Archive | August, 2008

iPhone 3G in India: A Great Touch Gets a Bad Press

29 Aug

We at Cellpassion know that there is nothing known as the perfect cellphone. Every device, notwithstanding the best efforts of its manufacturer, has its share of quirks and weaknesses. Even then, we must confess to having been stunned at the storm of media outrage surrounding the iPhone in one of the world’s largest mobile markets, India.

The past few days have seen just about every accusation being levelled at the device which many on the tech world consider to be the ubergizmo — the shortcomings of its camera (no zoom, no video), its limited Bluetooth functionality, the uselessness of its 3G support as 3G does not exist in the country (a charge that be thrown at just about every high-end device in the country), its security, its non-removable battery, and of course, its price. Some publications and TV channels have gone to the extent of writing off the iPhone as a “expensive failure,” notwithstanding its running up sales of almost a million units a week worldwide.

While there’s no wrong with objective and informed criticism, there are whispers that the Indian media’s potshots at the iPhone have been primed by a few major cellphone manufacturers. Evidently, one of them has gone to the extent of circulating a mail in the media detailing the shortcomings of the iPhone. Foul play, say you? Well, it worked. Because the next few days saw the very points that had been mentioned in the mail being highlighted in a few newspapers, websites and TV shows. Of course, it could all be a coincidence. Mind you, if it is, we are looking out of the window for flying pigs! Similarly, a PR agency even invited the media to talk to a security expert about the security shortcomings of the “i-Phone” (sic) in an email titled “I-phone (sic again): The apple of a hacker’s eye?” To make matters worse, some media persons have been heard muttering about not getting “free samples” (the rumbling sound is us rolling our eyes) and have taken revenge by venting their spleens on the device that was once the object of their desire. Hell hath no fury like a scorned journo, it would seem!

All of which would have been fine, if the criticism had been part of a logical discussion about the device. Alas, we have not seen too many traces of that. Objectivity has at times been shown the door with the very people who criticised HTC for releasing a non-3G version of the Touch Diamond in India, now shouting foul at Apple for releasing a 3G device in a nation that does not have that facility. Even the criticism about its price can be termed unfair — there is no lock-in period for Indian users, who just have to make a one-time payment to get their hands on the device and can even use it on a prepaid connection, unlike in most other nations, where one has to keep shelling out an amount for anything upto two years. Worst of all, the criticism would seem to indicate that more than twelve million people are idiots — that is the number of iPhone users in the world.

The sufferer in all this lopsided brouhaha has been the Indian cellphone user, who has been shown only the dark side of what is a very powerful device indeed. A blind eye has also been turned to the many plus points of the iPhone 3G — its amazing browsing prowess, its improved mail support and above all, its dazzling interface, which remains unmatched for smoothness and speed. It’s a bit like someone saying that Usain Bolt is a poor sprinter because he slowed down and celebrated before the finish in 100 metres at Beijing (yeah, never mind that he set a world record).

Yep, no phone is perfect, and the iPhone ain’t an exception to this universal truth. But then to err is human and to forgive divine. Some members of the media clearly have no aspirations to divinity.

Well, we certainly do.

Motozine ZN5 ready for primetime in India

29 Aug

Motorola has announced the Motozine ZN5 for the Indian market. The handheld is expected to hit shelves in mid-September and will be priced below Rs 20,000. The ZN5 is Motorola’s first 5 MP camera phone and has been produced in collaboration with Kodak, which has provided the know-how for the camera’s optics. The ZN5 is also Motorola’s first multimedia phone with Wi-Fi. Clickhere for more details on the ZN5.

HTC gives smartphones a touch of diamond

29 Aug

In a bid to cash in on the success of the Touch Diamond, HTC has released the S740 aka the HTC Rose, a smartphone that bears the signature Diamond design. Like its earlier smartphone — the S730 — this one also bears an alphanumeric keypad below the display and a sliding QWERTY keypad. On the specs front, it has a 3.2 MP camera, dual-band HSDPA 7.2 Mbps and a built-in GPS. Click here for detailed specs.

Samsung patents slider phone with two touchscreens

29 Aug

Samsung has recently patented a sliding cellphone with not one but two touchscreens. According to the patent application,  the lower part of the slider mechanism that usually houses the keypad is replaced with another touchscreen that compliments the main touchscreen on the top. Such a phone will have a smart UI that will show menu items continued from the main touchscreen when the phone is slid open.

Just imagine if the two touchscreens are placed in a way that when the slider is open the two screens fit to become one! Now only if Samsung could add mult-touch and a killer UI to the hardware, you’d be staring at a phone that could at least dream of competing with stuff that we see from Cupertino.

Momail looking for 100,000 beta testers in India

27 Aug

Momail, a mobile e-mail platform that delivers mails from your different e-mail addresses to your cellphone’s native e-mail client is looking for 100,000 beta testers in India. The company claims that users don’t have to install any application and they can access e-mails from popular ISPs like Google, Yahoo! and MSN as well as those from private domains. To participate in the beta testing just log on to www.momail.in and use the password momailrox.

Nokia finally announces N79 and N85

27 Aug

Nokia has announced two new products in its N-series — the N79 and the N85. Yup, these are the same N79 and N85 that we had featured recently. The N79 will be the N78’s successor while the N85 will take over from the N82.

Read more about the N79 here and N85 over here.

iPhone 3G sales top original iPhone in seven weeks?

27 Aug

Against all odds, the iPhone 3G has managed to achieve something in seven weeks what the original iPhone took almost a year to do — sell six million units. According to TechCrunch, sometime next week, Apple will sell its iPhone 3G number six million in some part of the world. Apple is now on track to sell 40 million iPhone 3Gs over the next year.

Unlike the original iPhone, which remained exclusive to the US for many months and then a handful of European countries, the iPhone 3G is already available in over 40 countries and the number will swell up to 70 before the end of this year. Mind you, the iPhone 3G is not yet available in Russia, which is expected to be one of the biggest markets for the device, after the US.

Meanwhile, in India, the iPhone 3G sales are yet to pick up on either carrier (Airtel and Vodafone) amidst media reports about the ‘flaws’ in the device and its high price. But that’s another story.