Android Market Introduces Paid Apps to At Least a Dozen More Countries

Google-AndroidLast week we reported that Google was preparing to expand Android Market to support paid apps in several additional countries. Google’s press release stated, “Over the next few weeks, we’ll be adding paid apps support for additional countries”.

Now TechCrunch has learnt, by the way of Distimo, that paid apps have already started appearing in several previously unsupported Markets. The countries which have been confirmed to have received paid apps are – Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, Hong Kong, Israel, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Singapore and South Africa. Sweden and Hungary might also be in the list. Although India is not included in TechCrunch’s list, there is still hope for Indians. AndroidCentral claims that Google has been testing paid apps with select users in India.

The expansion of paid apps to more countries is a welcome move. Not only will this encourage developers to create more high quality apps, but also help in reducing piracy. However, if paid apps are still not available in your country, you can still access them using apps like “Market Enabler” and “Market Access(requires root).

MeeGo Ported to Nexus One, Dell Streak, and HTC Desire

MeeGo is Nokia’s best hope for resurgence. That’s something most of us will probably agree on. At this point, anything short of a complete makeover won’t allow Symbian to compete with the iPhones and Droids and Galaxies. Unfortunately, this is something Nokia doesn’t seem to fully appreciate.

Nokia N900 was a decent effort, and quite frankly, a step in the right direction. MeeGo was supposed to merge the best aspects of Maemo with Moblin to create a versatile operating system capable of handling mobile phones, tablets and even set-top boxes with ease. However, even after more six months, Nokia is yet to announce anything concrete based on MeeGo.

Nevertheless, if you are dying to get a taste of MeeGo, you can do so – even on your non-Nokia devices! MeeGo wiki has ported the open source operating system to Nexus One, Dell Streak, and HTC Desire, besides the N900. Download links and instructions are available here and here. Quite obviously, try it at your own risk. There is a reason why Nokia is taking its time to deploy MeeGo – it’s not yet ready!

MeeGo Running on Google Nexus One

MeeGo Running on Dell Streak

via Gizmodo

Tethering – Yet Another Feature You Won’t Find in Windows Phone 7

Make no mistake about it, the Windows Phone 7 launch is a make or break situation for Microsoft. If the technology giant wishes to remain competitive in the mobile segment, Windows Phone 7 has to impress. Otherwise, it might be too late.

Windows-Phone-7Unfortunately, when it comes to alluring power users with impressive features, Windows Phone 7 already appears to be falling short of the mark. Microsoft has already confirmed that WP7 won’t ship with copy-paste support. Now, a Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed that Windows Phone 7 won’t support tethering either. The revelation is bound to disappoint many who had got their hopes up after Brandon Watson, director of developer experience for Windows Phone 7, had hinted that Microsoft will support this consumer friendly feature that enables sharing of phone’s internet connection with laptops and other devices.

Windows Phone 7 definitely caught our eye when it was launched with its innovative interface and presentation. However, the big question is, is it the new Vista or the new Windows 7? Is Windows Phone 7 all show or does it have substance?

Sony Ericsson Decides To Dump Symbian, Will Use Android and Windows Phone 7

Sony-EricssonSymbian – the dominant smart phone operating system, is on its way out, and it seems that everyone but Nokia realizes this. We have no plans for the time being to develop any new products to the Symbian Foundation standard or operating system,Aldo Liguori, a spokesman for Sony Ericsson informed Bloomberg.

The revelation isn’t really surprising, given that Sony Ericsson has been investing heavily in the Android platform. Its current flagship device – the Xperia X10, as well as other smartphones like the Xperia X10 Mini, Xperia X10 Mini Pro and Xperia X8 all run on Android. Multimedia oriented Satio and Vivaz are the only high end handsets from Sony Ericsson that are powered by Symbian.

While Android will remain the main focus of Sony Ericsson, it will also launch Windows Phone 7 powered handsets. Speaking to a Swedish news outlet, Sony Ericsson’s CTO, Jan Uddenfeldt said, Android is definitely our focus, but we have not given up on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system, although it had a bit slow to take off. But Windows 7 Phone is on the roadmap. However, we have at present no plans for new products with Symbian.

The move to drop Symbian and focus on Android is a smart one, since Sony Ericsson has been struggling to keep up with Google’s rapid release cycle. It is one of the few handset manufacturers that is yet to ship Android 2.1, which was released last year.

With Sony Ericsson pulling out, Nokia is now the only major manufacturer that will continue using Symbian on high-end devices. Nevertheless, the Finnish giant is also likely to adopt Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 smart phone OS.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X12 – 1.5 Ghz Processor and Android 2.2

According to the word going around, Sony Ericsson is currently working on the successor to the Xperia X10. The device, which goes by the codename Cliaro, is expected to be announced near the end of this year, and ship in early 2011.

Related: Android 3.0 Powered PlayStation Phone from Sony Ericsson

The leaked specifications suggest that Cliaro (possibly Xperia X12) will have TI OMAP4 1.5GHz processor, Android 2.2 (Froyo) and a 4-inch AMOLED 1080×720 resolution screen. The 10mm thick Xperia X12 is also expected to sport a 12 megapixel camera.

The news that Sony Ericsson is working on a successor to the Xperia X10 is not a surprise. However, the resolution being touted by the reports spreading around the interwebs is suspicious to say the least. The use of AMOLED is also surprising. Recently, even HTC switched to super-LCD screens manufactured by Sony due to acute shortage of AMOLED screens. Even though IT168 has been right before, we are putting this firmly in the rumors category until we know more.

Bharti Enters Mobile Handset Business – Launches 8 Handsets

Bharti is already India’s biggest mobile services provider having over 140 million active subscribers on it’s list with Airtel and now Bharti aims at becoming the number one in the mobile handsets market too. This will make Bharti a direct competitor for mobile handset majors like Nokia and Samsung in India. Bharti has announced its entry into the fast-growing mobile handset business with Group firm Beetel launching eight handsets in the price range of Rs 1,750-7,000.

However Beetel has no specific plans of bundling its handsets only with Airtel mobile services but they will be talking their new handsets to all the GSM players for bundling them with their respective talk-plans and it will not be restricted to only the group’s flagship mobile services company – Airtel.

Beetel would have an in-house design facility in India and operate on a business model under which manufacturing would be done in and outside, but with innovation done locally.  Beetel phones has features like dual SIMs, FM and cameras just like handsets from other manufacturers.  Beetel mobile phones will be initially available via a nationwide  distribution network  of over 4,000 outlets across Delhi, Haryana, UP, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, Punjab and the seven North Eastern States.

Nokia Finally Figured Out A Touch Smartphone. But..

Quite recently, I had the privilege to visit 2010, their annual phone and developer event, which was sold out. There were a lot of people out there who were curious about Nokia’s latest devices and development initiatives.

Nokia World 2010

When I landed out at the event hotel, few people were speaking about how Nokia was in disarray with resignations from the top few people who have mattered to them for the past few years, including their CEO Anssi.

However, the events that followed were much of a revelation. After the Nokia N97 debacle, I finally saw with my own eyes, that Nokia had finally understood what a touch smartphone should be like. Let me just add here, that Nokia is the market leader in phone manufacturing and they are not just about a smartphone, yet they have always been innovators, even when they have failed to challenge this segment with their devices.

Nokia has worked in many ways to actually fulfill their mantra of "Connecting People" by bringing people together in places where no other manufacturer would go; the rural areas of developing countries. Kudos to them for that, but yet, living around New York, I always wondered whether Nokia would cater my needs, and they most probably have got an hang of how to do it.

Let me tell you that I was almost first in line at the Nokia flagship store in New York when they launched the , and I was very very disappointed with it. However, I was pretty happy when I saw the new Nokia devices launched this time around. Out of the new Nokia offerings, including the , and other similar devices like the and Nokia C7, I wouldn’t buy any, however, from here on I believe that the future Nokia devices will be far more better than their competition.

Going forward, with a new CEO in Stephen Elop, I feel that Nokia with its huge history have a really good chance to get back into the smartphone market, specifically the touch phone market, where they are nothing but bystanders right now, except for maybe .

Nevertheless, Nokia still has a long way to go before it can actually sit on top of the smartphone pile and they do have to take care of a lot of things which are not working in their favor. I have several grouses against Nokia and these are the some of the few that I feel could be a deterrent to them:

Delivering on Time

The one big problem Nokia is facing right now is the ability to deliver on time. They still don’t have the OS for the Nokia N8 fully ready and they don’t have a clear cut idea when it would be ready, even though they keep saying that it would be ready in the next few weeks. For a device that was announced months ago, it should have been ready by now.

Nokia, in my opinion, do not have the flexibility to bile time, because there are not many devices out there from them that would make people go crazy. They have to keep pushing devices as fast as they can. I have met and heard from people who were anxious to get their hands on the Nokia C6 and other Nokia devices, however, the numerous delays have made them go to some other manufacturer. Driving away customers to the competition is something which Nokia does not want to be doing right now.

Stick With One OS/Platform

Right now Nokia has too many things going on at once, they have an unfinished Symbian^3 which is baffling. They are also already working on Symbian^4 which is baffling again, considering that they haven’t yet finished work on the predecessor.

To top that they have , which is again a good OS, but Nokia hasn’t yet found good devices to put them on. There was a lot of disappointment when Nokia did not speak about Meego at the Nokia World 2010, that goes on to show what developers and consumers have been waiting for. In my opinion, they should just stick with one platform and continue working on it, rather than doing things simultaneously and having nothing ready at all.

Another problem I came across while speaking with Nokia product managers was that, the future Nokia Symbian^4 OS will not be compatible with older devices including the Nokia N8 and Nokia E7. Hey Nokia, why don’t you take a leaf out of and books? Most of their devices are portable to any new OS they ship, why couldn’t you do it with your latest high-end devices at-least? That is an absolute #FAIL for me.

Creating a Smartphone Browser

I understand that they are working on one, but they should have been ready with it. Smartphones are as much about browsing as much as about apps. In the past two years, every other smartphone browser has grown leaps and bounds except for Nokia’s. Agreed that they are working on a new browser, but where is it? Why was there no demo at Nokia World? Why isn’t the new browser shipping with your latest flagship device?

Stop Confusing Users With Similar Devices

Out at Nokia World, 4 devices were announced, the Nokia N8, Nokia E7, Nokia C6 and Nokia C7. All of these devices were similar except for the Nokia E7 which had a QWERTY. The point here is that, most of the devices had the same features, some had more, some had less.

Nokia here wants people in different segments to have affordable phones, but why are you cloning your flagship device? Why offer competition to your own devices? If you want to create affordable phones, do it, but do not confuse the users as to which one they should buy. Just make a flagship device and sell it, then make affordable devices which are not similar but offer smartphone capabilities.

These are just some of the things on top of my mind which I feel is hindering them right now. I may be right or wrong, but remember, these are my opinions. The future is now in Nokia’s hands, let’s hope they don’t ruin it going forward.

Airtel to Launch Mobile Wallet Services in India

Bharti AirtelBharti Airtel is soon going to launch mobile wallet and mobile payment services in India. In a press statement on Wednesday, Bharti Airtel announced that the Reserve Bank of India had granted it a license to offer “Semi Closed Wallet” services to its customers.

Users will be able to use the mobile wallet service to conduct transactions up to Rs 5000. They can use the wallet at specific outlets which will tie up with Bharti. Users can only use it for purchases, not for withdrawing cash. Mobile phone penetration is much higher than that of banking services in India.

“Semi-closed wallet are prepaid payment instruments that are redeemable at a group of clearly-identified merchant locations/ establishments which contract specifically with the issuer to accept the payment instrument. These instruments do not permit cash withdrawal or redemption by the holder.

Currently we are evaluating various options that this licence provides to find out how best we can create a value proposition for Airtel customers. It is imperative to design a safe & convenient deployment before we can take to the market,” said the official statement by Bharti Airtel.

Mobile payments are touted to be the next big thing, both in mobile VAS and banking. Knowing Airtel, you can rest assured that it is going to be huge; probably the beginning of mobile payment services in India.

Two Comics Illustrating the Difference Between iPhone and Android

androidgingerbread I spotted this post at the Android Police blog and it was just too funny (and true) not to share it with you. This image was originally posted at at the top of reddit’s Android page, and has been flying all over the net. The original author is unknown to me, although I spent several minutes trying to dig up a name.

Update on Sept 27th:

I received an email from the author of this terrific comic. Thanks to Eddie Drury at “i can’t draw feet“. He deserves an award for his excellent work. Eddie was extremely upset that nobody had made any attempts to link to his site, but was pleased to see that at least I had tried to find out where it came from. In fact, he reported that I was the only one who seemed to make an attempt to find the author. That is sad, but you can be happy now that you know where to find more funny stuff from Eddie. Here’s the RSS feed for his comic site, if you use a feed reader.


What do you think about the differences between the iPhone and the Android? Do you think Android will overtake the iPhone in sales by the end of the year?

Angry Birds Beta for Android Released – Download it NOW!


After dominating the Apple App Store charts and amassing millions of downloads, Angry Birds has finally arrived on Android. The beta build of the Lite version has just been released, and should become available in all Android Markets by the end of the day.


Angry Birds is a puzzle game from Rovio, which has sold more than 6.5 million copies and might be made into a movie. Like most brilliant games, the objective of Angry Birds is simple – in each level you are supplied with some angry birds that have had their eggs stolen by evil pigs. There are five different kinds of birds, each with its own traits. You have to launch the birds at an appropriate angle using a catapult to eliminate the pigs.


Techie Buzz Verdict

Angry-Birds-ReccomendedAngry Birds is an incredibly addictive game. It simply grabs you by the collar and pulls you in. Once you get hooked, you will find yourself wasting hours trying to destroy the evil little pigs and their castles. While dumb luck might get you through a few levels, you will need to employ solid logic and planning to master the game.

Angry Bird Lite for Android is currently in beta. I experienced occasional crashes while launching the game. However, in general the game worked well. There were no unexpected frame rate drops or other hitches during the gameplay. Go ahead and download it from the market right now. This game is a winner.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)