Archive | January, 2010

Indian nominees at MWC Global Mobile Awards: VNL

26 Jan

Another Indian company that stands chance to win a Global Mobile Award is Vihaan Networks Ltd (VNL), which has been nominated for two awards – â€˜Green Mobile Award for Best Green Programme’ and ‘Best Network Technology Advance’ for VNL’s WorldGSM base-station. 

 

WorldGSM is the world’s first solar powered GSM system specifically designed for remote rural areas. The system is cost effective, doesn’t pose environmental threats, works completely on solar energy, is easily installable in just six hours by two or three unskilled people and the equipment is light and sturdy enough to be transported in bullock carts.

 

VNL found the need to develop this system because the traditional (handle-with-care) GSM equipment could not be transported to village areas and deployment was equally difficult with poor roads, no electricity and lack of trained engineers. According to VNL, mobile networks in India require two billion litres of diesel every year to power back-up diesel generators.

 

This solar powered GSM system saves operating costs and has also proven to be quite profitable for mobile operators because of its unique advantages. WorldGSM is working efficiently in India, South America and is also commercially available throughout the world.

We’ll be back with more information on other Indian companies being nominated for their unique contribution. 

Confirmed: Apple to launch Tablet device tomorrow

26 Jan

Okay, we had resisted writing about Apple’s ‘mythical’ tablet device and the zillions of rumours/speculations surrounding it for over two months. For those of you living under a rock or just returned from a marooned island, Apple is holding a press event tomorrow and all rumours point towards a Internet Tablet device with a 10-inch or so display that will run on a tweaked version of the iPhone OS.

So what makes us bite the bait and pen a few words about it? An official confirmation of sorts, though not directly from the horse’s mouth. Apparently about an hour or so ago, the CEO of McGraw Hill was on air on CNBC discussing the company’s quarterly results when he blurted out that Apple will indeed announce an Internet tablet device tomorrow and McGraw Hill’s publications will be available on it! Not just that, he has also confirmed that the device will run on an OS based on the iPhone OS and apps will be trasferable.

What do we make from all of this? Well, it looks like a planned ‘leak’ to us with Steve Jobs probably blessing the CEO to talk about the device. After all, no one, leave aside the CEO of a big company, goes on air on CNBC and accidentally speaks out. Absolutely not in detail. And would Apple mind its shares hitting the roof 24 hours before the announcement? HELL NO!

Nokia E72 quirks: Spacebar death, contact and text limits

26 Jan

E72

We have been messing with the crown jewel of Nokia’s E Series, the E72, for a little over a week now and while the device has been performing with E Series-like efficiency for the most part, we have been seeing a few eccentricities. The first is the space bar which for reasons best known to itself, just stops functioning. A simple restart generally fixed matters, although we had to pull the battery out a couple of times to get back to normal. A firmware fix to set things right is believed to be in the works.
We were, however, really puzzled to see Nokia imposing limits on the number of text messages and contacts one can keep on the device – less than one thousand in each case. To be honest, we have no idea what inspired this, as no such limitation existed in the E71 or the E63. In fact, I remember keeping close to three thousand messages and a thousand two hundred contacts on my now-archaic Nokia E61i. Yes, they did slow down the device, but storing them was possible. We wonder if Nokia’s need to put a restriction on their number had something to do with ensuring that the E72 did not stutter in the speed department. A pity, if so, for it does rob the E Series of a very handy quality, especially in these days when Google Sync puts ones contacts well beyond three figures! Stay tuned for a detailed review. 

Wanna lose TouchFLO on HTC Hero? Try SlideScreen

26 Jan

SplitScreen

The Net has been abuzz about SlideScreen, the app that replaces the homescreen of your Android device with stacks of information varying from the temperature to the latest mails in your account, your RSS feeds and the lord alone knows what else. While tinkering with the app (which we like heaps, incidentally), we discovered that it had a hidden string to its bow – it could help us get the conventional Android screen on our HTC Hero. 

That may not sound like a big deal to many people, but the fact is that many lovers of the “classic Android look” (basically three screens dotted with apps and widgets with minimum fizz) have struggled to get it on their jazzy Sense TouchFLO laden HTC Heros – we have nothing against Sense, really, but some people love simplicity more than razzmatazz. Well, SlideScreen makes it awfully simple. Just install the app and then hit the Home button. You will see three options pop-up: Home, SlideScreen and TouchFLO. To get the conventional Android look, just select Home. Yes, it is actually that simple and you can always go back to TouchFLO or SlideScreen when you wish – they are just a press of the Home button away. Thankee, fellas. We always like having lots of choices!

Indian nominees at MWC Global Mobile Awards: Ossian Agro Automation

25 Jan

Carrying on from where we left, another Indian company which is nominated for the ‘Best Use of Mobile for Social & Economic Development’ category at the MWC Global Mobile Awards is Ossian Agro Automation for its remote-control based irrigation system, Nano Ganesh.

 

Ossian Agro Automation is a Pune-based company that has been working in the field of rural automation for 14 years. The Nano Ganesh project is a GSM-mobile based remote-control system exclusively for use with water pump-sets in agriculture areas.

This application allows farmers to operate their irrigation motor-pumps directly from any remote area. In this project, a phone is attached to the motor pump and whenever a farmer makes call on that number, the attached phone vibrates and the motor starts. The same procedure is followed when the motor-pump has to be switched off.

 

With the help of Nano Ganesh Mobile Modem:

 

  • A farmer can control the pumps from any distance.
  • He can check an availability of power supply at the pump end.
  • He can acknowledge the on / off status of the water pump.
  • In some models, a farmer gets an alert call if there is a theft attempt of the cable or pump.

Exclusive: Acer to launch its first Android phone, Liquid, in India next week

25 Jan

After launching a series of WinMo smartphones, Acer is all set to launch its first Android phone in India next week. The Liquid runs on Android 1.6 aka Donut. Talking about specs, the Liquid has a 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen, Qualcomm Snapdragon processor underclocked at 768 MHz, a 5.0 MP camera and the works.

Though retaining the default Android UI, the Liquid has an OLED display on the top edge of the phone that indicates the status – missed calles, new mails or messages, battery status… Ubercool, we say!

Apart from the specs, what’s really worth noting is its price tag – we have been told that the Liquid will retail at around Rs 25,000 but not beyond it. Compare this to the Rs 31,000 for which the HTC Hero retails at the moment and we are tempted to switch sides. Wait for our detailed review, which should be up in the coming days…

Indian nominees at MWC Global Mobile Awards: Aircel

25 Jan

The GSM Association has announced its list of nominees for the prestigious Global Mobile Awards that will be declared at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. In a series of posts, we take a look at some of the Indian companies and their products that have been nominated. The first post in this series covers Aircel and its value added services.
 

Aircel is keeping its fingers crossed. The service provider is hoping to win accolades at the GSMA Mobile World Congress at Barcelona. It has been nominated in two categories – for the ‘Best Mobile Internet Service’ and the ‘Best Mobile Music’.

 

Aircel’s ‘Pocket Internet’ is a game changer service that enables its subscribers to access the Internet on their phones at affordable prices. Aircel provides top-up coupons worth Rs 15 and Rs 98 that enable users to browse unlimited Internet on the cellphones for three and thirty days, respectively. Prior to this service, users had to pay a fixed monthly rental and usage charges, which turned out to be a very expensive proposition. After Aircel’s offer, other carriers like Tata DoCoMo and Airtel followed suit with similar offers.

Similarly, Unlimited DiallerTunes pack by Aircel, which is nominated for the ‘Best Mobile Music Service’, allows users get change unlimited their caller tune at their will at no extra cost. Users can choose to pay Rs 7, Rs 31 or Rs 240 for weekly, monthly and yearly subscription, respectively.