LG launches Optimus G in India

LG Electronics has finally launched LG Optimus G smartphone in India. Running on Android v4.1.2 Jelly bean, LG has extended the OS with its own Optimus 3.0 UI for an optimum mobile experience.LG Optimus G

The phone, that LG claims to be designed to a flagship standard, boasts of a 4.7-inch True HD IPS Plus Display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5 GHz Quad-core processor. Optimus G has an aspect ratio of 15:9 with a 320ppi high pixel density and is equipped with Zerogap Touch display technology that brings visuals closer to the surface of the screen and gives a more immersive experience. The phone has a unique glass-made back graced with a crystal pattern. This patented Crystal Reflection is glossy and displays different patterns and colors depending on the angle and lighting.

“We provide our users with enhanced experience by advanced and thoughtful engineering behind every feature. The smartphone encourages users to explore a world of boundless creativity and power and also, helps them balance between business and entertainment.”

–       Soon Kwon, President South West Asia Region & MD, LG India

Optimus G’s 13MP rear-end camera and 1.3MP front facing camera come with a number of apps like SmartShutter senses movement and automatically adjusts shutter speed to capture crisp, blur-free images and CheeseShutter that has voice recognition capabilities and automatically clicks a picture when one says ‘Cheese’.

Optimus G also has a lot of unique applications to add to the Android feature set. Its QSlide feature allows consumers to simultaneously run two apps and multitask their way through work and play. Its QuickTranslator easily translates any international language into English and vice-versa, while its QuickMemo app allows users to jot down important notes on any phone screenshot, even while on active call. When videos are played in the player, the Zoom In function enables consumers to zoom in/ out of a live video. Plus it offers a unique concept of Dual Screen-Dual Play, where by users can run any of phone content to a connected TV and simultaneously work on phone on another application.

LG’s Optimus G is priced at INR 34,500 but is available for INR 31,000 at most online and physical stores already.



Editorial: Why Amazon’s Rumored Smartphone Will Likely be a Failure


Rumors of an Amazon branded smartphone have started to fly suggesting that the retail giant is looking for viable options to enter the smartphone business after seeing an immense success with its tablet, the Kindle Fire.

A big question about this story has been hitting me for two days that whether the rumored Amazon smartphone will ever be able to achieve the same milestone or not. My less than stellar mind says no.

Before diving deep into my thoughts, let us first recap the launch of Kindle Fire and the factors that helped it become the best selling Android tablet ever.

kindle-fireBack in 2011, when the iPad was enjoying unrivaled success in the tablet market, it was only Amazon who was able to successfully challenge it with its own tablet, the Kindle Fire. Amazon did what other manufacturers were doing wrong:

  • First, it kept the price of Kindle Fire as low and affordable as possible knowing the fact that there are many people who’re interested in owning a tablet, but cannot afford an iPad.
  • Secondly, Amazon also realized that people primarily use their tablets to consume content — read books, magazines, watch movies, TV shows, etc., and so, it offered Kindle Fire owners with access to a huge library of its digital content.

And Boom! The Kindle Fire started selling like hotcakes. In just three months after its launch, it had managed to capture approximately a quarter of the tablet market share while other Android tablets were still struggling to reach even 5% of it despite boasting superlative specifications.

But can Amazon achieve the same feat with a smartphone? I doubt it. Smartphones are totally a different story.

Kindle Fire’s most impressive feature was probably its price — 199 bucks. Despite the fact that it offered virtually zero profit margin to Amazon, Amazon still turned it into a profit making machine by using it as a medium to sell eBooks, magazines and other digital content to Kindle Fire owners. But can Amazon do the same with a smartphone? No. People rarely read books or magazines on their smartphones — they instead consume applications, which Amazon doesn’t have enough to offer.

Applications drive an ecosystem and they’re probably the biggest hurdle for Amazon. Although the rumored Amazon smartphone will run on Android, which has more than 600,000 apps available for it in the Play Store, Amazon will undoubtedly replace the Play Store with its own App Store in the phone — as it did with the Kindle Fire — which has approximately only 37,000 apps or just 6% of apps in the Play Store.

os-market-share-2012Apps are the sole reason why Android and Apple are dominating the smartphone market and the sole reason why Windows Phone has failed to take off despite sporting a superb software. On a comparison note, even Windows Phone has more than twice the number of apps available in Amazon’s App store.

There are just not enough apps in the App Store for Amazon to sell a smartphone with negligible profit margin and still make money out of it on the longer run by selling apps to those phone owners. This leaves Amazon with no option for making profits other than selling its future phone at full price and that too with a decent profit margin.

This demands another question to be answered — what will be then the selling factor of its phone? Relatively cheap price?

Yes Amazon can do that. In fact, it’ll have to do that considering the fact that it will be nearly impossible for it fight with Samsung or Apple at similar price levels. But it cannot manufacture a phone that is both cheap and high on specifications at the same time. It’ll be most probably based on Android and so, the phone needs to be high on specifications or else the result will definitely be a slow phone with a choppy user interface, like we’ve seen in the Kindle Fire. And people will hate that.

Interestingly, Adrian Hughes of ZDNet thinks that Amazon can adopt a different game-plan by developing an user friendly interface to give Samsung, HTC and Sony a run for their money. I’ll just quote his words here:

While there’s no doubt that Android smartphones have experienced tremendous success, one of the complaints that I hear leveled against the platform is that it isn’t particularly friendly, especially to those who don’t consider themselves to be technically literate.

… a much-needed dumbing down of the platform that could give it an enormous advantage over both Apple iPhone and the entirety of the Android ecosystem.

A dumbed-down Android experience could be just what average users are waiting for..

But, in my opinion, he’s wrong. Although it is true that Android is not very user-friendly, Amazon will still not be able to beat Samsung and others just by making its UI user-friendly as Samsung has already been doing that for long and so have other manufacturers.

Compare the following two screenshots of dialers present in ICS and Samsung Touchwiz to get an idea of what I’m talking about:


It took my dad two full days to figure out that the clock icon on the top is the call logs tab. And it is obvious — how is a non-techy person ever going to discover that touching that clock icon will open call logs? But Samsung’s dialer (on the right) mentions the tab names clearly and makes it easier for laymen to understand the UI. It is one of the many areas in TouchWiz UI where Samsung has made considerable efforts to make the UI as user-friendly as possible.

In short, an user-friendly UI is also not going to help Amazon to win this race of smartphone wars. In fact, I cannot think of a single distinctive feature with which Amazon can impress consumers and I’m very skeptical of its success unless it manages to pull out something that… changes everything.

[Image credits: BGR, MobileShop]

Kodak Patent Auction to Provide New Ammo in Mobile Patent Wars

Kodak, the once great but now bankrupt camera giant, has stated that a U.S. bankruptcy court has approved its bid to auction off the bundle of patents it has despite efforts by the likes of Apple to derail the sale by claiming that it has rights over some of them.

“The Apple and FlashPoint claims are baseless and Kodak will still seek dismissal on summary judgment in July. Today’s ruling provides a court-approved process allowing buyers to acquire the patents free and clear of all ownership allegations, regardless of the status of the dispute with Apple and FlashPoint at the time of closing,” said Timothy Lynch, Kodak Vice President and Chief IP Officer.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy some time ago, and is hoping that a patent sale will generate a significant amount of cash. It has nearly 700 patents related to image capture, processing and transmission technologies for digital cameras and smartphones, and some other 400 patents related to image analysis and manipulation tools.

Kodak’s business was largely disrupted first by digital cameras and then smartphones, as it failed to keep up with the times.

The patent auction will close next month, and should provide enough ammo for the next round of battles in the ongoing patent wars. We expect the auctions to see interest from major technology companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Google and others.

Buying Guide: Android Phones in India [2011]

Android Smartphone Buying Guide 2011: Android Phones in India Under Rs 15000, 20000, 30000

If you are in the market for a new smartphone, the best option would be to buy an Android phone. Symbian is on its way to obsolescence, the iPhone is still prohibitively expensive (at least in India), and Windows Phone 7 devices are available only in the higher price bracket.

In this article, I will give present the best Android phones you can buy, in various price ranges. This post is focused on Indian buyers, but is relevant for anyone looking for an Android smartphone buying guide, anywhere in the world.

Best Android Smartphones Under 15,000 ($330)

Spice Mi-410

Spice Mi-410

Spice is a relatively unknown brand, but its latest offering – the Spice Mi-410 is one of the best budget Android phones yet. It comes with Android 2.2 Froyo, with a Gingerbread upgrade coming soon, and has a 1 GHz Qualcomm processor with 512 MB RAM. It also has a huge 4.1 inch display, comes with a 5 MP camera, and is priced around Rs 14,000. If I had to buy an Android device under Rs 15,000, it would be the Spice Mi410.

Buy the Spice M-410

Samsung Galaxy Ace

Samsung Galaxy Ace

The Samsung Galaxy Ace is like a smaller, budget version of the Samsung Galaxy S. It is now available for around Rs 15,000.

It comes with a 3.5 inch, 320 x 480 pixel capacitive touchscreen display. It also has a 5 MP camera with autofocus and LED flash and is powered by Android 2.2 Froyo. It comes with an 800 MHz processor and 278 MB RAM.

Buy Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830

Best Android Smartphones Under 20,000 ($450)

This particular bracket has some of the best Android smartphones. They are priced reasonably, and offer the most value for money.

Google Nexus S

Google Nexus S

Using the Nexus S, you can experience Android the way Google intended it. It runs vanilla Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread, with no custom UI shell on top. You can rest assured that it will be the first to receive any updates, and it is priced very well, at just under Rs 20,000.

It comes with a 4 inch SLCD display and is powered by a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor. It has 512 MB RAM and comes with a 5 MP camera. It also has 16 GB internal storage and sports an excellent design.

Buy Samsung Google Nexus S

Samsung Galaxy S LCD

Samsung Galaxy S LCD

The Samsung Galaxy SL is an inexpensive cousin of the popular Samsung Galaxy S. It comes with a 4 inch SLCD display and runs Android 2.2 Froyo, with a Gingerbread upgrade coming soon.

It has a 1 GHz Cortex A8 processor and 512 MB RAM. It also comes with a 5 MP camera and has 4 GB internal storage.

Buy Samsung Galaxy S LCD I9003

LG Optimus Black

LG Optimus Black

LG recently came to its senses and bumped down the price of the LG Optimus Black to Rs 19,990. At this new price, the LG Optimus Black is a very appealing buy.

It comes with Android 2.2 Froyo and sports a 4 inch, 800 x 480 pixel Nova capacitive display. It is powered by a 1 GHz Cortex A8 processor and 512 MB RAM. It also has a 5 MP camera with AF and LED flash.

Buy LG Optimus Black P970

HTC Desire Z

HTC Desire Z

The HTC Desire Z is one of those rare QWERTY sliders powered by Android. It comes with a 3.7 inch display with a sliding QWERTY keyboard. It is powered by an 800 MHz Qualcomm processor and comes with 512 MB RAM.

It runs Android 2.2 Froyo with the HTC Sense UI, but will receive an upgrade to Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It also has a 5 MP camera, and is a very good option if you want something different.

Buy HTC Desire Z

The Best Android Smartphones Money Can Buy

And finally, here are the best Android phones money can buy. Assuming that you are willing to buy an Android smartphone priced higher than Rs 20,000, these are the only options you should consider.

Samsung Galaxy S 2 II

Samsung Galaxy S 2

The Samsung Galaxy S 2 is the best Android smartphone of all time. It was launched recently, and has already sold more than 3 million units in less than two months.

It is priced around Rs 30,000. If I had the money, there is no other phone I would rather buy.

It comes with a 4.3 inch SuperAMOLED Plus display with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. It is powered by the 1.2 GHz dual core Exynos processor and the Mali 400 MP GPU. It also offers 1 GB RAM and comes with Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread with the TouchWiz UI.

It has an 8 MP camera which can shoot 1080p video and offers 16 GB internal storage. It has a very stylish design and is extremely slim at just 8.5 mm.

It is, truly, the best Android phone ever.

Buy Samsung Galaxy S2 I9100

HTC Sensation

HTC Sensation

This is another very good option, if for some reason, you can, but don’t want to buy the Samsung Galaxy S 2 (in which case you are probably nuts).

Jokes aside, the HTC Sensation is a very capable smartphone. It comes with Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread with the HTC Sense UI.

It comes with a 4.3 inch SLCD display and has a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. It is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual core Snapdragon processor and offers 768 MB RAM. It also has an 8 MP camera with autofocus and dual LED flash and can record 1080p video.

Buy HTC Sensation

Note: If you are wondering why I have not listed any Android phones priced lower than Rs 10,000 ($250), it’s because there is no good Android option in that price range. Most of the phones in that bracket are low resolution, underpowered and generally mediocre. They offer a very bad user experience. If you need to buy a phone under Rs 10,000, I wouldn’t recommend any Android device.

Entire CDMA BlackBerry Lineup Leaked

If GSM isn’t your thing and the previously leaked BlackBerry devices don’t interest you, you should be pleased to know that the folks at CrackBerry have turned up what looks to be the entire 2011 CDMA device lineup from RIM.

In what is titled “NARC BlackBerry Roadmap” and stamped as “Strictly Confidential” 7 different devices are indicated along with they respective estimated launch/availability dates. Of course, the PlayBook is shown for the next quarter of 2011 and will be the first tablet   device from RIM to use their new QNX-based platform.

The presentation slides detail upcoming smartphone devices such as the Montana, Monaco and Malibu – a series of new touch screen smartphones that will be sporting BlackBerry 6.1 along with what RIM is calling BlackBerry Evolution 6, a highly integrated and seamless user experience with social networking, universal search as well as HTML5 and NFC capabilities.

It is quite clear that RIM hopes to push further and further into the consumer market by including features and hardware such as full HD 720p recording, augmented reality and OpenGL support for a better gaming experience.

For an entire view of the slides that detail more about each device, be sure to visit CrackBerry for the lineup.

Viewsonic Announces the ViewPad 4

Viewsonic Viewpad 4Viewsonic has announced the ViewPad 4 at CES 2011. It is an Android smartphone, which offers “tablet power and performance” as well as cellular voice and data capabilities.

Viewsonic has already announced the ViewPad 7 and the ViewPad 10 offerings in the tablet space, and with the new ViewPad 4, it has also entered the already saturated smartphone market.

The ViewPad 4 comes with a 4.1 inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen display and is powered by a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It comes with a 5 MP camera which can record 720p HD video. It comes with Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and GPS with A-GPS.

The pricing details aren’t out yet. It will be launched in the middle of 2011. Going by the spec sheet, the design and the estimated release date, I don’t think it will be seeing any sales at all. By the time it launches, we will have much better Android smartphones in the market by Samsung, HTC, Motorola and others.

Android Beats iPhone in Terms of US Smartphone Users

According to the latest Comscore report, Android has overtaken iOS in terms of US smartphone subscribers. In the quarter ending November 2010, there were a total of 61.5 million smartphone users in the US, of which 26% were Android users and 25% were iPhone users.

Both of them are still way behind RIM which holds the lead with 33.5% of the total smartphone users. These numbers are about a month old though, and at this rate, Android should displace RIM as the top smartphone platform by the time the next Comscore report comes out in February 2011.

Android Beats iOS - Comscore

Even Microsoft lost 1.8% share in that quarter, but with the sales of Windows Phone 7 picking up, it could regain some of it.

Samsung is the top handset manufacturer overall, with a 24.5% share of the mobile phone market.

via Comscore

Motorola Showcases the Atrix 4G, Android Smartphone-Netbook Hybrid

Motorola Atrix 4G

At AT&T’s press event in CES 2011, they launched a series of mind blowing devices including the HTC Inspire 4G and the Samsung Infuse 4G. Another very impressive device that they showcased is the Motorola Atrix 4G. It is a very interesting concept which combines your smartphone and netbook into one device.

The Motorola Atrix 4G comes with a dual core ARM Cortex A9 processor on the Nvidia Tegra 2 platform with 1 GB RAM. It comes with 16 GB internal storage and a 1930 mAh battery. It will run Android 2.2 Froyo with a custom UI shell, possibly MotoBLUR.

Now for the awesome part: it comes with the Motorola Webtop app which converts your Atrix 4G into a netbook. The Atrix 4G comes with a netbook dock. When plugged into the dock, the Atrix 4G functions as a netbook and drives the netbook’s 11.6 inch display. As a netbook, the Atrix 4G offers 8 hours of battery life on a 36 Whr battery.

It’s a very interesting concept. Knowing that an ARM version of Windows is in the works, it might be the only device you need to carry around.

Motorola Atrix 4G

Motorola Atrix 4G

Images via Engadget

Samsung Galaxy S Sales Approach 10 Million

The Samsung Galaxy S is undoubtedly the most popular Android smartphone yet. It is available worldwide and has had record sales since its launch, eclipsing any other Android phone. In fact, the Galaxy S was such a huge hit that Google launched the next phone in the Nexus series – the Nexus S, with Samsung as a partner, and not HTC which has been the most staunch Android supporter since years.

The Galaxy S is now reaching the 10 million milestone. Earlier this week, Samsung announced that the Samsung Galaxy S and its variants have already sold 9.3 million units since launch. With about 10 more days since the announcements, and the Christmas shopping season in full swing, Galaxy S may end this year with 10 million sales. Even the Samsung Galaxy Tab may sell 2 million units by the end of 2010, making it a very good year, for both Samsung and Android.

Samsung Galaxy S


Micromax Launches the Andro A60 – Cheapest Android Phone in India

Yesterday, we had told you about the expected launch of Micromax’s new budget Android phone. Today, at the Micromax Blogger Meet in New Delhi, Micromax announced the new Micromax Andro A60, its first Android phone.

The specifications are the same as we announced earlier – it comes with a 2.8 inch resistive touchscreen display and a 3.15 MP camera. It is powered by a 600 MHz processor and runs the Android 2.1 Eclair OS. It comes with 150 MB internal storage and supports up to 32 GB microSD cards. It also offers 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Micromax Andro A60

The Andro A60 looks quite stylish but the low display size and resolution is definitely a concern.

Micromax is also planning to launch another mid range Android phone soon, with Android 2.2 Froyo and a 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen. It also announced plans to launch an Android tablet in the coming months.