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New range of high-end devices hit the market

January 24, 2011
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In October 2010, US-based PC manufacturer Dell joined hands with TATA DOCOMO and Qualcomm to launch the Dell Streak in India. The device, which combines the features of a smartphone and a tablet, is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor and is priced at Rs 34,990.

According to company officials, the move reinforces Dell’s ambition of leaving an impression on the Indian handset market and its focus on offering a wider range of smart devices on the GSM platform for its high-end data usage customers. The alliance also underscores a key trend that is emerging in the telecom space today.

According to research conducted by Forrester, staying connected while on the move leads to a 60 per cent improvement in business productivity. In line with this logic, Indian operators are focusing on providing a full suite of business applications to their customers on a single, converged platform – the smartphone.

While these devices are quite popular on the international stage, they are still very nascent in India. As a matter of fact, according to research firm Gartner, in the third quarter of 2010, worldwide mobile phone sales stood at 417 million units, a 35 per cent growth over the sale of 308 million units in the same period last year. Smartphone sales grew 96 per cent year-on-year, from 41 million units in the third quarter of 2009 to 80 million units. The contribution of smartphone sales increased from 13 per cent in the third quarter of 2009 to 19.3 per cent in the period under consideration.

In India, research firm In-Stat predicts that the market share of smartphones will touch over 9.5 per cent by 2011. According to industry analysts, the key factor that will drive the smartphone market is the need for real-time, on-demand access to information and applications such as email, multiple connectivity options, support for multiple bands, voice- and videoconferencing, calendar, contacts and other information. The demand for smartphones will also be fuelled by the changing needs of today’s consumers, who expect their mobiles to be more than just communication devices, without compromising on the look, simplicity and usability of a standard mobile phone. They do, however, caution that these devices are very expensive, which would be a hurdle in a price-conscious market like India. Interestingly though, new handset makers are offering all the functions of a smartphone at pocket-friendly prices.

tele.net takes a look at the smart devices launched in the past three months…

Vendors

Samsung 

Samsung has introduced the Galaxy Tab device in India. Priced at Rs 38,000, it is based on the Android operating system and packs in GPS technology, a 3 megapixel camera, support for e-reading facility, Google Maps facility and a Flash 10.1 player. The Tab also supports various email engines, including Google, MS Exchange and ActiveSync.

Another offering from Samsung’s stable, the Wave hand-held, offers users an AMOLED touchscreen with 16 million colours, handwriting recognition facility, TouchWiz user interface and photocall facility. Its other features include 1.5 GB of internal memory, class 10 GPRS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, support for 3G, a 5 megapixel camera, support for video recording and playback, WAP 2.0 and in-built GPS facility. It is priced at Rs 19,100.

Garmin-Asus 

Garmin-Asus has introduced its A10 Android navigation smartphone in India. The A10 is powered by the Android 2.1 operating system, using a 3.2 inch capacitive multi-touch screen. Its other features include a 5 megapixel autofocus camera, 4 GB of storage in addition to 512 MB of RAM and 512 MB of ROM for storing often-accessed files. It features Garmin’s proprietary car and pedestrian navigation technology, which utilises the built-in point of interest database that offers information related to movie timings, public transportation, shops and establishments, weather, gas prices and parking lot availability, etc. These services are integrated into the A10’s customised “Click and Go” function. The device is priced at Rs 18,990.

Nokia India 

Nokia has added to its smartphone portfolio with the launch of the N8 that comes packed with Ovi services. The N8 is powered by Symbian^3 and has a 12 megapixel camera, an inbuilt video recorder, access to social networking sites, support for MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, etc. format ringtones, a 16.7 million colour screen and support for Bluetooth. The device is priced at Rs 26,259.

Nokia has also introduced the N900 hand-held in the country. This offering has a TFT screen with 65,000 colours, a full QWERTY keypad, 32 GB storage memory and a 256 MB RAM. Its other features include GPRS, Bluetooth connectivity, a 5 megapixel camera and support for video recording and playback. The N900 is priced at Rs 30,639.

Sony Ericsson 

Sony Ericsson has launched its new Android handset, the Xperia X10 Mini, in the country. The phone features a 2.6 inch QVGA touchscreen, a 600 MHz processor, 128 MB of internal memory (expandable to 32 GB using microSD cards) and Wi-Fi connectivity. It also has an inbuilt GPS system, a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, and Bluetooth and USB connectivity. This model is priced at Rs 15,000.

Acer 

Acer has joined hands with Qualcomm to launch the Liquid E Ferrari special edition smartphone. Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon mobile processor, the Liquid has a 5 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a microSD card slot. It is priced at Rs 24,900.

Huawei Technologies 

Huawei Technologies Company Limited has entered the Indian handset market with the launch of four devices under the Hangout and Android series. These devices utilise Qualcomm’s chipset solutions and offer access to popular social networking sites. The Hangout series comprises the U9130 and C5600. The former is aimed at young adults and professionals, and incorporates an email solution, a QWERTY keypad and support for 3G. The C5600 CDMA hand-held, on the other hand, is aimed at the youth segment. It operates on the open market handset platform and features an inbuilt music player. The Android series comprises the U8300 and the U8500. The U8300 supports multiple emailing solutions including office emails, incorporates a QWERTY keypad and is 3G enabled. The U8500 houses an optical trackpad and users can access the Google Apps Marketplace that permits them to download multiple applications on the handset. The price of these devices has not been revealed yet.

Research In Motion 

Research In Motion (RIM) has announced the launch of the BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone. The device incorporates BlackBerry email, messaging, social networking capabilities and support for 3G. Its other features include Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS, an optical trackpad, dedicated volume and media keys, a 3.2 megapixel camera with flash and support for up to 32 GB of personal content. The BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone will be available in two models in India, the BlackBerry Pearl 9100, featuring a 20 key condensed QWERTY keyboard, and the BlackBerry Pearl 9105, with a 14 key traditional phone keyboard.

Dell 

Dell has announced the launch of two smartphones, the XCD28 and the XCD35. The XCD28 is priced at Rs 10,990 and XCD35 at Rs 16,990. Powered by the Android 2.1 operating system, with built-in 3G for high speed connectivity options including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the Dell XCD28 offers full internet browsing with a native browser, a media player supporting multiple formats for videos, music and photos, and features such as location awareness. Its other features include an FM radio and access to Microsoft Email Exchange through Activesync.  The Dell XCD28 has a 2.8 inch LCD touchscreen display, a 3.2 megapixel digital camera, and 200 MB of internal memory that can be increased to 16 GB using microSD memory cards. The Dell XCD35 houses a 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen display. It also has a 3.1 megapixel camera and support for Java.

Operators

TTSL 

Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL) has joined hands with RIM to launch the BlackBerry Bold 9650 smartphone. The device supports both CDMA and GSM and is 3G ready. Besides this, it packs in 512 MB of flash memory, an optical trackpad, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS technology, a QWERTY keypad, a 3.2 megapixel camera and video recording capability.

HTC Corporation has joined hands with TATA DOCOMO to launch the HTC Desire in India. The device houses a touch-sensitive screen with pinch-to-zoom capability, a 5 megapixel camera, 512 MB ROM and 576 MB RAM. The offering also supports 3G, GPRS, EDGE and Bluetooth connectivity, and functions on the Android 2.1 platform. The Desire is priced at Rs 28,900.

SSTL 

Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (SSTL) has launched three smartphones – the Ivory, Buzz and Alive. These hand-helds come equipped with social networking operations and data services. The Buzz is priced at Rs 4,999 and has a QWERTY keyboard and expandable memory of up to 4 GB. The Alive, priced at Rs 6,000, has an inbuilt Opera Mini browser. The Ivory costs Rs 13,500 and offers access to 60 mobile TV channels along with Microsoft Exchange push mail and access to various social networking sites.

Spice Mobility 

Spice Mobility has launched two new devices as part of the Connected Spice Life range. The handsets operate on the Android platform and are powered by chipsets from Qualcomm Incorporated. The Mi-300 incorporates a high resolution HVGA screen and houses applications such as GMS, MS Office, GPS and A-GPS for location tracking or turn-by-turn directions. Its other features include Wi-Fi connectivity, push email, a G-sensor, an e-compass and a 5 megapixel camera. The offering is available at Spice HotSpot outlets across the country for Rs 9,990. The Mi-410 has a 4.1 inch touchscreen and houses a 5 megapixel camera, support for video recording and playback, an MP3 player and stereo FM radio. It is priced at Rs 10,000.

Reliance Mobile 

HTC Corporation has collaborated with Reliance Mobile to launch the HTC Wildfire in India. The 3G-ready HTC Wildfire, equipped with the HTC sense experience facility, is an Android phone that offers access to social networking sites. It is based on Qualcomm’s 528 MHz MSM7225-1 processor, offers 512 MB ROM, 384 MB RAM and incorporates a QVGA 262,000 colour TFT capacitive touchscreen. Its other features include Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, a 5 megapixel camera and an inbuilt proximity sensor, a G-sensor, a digital compass, a light sensor, an FM radio and an optical joystick. It is priced at Rs 16,590.

Reliance Communications 

Reliance Communications has tied up with Samsung Mobile to launch the Samsung Galaxy i899 handset for CDMA subscribers. Based on the Android platform, the Galaxy i899 offers easy access to social networking sites and messaging services. It packs in an AMOLED touchscreen, a 3.2 megapixel camera, a media player, expandable memory up to 32 GB, Wi-Fi connectivity and an HTML web browser. The offering is priced at Rs 19,990. 

Net, net, it is evident that smartphones will occupy a significant albeit not a very major part of the mobile phone market over the next few years.

 
 
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