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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Microsoft India to hold Windows app festival for students

NEW DELHI: In less than a week from now, thousands of charged up students will get together to develop apps for the Windows platform.

On Feb 26, more than 10,000 students from across the country will gear up to code applications for a whole day at more than 50 hub centres, which are currently holding training sessions for students who wish to brush up their coding skills as they register, a Microsoft statement said.

On the day of the AppFest, the young developers will code under the supervision of Microsoft mentors, trainers and Microsoft Student Partners (MSPs), and submit the app online - an opportunity to make it available on the Windows Store after due diligence.

"On one hand, the trends in the IT space have evolved over the past few years, creating greater opportunities for students and budding developers. On the other, the global youth unemployment rate is currently at 12.7 percent - double the overall unemployment rate," Microsoft director (strategic audience marketing) Pratima Amonkar said.

"These two things clearly indicate a gap in demand and supply - and the obvious answer: Given the right skills and training, there is lot young technology students can achieve today. This is exactly what we are trying to do: bring together the opportunity and those who can utilize it.

"Obviously students recognize the opportunity, going by the enthusiastic response we have received across India so far," Amonkar added.

Microsoft will provide students at each of the hubs with free software such as Visual Studio Express for Windows 8, and with free Windows Store registration codes through Microsoft DreamSpark, the statement said.

"The focus will be on broad-based consumer applications, incorporating education, games, apps for social good etc. In addition to submitting the apps for evaluation for a chance to get on the Microsoft Store, the training and experience received via this program will boost the students' employability, and create a more capable developer ecosystem in the country," the statement added.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft Corporation (India) Private Ltd is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation, USA. It has had a presence in India since 1990 and currently has offices in nine cities - Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune.

BlackBerry Z10 price in India marked at Rs. 45,000, listed with e-retailers

BlackBerry Z10

The BlackBerry Z10 price in India is shy of approximately Rs. 1000 as compared to that of the HTC Butterfly, seeing as it stands to be Rs. 45,000. Even though it hasn’t received an official release in the country as yet, it has taken its position on some online shopping thresholds.

Still quite new to the market, the Z10 has already made its way to the US and the UK. For those who haven’t got a clear picture of the device as yet, let us shed some light on its specifications. The handset happens to be the first in its series to run the BB 10 OS and it is fueled by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with dual cores, each running at a speed of 1.5GHz.

Hoarding space of 16GB has been built in for users to plunk in content. If people still find their storage needs exceeding the internal capacity, they can always rely on the microSD card slot to allow an expansion of up to 64GB. The phone’s interior will find itself fitted with 2GB of RAM, serving as an assistant to the CPU, as well as a 1,800mAh battery powering the handset.
The 4.2-inch capacitive touchscreen which has been embedded on the front panel shares space with a 2MP webcam featuring 3x digital zoom. Speaking of the camera, users will also find an 8MP snapper standing next to a flash on the flip side, loaded with features such as auto focus, a BSI sensor and most importantly a Time Shift mode. Instead of explaining the last attribute, we recommend that our readers take a look at the video attached below.

So the BlackBerry Z10 has ended the anticipation and arrived in the country a little earlier than we had expected. According to one of our previous reports, it was supposedly pegged at Rs. 39,000, which clearly isn’t the case. As of now, it can be seen with a number of e-retailers including Tradus, Flipkart, The Mobile Store and more. Saholic is yet another shopping website which intends to stock the device and reveals it in both its colors – black and white.

Left And Right View

To cut the long story short, here are the core specifications of the smartphone at a glance:

- BB 10 OS
- 1.5GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
- 4.2-inch capacitive touchscreen display
- 768 x 1,280 pixel resolution
- 8MP main camera with Time Shift and 2MP   secondary camera
- 16GB internal memory, expandable up to 64GB
- 2GB of RAM
- 1,800mAh Li-ion battery

Google unveils touchscreen laptop

GOOGLE has unveiled its first touchscreen-enabled laptop. The Chromebook Pixel runs Google’s Chrome operating system and has been “largely built” by the web giant. 

The laptop has Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors, fast 4G LTE connectivity and a high-resolution screen aimed at challenging Apple’s Retina Display.

Analysts say the move represents a fresh bid to build market share for Chromebooks against machines running Microsoft and Apple operating systems. 

Unlike PCs that use installed software such as Microsoft Word, Chrome OS computers run their applications through the firm’s web browser and store their files in the cloud.

The internet giant told the BBC the device was “largely built by Google, with components that are manufactured globally”. The laptop’s 12.85in (32.64cm) display’s resolution is similar to the so-called Retina Display of Apple’s MacBook range, aimed to have pixel density high enough for the human eye not to notice pixelation when looking at the screen at a typical viewing distance. 

“This Chromebook has the highest pixel density (239 pixels per inch) of any laptop screen on the market today,” said the company.
“Packed with 4.3 million pixels, the display offers sharp text, vivid colours and extra-wide viewing angles. With a screen this rich and engaging, you want to reach out and touch it - so we added touch for a more immersive experience.”

Uninor asked to refund users' balance amount in Mumbai, Kolkata

NEW DELHI: Telecom regulator TRAI today directed Uninor to refund within 15 days the balance amount of its subscribers in Mumabi and Kolkata where the company has closed its operations.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its direction to Uninor also asked the company to facilitate shifting their numbers to networks of other service providers.
The regulator directed other telecom operators to accept porting request of Uninor customers. TRAI also directed Uninor to publish procedure for porting number and refund of money in newspapers and on its websites.

"Refund, within fifteen days of issue of this direction, the amount available in the account of the consumer," the TRAI direction said.

Uninor had informed TRAI that it had to close its operations in 15 service areas following the Supreme Court order of February 15, 2013 which did not permit operators to continue services without acquiring spectrum through auction process.

Uninor had 10,12,630 customers in Mumbai and Kolkata. PTI

Microsoft computers taken down by hackers


SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft joined Facebook and Apple on Friday on the list of US technology titans targeted in recent cyber attacks. 

"As reported by Facebook and Apple, Microsoft can confirm that we also recently experienced a similar security intrusion," Trustworthy Computing team general manager Matt Thomlinson said in a blog post.

"During our investigation, we found a small number of computers, including some in our Mac business unit, that were infected by malicious software using techniques similar to those documented by other organisations."

There was no evidence customer data was stolen but an investigation into the attack was continuing, according to Thomlinson.

"This type of cyberattack is no surprise to Microsoft and other companies that must grapple with determined and persistent adversaries," he said.

Apple on Tuesday said that hackers invaded its system in an attack similar to one recently carried out against Facebook, but that it repelled the intruders before its data was plundered.

The maker of iPhones, iPads, iPods and Macintosh computers said it was working with law enforcement officials to hunt down the hackers, who appeared tied to a series of recent cyberattacks on US technology firms.

"The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a website for software developers," Apple told AFP.

The malicious software, or malware, took advantage of a vulnerability in a Java program used as a "plug-in" for web-browsing programmes.

A "small number" of computer systems at Apple were infected but they were isolated from the main network, according the Silicon Valley-based company.

"There is no evidence that any data left Apple," Apple said.

Word of hackers hitting Apple came just days after leading social network Facebook said it was "targeted in a sophisticated attack" last month, but that no user data was compromised.

Facebook said malware that infected some of its machines came from a mobile developer website that had been booby-trapped.

Early this month, Twitter said it was hammered by a cyberattack similar to those that recently hit major Western news outlets, and that the passwords of about 2,50,000 users were stolen.

While those behind the attacks had yet to be identified, computer security industry specialists have expressed suspicions about China-sponsored hackers and Eastern European crime gangs.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Micromax A116 Canvas HD Beats Expectations; Sells 9000 Units in 24 Hours
Micromax's first quad-core smartphone, A116 Canvas HD which made its debut on Valentine's Day, has sold 9000 units of phones in less than 24 hours, said the company.

The A116 Canvas HD, which was available through the company website and, reportedly started on a high note and the sales figures were above the expectations of the company and the retailers. 

According to the company, the first lot of the smartphone has been sold out within 15 minutes of its launch and the second batch of 300 units was also sold in the morning at 9AM within 15 minutes. It also cited that the booking for the smartphone has been going at a high pace, accounting the current booking rate 25 units per minute.

"The response from our consumers has been phenomenal and the demand has been increasing every passing minute. After the unprecedented success of the Canvas 2, we are overwhelmed with the customer response for Canvas HD. 

This is the first time our online sales partners have ever witnessed a digital queue in cyberspace to such an extent for any product, to the traditional cue one normally sees. The data also shows that 60% of the orders received online have come from the metros," said Shubhodip Pal, CMO Micromax told NDTV Gadget.

The handset, which is available at Rs.13,990, features a screen of 5-inch HD IPS with a resolution of 1280x720 and 16.7 million color depths. It is powered by MediaTek's MT6589 1.2 GHz quad-core processor and runs on Android Jelly Bean 4.1 operating system. 

Other features and specifications include a 2000mAh battery, 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, 1GB RAM and 4GB internal storage which is expandable up to 32GB via micro SD support. Its connectivity features include 3G, WIFI, Bluetooth and GPS/A-GPS.

"This product exceeded our expectations by a huge margin. We took this live at midnight and we were completely surprised to see all 500 units which we expected to sell in the entire day sold out within 15 minutes of launch. 

Our call volume shot through the roof with enquiries and we have replenished inventory levels to cater to more sales. This kind of pace of sales beats our previous records," Tony Navin, vice president, Business Development, Snapdeal said.

LG Optimus G Pro with 5.5-inch full-HD display set to go on sale in Korea
LG Electronics Inc. said Monday its new smartphone with a full high-definition screen will go on sale in South Korea this week before hitting shelves in Japan in April.
The Optimus G Pro smartphone features a 5.5-inch screen that packs over 2 million pixels, or twice as many as smartphones with HD screens.
The new Android-powered phone sports other upgrades including a camera that can shoot full HD videos and photographs.

The South Korean company, Sony Corp., HTC Corp. and other phone manufacturers are trying to make high-resolution screens a key feature in their new smartphones this year.

Full HD screens are more common in televisions but smartphone makers began to embrace them this year amid cutthroat competition. One in every two smartphones is made by Samsung Electronics Co. or Apple Inc., creating a hardscrabble fight among the second-tier of makers.

LG executives said their current goal is elevating the reputation of the Optimus brand after turning around the company's mobile communications business following years of losses.

The Optimus G Pro is available at 968,000 won ($894) without in South Korea without a mobile carrier contract.

The model will be on display at the annual mobile fair in Barcelona, Spain kicking off next week.

Once the world's No. 3 mobile phone maker, LG was the fifth-largest mobile phone maker by shipments in 2012 after Samsung, Nokia Corp., Apple and ZTE Corp., according to market research firm IDC.

Transparent mobile phones could be a reality by end of this year

In a revolutionary development, a Taiwanese company claims to have developed a gen-next transparent mobile phone which it says will be in the market by the year end.
The company, Polytron Technologies, has already begun marketing a transparent multi-touch phone. Its prototype uses a 'Switchable Glass' technology.

That is a conductive Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) using liquid crystal molecules to display images, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

When the phone is in off mode, the molecules align to form a milky composition, but when switched on they re-align to form text, icons, and other images.

Electric current is carried through transparent wires.

"It will happen near the end of 2013. Trust me," said Polytron general manager Sam Yu.

The device still contains some parts that are not transparent, including a SD card and SIM card. The microphone, camera, and batteries are also visible, and will be hidden behind a dark glass cover when the model goes into production.

The company, according to Yu, will develop a smaller lithium ion battery that would be much less noticeable. When complete, the phone will have a dual-sided multi-touch display in front and back.

The prototype phone has yet to feature any software or operating system, the report said.

A Japanese company recently used a transparent liquid crystal display (LCD) in its wristwatch but had trouble adding hardware to the smaller frame.

"The challenge of using a transparent display in a wristwatch, and I suppose other wearable technology, is that you need to store the batteries somewhere else (usually they are stored behind the LCD panel)," Tokyoflash marketing manager Paul Cooper said.

It remains to be seen whether the phone's transparency by itself will attract buyers, as the prototype does not offer significantly different functions than most smartphones.

"Display quality is paramount," Avi Greengart, research director at Current Analysis, told The Verge.
"If the display quality is not up to par with the best of today's AMOLED and LCD screens, a phone using it won't sell even for its novelty value," said Greengart.

Samsung launches REX 60, REX 70, REX 80, REX 90 phones in India


Samsung has launched a series of 'smart feature phones' under the moniker of REX. The four touch-screen, dual-SIM models, REX 60, REX 70, REX 80, REX 90, under the series, have been priced between Rs. 4,280 and Rs 6,490.

All the phones support Smart Dual SIM allowing users to receive calls on the standby SIM as call waiting when the user is on a call through the primary SIM. 

The REX 70 and REX 90 also offer true 'hot swap' for the SIM cards, which essentially means that the user will not need to restart their phones. None of the phones are 3G enabled, however, the REX 80 and REX 90 phones support Wi-Fi connectivity. The company claims that the phones have been developed in India, and will be introduced across other growing markets.

The phones are based on Samsung's own feature phone OS featuring Samsung's Touchwiz User Interface (the company has integrated the same UI on its Galaxy range of Android phones) and support Java apps. 

The phones come preloaded with Facebook, Twitter, ChatOn, Google Talk and other messaging and social apps. Samsung has also preloaded 10 full version games from Gameloft. All phones also feature an FM radio tuner and support FM recording.

The REX 60 sports a 2.8-inch QVGA responsive (resistive) touch display, has a 1.3-Megapixel camera, and a 1000 mAh battery, promising a talk time of up to 15 hours. The phone also features a microSD card slot supporting cards up to 16GB of memory.

The REX 70 features a 3-inch capacitive QVGA display, a 2-megapixel shooter and expandable memory up to 32GB. The phone has a 1000 mAh battery, promising a talk time of up to 13 hours

The REX 80 also sports a 3-inch capacitive QVGA display, and a 3-megapixel camera. It also offers Wi-Fi connectivity and has a 1000 mAh battery promising 14 hours 40 minutes of talktime.

The REX 90 has a 3.5-inch capacitive HVGA display, a 3.2-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi connectivity and a 1000 mAh battery promising 15 hours of talk time. Samsung is also offering some content services including My Movies, music and live TV services, with the Rex 90.

Specifications for REX 60
  • 2.8-inch resistive QVGA Display
  • Smart Dual SIM
  • 1000 mAh battery promising Up to 15hrs Talktime
  • Touchwiz UI with 8 customizable homescreens
  • 1.3-Megapixel Camera
  • Preloaded Applications - Facebook & Twitter
  • Activesync: Push Mail with Contact & Calendar Sync
  • Opera Mini Browser
  • 10 Full Version Gameloft Games
  • 9 Regional Language support
  • Messengers: ChatON, Yahoo, GTalk & Facebook ChatFree Games, Music & Apps from Samsung App store

Specifications for REX 70
  • 3-inch Capacitive QVGA Display
  • Smart Dual SIM & True Hot Swap
  • Touchwiz UI with 8 customizable homescreens
  • 2-Megapixel Camera
  • 1000 mAh battery promising up to 13hrs Talktime
  • Preloaded Applications - Facebook & Twitter
  • Activesync: Push Mail with Contact & Calendar Sync
  • Opera Mini Browser
  • 10 Full Version Gameloft Games
  • 13 Regional Language support
  • Messengers: ChatON, Yahoo, GTalk & Facebook Chat
  • Free Games, Music & Apps download from Samsung App store

Specifications for REX 80
  • 3-inch Capacitive QVGA Display
  • Smart Dual SIM
  • 1000 mAh battery promising up to 14.7hrs Talktime
  • Touchwiz UI with 8 customizable homescreens
  • Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n)  
  • 3-Megapixel Camera
  • Preloaded Applications - Facebook & Twitter
  • Activesync: Push Mail with Contact & Calendar Sync
  • Opera Mini Browser
  • 10 Full Version Gameloft Games
  • 9 Regional Language support
  • Messengers: ChatON, Yahoo, GTalk & Facebook Chat
  • Free Games, Music & Apps download from Samsung App store

Specifications for REX 90
  • 3.5-inch Capacitive HVGA Display
  • Smart Dual SIM & True Hot Swap
  • Touchwiz UI with 7 customizable homescreens
  • Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n)
  • 3.2-Megapixel Camera
  • 1000 mAh battery promising up to 15hrs Talktime
  • Preloaded Applications -
  • myMovies, myMobileTV & myStation
  • Facebook & Twitter
  • Activesync: Push Mail with Contact & Calendar Sync
  • Opera Mini Browser
  • 11 Regional Language support
  • Messengers: ChatON, Yahoo, GTalk & Facebook Chat
  • Free Games, Music & Apps download from Samsung App store

Huawei launches dual-SIM Ascend Y210D Android smartphone for Rs. 4,999

Huawei has launched an entry-level budget Android smartphone in the Ascend series priced at Rs.4,999. Dubbed as the Ascend Y210D, the device comes in ceramic white and phantom black colours and is available with various virtual and physical retailers, Huawei Experience outlets and multi-brand outlets across India.

Measuring 12.4 mm in thickness and weighing 120 grams, the Ascend Y210D comes with a 3.5-inch HVGA (480 x 320 pixels) capacitive touch display and runs on Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread. The device comes with a 2-megapixel fixed focus rear camera with a CMOS sensor.

The smartphone is powered by a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Cortex A5 processor with 256MB RAM. There's 512 MB of internal storage expandable upto 32GB with microSD support.

On the occasion of the launch, Mr. P. Sanjeev, Sales Director, Huawei Device India, said, "The Y210D has been crafted to meet the needs of the current informed, updated and mobile generation of today who exist in a connected environment. 

Affordably available at the best buy price of Rs 4,999 to suit the needs of our young users, I am sure they will see this as the alternate or rather as the only choice opposed to purchasing any mid-range smartphone available in the market today because we offer much more for less."

The device supports dual-SIM (GSM+GSM) with dual standby functionality and Huawei promises a 5 second fast boot-up. The smartphone's 1700 mAh battery uses Huawei's Power Saving Technology promising up to 30% more battery life.

Connectivity wise, the smartphone supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, 3G (HSDPA 7.2 Mbps), Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and GPS.

Commenting on the launch, Anand Narang, Marketing Director Huawei Device India said, "To enable internet access for millions of Indian youth, we wanted to offer a compelling mid-range smartphone proposition at an entry level price. 

Huawei Ascend Y210D offers a bigger 3.5" screen, faster 1GHz processor, dual SIM for managing voice & internet connections and best-in-class battery life. Ascend Y210D will help us put a no-compromise first smartphone into the hands of millions of younger Indians in smaller towns & cities".

 Huawei Ascend Y210D specifications
  • 3.5-inch HVGA  (480 x 320 pixels) capacitive touch display
  • 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7225A processor
  • 256MB RAM
  • 512 MB of internal storage with upto 32GB expansion support via microSD
  • 2-megapixel fixed focus rear camera
  • 3G (HSDPA 7.2 Mbps), Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, GPS
  • Dual SIM (GSM + GSM) with dual standby
  • 1700 mAh battery
  • Android 2.3.6
  • Measures 12.4 mm
  • Weighs 120 grams

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Google announces Mapathon 2013 in India, offers prize incentives

Google is trying to ramp up Maps in India by holding its first mapping competition in the country – Mapathon 2013. The mission? For users to add destinations and more to Maps via Google Map Maker. Those who participate could end up being awarded with one of a few different items, including an Android tablet, smartphone, gift voucher, or Google merchandise.


The Mapathon 2013 contest starts on February 12, and will end on March 25. Those who fall within the top 1000 mappers within the country will be eligible for the prizes. Registration is open now, and all users who want to take part must register. Once registered, users can head over to the Map Maker to start mapping locations they’re familiar with.

Map Maker is simple and straight forward to use, with a drop-down menu that allows one to choose between places, roads/rivers/railways, natural figures/political boundaries, and a tool for drawing outlines of structures. In addition, users can also edit existing places, structures, boundaries, and other markings made by other users who didn’t get it quite right.

Additions will then be verified, and as long as no changes need made, will be approved and made live for all to see. It’s only fitting that the tool is used in Google’s first-ever India mapping contest, since Map Maker itself was first thought up in India. Since then, the tool has been rolled out globally for anyone to help improve Maps.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Airtel Wi-Fi in Mangalore mall

Bharti Airtel has said that City Centre Mall in Mangalore is the first mall to go completely Wi-Fi in Karnataka.

A press release said here that Saurabh Goel, Chief Operating Officer, Bharti Airtel Karnataka, inaugurated the Airtel Wi-Fi hotspot zone at City Centre Mall on Saturday.

Anyone with a Wi-Fi enabled device can connect to the Airtel Wi-Fi hotspot. Stating that Mangalore is now Wi-Fi enabled city, he said around 100 retail outlets in Mangalore have been covered under this.

The aim is to reach a target of 300 outlets by March, he said. Soon such a facility will be extended to Udupi and Manipal, he added.

Blackberry and Dell want to switch markets

Two major players in the information technology industry announced major changes that they hope will help their organisations reinvent themselves and survive in the age of IT consumerisation, bring your own device and cloud computing.
One is Dell, which undertook a $24bn buyout to take the firm private this week; the other is the company formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM), now reborn as simply Blackberry, which launched its overhauled Blackberry 10 operating system last week.
In case you've missed all the excitement, here are the salient points of Dell's and Blackberry's future plans.
Dell's leveraged buyout, which involves Silver Lake Partners and a $2bn loan from Microsoft, is intended to allow the company to move out of the public and shareholder spotlight and refocus on becoming a end-to-end enterprise IT provider, along the lines of IBM or Oracle.
In a letter posted on the Dell website on Friday, company founder and CEO Michael Dell explained that "secure, easy to manage, end-to-end solutions from the cloud to the datacentre to devices remain at the core of our value proposition", adding that Dell wants to focus on "delivering a fantastic customer experience and creating value for your organisation".
With the major launch of the Blackberry 10 mobile operating system and the more minor name change, the Canadian smartphone maker is hoping to turn around its flagging fortunes, disassociating the firm from the old RIM brand and relying on the stronger Blackberry moniker.
Along with the totally overhauled OS come two new devices, the iPhone-like Z10 and the upcoming Q10, which is more of a traditional Blackberry with a full Qwerty keyboard and small touchscreen above.
So how likely is either firm to succeed in its intentions? The key indicators for me are the firms' target markets and messaging around the changes.
The Blackberry name change in itself isn't exactly imaginative and is unlikely to have much impact on the firm's chances of success. Most of its customers, both business and consumer, were probably unfamiliar with the RIM name and only thought of Blackberry anyway.
However, it can't hurt Blackberry to put as much space as possible between its ongoing operations and the woes that befell RIM - the outages, the encryption saga, the hapless executives.
But what stands out here is the discrepancy between Blackberry's target audience and who is actually using its devices. As many have pointed out, the Z10 is very iPhone-like in its look and feel, and the firm is clearly going after the broad consumer market with adverts for the device appearing in places like commuter paper Metro and during last weekend's Super Bowl.
But while Blackberry Messenger (BBM) was the craze with teenagers for a few years, they've long since moved on to Apple and Android, and the firm must remember that it actually achieved its initial success by going after one clear goal - being the de-facto enterprise mobile device.
There are still plenty of enterprise customers using Blackberry due to its Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) product, but these will soon dwindle away now that the firm isn't doing as much to highlight the innovative features it's adding for business users and persuade its corporate customers to stick with BES.
Compare that to Dell, which has almost the opposite problem to Blackberry with its heritage in consumer hardware that it now wants to shed and evolve into an enterprise IT provider.
Dell made unsuccessful attempts with its Streak range to break into the tablet market, but having realised this was not going to work, it withdrew them from sale and instead gave its full attention to building out its enterprise IT arm with purchases like thin-client firm Wyse, enterprise software firm Quest and IT services firm Perot Systems.
The wording of Michael Dell's message today, with its reference to security, manageability and cloud services, makes it very clear exactly what type of firm Dell wants to be and its recent acquisitions are evidence of how it plans to achieve this transition from hardware maker to enterprise IT vendor.
When I think of the successful IT players, those still raking in the cash despite the downturn, the names that jump to my mind are Apple, Oracle, IBM and Samsung. What links these firms is that they all have a very clear target market. Yes, Apple and Samsung are the darlings of the enterprise when it comes to staff choosing their own handsets, but neither firm spends any time or marketing budget going after the business base. Instead, you'll find Galaxy and iPads adverts plastered all through glossy lifestyle magazines, on video billboards at shopping centres and on prime-time TV slots.
IBM and Oracle have carved out clear paths as core enterprise technology players, shedding unwanted consumer divisions like the IBM PC arm sold long ago to Lenovo. When it became obvious that mobile was the future for the corporate world, neither firm rushed to snap up a mobile vendor, like HP with its ill-fated Palm buy, and instead they fleshed out their own offerings through R&D and acquisitions to support their business customers' mobile requirements.
Dell and Blackberry both have rocky roads ahead. But Dell might have the slight upper hand in that it's clear that it wants to be a purely enterprise player, like an IBM or an Oracle, while Blackberry is making all the appearances of wanting to be a consumer smartphone provider, like an Apple or Samsung, but without having the confidence to come out and say that's where it thinks its future lies.

Android developers are going to love BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry made the transition from being a company that was developing a new smartphone platform to a company that actually has a smartphone platform out in the market. The game has now changed.

BlackBerry 10 launched with an BlackBerry World catalogue that was 70,000 apps strong. That catalogue has some problems -- most notably that apps are of a certain relatively low quality and utility, and that virtually all of hero apps that contribute significantly to the dominant platforms (iOS and Android) are missing.

There's also a perception that the catalogue is very "Android heavy". BlackBerry 10, like PlayBook before it, has an "Android Player". This is a runtime that allows Android apps to run on BlackBerry 10 as if they're normal application. In fact, as of the time of writing only 17 percent of the catalogue are repackaged Android apps. At the current run rate where they're adding about a thousand apps per day, that suggests about 13,000-odd of the apps in the catalogue are actually Android apps. 

Notionally, this is fine. An app is an app, and as a user if I like an app I'm not sure if I care too much whether it's a full-blown BlackBerry 10 app or an Android app. But it does create a problem for BlackBerry.


The actual process of moving an Android app onto BlackBerry 10 (and PlayBook, incidentally) isn't so much "conversion" as "re-packaging". BlackBerry provides tools to do this and the process is very easy. 

Over the past two years whilst BlackBerry has been rebooting, the company has put a staggering amount of effort into schmoozing developers into developing apps for the platform. 

What I hadn't realised was how popular the BlackBerry apps ecosystem was before BlackBerry 10. Each quarter BlackBerry currently adds between 10,000 and 15,000 new apps to the BlackBerry World catalogue just for old school BlackBerry OS 7 devices. We can add to this the fact that a good number of larger, old school BlackBerry shops developed in-house, "behind the firewall" apps to expose internal systems data on BlackBerry handsets. What this suggests is that when BlackBerry reached out to its developer community and started talking about the new BlackBerry 10 they had a lot of goodwill to draw upon. Not diminishing what they managed to do in terms of building a huge app catalogue at launch, just like BlackBerry has now gone from being a business with a platform under development to one with a platform in the market, that story may well be changing as they now have to "on-board" software developers who don't have prior investment in BlackBerry.

If you're a software developer, if you take a very high-level view of the market, we know that in terms of smartphone sales in the US iOS and Android account for a little over 95 percent of smartphone sales. A "first principles" view suggests that if you have "x" amount of dollars to spend on development, hitting both iOS and Android covers almost all of your potential market. Of course, you may know something about your customer base that's not expressed in this blunt "95 percent" figure, but let's just assume you've nothing weird going on.

When it comes to BlackBerry, we're talking about the third ecosystem. Microsoft is also competing for this space for Windows Phone. Remember, in the US at least the sliver of market share left for a third ecosystem is currently just five percent of the market. Of course, this sliver might get relatively bigger over time.

The rather odd situation BlackBerry now finds itself in is with regards to the Android Player. Say you have an app that does rather well on iOS and Android and the third ecosystem is starting to push demand up from your customer base. If that third ecosystem is Windows Phone to satisfy that demand you have to rebuild your app as you can't just take the source code used to build the iOS and/or Android apps and cross-compile it for Windows Phone. If that third ecosystem is BlackBerry 10, all you have to repackage your Android app and submit it to BlackBerry World. Assuming it works first time, that job that could take about ten minutes.

The only problem is that BlackBerry don't want you to do that.


Like Microsoft, BlackBerry has a vision with regards to the user experience that they want their smartphone users to enjoy. On BlackBerry this is things like BlackBerry Peek (the gesture where you can see incoming notifications, emails etc) and BlackBerry Flow. Flow is a little more wooly -- it's the idea that rather than, as per iOS, you dip in and out of siloed apps you can zip around smoothly without really being aware of flowing around between different apps from different vendors.

The problem is that unless you build a native app for BlackBerry 10, ideally using the Cascades framework you don't get any of that new user experience stuff. An Android app ported to BlackBerry 10 is just a siloed app just like it might be on Android or iOS. However, that's more of a problem for BlackBerry than it is for the users. There's little evidence that a top-down user experience that permeates the entire OS delivers much value to the user. This sort of approach is a solution created by platform vendors seeking a problem. (Interestingly Microsoft does this both on Windows Phone and Windows 8/Windows RT, but iOS and Android don't do this -- yet those two enjoy 95 percent market share figure?)

On iOS, if you build a native app you use Objective-C. On Android you use Java. On BlackBerry 10, you use C/C++. (For reference, on Windows Phone, you use C#.) This is the classic cross-platform engineering problem of mobility -- you can't take code from any one platform that you develop for and just cross-compile it over to another platform. Hitting multiple platforms requires distinct, costly development effort both in terms of initial cost, and in terms of ongoing costs. 

I tend to regard multiple platform support as the biggest problem faced by software companies targeting mobile platforms. It's simply a massive unfathomable mess of risk and cost. Insanely, the presence of Android Player on BlackBerry 10 in one fell swoop solves the problem. If you're already invested in Android, or you want to invest in Android, you essentially get BlackBerry 10 for free.

That's great for you, but bad for BlackBerry if they wish to remain true to their vision of pushing the user experience in BlackBerry 10. For the record, they like people coming over to BlackBerry World using the Android Player track, but they see it as a "toe in the water" exercise with the desire to see the vendor create a proper, ported, app that takes advantage of everything the platform has to offer. But being able to use Android Player in this way it's not a "toe in the water". It's a nice, relaxing, warm bubble bath with candles and soft music. 

Whereas I can see that software developers with an pre-existing investment in BlackBerry will want to do a native version of the app and push through the BlackBerry 10 user experience vision, I can't see that with commodity developers who are simply ticking a box to keep what by definition in most cases has to be a relatively small subset of the customer base happy.

BlackBerry's intention is that they'll incentivise developers to produce apps that are "Built for BlackBerry". You'll be familiar with this idea -- adhere to certain rules and your app will gain certification. Over time, BlackBerry intends to shift to a position where they're only giving the big love to apps that are "Built for BlackBerry". (For example, eventually only apps that are "Built for BlackBerry" will appear on the BlackBerry World carousel.) And, of course, if all you've done is just moved an app over from Android, you don't get to be certified and hence don't get the big love.


This is a slightly tricky position for BlackBerry. The Android Player could be the silver bullet against Windows Phone by -- from the perspective of a software developer -- essentially turning BlackBerry 10 into an additional Android variant. Developers that target Android are already having to deal with fragmentation -- BlackBerry 10 is just another dimension to that fragmentation. By being able to lift Android apps directly over to BlackBerry 10 developers avoid any requirement to re-engineer their apps. On Windows Phone this re-engineering is unavoidable, adding significant additional cost to targeting that platform. 

Remember that "17 percent Android apps in the catalogue" figure from earlier? I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of apps for BlackBerry 10 were Android apps as we get to the end of 2013. And I can't see how that's a problem -- the software developers would be happy, the users would be happy, and BlackBerry World's catalogue increases in utility.


DoT panel for common telecom and TV services operator

New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) A DoT panel has recommended a new unified licence for telecom and broadcasting offerings that would enable end users to get a host of services such as mobile, landline, DTH, cable TV from a single company without the entity necessarily owning the full infrastructure.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Aircel launches 'free calling with data usage' plan

Even as telecom operators are looking to raise call and data tariffs to improve margins, Aircel has introduced a new plan called 'Surf to talk free', which offers free calling with data usage. The new plan is aimed at expanding the operators' market share and increasing revenues. Aircel's new plan, however, is unlikely to prompt other operators to come up with similar plans or discounted plans.

Aircel is offering 10 minutes of local calls free on consumption of 1MB or more of data. Users can avail the free calling everyday. Aircel's chief marketing officer Anupam Vasudevan says the subscribers will be benefited from the scheme. "It is not discounting, it is actually giving the customer extra," Vasudevan is quoted as saying, while explaining reason behind aiming higher revenue rather than the per second profitability.

Aircel's new plan may look attractive, but there's a catch. As The Mobile Indian points out Aircel is offering free calling when users are using data at the base rate and is not part of any pack.

Also, the base rate charged by Aircel is 10 paisa per 10KB for 2G and 3G data, therefore subscribers have to shell out Rs. 10 on consuming 1MB of data. To know more about Aircel's 'Surf to Talk free' plan, clickhere.

Economic Times in its report says the rivals don't consider Aircel's plan a potential threat. The report quotes a competitor as saying the GSM technology network, deployed by the most operators in the country, is not compatible with data consumption. Companies make Rs. 0.35-0.50 per minute for voice whereas operators make Rs 0.06-0.07 from the similar capacity consumption at current data rates.

According to Gartner's research director, Kamlesh Bhatia, such plan on LTE or 4G would be more “disruptive”, as the main usage of the network is data. "A plan like this will affect call rates across the industry if rolled out by an LTE player because you (existing GSM players) will lose a chunk of high telephone service users."

Reliance Industries (RIL) is planning to provide a free voice connection along with a data connection on the LTE network, but the company is yet to officially announce 4G in the country. "The only thing to worry about is RIL saying that it will reduce data prices to a sixth, but even they would know that cannot lead them to profitability," a competitor is quoted as saying.

Aircel's new plan comes at a time when other operators are raising voice and data tariffs in a bid to cover inflating costs. Recently, telecom major Airtel and Idea Cellular raised their tariffs. Aircel, on the other hand, has been going against the stream. The operator recently launched a new tariff plan that makes roaming across voice, SMS and data services free.

Called the 'One Nation, One Rate' plan, subscribers will pay 1 paisa per second for both STD and local calls in their home circles, as well as on roaming. For local and STD SMSes, the operator will charge Re 1. Incoming will be free. Read more about Aircel's One Nation, One Rate plan here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

HTC 'M7' confirmed for Feb 19 unveil at New York City, London events

HTC has sent out invites to a launch event to show the world its latest Galaxy-beating flagship phone.

Although the invitation only confirms that the company is holding an event in London, this will be the new flagship phone which has been codenamed the HTC M7.

There's very little information to go on but the new handset is said to sport a full HD screen that will match the dimensions of the Galaxy S3 but destroy it on sharpness by packing so many more pixels in.

Of course we'll likely also see a 1.7-GHz quad-core processor, likely from Qualcomm, as well as a 13MP camera bolted on the rear.

HTC has decided to announce the M7 before MWC 2013 begins in Barcelona later in the month… clearly the Taiwanese firm is worried about being lost in the noise by revealing the handset amid the fervour in Spain.

*source :

Vertu Ti : Is Nokia Involved in The Making of An Android Powered Luxury Handset?

Vertu Ti: Nokia Involved In Making of Android Luxury Phone?
Consequently, rumor has it that Nokia is involved in the making of an upcoming handset - Vertu Ti - which is likely to be one among many Android handsets prepared by Nokia's ex company - the umber-cool luxurious handset maker Vertu. Reportedly, the handset pictures have got leaked recently.

Nokia may have positioned itself as the manufacturer, which is focusing on Windows Phone for smartphones. However, in the past the Finnish mobile maker has also indicated that the company is keeping an open mind about using alternatives to Microsoft's mobile OS - potentially considering the launch of devices based on Android.

As per various reports, the handset is likely to be announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013, slated to happen this month at Barcelona. The rumor of Vertu smartphone entering into Android territory is the biggest secret till date, although, as the the biggest mobile telephony fair is coming closer, chances are that the tech enthusiasts will get more updates about Verty Ti in days to come.

According to a report published by Japanese blog named Blog of Mobile, the handset is said to arrive with Android 4.0. Other features expected to be enthrusted in Vertu Ti are dual - core processor (most likely 1.5GHz Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon processor), Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and a dud 1,250mAh powered battery. As per Unwired View report, the Vertu Ti also holds the model number RM-828V, which is similar to Nokia's Windows Phone 8 handsets. 

Meanwhile, the device will reportedly also come bundled with a camera, for sure, but can't say - how many pixels it may carry.

Further, reports are also noticed a hardware resemblance of Vertu Ti with Nokia Lumia series. If this is true, then, Nokia must have contributed its engineering skills with Vertu Ti, for sure. However, the tech world will have to wait and watch for the exact details to get poured in by some other reliable source or by the spokesperson of the company.

With Vertu, most likely, to adopt new age mobile operating system in the highly competitive world; the outdated Symbian OS is the biggest sufferer among all the aged OS. Until now, Vertu only relied on aged mobile OS, for instance, Symbian. After the break- up with Finnish giant, the new owners would likely to give Vertu - a brand of substance combining with the goodness of Android.

The device hasn't been confirmed yet, but it is said that the cost of Constellation Ti (Vertu Ti) will come with a price of 3000 Euros (approx. Rs 2,20,000). That's a big price to be paid for a smartphone. But, hey, after all, it's a luxurious phone made for rich people. Isn't it?

If Vertu Ti, is a real phone, then possibilities are that the smartphone arena will be seeing a lot more luxury smartphone to be launched at Mobile World Congress 2013.

Intel to demo dual-core mobile platform at MWC

Intel has announced that it will show off Android devices based on its new dual-core Atom platform at the Mobile World Congress. A bunch of Windows 8 tablets are also in tow.

The dual-core Androids are based on Intel’s new Atom Z2420 and Intel is targeting the inexpensive platform at emerging markets.

OEMs will also show off their devices based on the new platform, which Intel describes as a “new dual core, dual graphics platform.”

Intel will also use the show to brief its partners on Merrifield and Bay Trail-T developments. The chipmaker has also started stamping out its LTE/4G baseband chip, but it will not have an integrated LTE design until early 2014.

A range of Windows 8 tablets and convertibles will also be featured at Intel’s booth, but details are scarce.

General Motors launches Sail sedan at Rs. 4.99-7.51 lakh

Chevrolet Sail launch Bengaluru: General Motors India Vice President  P Balendran (R) and Sastry Vempati, VP-New Business Development, General Motors, pose with the newly launched Chevrolet Sail Sedan in Bengaluru on Friday.
General Motors India today launchedthe sedan version of its compact car Sail with introductory prices ranging between Rs. 4.99 lakh and Rs. 7.51 lakh (ex Showroom Delhi).

"It is an important addition to GM's sedan line up in India. It competes in one of the fastest-growing segments," GM India President and Managing Director Lowell Paddock told reporters here.

The Sail is built on a new global passenger car platform from GM's Chinese partner SAIC, created specially for the fast-growing emerging markets.

The Sail sedan will compete with the likes of Swift DZire from Maruti Suzuki and Indigo from Tata Motors.

It is available in both petrol and diesel options. While the petrol version is powered by a 1.2 litre engine, the diesel option has a 1.3 litre engine.

The petrol variant is priced between Rs. 4.99 lakh and 6.41 lakh. The diesel option comes at a price range of Rs. 6.29 lakh and Rs. 7.51 lakh.