We were at the doctor’s office for a checkup on our little girl late last week, and I have a Greek class coming up – a tough class for which I figured I’d spend some time studying and preparing while waiting for the doctor. Unfortunately, I just discovered yet another of the thousand little details Google doesn’t think matter. I can’t study Greek on my phone here because Google refuses to ship (or allow users to install) a typeface that includes the polytonic Greek character set on Android. The default system font, Roboto (a poor clone of Helvetica), has accents but no breathing marks. This means that at least half the words in classical and Koine Greek are simply missing letters on any web page, and for that matter any app that doesn’t embed its own fonts.
This is not a make or break issue with the phone, but as my primary tool for mobile work in situations like this, it is quite frustrating. What is more frustrating is Google’s absolute unresponsiveness about this. There are many ways the issue could be fixed, none of them particularly complex or time-consuming (unless the folks working on android have made some really silly decisions and coupled the font deeply in the OS, which I don’t believe for a second). No, by all appearances the explanation for the still-open ticket is quite simple: Google doesn’t care. Read on, intrepid explorer →