Archive | September, 2009

Samsung introduces new Corby phones

26 Sep

Samsung has introduced two new phones in its Corby Series – the CorbyTxt and the CorbyPro. The two phones join the original Corby, which will be launched in India next week, to form a series of affordable, funky social networking cellphones for the youth.

The CorbyTxt has a QWERTY keyboard below the 2.2 inch display and comes with a 2.0 MP camera, FM radio and EDGE connectivity.

The CorbyPro, on the other hand, has a slide out QWERTY keyboard and boasts a 2.8 inch QVGA display, 3.0 MP camera, DivX support, Wi-Fi and HSDPA connectivity.

HTC Hero – the best Android phone, yet! (Part 1)

26 Sep

HTC had launched the Hero earlier this month and we were lucky enough to get our hands on a couple of units to put it through its paces. After having used both the G1 and the Magic, we were expecting HTC to up the stakes a bit and sure enough, they did.

The Hero is the first Android phone to come with the Android Market and Google Mobile Suite in India. It also betters the Magic by having a 3.2 inch capacitive display with multi-touch, a 5.0 MP shooter and overall better industrial design. But the real dealmaker is its software – a user interface (UI) layer called Sense that works on top of Android’s default UI.

HTC claims that the number of its engineers working on Android are second only to Google and we can ‘sense’ that they ain’t fibbing. The new UI that HTC has built is by far the best we have come across on ANY smartphone, including HTC’s own TouchFlo3D that it uses for Windows Mobile devices. The Sense UI provides seven homescreens that can be customised by adding widgets, shortcuts to programs or some unique programs that HTC has built specifically for Android. We fell in love with the some of the clock widgets and even ‘Peep’ which is HTC’s customised Twitter application that also works as a widget. (Peep is currently acting buggy and HTC says that it is working closely with Twitter to resolve it.)

The best thing (and the most difficult one) is that having Sense running on top of the default UI does not make the system sluggish and things keep moving at a fairly decent clip even if there are a few applications running in the background. Needless to say, we are impressed!

The touchscreen is responsive and is the closest in terms of response to the iPhone. Multi-touch works in the album and inside the Internet browser, which HTC has tweaked to support Flash. However, since multi-touch functionality is an added layer, it doesn’t work with apps from Google and other third party sources. Which is a pity, considering the multi-touch experience on Google Maps on the iPhone.

This is the first part of our detailed review of the Hero. Stay tuned in for some live pictures and our opinion of its performance, design and other aspects in multiple installations.

Motorola readies seven phones for India!

26 Sep

Earlier this week, Motorola invited us to a preview of their upcoming portfolio of devices that it intends to launch in this quarter in India. Obviously, we were quite excited, hoping to see at least one Android phone… Alas, that was not on the menu.

We were greeted to a sight of six low-cost devices that will form a new WX series. This series will take over from the W-series that was introduced last year and will start from approximately Rs 1,500 and go up to Rs 3,500. While the lowest end device will have a monochrome display with a colour background, the top-most one will have a 1.3 MP camera, microSD card slot and will be branded under the ROKR series. Most of these phones have FM radio, though we do not think that these devices will bring anything radically new to the table, like Samsung which has announced similar low-end phones with 10 hours talktime!

The seventh device will be the ZN300, which was announced at the beginning of this year (or probably sometime last year) and has a 3.2 MP camera and runs on the Linux Java platform that Motorola has now abandoned in its pursuit of Android. The ZN300 will be priced around Rs 8,000.

In our conversation with Faisal Siddiqui – Motorola’s country head for mobile devices in India – it became clear that the company’s plans for India are different from its ambitions elsewhere. It still sees greater value in pushing low-end products like the WX-series considering that its W-series proved to be quite popular in India.

However, we would like to point out that the W-series had a unique positioning in the market when it was launched last year with their microSD card slots even in the most basic models, hence turning them into affordable music phones. The current lot of devices will be humbled by existing phones from Samsung and LG (not to mention the numerous ‘China mobile’ phones that are sprouting up all over the place) not only on terms of features but even in the looks department. The ZN300 does have some hope as it will bring a good camphone at a decent price point but it would be a difficult road ahead for the company to sustain movement in the competitive market with such a weak portfolio.

LG Milan is the GW825 WinMo smartphone

16 Sep

The Wi-Fi Alliance is sprouting new cellphones like no one’s business. Today, we have the LG Milan, which we had earlier written about as the GW825.

Running on Windows Mobile, the Milan comes with a 480×800 pixel touchscreen display, a normal alphanumeric phone keypad, UMTS and Wi-Fi connectivity and probably a 2.0 MP camera.

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[Update]Exclusive: Nokia Erdos, the 8800 gets more bling! [video link!]

12 Sep

A reliable source has just sent us a deck describing Nokia’s upcoming luxury phone in its 8800 portfolio. Codenamed Erdos, the device will be Nokia’s most high-profile luxury handset south of Vertu.

So what’s the Erdos all about? For starters, it will be an engineering masterpiece. When the phone’s cover is slid, the keymat raises up to meet the display’s level. On the rear, it also reveals a 5.0 MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics.

The deck also talks about the fact that it is carved out of a single piece of metal that they’d market as ‘bullet silver.’ A material that we commonly know as stainless steel.

On the memory front, it will be 8 GB of fixed internal memory with no microSD card slot.

Update: More details pouring in – the display is covered by glass, which remains silver when the screen is off and becomes transparent when the screen is turned on. And it runs on Symbian S60.

Update2: Check out a video of the Erdos here

Okay, now for the exact technical specs:

Dimensions: 116.9 x 50,3 x 15.0 mm
Display main: QVGA 320×240 pixels, 16M colours, OLED with 2,4″ active area
Protocols: WCDMA bands: I + VIII, GSM 900/1800/1900
Connectivity: WLAN, AGPS, High Speed USB, 30 Mbit/sec (micro-USB interface inclusive charging), Stereo Bluetooth ver 2.0 (A2DP & AVRCP)
Camera: 5 Mpix Carl Zeiss AF with dual LED
Video performance: 288×352 @ 30 fps // 480×640 @ 15 fps
Memory: 8 GB internal non user replacable

The Erdos is planned for a P10 launch, which translates into October this year.

Motorola hits an ace with MOTOBLUR

10 Sep

Today was the day of Motorola’s ‘Save the company’ (sic) press conference and while Aman was reporting it live, I was following it online and Tweeting about it. Now that announcements have been made, we believe the time that Motorola took to revamp its product portfolio is paying off well.

Motorola and in particular, its Co-CEO Sanjay Jha, have wisely chosen Android as the platform for its next range of smartphones. The Cliq (pictured on the left) is the first smartphone of the lot and we like the fact that Motorola is targetting the young, socially connected population which wants smartphone like features in a fun device. But how do you make a smartphone fun? Simple, create your very own UI.

Motorola has done just that with what it calls the MOTOBLUR (we’ll call it Blur). Think of Blur as HTC’s Sense UI on mushrooms. It is funky, it is cool and it’s simple. Log in once to all your social networks, e-mail accounts, feeds and the works and forget them. Any new activity and it will pop up on the homescreen without the user having to log in manually or refresh everytime they want to see if there is anything new. Cool!

Like Sense and Palm’s Synergy, it takes hold of all your contacts – work, friends, social networks etc etc – and pull them all together. They make any change on their Facebook profile, it gets updated. What’s more, when they call, their latest profile picture will flash on your screen! Now that’s something ubercool.

Then it’s got some more security features that will allow to wipe your device clean remotely of lost and transfer all your data to your new device (of course, another Moto phone running Blur). Users are happy, carriers are happy as a constantly connected device means more data usage and Motorola is happy. Now what we are waiting for is Moto to make these devices available soon. Don’t keep us waiting for too long, fellas!

You can check out Blur’s simulator here.

Motorola's Andriod Phone Announcement – Blur & Cliq

10 Sep

Sanjay Jha of Motorola has taken the stage and is talking about some of the key market factors like one billion wireless broadband customers globally by end of 2009. The emphasis of the device is on social networking and over the air updates. We believe the Cliq will outsell the Palm Pre in most US markets in the fourth quarter of this year. Based on what we have seen and heard, the capabilities of the Blur UI seem to be better than the Palm Pre’s.Here are some of the highlights from his keynote:

  • Andriod is key and Motorola has done some custom development. Social networking and integration will be a key part of Motorola’s new handsets.
  • The new device runs Motorola’s Blur user interface. Will be available on T-Mobile as Cliq for the holiday season. The device has a keyboard and a touch screen. Colors offered will be titanium and white. The Cliq has 5 MP camera, 24 FPS video, standard headphone jack, full suite of google mobile offerings.
  • The social network capability of the Blur seem to be better than the Palm Pre
  • Motorola expects to announce another device in the coming weeks – also will be available for the upcoming holiday season
  • The Cliq will also be launched in three international markets this year