Archive | November, 2007

Windows Mobile Office gets an upgrade

30 Nov

If you are a Windows Mobile device user, you would have experienced the incompatibility between Mobile Office and Microsoft Office 2007. Well, not anymore. Microsoft has upgraded Mobile Office 6.0 to Mobile Office 6.1 that enables users to view and edit Word documents or Excel spreadsheets created on Office 2007.
Apart from the compatibility issue, another major improvement is the ability to unzip zipped files. Till now, a third party application – Zip Manager – was preinstalled on some Windows Mobile devices. The upgrade also enables users to view SmartArt in PowerPoint and charts in Excel versions of the Mobile Office. Users of Windows Mobile 5.0 and Windows Mobile 6.0 devices can download the upgrade from here.

Will Nokia unveil the N-Gage store on December 4?

30 Nov

Most probably yes. Nokia might just launch the N-Gage Store from where users will be able to buy games for the N-Gage compatible phones – the N81, N95 and N82. Nokia was supposed to launch the store in November but had delayed the launch by a month due to delays in software testing. A source hinted that the store might be one of the announcements taking place at the Nokia World Event, which is taking place in Amsterdam on December 4-5.
Nokia has roped in game publishers like EA Sports, Vivendi, i-play and Digital Chocolate to develop games for its N-Gage platform. In August, Nokia had indicated that that the games are expected to be priced between Euro six and Euro10. The brand has already tied up with operators in 20 countries for billing the charges on a subscriber’s cellphone bill. In countries where such tie-up doesn’t exist, consumers will be able to pay via their credit card.
We will mark this one as a rumour but at the same time hope that it comes true. And one more thing, hope that Nokia gets its pricing right and not commit the same mistake as it did with the N-Gage 1.0. 

GPS-enabled handsets to touch 240 million units in 2008: ABI Research

30 Nov

According to a study conducted by ABI Research, GPS-enabled cellphones will touch 240 million units next year and 550 million in the year 2012. The report further claims that these phones will generate revenues worth USD 50 billion next year and will double by 2012.
“The ongoing consolidation in the mobile industry –  including Nokia’s acquisition of NAVTEQ, Broadcom’s acquisition of Global Locate, CSR’s acquisition of NordNav Technologies and Cambridge Positioning Systems, and the tussle between TomTom and Garmin to acquire Tele Atlas – gives a clear indication of the plans and commitment of industry players to address the GPS-enabled handset market,” says Shailendra Pandey, industry analyst for ABI Research.
The report also claims that Original Design Manufacturer’s like Quanta and Inventec are planning to introduce GPS-enabled cellphones. The challenge, however, remains to be prohibitive pricing of cellphones with inbuilt GPS receivers. According to the report, chipset manufacturers now have solutions that will enable them to embed GPS receivers at a lower cost as well as improve the accuracy at the same time.

Delhi’s mobile hunger helpline!

30 Nov

Looking out for a happening hangout in the city? Or are you out on the road looking for a restaurant that serves good Mexican tortillas? Or you are on a shoestring budget and want to take your friends out for a drink? Get all this information and more on your GPRS enabled cellphone by logging on to, a service by MobiSolv.
Grubz enables users to check out hangouts in Delhi and its vicinity, which have been segregated according to their cuisine, cost and rates as well. If you are in the mood to kick off your shoes and shake a leg, the listing also shoes places that have a dancing floor. Also included are the phone numbers that you can call without exiting the application.
Though a fine application, it needs a bit of tweaking. At the moment, it shows places at random. For instance, if you are in Gurgaon and want to see hangouts in Gurgaon, there is no option to see them. You have no option but to go through the entire list. Another feature that can be incorporated is an average cost for meal for two.
Despite its shortcomings, the service should become popular with the young audience, who usually run out of good places to hang out. But there is a catch, how many of them have a GPRS subscription? Our two cents? A similar service via text messaging might become more popular than a GPRS based service.

Ed Zander to step down as Motorola CEO

30 Nov

With Motorola’s market share dipping and the company losing its second spot to Samsung, the company’s Board of Directors has elected Greg Brown as CEO Ed Zander’s successor. Brown, who currently serves the company as president and chief operating officer, will take hold of the reigns from Zander on January 1, 2008.

Zander had joined Motorola in 2004, when the company was struggling and was instrumental in the introduction of the Razr V3, which turned the fortunes around for Motorola. Ever since the Razr’s launch, Motorola has shipped over 100 million units of the slim clamshell phone.
However, Zander’s critics have blamed him for the company’s current lacklustre performance, which has resulted in decreasing global market share. They accuse Zander of over-emphasising on the Razr line-up and neglecting other products, which has resulted in people calling Motorola a one-hit wonder. At the moment, Motorola is struggling to find a product that could match Razr’s popularity. Zander is also believed to be instrumental in Motorola’s low cost handset drive, which has increased the unit shipments but at the same time lowered the company’s margins.
Brown finds himself in a situation not very different from when Zander assumed the CEO’s post back in 2003. He faces an uphill task of reviving the ‘Moto Magic’, which won’t be easy. Currently, the brand is believed to be revamping its entire product line-up, some of which could be announced early next year. Motorola is also focusing on smartphones and is juggling between Linux, Symbian UIQ and Windows Mobile operating systems. Let’s hope that Motorola finds its Mojo soon!

Asus launches two Windows Mobile based handhelds

30 Nov

The Indian market for Windows Mobile devices is getting bigger by the day with a slew of products from a number of brands. Asus, which already has two Windows Mobile handsets in the market, today launched two more products – the P526 and M630w.

The P526 is based on Windows Mobile 6.0 Professional and features a built-in GPS receiver. The M630w, on the other hand, resembles the Palm Centro but happens to be much smarter. Running on the Windows Mobile 6.0 platform, it is 3G enabled and also comes with Wi-Fi, business card reader and a 2 megapixel camera with auto-focus. The prices of the handsets haven’t been revealed yet.

Google Maps goes a step further, locates without GPS

29 Nov

We were already impressed with the mobile version of Google Maps and now Google has made it all the more better. An improved beta version of Google Maps is now available for your BlackBerry, Symbian S60 3rd edition, Windows Mobile or Java based device that makes the application all the more fun.
Till now, if you had Google Maps on your phone but no GPS receiver, you had to find your location on your own, but not any more! The new beta version uses information from your carrier’s cell sites to point your location on the map. Though it is not as accurate as that obtained through GPS satellites, nevertheless, it gives a fair idea. While a GPS usually gives up to 10 metres of accuracy, the one calculated by the triangulation method using cell sites delivers an accuracy of up to 1,000 metres. Agreed that turn-by-turn navigation won’t be feasible but at least it gives you a good idea of where you are on the map. Download the beta version from here.

The National Do Not Call Registry in numbers

28 Nov

The National Do Not Call Registry (NDNC) was initiated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in June this year and it became operational in October. Let’s see the story so far in figures.

Registered subscribers:
 6.7 million
Telemarketer applications: 20,900
Registered telemarketers: 10,700
Rejected telemarketers: 7,100
Phone numbers uploaded for scrubbing by telemarketers: 380 million (many numbers overlap between multiple telemarketers) 
Complaints against telemarketers from registered subscribers: 3,685
So what do these figures reveal about the NDNC? Out of the 217 million mobile subscribers in the country, only three percent of the subscribers have registered themselves. This could be due to two reasons. Either the carriers are not publicising the NDNC or the registration process is tedious. In this case, both the scenarios hold true.
While I get all sorts of text messages from my carrier about various schemes, services or new ring tones, I’m yet to receive one that talks about the NDNC. When I tried getting my number registered in the registry, I was clueless where to go. On calling the customer care service, I was given a verbal assurance that my number is being added to the registry and it will take 45 days to process my request. It has been over 45 days now and I haven’t received any sort of confirmation. In the meanwhile, I am being constantly harassed by telemarketing calls. I don’t know whom to approach to complain about these calls. If you have ever tried calling a customer care centre, you would very well know how difficult it is to get through.
There are a couple of things I’d like to ask TRAI as well as all the carriers. Who likes getting telemarketing calls? In the TRAI meeting held on November 21, “telecom service providers were asked to give wide publicity regarding NDNC and their various methods for registration of subscribers and their complaint handling mechanism.” Why is it not made compulsory for these service providers to get in touch with each and every subscriber and ask whether they would like to register themselves in the NDNC? After all, most of us do get calls from the same service providers asking us if we’d like to shift from prepaid to postpaid or change our tariff plan, don’t we?
With due respects to the initiative taken by TRAI, I feel this is not enough. If the regulator is serious about the telemarketing menace, it needs to take some more concrete steps.

Tata Indicom brings mobile Internet to the masses

28 Nov

Tata Indicom today announced its partnership with Opera Software and launched the Huawei C2900i handset with the Opera Mini browser. The phone, which is priced at Rs 1,999, can now be used to browse any website on the Internet thanks to the Opera Mini browser. The browser can be downloaded from Tata Zone in the phone’s menu. The Opera Mini browser on the C2900i handset is also compatible with Hindi and Urdu, while more Indian languages like Bengali and Tamil will be added soon.
The CDMA carrier also offers a tempting data package that ranges from Rs 10 for one day of unlimited Internet browsing to Rs 99 for 30 days. On the other hand, GSM carriers charge as high as 10 paise per 10 KB of data transfer. At the moment, value added services account for 9.4 percent of Tata Indicom’s overall revenues and the carrier expects this to increase with the introduction of mobile Internet even on the cheapest of handsets.

Exclusive: Vertu uses cow-hide leather in its phones

27 Nov

Luxury cellphone manufacturer, Vertu, might find itself in a fix for selling cellphones in India with cow-hide leather. The latest edition of Vertu Ascent, called Ti, uses tanned cow-hide leather on its back, which according to the company press release, is of the highest possible specification and hand assembled by expertly trained craftsmen. The fact that the phone uses leather made from cow-hide doesn’t go well with Hindus, who consider cows sacred and worship them.

The Ascent Ti is by far the most technically advanced Vertu handset at the moment with 3G connectivity, 4 GB of internal memory and a 3 megapixel camera. It is available in India for Rs 3,26,000. Every Vertu handset is hand crafted in England.
Vertu was established in 1998 and launched its first product in 2002. Bollywood icon, Karan Johar, is known to be a Vertu user. When contacted, Nokia officials pointed out that the brand was no longer a part of Nokia and had been hived off as a separate business a few years back.