All posts by Apurva Chaudhary

Apurva is a tech enthusiast, works at ClassMatrix , cycles on her Firefox Cyclone, and runs a newsletter at Techknots . Follow her on Twitter

Indian Telecom Weekly Roundup 1

weekly_roundup

Here I will post weekly roundup of the happenings in the Indian Telecom Industry. I will try to do this a weekly thing as much as possible in coming weeks. 

Call Rates

With Tata Docomo entering the Indian market with its per second billing scheme, it was inevitable for other telecom operators to ignore Tata Docomos success. Not only has it introduced healthy competition but also has helped in to the reduce costs of SMS, calls and other services. Aircel and Vodafone launched new voucher schemes with call rates as cheap as 10p to 50p.

3G Technology

3G auctions were to be held on 15th Jan 2010, which yet again got delayed cause of the differences between the Defence Forces and the Communications Ministry are again coming in the way of arrival of 3G. A meeting Between the Defense communication professionals and Communications Minister didn’t really bring the desired outcome. The chairman will make certain decision or another round of consultations may be held. So, expect 3G auctions to be delayed for few more weeks now.

Though, 3G auction is getting delayed endlessly, the good news is Telecom operators are preparing themselves for the 3G technology. If all the telecom operators become technically ready to accommodate 3G, they might help in bringing the new technology soon (??).

Customer Serivce

With Telecommunication industry growing at more than 100% every month, the customers never really had a better customer service experience. Tata teleservices introduced a new initiative where in user can Call and Buy Photon Plus on a toll free number 1800 420 8282 1800 420 8282. We hope they continue to provide such service even after getting the connection.

The next roundups will include more detailed analysis.

Vodafone Offers All Local and STd Calls At 50p

Since everyone is getting into the 1 paisa per second call rate bandwagon, Vodafone isn’t too behind either. Vodafone has introduced new STD vouchers. This offer perfectly suits for those who make many long distance as well as local calls.

vodafone_50p

Plan Details:

Rental: Rs.52/-
Validity: 1 year
Benefits: All Local and STD calls at just 50 paise for 365 days at a very affordable rental.
Circle: Mumbai/Maharashtra.

You can earn free talk time by sending us tips which we will publish here, read more about how you can earn free talktime at Techie Buzz.

Is Aircel Getting Ready For 3G?

As we are already aware of the fact that 3G auctions in India have experienced numerous delays, the government has yet again  given out official date for the auctions this month. This might get delayed again, but we are pretty sure that 3G auctions are going to be held very soon. You may ask, how? Well, Aircel has now offloaded its towers to GTL, an Indian communications infrastructure operator, for around $1.84bn.

aircel_logo

GTL will take over 17,500 existing towers and will take over rights to roll out 20,000 more. We are pretty sure that this move by Aircel might be replicated by various other operators. It is good to see that operators have finally started taking few steps towards the launch of 3G network in India. Aircel has around 30 million subscribers to its base which might soon enjoy the 3G speed.

Not only has Aircel sold its towers but also is getting ready with its own app store. Infosys, India’s second-largest IT company will be developing this app store which will use its white label app store platform Flypp to power the shop front. However, it is to be soon how does this app store fairs before and after the launch of 3G.

Python For S60v5 2.0 Now Available

Nokia has pushed Python for S60 2.0 update via the built-in App update utility for Nokia 5800 and the Software Update Utility for Nokia N97/N97 Mini. Along with the Python for S60, Nokia has also pushed a sample Python app named Scribble.

Python for S60 is Nokia’s port of the Python language to the S60 smartphone platform. In addition to the standard features of the Python language, PyS60 provides access to many of the phone’s uniquely smartphone-y functions, such as camera, contacts, calendar, audio recording and playing, TCP/IP and Bluetooth communications and simple telephony.

5800N97 software updates

If you liked the sample app Scribblethat Nokia is providing with the python for S60 update, you might want to check the pyS60 application heaven. But make sure it’s compatible with s60v5 as the port api code for s60v3 and s60v5 are different, So many apps that are actually built for s60v3 won’t run on 5800/N97/N97 Mini.

And The Most Pathetic Design Award Goes To.. Motorola Backflip/ Enzo

Phandroid, recently leaked few of the Motorola Backflip / Enzo pictures. This is supposed to be AT&T’s first Android based phone. Before I give you my two cents, grab a look at the design.

motorola-enzo-4

The screen is back flips and so the name Motorola Backflip.

motorola-enzo-2

Since both sides of the phone keyboard and the screen (touchscreen) are responsive I wonder how effectively the phone can prevent damage when flipped into pockets. Touchscreen is said to be very responsive. The QWERTY keyboard too doesn’t quite convince me. From the pictures, it looks like the keys would pop out if I even touch them, forget pressing.

The camera resides on the backside of the phone, which is also occupied by the keyboard. Though, I am not a huge fan of this arrangement of the camera and the keyboard, I can see only one advantage to this No need for secondary camera for video calling. You could just flip the keyboard and there goes your camera which you can use it for video calling.

motorola-enzo-5

As you can see from the above picture, Motorola Backflip runs on Android 1.5 which surprises me as Verizon’s Droid is already using Android 2.0. Why would AT&T still use Android 1.5 when a better firmware is available.

AT&T customizations includes:

  • Yahoo! Search
  • AT&T Nav
  • AT&T Music
  • AT&T Mobile App store (ringtones, little games, etc…)

Apart from Google Maps, none of the Google goodies would be loaded. Like seriously? And Yahoo search? What were they thinking?

Specifications:

  • 528 MHz Qualcomm MSM7201A
  • 512 MB ROM
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 3.1 inch display 320 x 480 (HVGA)
  • 5 megapixel camera with LED flash
  • WiFi / Bluetooth 2.0 / GPS
  • OS Android 1.5 with Motoblur
  • GSM 850/900/1800/1900 W-CDMA 850/900/1700/1900/2100
  • Reverse flip keyboard
  • Rear directional touchpad

Sony Ericsson To Launch Eco-Friendly Phones

Sony Ericsson has announced two eco-friendly phones- Elm and Hazel under the GreenHeartinitiative. Greenheart is an initiative to manufacture handsets with recycled plastic materials. This would eventually help to reduce the CO2 emissions.  Both of the phones offer consumers a green choice without compromising on features or fun.

Hazel:

Sony-Ericsson-Hazel

Features

  • Clear voice and intelligent volume adaptation with Noise shield technology
  • Natural fit in the palm of a hand with a design featuring human curvature and ergonomic keypad
  • Secure information online at Sonyericsson.com and backup personal data over the air
  • Access Facebook, MySpace and Twitter and browse social networking sites
  • Integrated 5.0-megapixel auto-focus camera to take pictures of friends and family and upload photos to blogs and Web sites
  • Built-in MP3 player with SensMe, MegaBass, PlayNow and TrackID technology
  • Features Google search and Google Maps, Wisepilot for turn-by-turn navigation with A-GPS

Elm:

elm

Features

  • Noise shield for clear voice and intelligent volume adaptation
  • Human curvature and ergonomic keypad ensures a natural fit in the palm of a hand
  • Backup personal data over the air on Sonyericsson.com to secure information
  • Switch to social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter
  • Built-in 5.0-megapixel auto-focus camera to snap photos of friends and family and upload images to blogs and Web sites
  • Integrated MP3 player with SensMe, MegaBass, PlayNow and TrackID features
  • Access to Google search and Google Maps, Wisepilot for turn-by-turn navigation with A-GPS

The Elm and Hazel handsets will be available in the first and second quarters of 2010, respectively.

Nokia 5530 Firmware Updated To Version 20.0.080

5530-v20

The Nokia 5530 has just received a firmware update to version 20.0.080. This upgrade includes updated versions of Ovi Store, Ovi Maps, Nokia Music widget and more, but does not include kinetic scrolling in all the screens.

You can update your 5530 using  the inbuilt OTA (Over The Air) or you can use Nokia’s Software Updater Method on your PC. Although, this update supports UDP (User Data Preservation), it’s better not to risk your important data and have additional backup.

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Google Launches Visual Search On Android – Google Goggles

Until now, we could only search on Google either by typing or using Google Voice search. Now, Google has launched an amazing new service for Android phones Visual search engine. All you need to do is, click a picture of any object using your phone’s camera. Goggles, Google’s new application will then attempt to recognize the object and provide you with required information. This is exactly like Nokia’s Point and find technology.

Google-Goggles-Android

As this is still a nascent technology, Google only recognizes items like landmark and art work . You may check out the video to get more information how this works:

You can download the Google Goggles application from the Android Market.

Moto Droid Gets an Android Update

Motorola Droid which is available on the Verizon network, the Android based Smartphone, has recently received an Android 2.0.1 update. You can update via OTA (Over The Air).

Moto-Droid

Just a recap of the Moto Droid features:

Motorola Droid is the first Smartphone that runs on Google Android 2.0 (Eclair) Operating System. It sports a 3.7touch screen display, a 5 mega-pixel camera with auto focus and LED flash. Other features includes a sliding QWERTY keyboard, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, built-in GPS receiver, 3.5 mm headset jack, accelerometer, 32GB expandable memory.

The Change log of Android 2.0.1 on Motorola Droid includes:

  • The OS stability is improved.
  • Battery life has improved.
  • Enhancements for three-way calling.
  • Audio for incoming calls has improved.
  • When receiving a call on call waiting, the speakerphone now remains on.
  • The Bluetooth functionality has improved and the background echo has now been eliminated. Bluetooth phone book transfer of contacts to in-vehicle Bluetooth solutions has been improved.
  • After closing a GPS application, the GPS icon will now automatically be removed from the notification panel.
  • Users can now receive SMS and MMS messages after an EMS message is received.
  • SMS and MMS may now be sent to any seven digit addresses.
  • Google contact merging has been updated to accommodate seven-digit numbers.
  • Visual Voice Mail notices now arrive instantaneously.
  • The corporate calendar widget user interface is updated.

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Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition Launched In USA

Nokia-5800-Navigation-Edition

Nokia has announced the availability of Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition in the U.S. It also comes with a lifetime voice-guided navigation for North America and a car kit for a price tag of $299.

The Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition features Ovi Maps for mobile and it also comes with pre-loaded maps for the entire U.S. and Canada. Of course you can download maps of additional countries using Nokia Map Loader. Other features of Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition include: stereo speakers and surround sound, playback time of up to 35 hours, HSDPA internet connection, a 3.2 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and memory expandable up to 16GB.

The Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition retails for approximately 299 USD and is available through www.nokiausa.com and other independent online and retail channels in the United States. If you buy this device before December 31st, you will get a 50 USD Visa prepaid gift card by Nokia to buy mobile applications, videos, games and more from the Nokia Ovi Store.

Wolfram Alpha Ditches iPhone Version – Promotes App

When Wolfram Alpha app last appeared on the App store for $50, we ran a small poll to find out whether users would pay $50 for an app which has no additional features than that of its web version that is freely available. Not quite surprisingly, 94% of people voted for NO.
wolfram-alpha

Now, Wolfram has pulled down its iPhone version of webpage and is promoting its very expensive iPhone app instead. The iPhone version of Wolfram Alpha now redirects to a page that is linked to the iTunes link to download the iPhone app.

Although Wolfram Alpha is quite interesting and tremendously useful app, we feel $50 is way to high for the app and Wolfram Alpha leaves no other option on iPhone/iPod than to download the app.

Sticker Set For Keyboard

Christopher Monro DeLorenzo has designed an amusing set of stickers for your keyboard. Each image represents the corresponding key to it. Like Pirate represents P.

Keyboard_new2

Print

Print

Targeting the students, these stickers contain cultural icons to Greek mythology, this keyboard sticker set will advance the alphabetical knowledge of any child, or adult. If you are interested in buying those stickers, you will have to wait. These stickers are not available as of now, but you can contact Christopher Monro DeLorenzo via his website and he will let you know when they are available.

Review: Nimbuzz For Blackberry Released

Nimbuzz, recently launched the Nimbuzz app for BlackBerry.   Nimbuzz for BlackBerry lets you connect to the most popular social networks and IM communities like Skype, Facebook, WLM (MSN), MySpace, Yahoo, Gtalk and many more!

nimbuzz_bb nimbuzz_bb1 nimbuzz_bb2

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Features:

  • runs in background allowing you to be online and available to your friends while writing an email, watching a movie or updating your agenda
  • connects you to all your friends stay in touch with all your friends from the most popular social networks and instant messaging communities
  • brings home screen notification whenever you receive a chat and the app is running in background you will see a notification on your home screen
  • auto-reconnects whenever you lose the connection Nimbuzz will try to reconnect you switching between 3G, 2G or   Wi-Fi searching for an available internet connection
  • ClickableURL’s for a complete online experience you can open the links from chats or personal messages.

Many a times, BlackBerry service provider blocks a certain Instant Messaging app on your Blackberry device.   In my case, it is Gtalk and I am heavily dependant on  Gtalk for communication. A third part app comes to rescue in such situations and Nimbuzz does a great job. While I was connected to the app server, it disconnected me frequently asking me to reconnect again and again, which gets quite frustrating in long run. Now, I have no idea whether  it was the fault with the app or with my GPRS provider.

This new app is specially designed for Blackberry O.S. 4.6 and higher. You can download the new Nimbuzz for Blackberry from Nimbuzz.com or via Blackberry App World .

Opera Mini 5 and Opera Mobile Beta Now Available For Download

Opera today announced the new beta versions of Opera mini 5 and Opera Mobile. With this release, Opera has integrated features like Opera Link and the Download Manager into both the mobile browsers.

With Opera Link, you can synchronize all your bookmarks and speed dial with the Opera for desktop. Since this is a beta version we would highly recommend using a test account first for the bookmark synchronization, as there is a chance that you might lose your important bookmarks. Download Manager gives a smart way to control your downloads from within the browser.

Both the browsers, Opera Mini 5 beta 2 and Opera Mobile beta continue to share the unified look. Besides Opera Link and Download Manager, both continue to sport features like tabbed browsing, mobile view, password manager, Adaptive zoom, Landscape mode. The touch screen versions also support copy/paste feature which is quite revealing.

Check out the video:

 

 

You can download Opera Mini 5 Beta and Opera mobile by pointing your browser to Opera Next Mobile.