Tag Archives: MWC

Puma phone launched in 11 European markets

1 Jul

The Puma phone, which we had first seen at MWC this year, has been launched by Puma and Sagem Wireless in 11 European countries today. The phone with the solar panel at the backside caught everyone’s attention at the event as it promised for a quick charge under direct sunlight. Sports brand Puma and Sagem Wireless have today announced their operator and retail partners and the phone will be available in Germany, UK, Italy, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Romania, Macedonia and Slovenia.



The Puma phone sports a 2.8 inch touchscreen QVGA display, a 3.2 MP camera with 6X zoom and LED flash, a front-facing VGA camera for video calling, in-built GPS, Bluetooth and FM Radio. With its solar-charging feature, it is believed that every single hour of charging in sunlight will offer one hour of talk-time whereas a normal electric charge-up session will offer 5 hours of talk-time and 24 hours of music playback.



The Puma phone is available at select retailers and Puma online stores for an estimated retail price of €399 (approx for around Rs 22,000) in the above mentioned markets. The sports brand has also promised for its launch in the UAE very soon.

RIP: First Else Phone

30 Jun

It took our breaths away at MWC this year and now it is nothing but a cool concept that never took off. Else Mobile’s First Else phone has now been laid to rest as the company failed to secure any carrier partnerships to launch the phone.



A press release from its group company, Emblaze, announced the demise of the intuitive phone:

Due to critical delays in deliveries and the current status of the project, the board has now decided to cease any further investment towards manufacturing of the First ELSE mobile device and to concentrate efforts only on licensing the ELSE Intuition platform and technology in order to realize its potential upside.

I’m not surprised by the way things have unfolded for First Else, considering the juggernaut of Android phones that have the backing of not only their manufacturers but even Google. The best opportunity the First Else phone would have had was to try and implement its ‘Intuition’ user interface on a low-cost touchscreen phone that would excite the first-time touchscreen phone users. Well, these guys should certainly start talking to one of our homegrown handset brands, who could be interested in the UI.



In the meanwhile, jog down the memory lane and see the First Else in action from our MWC coverage…



HTC HD Mini to make its India debut this week

28 Apr

HTC had first showcased its trio of new devices – the HD Mini, Legend and Desire – way back in February during MWC. Though we still wait for the Desire, the Legend was launched a few days ago and now we hear our trusted sources whispering that the little brother of HD2, the HD Mini is expected to be launched by the end of this week for around Rs 23,000. There hasn’t been any official announcement regarding the date of launch by HTC.

We ain’t convinced that at Rs 23,000, the HD Mini provides a bang for your buck considering that there are many Android devices like the Hero and Samsung Galaxy that are selling at much lower price points.

HTC to invest $1 million to promote Smart in India

10 Mar

HTC is betting big on emerging markets like India for its first non-smartphone device – the Smart. Based on Qualcomm’s BREW platform, HTC hopes to bridge the gap between smartphones and touch-enabled feature phones by usinga version of its Sense UI on the Smart, the same UI that it uses on Android and WinMo devices.

For India, we are focusing on products in the range of Rs 10,000-15,000. We spent a lot of time to create the HTC Sense like UI on the HTC Smart. It will act as a smartphone but (will be) easy to use. Peter (Chou, HTC’s CEO) personally championed this product,” said Jack Tong, vice president for APAC, HTC during an interaction at MWC in Barcelona last month. He added, “This is a new line of product and brings new opportunities for HTC in a huge market like India. We are investing $1 million upfront for the launch of Smart in India.”

With the Smart, HTC will now compete with the likes of Samsung’s Corby series as well as LG’s new Cookie lineup. This will be a completely new ball game for HTC, which has never sold a sub-Rs 10,000 device and usually competes in the high-end smartphone space. Probably, this is where the $1 million marketing budget will come in handy. The HTC Smart launch is expected in the last week of March in India.

Mobile App Stores launched by various Indian operators!

9 Mar

At a time when every handset vendor has launched or is planning to launch an application store of its own, carriers around the world were feeling left out. So at MWC earlier last month, 24 International carriers announced their plans to create a wholesale platform called ‘Wholesale Applications Community’ for launching mobile application stores. Even Indian service providers such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone Essar and RCom have joined the league, with each one of them launching their respective app stores almost at the same time.

‘Vodafone Mobile Application store’ has got more than 800 apps and has also reported up-to 10,000 downloads in a time span of 20 days. Users can find apps based on categories such as entertainment, utility, finance, social networking and games. To use the Vodafone Mobile Application Store, subscribers need to send ‘APP’ to 111 (toll free) to get the URL. The store can also be accessed through Vodafone Live! Be prepared to shop a majority of apps since only 15 per cent of the apps are free of cost. The cost of the apps might range between Rs 5 to Rs 30.

‘Airtel App Central’ is launched with more than 1,250 apps. The store will provide you with free-apps and paid-apps (prices starting from Rs 5). Airtel App Central can be browsed via Airtel Live. Airtel subscribers can also SMS ‘app’ to 54321 (toll free) to receive the URL.

 

The exact number of apps on ‘Reliance Applications Store’ is not known but it can be accessed via RWorld, allowing its subscribers to browse and download apps (paid and free).

 

‘Idea Application Store’ has been launched in association with Spice Digital. Users can download applications through the GPRS/WAP home page.

 

Aircel’s mobile app store Flypp, will be also launched in a few months.

Must watch: Eric Schmidt's keynote address at MWC

3 Mar

This year’s MWC was a bit different from others – Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, was finally recognised by the telecom industry and Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, made the keynote address. Neither Apple nor Google are what we call traditional telecoms players, yet, they have had a bigger impact in the telecom industry in the past couple of years than anyone else. I consider myself priviliged to be able to hear Mr Schmidt talking about how Google is making ‘Mobile First’ and his vision of how crucial connected cellphones will be in the coming years. For those of our readers who couldn’t make it to MWC, here’s the complete video of Eric Schmidt’s keynote address including the whacky intro courtesy of the Official Google Mobile Blog. Grab a bucket of popcorns, a bottle of soda (or any poison of your liking) and hit play.

Hands on: Samsung Wave at MWC

3 Mar

For a change, Samsung had just one major announcement at MWC – the Wave, Sammy’s first phone running on the Bada platform. While the specs sound awesome – a 1 GHz processor and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi support – our first impression of Bada was that it was inspired by the iPhone and Android operating systems. It is smooth and no doubt seems very user friendly, it lacks the ‘wow’ factor that we’d expect from a new platform. In my opinion, Samsung’s Bada is aimed at Nokia and its ailing Symbian platform than really taking on the likes of Apple and Google.

It is a good strategy from Samsung, as it will continue to have Android smartphones in its portfolio and Bada would essentially counter Nokia’s S60 devices. What remains to be seen is how big a hole would the Wave burn in our pockets. The sweet spot, in our opinion, would be somewhere close to Rs 20,000.

Check out the hands on video below and let us know what you think.