Archive | November, 2009

Here comes another E-series device – the Nokia E72

30 Nov

Nokia today added another E-series device to its portfolio by launching the E72 in India. The Nokia E72 comes in two colours – Zodium Black and Topaz Brown.


The E72 is an upgrade version of E71 which was launched last year. The new device is quite similar to the formal one except for a few differences.

The E72 has a track pad instead of a direction pad and has an enhanced inbuilt memory of 250 MB which is 110 MB in case of the E71. Also the device’s camera is upgraded to 5.0 MP from the 3.15 MP in the E71.   


The handheld has a spacious keypad and an optical navigation pad. Like E71, the new upgraded device also runs on S60 third edition platform. The talktime of this device is up to 12.5 hours and the standby time is up to 20 days.


The MRP of Nokia E72 is Rs 22,989.


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Samsung surfs the touchscreen wave, sells 50 million full-touch phones

30 Nov

Samsung today announced it has sold its 50 millionth fulll touchscreen phone globally. The Korean handset vendor had sold some 10 million full touchscreen phones – devices that do not have a physical keypad – in 2008 and has sold 40 million more so far this year.

Earlier this year, Samsung had sold 10 million units of its Star phone, which retails at under Rs 10,000 in India. It had introduced Corby in September, a social networking all touch phone, which has so far sold 3 million units world wide. Mind you, this figure of 50 million does not include phones, like the i780, that have a touchscreen along with a physical keypad.

While Samsung claims it is on track to beat its earlier projection of selling 200 million phones this year, we believe that it won’t reflect significantly in their profits. No doubt Sammy has hit Nokia badly in the mid-segment touchscreen market, where Nokia doesn’t have much of a presence yet, these phones operate on much lower margins. The real test for Samsung would be to make its mark in the smartphone segment, where there are higher margins, which reflect in the quaterly results of brands like Apple and HTC.

Acer shows us the Ace(r)s up its sleeves

27 Nov

It might have come to the smartphone party a trifle late, but Acer is definitely
trying its best to make up for lost time. The company started off with
its Tempo series of solid, though hardly spectacular, smartphones, and
less than a year later has switched tracks adroitly and rebranded its
phones as the Touch series.We caught up with Acer’s Richard Tan, Country Head – India, to find out more about about Acer’s plans and we must admit to being more than a little impressed.

Richard made one thing clear to us – the company is in no mood to aim
small. It aims to grab a tenth of the Indian smartphone market and 7-8
per cent of the world smartphone segment in the coming year. And it
aims to do so by sticking to virtues that are as old-fashioned as cold
water baths and meditation – great devices that are easy to operate,
offered across all segments. And Acer is relying its sales and service
infrastructure as well as its manufacturing muscle to help it overhaul
the competition – do not snigger, it was this threesome that got it
leadership in the netbook segment.

In fact, the three devices that Richard showed us reflected this
strategy – the all-touch beTouch e101 being targeted at the mainstream,
the touchscreen-with-slider beTouch e200 focused on the hip and fashion
conscious, and the Acer neoTouch S200 large touchscreen phone aimed
squarely at power users. All three devices run Win Mo 6.5 and all of
them are priced competitively. In fact, at Rs 11,900 (about USD 255),
it is easily the most affordable Win Mo 6.5 device available in the
Indian market and while it does not boast 3G or Wi-Fi, it does come
with 528 MHz Qualcomm processor and a large 3.2 inch screen, making it
a brisk performer.  The S200, of course, is a barnstormer in our book
with its large 3.8 inch screen and 1 GHz processor making it the best
Win Mo 6.5 device we have handled to date. Period.

Interestingly, all these devices come with a new skin from Acer,
replacing the room-like ambience that was present in the Tempo models.
Richard says that Acer decided to change tack and rather than focus on
something complex (read Touch Wiz and Touch Flo), decided to keep
things simple. The idea, says Richard, is to make users want to use the
device rather than get intimidated by them. The approach certainly
works with a simple homescreen that has nine icons on it, six of which
are customisable – no fancy hold-them-down-and-scroll routines but
heck, no learning curve either.  Shades of Android, eh?

Speaking of the big A, Richard told us to expect an Android device from
Acer in December. Of course, he would not tell us if it was the
much-heard of Liquid, restricting himself to stating that it would be
“revolutionary and different.”  But the real surprise came when we
asked Richard if Acer would be working on a value for money Android
device. Speaking Hindi with an accent that would have been the envy of
Old Delhi shopkeepers, Acer’s Country Head- India, said: “Boss, thoda
rukna padega
.” (Boss, you will have to wait for a while.)

We are waiting, we are waiting.

Netdroid impresses us with motion sensing browsing, tabs

27 Nov

In the world of third party mobile browsers, it seems to be generally
be an “Opera against everyone else” scenario, notwithstanding the
worthy efforts of the folks at Bolt and Skyfire. So we always welcome
new efforts in the mobile browsing arena. And one of the new ones we
have stumbled against is NetDroid, a browser for Android devices. We
ain’t saying that it will redefine mobile browsing or send ripples from
Espoo to Cupertino to Redmond, but heck, it will surely raise a few
eyebrows there.

The main feature of the browser is the fact that it supports
motion-sensing scrolling. Basically, you can scroll through a Web page
by just tilting your phone. Honestly, that is a lot more convenient –
and a heck of a lot cooler – than running one’s finger up and down the
screen. There are catches, though. Whenever you change the position of
your device, you will end up being asked whether you wish this to be
the preferred reading position of the device. Take a tip from us –
click “yes” and get on with it. It’s simpler than clicking “no.” Mind
you, the constant notification can get irritating and the only way of
turning it off is by turning the motion sensing feature off altogether!
Another plus for NetDroid is the little matter of tabs – Netdroid can
support up to five of them, with the option to open a link in a new tab
if you press it long enough. Top that off with a decent turn of speed
and most basic browser functions, and you can see why we are impressed. As
we said, it won’t change the world, but it is a very handy back-up to
have to the slightly sluggish default browser in Android. 

And of course, in best browser tradition, it is free. Worth a download, we think.

RCom wages SMS tariff war

27 Nov

Saw 1 paisa per second; now see 1 paisa per SMS. RCom has today launched two new SMS plans for all its GSM and CDMA subscribers. RCom users can either opt for a one-paisa per SMS plan or they can choose unlimited SMS plan for Re 1 a day.


Subscribers can avail the 1p/SMS plan by subscribing to a Standard Tariff Voucher of Rs. 11 per month and the unlimited SMS plan can be subscribed by users on a daily deduction of Re. 1 per day from their prepaid balance.


These two SMS tariff plans are applicable for all local, national and roaming messages to any network in the country. The unlimited SMS plan comes with a 15,000 SMS per month fair use cap.

Nokia announces two 3G slider phones – Nokia 6700 Slide and Nokia 7230

27 Nov

Nokia has unveiled two new 3G slider phones, the Nokia 6700 slide and Nokia 7230. Both the devices are meant for media sharing and will be available in variety of colours.


The 6700 Slide will be available in six colours – pink, red, petrol blue, aluminum, lime and purple. This device runs on the Symbian platform and has a 5.0 MP camera Carl Zeiss optics camera with onboard editing software. The standby time of the device is approximately 12 days and the expected talktime is upto 4 hours.


 The Nokia 7230 will be available in two colours – Graphite and Hot Pink. The device has a 3.2 MP camera and a 2.4” display but unlike the 6700 Slide it is a Series 40 device. It also lets you have a quick access to email, instant messaging and social networking sites such as Facebook and Flickr. The handheld’s standby time is around 14 days while the expected talktime is upto 4 hours.


The prices before taxes and subsidies are anticipated to be around Rs 11,000 and Rs 6,000 for the Nokia 6700 Slide and for the Nokia 7230. The launch is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2010.

LG prepping Arena Max, a high-end version of Arena?

26 Nov

LG is apparently preparing a higher-end version of the Arena or so this certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance seems to indicate. While nothing is officially known about this device with a model index of LU9400, we’d like to guesstimate that it would have everything bigger than the Arena (read display, processor, probably the camera and the price-tag for sure…).

Samsung launches the C5130 in India, an entry-level 3G phone

24 Nov

Samsung has launched the C5130, a 3G enabled entry-level slider phone. The device’s home screen has shortcuts for popular social networking services such as Orkut, Picassa, Facebook, YouTube and a few more.

The Samsung C5130 comes with a 1.3 MP camera, MP3 player, FM Radio, expandable memory upto 8GB, a mobile tracker and three preloaded types of UI for a customizable home screen. The handheld provides users with a talktime of 13 hours and is priced at Rs 6,200.


Indian company develops Nat Geo's iPhone game

23 Nov

Plan it Green
We have been waiting for a while to see Indian developers make their
mark on the App Store with a major app for a while. So you bet we are
tossing our hats – oh well, our woollen scarves anyway-  on hearing
that New Udupi-based Robosoft Technologies has come out with the iPhone
version of National Geographic’s “Plan It Green.” The game was
initially launched for the PC on
Earth Day and thanks to them folks at Robosoft and publishers National
Geographic, Merscom and
I-play  is now available on the Godphone! 

“Plan It Green” puts you in the role of the Mayor of
Greenville. You must take the responsibility of restoring the former
glory of the city and making it green again. In order to proceed, you
must go through the several districts of the city and meet the goals
set in each one of them, which include building eco-friendly homes,
managing resources and maintaining the overall district happiness.
Sounds like Sim City with eco-friendliness thrown in to us, which is
far from being a bad thing really.

have worked with Robosoft on many projects and given how good they were
as a partner we found this opportunity to be a perfect fit,” said Lloyd
Melnick, Chief Customer Officer at Merscom.

“We’re proud to be
associated with a game like ‘Plan It Green’, which does its part to
raise awareness about the environment” said Rohith Bhat, MD & CEO
of Robosoft. “The players will love the unhurried pace that the game
follows, unlike other building sim games which can get quite

The game is now available on the App Store and is priced at $ 3.99. Are we downloading it? You bet we are. We love the environment!

Opera Mobile 10 lets us surf Google Wave!

23 Nov

The folks at Opera have long ceased to surprise us. Be it their release
of Opera Mini which brought desktop-like browsing right into mainstream
phone territory to Opera Link which let us sync bookmarks between the
desktop and mobile avatars of Opera, we have resigned ourselves to
knowledgeable “there-the-Opera-chaps-go-again-changing-the-mobile-web”
shrugs whenever we hear something new from them. And it was one of
these shrugs that we brought out of cold storage when we heard of Opera
Mobile 10 with its improved support for web standards and totally
revamped interface. Still, we must admit that we were stunned when we
found that we could actually use the browser to surf our Google Wave
account. Yes, it was a tad slow (heck, we are in EDGE connectivity
territory here, fellas). Yes, we could not see our mates typing
simultaneously. Yes, we sometimes needed a couple of refreshes to get
everything in.

But counterbalance that with the fact that we could post replies to
waves, generate new ones and edit existing ones and you can see why we
are so excited – we could not even access the site on other browsers (yes, and that
includes the mobile versions of Safari and Google’s own Chrome – the
latter even told us to head to a PC!) . Who knows, the full version might even let us add
pictures and see live pictures!! We are excited. Wish we could have
thrown in a screenshot, but heck, that would have meant exposing all
our contacts, so you will just have ta take our word for it. Oh, and a
word of caution – Google Wave seems to work better on the Symbian S60
version of the browser rather than the Win Mo one. No, we do not know
if that is a conspiracy.

Meanwhile, here is our tip to the folks at Opera if they want to
surprise us again: how about a fully functional Google Docs on Opera
Mobile or (all right we are pushing our luck here) Opera Mini? We
promise to be flabbergasted!