All posts by Pallab De

Pallab De is a blogger from India who has a soft spot for anything techie. He loves trying out new software and spends most of his day breaking and fixing his PC. Pallab loves participating in the social web; he has been active in technology forums since he was a teenager and is an active user of both twitter (@indyan) and facebook .

Motorola Droid 2 Suffers From Signal Drop Issues

According to the reports coming in, the recently released Motorola Droid 2 might have serious signal reception issues. In its review, Engadget noted that each of the review units suffered from “endlessly fluctuating bar counts”. MobileCrunch also noticed similar problems in its review units.

Motorola-Droid-2

It seems that modern smartphones are becoming increasingly adept at doing everything other than making phone calls. Earlier on, Apple was heavily criticized for the iPhone 4 deathgrip, which turned out to be a hardware issue. However, the problem with Droid 2 might be different. The signal drops appear to be random and not related in anyway to the grip. This suggests that a software fix might be able to address the issue.

If you have a Motorola Droid 2, don’t forget to chime in and let us know about your experience.

HTC Desire Finally Launching in India

While most of the world is preparing for the impending launch of HTC Desire HD, India is set to finally get the original Desire. AndroidOS.in is reporting that that the Desire will soon be available across India for Rs 27,500. Although we are yet to receive any official world regarding the release date, some online retailers like Flipkart have already begun offering the Desire.

HTC-Desire

HTC Desire boasts of a 3.7 inch AMOLED display, capacitive touchscreen, 5 megapixel camera and a 1400 mAh Li-ion battery. It will be launching with Android 2.1 (Éclair) running on a Snapdragon QSD8250 (1 GHz) processor. Hopefully, it will be upgraded to Froyo soon after launch.

Desire was one of the best Android phones when it came out. In fact, it still is an impressive device. However, it will face stiff competition from the Samsung Galaxy S i9000, which has a better CPU (Hummingbird) and a 4” SAMOLED screen.

ebay Begins Offering Cashback On Purchases Made Using PayPal

Yesterday, eBay announced the launch of its new cashback program – eBay Bucks. The first of its kind initiative from the online shopping giant will offer 2% cashback on most purchases made on eBay using PayPal. Purchases which are not included in this rewards program include Classifieds, Business & Industrial Capital Equipment, Real Estate, and eBay Motors.

Ebay-Bucks-Cashback

Enrolled customers will earn eBay Bucks for all eligible purchases. At the end of each three month period, the collected reward points will be converted into eBay Bucks certificates, which can then be used for future eBay purchases. However, eBay has put in place quite a few restrictions to . Some of them are:

  • This offer is only available to adult US residents.
  • You cannot earn more than $200 in cashback from a single purchase.
  • You cannot earn more than $500 in a calendar quarter.
  • Each certificate must be redeemed within 30 days.

Users with an US eBay account can enroll themselves over here.

TVS Launches Bharat Keyboard with Indian Rupee Symbol

TVS-Gold-BharatMost of us weren’t expecting keyboard manufacturers to adopt the new Indian Rupee symbol until it got approved by the Unicode Consortium. However, TVS clearly had other plans. Barely a month after the symbol was unveiled, the popular keyboard manufacturer has released TVS Gold Bharat – the first keyboard to incorporate India’s new currency symbol.

As suggested by its name, the Bharat keyboard is optimised for Indian users. LittleAbout blog is reporting that the keyboard, which works on both Windows and Linux, also supports typing in Indian languages like Marathi, Hindi, Kannada, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Assamese and Malayalam.

TVS is known for building sturdy keyboards, and TVS Gold Bharat is no different. It has cherry mechanical switches that have been laser etched to withstand rough usage. The Gold Bharat is available for Rs. 1,495. However, if you don’t want to buy a new keyboard, you can also use the Rupee font we recommended earlier.

Indian Government Settles on August 31 Deadline for Blackberry

BlackberryIn an attempt to mount pressure on Research in Motion – the Canadian manufacturer of Blackberry devices, the Indian government has issued a deadline of August 31 for coming up with a satisfactory response. Earlier today, the Indian government met with telecom operators to discuss the issues surrounding Blackberry’s security policy. While Airtel and Vodafone – the largest Blackberry service providers in India, skipped the meeting, RIM Vice President Robert E Crow separately met with the Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

The Indian government has been demanding access to encrypted messages sent using Blackberry devices for quite some time. It had made similar demands back in 2008. However, India has now been joined by several countries including Indonesia, UAE and Germany, in its demands.

RIM has already agreed to provide the Saudi government access to servers hosted in Saudi Arabia. If it now agrees to India’s demands, it will probably receive similar demands from numerous other countries. However, if it doesn’t comply, the government might disable messaging support in Blackberry devices across the country. RIM is undoubtedly in a tough position. However, it’s hard to imagine that it will be willing to risk loosing more than 1 million Blackberry users in a rapidly growing market.

Firefox 4.0 Beta 3 Introduces Touch Support

Mozilla has just released the third beta release of Firefox 4.0. As discussed in our earlier posts, Firefox 4.0 is a major stepup for the popular open source browser. It introduces a host of new features like WebM video support and improved Windows 7 integration, besides featuring a completely revamped skin.

Firefox

The latest beta adds touch support on Windows 7. This is a big deal as Windows 7 is expected to be used in several upcoming tablet devices. Firefox 4 now supports multi-touch gestures, which can also be leveraged by touchscreen optimised web applications.

It’s an open secret that Firefox has been struggling to keep up with the likes of Opera and Chrome, when it comes to rendering speed. In fact, even Internet Explorer 9 performs significantly better than Firefox in artificial JavaScript rendering benchmarks. Beta 3 includes a a new way of representing values in JavaScript that should make number crunching more efficient.

[ Download Firefox 4.0 Beta 3 for Windows, Mac and Linux]

Indian Government Gets Ready To Ban Blackberry

RIM Last month, we reported that the Indian government was threatening to ban Blackberry along with a host of other services like Gmail and Skype. Reuters is now reporting that, the government of India of India will meet with telecom operators tomorrow to seek concrete measures.

Like Saudi Arabia, India also wants instant access to encrypted messages sent using Blackberry devices, which were reportedly used by terrorists in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Similar demands have also been made by United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and Germany. In fact, the Indian government had also made similar demands in 2008.

RIM’s recent decision to grant the Saudi government access to local servers, will undoubtedly encourage the Indian government to take a stronger stance. At tomorrow’s meeting, the Indian government might issue a deadline for RIM to comply with the demands. In case the Indian government goes through the ban, RIM stands to lose 1 million subscribers in a country where the iPhone is still struggling to make an impact.

Mark Hurd: Loved By Shareholders, Hated By Employees

Mark Hurd is widely regarded as a successful CEO, thanks to his role in reviving HP after the tumultuous reign of Carly Fiorina. His aggressive measures tripled HP’s profits and succeeded in making HP the leading PC and laptop manufacturer in the world. During his tenure, HP also surpassed IBM as the world’s largest technology company. Naturally, when the news of his resignation broke, a sizable section of the Silicon Valley, including the likes of the Oracle CEO, were sympathetic towards Hurd. However, while Hurd might have the support of a section of the shareholders and journalists, he is receiving little solidarity back home.

Mark-Hurd

According to the figures provided by Glassdoor to TechCrunch, Hurd was in fact, one of the most unpopular CEOs in the US. His aggressive cost-cutting drive meant that he had a mere 36% approval rating. A disgruntled former HP employee has already dubbed him as a thug and revealed that he was nicknamed as Mark Turd by ex-HP employees. Here’s an excerpt from the HP Phenomenon blog:

This guy was a thug, nicknamed Mark Turd by ex-HPites who worked directly for him — stories that have circulated in the Valley for three years. He raped HP employees (figuratively, without violating the sexual conduct code at HP) by eliminating the sixty-five year concept of profit sharing, preferring to move to obscene bonuses for himself and his five top minions — a mere $113 million payout for them in a year he chopped everyone else’s pay by 5% plus profit-sharing. These were raises for some of the five people by as much as 400% — a tidy uptick.

He was profane, a bully, autocratic, threatening, demeaning, vindictive, and rude. Blogs over the weekend by current employees said “Hooray, the tyrant is gone!” I couldn’t contain my glee on the 11pm news — best news for HP in a very long time!

Reports suggest that HP’s board was advised by the PR firm APCO to take the moral high ground in order to avoid public scrutiny. Unfortunately, by forcing Hurd’s hand, HP has opened themselves up to the same glaring media headlines it had hoped to avoid. Even as pundits continue to debate the morality and the rationality behind the board’s decision, HP’s stock has shed 8.67% of its value since last Friday, and long term investors are beginning to feel itchy.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 to Be Available on AT&T from August 15

After teasing us for the past few hours, Sony Ericsson has revealed that the Xperia X10 will be available in the US through AT&T from August 15. The Xperia X10 is Sony Ericssson’s flagship Android device, which runs on a 1 GHz snapdragon processor and sports a 4 inch TFT screen.

Xperia-X10-AT&T

The good news is that the X10 will be available for a lot less than other Android handsets with similar hardware configuration. The catch is that you will have to do with the horribly outdated Android 1.6 operating system. Sony Ericsson has promised to deliver Android 2.1 in Q3-Q4. However, even then, the X10 will be outdated as HTC and Motorola have already begun rolling out Android 2.2 (Froyo).

Other features in the Xperia X10 include custom Timescape (social networking) and Mediascape (multimedia) apps, 8.1 megapixel camera and 2 GB in-box memory card (expandable up to 32 GB). Support for 720p HD video recording will be introduced with the Android 2.1 update.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 will be available from AT&T for $149.99 with a 2 year contract. However, if you pick it up from a Sony Style store, you will get it for $129.99. Even better, a week later, the handset will be available on Amazon.com for $49.99.

HTC Desire HD aka HTC Ace Video Leaked

An Italian website has leaked a 90 second video of the upcoming HTC Desire HD, which also goes by the name HTC Ace. The Ace will sport a unibody aluminum design with a 4.3-inch WVGA widescreen display, and run on Android 2.2 (Froyo). Under the hood, the Ace will house a meaty 1GHz Qualcomm processor.

When it comes to appearance, the Ace bears a closer resemblance to the HD2 than the Desire. It also packs a 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash that is capable of capturing HD (720p) video. Unfortunately, HTC has decided to continue with its annoying practice of placing the 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom of the handset.

The HTC Desire HD is still probably a few months away. We will have to wait to learn more about it. However, it is already shaping up to be another impressive Android handset from the Taiwanese manufacturer.

via Engadget