34 Weeks of OHA: #2

Open Handset Alliance Member Profiles (Week #2 – Ascender )
For 34 weeks, each Tuesday, Jordan from fandroid.net will be joining us to offer a profile of each of the 34 members of the Open Handset Alliance.

Company Name:
Ascender Corp.

How the OHA site classifies them: Software Company

What the OHA site says about them: Ascender Corp. is a leading provider of advanced font products and innovative applications for mobile devices.

What they do: Fonts. Big fonts, little fonts, fat fonts, thin fonts. Chinese fonts and Hebrew fonts. Fonts from A-B. In fact, they run a

Font Store, which is precisely as breathtaking and overwhelming as you’d expect it to be.

Oh, and they produce the Personality Kit , which is a system for customizing your Windows Mobile phone with themes, ringtones, and … fonts.

What you may not realize is that Ascender, of whom you may never have before heard, is actually a font superpower. Ever come across Arial or Times New Roman? Comic Sans? Tahoma? Trebuchet? All Ascender’s—sorta; that is: the company’s two founders, Steve Matteson and and Tom Rickner, worked with Microsoft and Apple developing these foundational fonts, which makes ’em like the Tim Berners-Lee and, er, Steve Wozniak of… fonts. I guess.

These guys have a contract to distribute Microsoft fonts and have worked with IBM on Japanese fonts. Steve Matteson designed the fonts for the Xbox 360. And, check out this bit from their Wikipedia article:


Ascender has conducted numerous typographic-related research projects including a study on the typefaces that appear on the front pages of America’s top daily newspapers. This study identified the most popular typefaces, sources, and the pervasive use of custom fonts in newspaper design.

Another Ascender study researched the free and shareware fonts that can be found on the most-popular Websites. The study analyzed more than 450- TureType® fonts that can be downloaded by Macintosh®, Windows® and Linux® users to determine their viability for use in linking downloadable fonts to web pages as part of the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) specification proposed by the W3C. The study found that out of the 4572 fonts tested, 4385 fonts (95.9%) failed one or more of six tests that were performed.


“Typographic-related research projects.” These guys are hard-core, yo.

What they bring to OHA and Android: Umm, fonts. Specifically, the Droid font collection.

In all seriousness, designing fonts that are readable and appealing on a two-and-a-half inch screen is no job for amateurs. These guys are probably the best in the world at what they do, so Android is in good hands.

Ascender Corp. Site
Open Handset Alliance Press Release

Ascender’s Wikipedia Page

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