31
Aug 11

Android Moment – Mass Market Androids Phones for India

A week back when I wrote this post, I described what I though would be a real mass market Android phone in India.

What would it take for a successful mass selling Android phone in India –

Price should be sub-5K INR, a capacitive screen, a processor adequate to make the UI responsive without lag and at least 5 day standby without mobile data. All fancy features can be cut, as long as the phone is not crippled by a underpowered CPU and badly customised OS. Think like GPS, 3G , even wifi can be skipped to keep the cost down. At this time 3G services in India is a sham, too expensive and cant do much with the crippled metered plans.

via Android Moment | Luhit – Reviews, Analysis.

It was inevitable that someone would come out with such a device. This morning I came across this news in Times of India. On the face value these pair of sub-5K INR phones is what I thought is required for Android to go mass market.

Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd ( SSTL), which operates under the brand name MTS, has launched two Android-based smartphones priced below Rs 5,000.
via MTS launches sub-Rs 5K Android-based smartphones.

Will this be the beginning of things to come ?

I could not locate any information on these phones or the contract required on MTS website. Their website does show another Android MTS Pulse3 ( looked pretty much like a rebadged HTC device).

MTS MTAG 3.1 – Rebadged Huawei, Capacitive Screen with 240×320 resolution, runs on Froyo. Could not find much else on the web. Recently, Huawei got a lot of press on the stellar success of the USD 100 device called IDEOS in Kenya. It could be the same phone coming to India.

MTS Livewire – Rebadged ZTE. I am still to mind out anything informational  about this device. Will update the post when I got more information.

While this could be a beginning of Android going mainstream and mass in India, but I pretty much doubt these devices from MTS will make any significant difference ? People will continue to buy feature phones, unless one of the big big guns like Samsung or LG would come up with a affordable smartphones without carrier contracts.


20
Aug 11

Android Moment

Last weekend after I had after boarding a Jet Lite flight at Guwahati, I noticed the gentlemen on the aisle seat pull out a Galaxy S. He did not seem to be the usual tech savvy person I would have expected to see with a high end android phone. I little later I noticed a younger girl with a Xperia X10 mini  on the other aisle seat in my row.. This made four android phones in a row of 6 people, this after counting my Galaxy S and wife’s Galaxy 3 Apollo.

Only a couple of days back, the tenant at my father’s house in Guwahati was talking about buying a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and not buy a iPad2.

All this time, I was under the impression that Android phones were becoming a hit only with the tech savvy folks in bigger cities. It is common to see plenty of folks with Android phones at my office in Bangalore. In a place like Guwahati and other smaller cities where feature phones still rule and where Nokia is still a very strong brand, I was not expecting to see Android making such a headway.

This is the Android moment.

The mainstream tech press hails Android as a success because it now sells more than iPhone in US. But can the Android phone makers get a true mass market phone for places like India.

What would it take for a successful mass selling Android phone in India –

Price should be sub-5K INR, a capacitive screen, a processor adequate to make the UI responsive without lag and at least 5 day standby without mobile data. All fancy features can be cut, as long as the phone is not crippled by a underpowered CPU and badly customised OS.  Think like GPS, 3G , even wifi  can be skipped to keep the cost down. At this time 3G services in India is a sham, too expensive and cant do much with the crippled metered plans.

 


01
Aug 11

Finding Tablet Optimized Android Apps

In the last one week since I got the Asus Transformer Honeycomb tablet, I have really struggled to locate tablet optimized apps in Android Market.

Tablified []is a site that should make it easier for folks like us to find Android Tablet optimized apps.  the good folks at Tabifier has a link to submit apps that are tablet optimized.

tablified-tablet-apps-for-android-mozilla-firefox_001


25
Dec 10

OlivePad VT-1000 – 7 inch Android 2.2 Tablet Hands-on Review

P1020052 (Modified)

OlivePad VT1000

OlivePad VT1000 is a seven inch Android 2.2 Tablet computer from India based Olive Telecom.

OlivePad has been selling for a  few months now, but it has not been able to create the interest Notion Ink has been able to generate  on its yet to be released Adam tablet.   I had been on a hunt for a decent Android Tablet for many weeks and never came across the OlivePad until one day saw one on eBay India.   This led me to Olive Telecom’s website where I found out that OlivePad is available on retail at Croma stores across India.  I picked up my OlivePad from the new Croma Store on the Outer Ring Road in Bangalore for INR 23999 (cheaper than the online prices at eBay.in).

This review is based on my hands on experience of using the OlivePad in the last three weeks.  My familiarity with Android devices which includes a Samsung Galaxy S phone running Android 2.2, a Samsung Galaxy 3 that my wife owns.  In between I also used a ten inch Chinese Apad ZT180 tablet running  Android 2.1.

Lets begin the review  with the Quick Specs of the Olive Pad VT1000.

OSAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Processor ARM11 600MHz
Chipset Qualcomm MSM7227
Battery Li Polymer 3240 mAh
Screen 7 inch 800x400 LCD with Capacitive Touch screen
Connectivity 802.11bg wifi, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR, GPS, GSM, 3G
Memory 512 MB RAM
Storage 512 MB built in Flash, and my unit came bundled with a 16 GB micro-SD card
Camera Rear 3 mega pixel, front VGA
Audio microphone, stereo speakers, 3.5 mm stereo audio out
Others G-sensor, e-compass, ambient light sensor.

Hardware and Build

Design

The Olive Tab is rectangular with glass in front with a shiny black plastic in the rear. The sides are aluminum. The sides are not tapered like the Galaxy Tab which makes it look thicker. Nevertheless it’s comfortable to hold. The key here is the 7 inch form factor that is small enough to hold with hone hand. At 380 gm it’s not comfortable holding it for  long duration. However, its much comfortable using the OlivePad tablet  with the leather diary  styled jacket.

Processor Speed and Responsiveness

OlivePad comes with a 600 MHz ARM11 processor. The Tablet is  very responsive and I do not find any perceptible real world difference between the Galaxy S and the OlivePad in terms of responsiveness. However, ARM11 on paper appears slower compared to Cortex A8 chips being used in most recent Android Tablet, and not to mention the upcoming dual core Cortex A9 chips like the Nvidia Tegra2. Bottom line, the ARM11 chip in the OlivePd is adequate to give a very good user experience.

Storage and Memory

The SIM card and the SD card slots can be accessed from the side.OlivePad came bundles with a 16 GB microSD card. The internal flash is just 512 MB, which just leaves 173 MB for user applications. I wish OlivePad had at least  1 or 2 GH internal flash storage. With Froyo apps can be moved to the SD card, but still a lot of junk accumulates in the internal flash storage. The RAM is 512 MB is  adequate and at par with most of the high end Android tablets or phones.

Screen

The screen at best can be called average.   It looks nice  and vibrant when looking straight, but at the slightest angle the colours start getting weird. It indicates a cheap TN panel. I am not saying that it is not usable, but this no iPAD IPS panel or the Galaxy S Super AMOLED display.  Fonts look good and crisp providing a good web browsing experience and reading eBooks is a good experience. I would suggest giving the bundled Aldiko reader the skip and installing FBReader or Cool Reader from the market.

Audio

Two speakers have been places on the top and the bottom side of OlivePad. The speaks are excellent for the form factor.  These are clear and loader than the average tablet speaker and better than some Netbook speaker. a +1 to Olive Telecom fro this.  This is a great when playing games and  I can even dare to watch YouTube videos without a headphone.

Continue reading →


13
Nov 05

PDA +Mobile Phone+Touch Screen = A768i

I have been using the Motorola A768i PDA phone for last 10 months. In these months it has not only been a mobile phone. It has become my personal assistant � reminding me of the N number of meeting I attend in a day. It has been my alarm clock. It has been my Internet browser. It has been my voice recorder. And the list goes on and on …

When I purchased the phone my requirement was a PDA cum mobile phone. It should have a small form factor, but should have a large display. I also did not want a Windows PDA.
I looked at all the PDA/mobile phones in the market. The A768i suited my requirements most. It had a small form factor, which I can easily carry in my pocket. Though it is relatively small, the display was quite large. This owing to the touch screen controls which eliminated the need of a keyboard. The phone worked on embedded Linux, so no worries of mobile viruses.

The phone comes fully loaded. It has blue tooth, Infrared, GPRS and USB connectivity. The Infrared has been very useful for syncing my Outlook calender and exchanging files to/from my laptop. The preloaded software on the phone is also very handy. It has a WML browser, a very versatile multi document reader called Pixel. I have tried loading PDF, Excel, Html files on the Pixel � it works like a song. It has full calender and task list management software. It even has POP3 email client and even supports VPNs � really amazing. It can play MPEG audio/video. There is also a paintbrush like tool.

On the touch screen you will get a full QWERTY keyboard. It also has handwriting recognition and voice control. The Voice control is much sophisticated then contemporary Nokia smart phones.

The phone doses not come with Games installed. If you have GPRS connection, then you can download some games for free from the Motorola site. The site also has free ring tones, wallpapers etc.

It has decent battery life for a PDA/phone. The biggest let down is the camera.