fully scalable, iType 3.0 opens up revenue opportunities that will be leveraged ultimately by the entire wireless value chain. We're also setting the groundwork for including scalable fonts in downloaded content and applications."

Monotype Imaging's patent-pending technique for enabling the clear display of scalable East Asian characters without bitmaps involves a new method of character fine-tuning - or hinting - to ensure the on-screen legibility of text from 14 to 50 pixels per em. Monotype Imaging's approach, called SmartHint(TM) technology, is the result of collaboration with China Type Design, the new Hong Kong-based subsidiary that Monotype Imaging is announcing today.

SmartHint Technology

The SmartHint method improves display quality while reducing the number of instructions required for each hint, thereby reducing file size and storage requirements. "SmartHint technology is all about intelligent scaling," said Geoff Greve, vice president of font development at Monotype Imaging. "SmartHint improves character shape and readability. At larger sizes, the characters are more uniform and regular. At smaller sizes, correct spatial relationships are preserved. In some cases, strokes are removed from the character make-up without changing the meaning associated with those characters. Letterforms are clear and legible."

While hinting techniques are not new - typographic specialists have applied hints to characters within select fonts to improve their appearance on low-resolution monitors - the hinting of small-sized East Asian characters using available methods has resulted in file sizes that are too large for memory-constrained devices such as cell phones. Monotype Imaging's SmartHint method coupled with the company's new patent-pending hint compression and decompression technologies, supported by the iType 3.0 font engine, result in small, manageable font files containing SmartHint instructions.

Ensuring high-quality display of small characters without bitmaps

Although cell phones are increasingly employing scalable font technologies, support for complex East Asian characters at small sizes has remained challenging. A standard solution involves creating simplified, bitmap representations of characters at specific, small sizes and embedding those bitmaps within the scalable solution. When a small-sized character is requested by the cell phone user, the embedded bitmap is displayed, rather than a scaled version of the character. "While the hand-tuned embedded bitmap is readable at its design size," said Greve, "it cannot effectively be scaled to other sizes. Separate versions of custom bitmaps are required for each small size available within the phone, thereby increasing font size and reducing flexibility in development and production. The iType 3.0 solution solves this problem by providing a high-quality scaled version of the character for every size requested within the phone. In addition, styles such as bold and italic can be generated at run-time, reducing the need for separate fonts for each style. Developers may also apply anti-aliasing techniques - something not possible with bitmaps - to soften jagged effects around curves and edges to make them look smooth on cell phone screens."

The iType 3.0 software development kit includes a fully scalable, SmartHint-enabled stroke-based Simplified Chinese font, which supports the standard GBK Chinese character set of approximately 21,000 characters. The iType 3.0 release also supports a SmartHint-enabled Simplified Chinese stroke font based on the GB18030 Chinese character set standard. A Japanese stroke font based on SmartHint technology is scheduled for release later this year, with Traditional Chinese and Korean versions becoming available next year.

Monotype Imaging's line of East Asian stroke-based fonts enhanced with SmartHint technology is part of the company's new ESQ(R) Mobile (Enhanced Screen Quality) brand of fonts engineered for use on mobile phones. Earlier this year, the company announced 13 off-the-shelf theme-based fonts for mobile phones based on the Latin-1 character set. These fonts are also part of the ESQ Mobile lineup of fonts, available for developers for use in user interfaces and theme-based applications and content.

About Monotype Imaging

Based in Woburn, Mass. with regional offices in the U.K., Chicago, Redwood City, Calif., Boulder, Colo., Japan and China, Monotype Imaging is a global leader in fonts and font technologies for graphic professionals, software developers and manufacturers of printers and display devices. The company also provides print drivers and color imaging technologies to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Monotype Imaging is home to the Monotype(R) and ITC(R) typeface libraries, collections that include widely used designs such as the Arial(R), Times New Roman(R), Gill Sans(R) and ITC Franklin Gothic(TM) typeface families. Linotype Library GmbH, home to timeless designs such as the Helvetica(R), Frutiger(R) and Palatino(R) typeface families, is a Monotype Imaging company. Monotype Imaging offers fonts and industry-standard solutions for most of the world's written languages. Information about Monotype Imaging and its products can be found on the company's Web sites at www.monotypeimaging.com, www.fonts.com, www.linotype.com, www.monotypefonts.com, www.customfonts.com, www.fontwise.com, www.itcfonts.com and www.faces.co.uk.

Monotype, iType and ESQ are trademarks of Monotype Imaging Inc. registered in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. SmartHint is a trademark of Monotype Imaging Inc. Arial, Times New Roman and Gill Sans are trademarks of The Monotype Corporation registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions. ITC is a registered trademark and ITC Franklin Gothic is a trademark of International Typeface Corporation. Helvetica, Frutiger and Palatino are registered trademarks of Linotype GmbH in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. (C) 2006 Monotype Imaging Inc. All rights reserved.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 18, 2006
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