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Motorola Flipout: First Impressions and Live Pics

2 Nov

Motorola might not have issued an official press release, yet, but we were fortunate enough to land ourselves with a unit of the Flipout. Running on Android 2.1 with a ‘rotator’ form factor, the Flipout is probably the first Android smartphone targeted at the fairer sex. The compact size (67.00 x 67.00 x 17.00 mm), the raised cylindrical keys and the coloured panels bundled with the phone, the Flipout is a chick magnet. The few girls I showed it to flipped out (pun intended) over the phone.

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Many girls complain about QWERTY keupads on phones, which are meant to be used with the flesh part of one’s fingers rather than one’s nails (especially those with long nails). The Flipout’s raised cylindrical keys solve that problem. In fact, those keys forced me to use my nails to type, something I’m not exactly used to.

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Priced at Rs 15,990, the Flipout seems a bit expensive for its features. Think about it, a 2.8-inch QVGA (240 x 320 pixels) display, a 3.1 MP camera with fixed focus and a 600 MHz processor – that is not exactly what one would expect from a Android smartphone priced upwards of Rs 15,000. Yes, the form factor is worth the premium. Yes, the build quality is almost impeccable. And yes, it is a one-of-its-kind Android smartphone. But it does let down on the core specifications front.

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The Motorola Flipout is an aesthetically pleasing phone and will appeal to those looking for a ‘smart’ phone rather than just a ‘smartphone.’ These are just my first impressions after playing around with the device for a few hours. I will be posting a detailed review soon.

Don’t forget to check out more live pictures of the Moto Flipout on our brand new Facebook Page.

Pictures By: Manjari Agrawal

Samsung Galaxy Tab launched in India (compared in pictures with OlivePad)

30 Oct

As expected, Samsung today launched the Galaxy Tab in India. Priced at Rs 38,000, it is currently available for pre-order at select retail stores and will be available to buy from November 10. While we are still awaiting to get hold of a review unit, you can check our first impressions about the Galaxy Tab here or simply hit the break below for some live pictures as well as a visual comparison with the OlivePad, which is expected to be available within a fortnight.

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Nokia N8 video recording sample

8 Oct

I have been using the Nokia N8 for the better part of this week. The phone will be launched in India next week for an MRP of Rs 26,295. While I pen my thoughts about the device (I’m aiming for Monday to publish the review), I thought it would be a good idea to share a video I shot with the device while watching a Leander Paes and Sania Mirza play last night. Unfortunately, they lost but I could shoot some of the best gameplay of the match. ‘Nuff about tennis, now you tell me what you think about the N8’s video recording capabilities?



Exclusive: Moto set to launch Dual-SIM phones in India (live pic and first impressions)

30 Sep

motorola dual sim phonesWe had reported Moto’s plans to launch Dual-SIM phones in India in early August and today we can confirm that the first two Dual-SIM phones will be launched any time now. The Dual-SIM phones will be branded under the EX series and one of the two phones is the first QWERTY Dual-SIM phone from a global vendor (the Big Five, as they are called) while the other will be a complete touch phone running on Moto’s proprietary OS. Both phones have a 3.0 MP camera.



The EX115, the QWERTY phone, will carry a price tag of Rs 5,990 (expect a street price of around Rs 5,000). It has a 2.3-inch QVGA display, FM radio, 3.5 mm audio jack, a microSD card slot that supports up to 32 GB cards and 50 MB of internal memory.



The EX128, which will be priced at Rs 6,990, has a 3.0-inch touchscreen and a slightly different UI than what we have seen in the ROKR E6. Rest of the specs are same as the EX115. During our brief hands on session with the EX128, we were impressed with the responsive touchscreen. It seems to be far better than what we have experienced on Samsung’s Corby series of touch phones and of course, Nokia’s 52xx series.



Both the phones have a dedicated social networking hub of sorts but we could not really tinker much with them during our short date with the two devices. We would be asking for too much, if we expect Motorola’s new Dual-SIM phones to compete with local players but as far as global brands are concerned, both of these phones have their own USPs.

3G Reality Tour: Smarter than an Internet Tablet, hands on with the Sharp IS01

24 Sep

Those of you following us on Twitter would be aware that I had been on a trip to Seoul and Tokyo, courtesy of Qualcomm, to get a feel of 3G services and devices in two of the most advanced telecom markets in the world. Starting today, I will be posting some of my observations as well as videos from the trip.



I will start with the device that impressed me the most – the Sharp IS01 – an Android smartphone, which I would refer to as a mini-netbook, thanks to its form factor. It runs on Qualcomm’s 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, looks like a slightly magnified Nokia Communicator and has the most comfortable keypad on a device of its size.



Yes, it runs on Android 1.6 at the moment (we are told it will be updated to Android 2.1) but the form factor of the device was more than enough to make me ask the sales rep whether I could break the contract and get an English Android ROM ported to it. (For the record, he did not fall for it…)



The Sharp IS01 might not be as slick as some of the Internet Tablets doing the rounds and is quite a handful (check the video below when I fumble towards the end trying to open it with one hand). However, for a road warrior like me, the wide display and the spacious QWERTY keypad were more than sufficient to seal the deal.



First Impressions: Samsung Galaxy Tab

17 Sep

samsung internet tabletLast week, I had an opportunity to spend some minutes with the Samsung Galaxy Tab at Samsung’s Global HQ in Seoul. To be honest, before seeing the Tab in action I was a bit apprehensive about Samsung’s decision to have a 7.0-inch display, which is almost 2 inches shorter (diagonally) than Apple’s iPad. The OlivePad also has a 7.0-inch display and I found that device a bit uncomfortable to use while held in the hand.



The Galaxy Tab, on the other hand, turned out to be quite a pleasing device. Unlike the iPad, which is “something that you use while you are sitting” (words of a Samsung rep, not mine), the Tab is an “on-the-go” device. And it works, really.



Without looking at the tech specs (which I have added at the end, anyway) the Tab is almost the same dimensions as the Amazon Kindle. It is handy, not excessively heavy (so single-handed usage is a go) and a well finished product. Yeah, many of you might cry foul when you see the back of the device (notice how the edges taper off) but in short, it all adds up quite well, something that is missing in the OlivePad and the Spice Mi700.



The Tab is also the first Android-based Internet Tablet that has a 1024×600 pixel display, which means that images and videos appear much sharper than other Android Tablets and even the iPad for that matter. Samsung also has a Media Hub app for the Tab that will enable users to buy movies and TV shows directly from the device. However, we have our reservations whether Media Hub would be made available in India when the device is launched later this year.



On the multimedia front, the Tab can play videos at full HD resolution (1080p) and its 3.2 MP camera can shoot videos at 720p resolution. There is a front facing 1.3 MP camera for video calls too. It comes in two variants – 16 GB and 32 GB of internal memory – and both sport microSD card slots that can accomodate another 32 GB of memory.



Unlike many Android-based Internet Tablets currently available, the Tab runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo) and I am told it will get updated when a new version is released.



The Galaxy Tab is without an iota of doubt the best Android Internet Tablet we have seen so far. However, none of the others really set any new benchmarks and from a competition point of view, I can think of only one device – the iPad. Sure, the Tab has most things going for it – an aesthetically pleasing design, a highly portable form factor and pretty good specifications. What Samsung lacks at the moment are quality apps and services that are universally available. In other words THE APP STORE.



It will be very difficult for Samsung to overcome that hurdle but I’m sure, with its marketing muscle, it should be able to sell at least a million units before the end of this year. I am being conservative here, considering that it is not like the Galaxy S that was launched in 110 countries simultaneously and Internet Tablets still fall in a very niche segment.



Samsung GALAXY Tab (GT-P1000) Product Specifications



Network: 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE) : 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
3G (HSUPA 5.76Mbps, HSDPA7.2 Mbps) : 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
OS: Android 2.2 (Froyo)
Display: 7.0-inch TFT-LCD, WSVGA (1024 x 600)
Processor: Cortex A8 1.0GHz Application Processor with PowerVR SGX540
Camera: 3 MP Camera with Auto Focus and LED Flash, 1.3MP front camera for Video Telephony
Connectivity: 30 pin connector / microSD/ WiFi 802.11n / Bluetooth 3.0
Memory: 16GB / 32GB internal memory, upto 32GB external memory slot
RAM: 512MB
Size: 190.09 x 120.45 x 11.98mm, 380g
Battery: 4,000mAh (7 hour movie play)

Disclosure: My trip was sponsored by Qualcomm.

Hands on with the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X8 (video)

30 Aug

Last week we had the opportunity to check out the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X8. To be launched with a price tag of Rs 12k-14k, the X8 with its 3.0-inch display fits perfectly between the X10 (4.0-inch) and the X10 Mini (2.55-inch). It has the same UI as the one found on the X10 Mini with a shortcut on every corner of the display. The 600 MHz processor is snappy and the device feels good to hold. Check out our brief hands on video below.