Tag Archives: Android 2.1

Sony Ericsson's LiveView – a mini accessory that controls your Android device

1 Oct

Now you won’t have to drag out your Android smartphone from your pocket or your handbag each time it rings. Instead, you can view your incoming calls, messages, tweets and Facebook updates on LiveView, a portable Bluetooth accessory by Sony Ericsson. This LiveView has a 1.3-inch coloured OLED display and it connects with your Android mobile phone (supports Android 2.1 OS and above) once you download an app on your phone and consequently, users can read their messages, play music and find out who’s calling them.



Now that the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 line up is about to receive an OS update this October, this portable Bluetooth device will be worth a buy this Diwali and if in case, you lack the patience of waiting till then, you can try it out with those ‘haute-arse’ Moto and HTC devices running on Android 2.1.

XPERIA X10 line-up to get software update only by the end of this October

27 Sep

Sony Ericsson is still struggling to provide a software update to its XPERIA X10 line-up users. While the Android freaks around the world have almost gotten over with the last version of Android – Android 2.1 aka Eclair, the folks at Sony Ericsson have declared that they still need some more time for the roll-out of the Eclair update on the XPERIA X10 lineage (XPERIA X10, XPERIA X10 mini and the XPERIA X10 mini pro).



Sony Ericsson will only be ready with the update by the end of this October and here’s what you can expect from the update



XPERIA X10

  • HD video recording.
  • 5 homescreens for apps, widgets, folders and shortcuts
  • Automatic syncing of Facebook pictures of all your contacts in the phonebook. 

XPERIA X10 mini and XPERIA X10 mini pro will get

  • improved Bluetooth functionality (sharing of audio and video files would be relatively faster).
  • Automatic syncing of Facebook pictures of all your contacts in the phonebook. 
  • New back-up and restore app for with extended content back-up.

Point to be noted- It has also been specifically mentioned by handset vendor that the update will be made available in a phased roll-out and it will take some more additional weeks, which theoretically means that the XPERIA x10 users will only enjoy Eclair by the end of November. Truly, nothing can be more depressing!

Acer launches the Liquid E Ferrari special edition smartphone in India

15 Sep

Acer has launched the liquidE Ferrari limited edition smartphone in India based on the Android 2.1 aka Eclair. The device looks exactly like its former version – the Acer Liquid, but this time, the phone does not have that old plasticky feel to it. They have used the carbon fibre material in this limited edition phone (yeah, the same material used in cars) to give you that same feeling when you touch a car.



While it sports Ferrari’s prancing horse on its hood, the phone has an underclocked Qualcomm Snapdragon processor clocked at 768 MHz. The phone sports a 3.5 inch display, 5.0 MP camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, A-GPS and comes preloaded with Facebook and Twitter apps. It comes with an inbuilt memory of 512 MB which is expandable up to 8 GB with a microSD card.



Being a special edition device, the phone offers Formula1 theme content like wallpapers, screensavers, ringtones and widgets. Acer is also promising an Android 2.2 upgrade in a couple of months. The smartphone will be available at Chroma outlets for Rs 29,999.

Samsung launches its new affordable Galaxy duo – the Galaxy 3 and the Galaxy 5

19 Aug

Samsung has added two new phones to its popular Galaxy series of smartphones – the Galaxy 3 (i5801) and the Galaxy 5 (i5503). This latest smartphone-duo by Samsung is priced reasonably at Rs 12,300 and Rs 10,200 respectively.



The new pair sports Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 UI and is based on Android 2.1, just like their elder and taller version, the Samsung Galaxy S. The pair also features apps like Layar Reality Browser (an augmented reality application that shows the user what is around him/her by displaying real time digital information); Social Hub (integrates e-mails, contacts messages and social networks in your phonebook) and ALLSHARE (lets users share multimedia content between mobile, PC and TV. It also makes the phone function as a TV remote.)



The Samsung Galaxy 3 sports a 3.2-inch capacitative display; a 3.0 MP camera; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPRS connectivity; FM radio; A-GPS; Accelerometer; 3.5mm audio jack and an integrated office suite to view and edit MS Word Documents, Spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. It comes with an inbuilt memory of 130 MB which is expandable up to 32GB. It will offer a talktime of 15 hours on 2G networks and 7.1 hours on 3G networks. The Galaxy 3 is available at Rs 12,300.



The Samsung Galaxy 5 has a 2.8-inch capacitative touchscreen display, a 2.0 MP camera; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPRS connectivity; FM radio; A-GPS; 3.5mm audio jack and document viewer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF). It comes with an inbuilt memory of 90 MB which is further expandable up to 16 GB. It will offer a talktime of 9.5 hours on 2G networks and 6.5 hours on 3G networks. The handset is available at stores for Rs 10,200.

The Definitive Review: Samsung Galaxy S

26 Jul

Samsung Galaxy S reviewThe Galaxy S is Samsung’s most ambitious smartphone foray, ever. The Korean handset vendor, known for its affordable touchscreen phones, set out to make its presence felt in the elite list of smartphone vendors like Apple and HTC. Will the Galaxy S enable Samsung to win some respect in the high-end smartphone space? Let’s find out…



For those who have not read my first part of the review, let me do a recap. The Galaxy S is by far the most heavily specced Android smartphone available in India at the moment. With a 4-inch touchscreen, a 1 GHz processor and 16 GB of internal memory, it dwarves every other Android phone on paper. It runs on Android 2.1 and we have received confusing signals from Samsung whether it would be updated to Android 2.2 in India or not.



The Galaxy S looks intimidating in pictures but is surprisingly sleek and light for a phone with a 4-inch display. Tipping the scales at under 120 gram and less than a centimetre thick, it fits easily into trouser pockets without creating a noticeable bulge. Initially, it does not even feel like one is holding an actual phone and takes time getting used to it, it is that light. The front has one physical button, the home button if you may, and two touch sensitive buttons on either side of it – for menu and going back. The power button is on the top right edge while the volume keys on the left. The top edge houses the microUSB and the 3.5 mm audio ports.



Like most other smartphone vendors, Samsung has created a complete UI skin on top of the stock Android UI, which it calls TouchWiz 3.0. The UI seems heavily inspired by Apple’s iOS, complete with four icons on the bottom of the display and a page-flick application menu rather than Android’s stock scroll-down menu UI. You can even uninstall apps by ‘deleting’ them a la iOS, the only difference being that rather than pressing the display for long to get the option, you have to press the menu key and select edit.



This is not to say that Samsung has blindly copied iOS. One of our favourite features on the Galaxy S is the social network integration in the phonebook. You just need to sign in to your Facebook and Twitter accounts and everything gets synced automatically. Multiple entries for a single contact (usually happens when you source contacts from multiple sources) can be easily linked together to create a single entry. To sum the UI experience, we liked it and found it less irritating than those we encounter on Android phones from other brands.



The Galaxy S might be your regular Internet-centric Android smartphone but an area where it really shines is its camera. Its 5.0 MP camera delivers excellent results, especially with videos. It shoots them at 720p resolution and it is amongst the best video outputs that we have seen from a cellphone, ever. It might not have the editing capabilities of an iPhone but the output is high quality. Though the Galaxy S has a TV-out feature (you can connect it with a high definition TV and watch the video you shot on it), the company does not give a TV connector cable in the box. It needs to be bought separately and is not widely available.



Still photos are also above par, but the absence of a dedicated camera shutter button is a bit disappointing. Imagine this, to click a photo, first you have to touch a part of the display where you want the camera to focus. Once it focuses, you have to touch another part of the display to actually click. I got a blurry photo five out of ten times. Probably it is just me and my shaky hands but I don’t face the problem with the Motorola Milestone that has a dedicated camera button. Having said that, the photos that did not get ruined by my shaky hands turned out to be above par for a 5.0 MP camera.



Talking about its multimedia performance, the Galaxy S can even play videos in DivX format. Couple it with a bright 4-inch display and you have a high quality PMP on the move. I wonder why other Android phone makers don’t support DivX across their portfolio.



To cater to those who are looking at a more serious use for their smartphone, Samsung has pre-installed a complete MS Office suite in the form of Think Free Office. You can create new documents or edit existing ones. I’m not a big fan of creating lengthy documents on a phone without a physical keypad but it did come handy when I was on the move and had to quickly send across a document. In a nutshell, the Galaxy S comes across a well-rounded product – be it for social networking, multimedia, Internet browsing or just working.



That is not to say that the Galaxy S is perfect. Our unit failed to get a GPS lock even when we were out in the open under clear skies. It just would not get a lock. Some users have complained of this while others say they have never faced this problem. Another thing we noticed was apps downloaded from Android Market crashed more frequently on the Galaxy S as compared to the Milestone. Despite having a faster processor, the Galaxy S suffered from frequent UI lags. Probably it is the firmware at fault and Samsung would issue an update soon (our unit was running baseband version DDJF3). Plus our unit had a stuck pixel. Probably, it is just a case of getting hold of a bad unit than anything. (If you are a Galaxy S owner, do let us know if you face any of these problems.)



A single charge lasted us for about 22 hours with two hours of calls, one hour of Internet browsing, two Gmail accounts set to push, two Twitter accounts set to ping every hour, Wi-Fi turned on throughout and about a dozen of photographs. With similar usage, the Milestone lasted for about 18 hours.



To sum things up, the Galaxy S is an exceptional multimedia-centric Android phone. At about Rs 29,000, it is the best alternative that you can get for an iPhone. Other option could be the Motorola Milestone XT720 which has an 8.0 MP camera and can also record videos in 720p resolution, which should be available shortly for about Rs 30,000. Another option could be the HTC Desire, which is now expected to be launched in August.

Spice launches Android smartphone in Malaysia, plans to launch Internet Tablet in August

26 Jul

Spice CSL of Malaysia, a JV between Malaysia’s CSL Group and Spice i2i (a Singapore-based entity of Spice Global) has launched an Android smartphone in Malaysia. Judging that it sports Spice branding, we assume that Spice Mobile will soon make its Android debut in India.



The Mi300 (the name might change if it is launched in India) is a typical mid-end Android smartphone (think of the HTC Wildfire) and has a 3.2 inch HVGA (320×480 pixels) display. It is powered by a Qualcomm MSM 7227 SoC with a 600 MHz ARM processor and has 512 MB ROM/256 MB RAM. It currently runs on Android 1.6 but the company says it will be upgraded to Android 2.1 soon. We wonder why it wasn’t launched in Malaysia with Android 2.1 when other vendors are about to announce their smartphones running Android 2.2.



Connectivity options include 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. On the multimedia front, the Mi300 offers a 5.0 MP camera and a 3.5 mm audio jack. We would be interested to see how soon Spice brings the Mi300 to India and at what price point. We would like to see it launched at about Rs 10,000.



Spice CSL is also planning to launch an Android-based Internet Tablet – the Mi700 – in August. It is expected to have a 7.0 inch touchscreen and we won’t be surprised if it shares its specs with the recently-announced Olivepad.

Online retailer brings Motorola Milestone Tablet XT720 to India

25 Jul

motorola milestone xt720Indian electronics chain, e-zone, is now displaying the Motorola Milestone Tablet XT720 in its offerings. Though the retailer probably got it confused with the Backflip (they are calling it the Milestone Backflip XT720) the picture and the specs are those of the XT720. e-zone indicates that the MRP of the phone would be Rs 34,990 but they are offering it for Rs 29,990.



The XT720 runs on Android 2.1 and offers an 8.0 MP camera with Xenon flash that can also shoot videos in 720p HD resolution. It has the same 3.7 inch display as the Milestone (480×854 pixels) but does not have a slide-out QWERTY keypad. It will also come with an HDMI out cable inside the package, an essential accessory that Samsung does not provide with the Galaxy S. Motorola has not officially announced the Milestone XT720 in India, yet.



Thanks to Samarth for the tip!