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Vodafone launches ‘Vodafone 360′ – A one stop place for all your social networking needs
Oct 31st, 2009 by Pai Solebille

Vodafone_360

Vodafone has launched its Vodafone 360 feature. The 360 is basically a one stop place for all your social networking needs. If you are on Facebook, Google, Hotmail, Yahoo and/or Twitter (and various other social networking and email sites), the 360 brings them all together in one single place.

The core features included in the 360 are as follows:

  • Connected Address Book
  • Communication
  • Maps & Places
  • Photos
  • Status Updates
  • Synchronisation

Ever wondered if you could consolidate all your contacts in a single place. The connected address book helps you organise your contacts spread across various sources into one single place. The address book hence is now a super set of all your contacts (on your phone, your social networks and email contacts). Groups can then be created within this superset for better contact management.

You can also effortlessly stay in touch with your contacts with phone, text, chat or email. Personal emails from Google and Hotmail can be read on the phone.

The Maps feature helps you with navigation. Voice directions are included. Also you can share your location on the phone and let your friends know your present location. Also share your favourite restaurants and bars with your friends.

Take photos and they are directly uploaded onto the internet. Share them with your friends if you wish to.

The Status Updates feature helps you see what your friends status updates presently are (on social networking sites) and share yours with them.

Now for the technical bits. The Synchronisation feature ensures that all of the above are synchronised into a single location. So if you lose your phone, its not a worry. It is all backed up online for you.

Only two phones are pre-loaded with the 360 feature at the moment, the Vodafone 360 Samsung H1 & the Vodafone 360 Samsung M1.

Samsung_H1_black_image2

Vodafone 360 Samsung H1 key phone features: (Click here for a detailed review of the Samsung H1)

  • 3.5″ OLED touchscreen
  • 16GB internal memory
  • Wi-Fi / HSDPA / Bluetooth 2.0
  • 5Megapixel autofocus camera with flash
  • 58×115.9×12.9mm / 134g

Samsung_M1_black_image1

Vodafone 360 Samsung M1 key phone features:

  • 3.2″ TFT touchscreen
  • 1GB expandable internal memory (MicroSD card)
  • Bluetooth 2.0 / HSDPA
  • 3Megapixel camera with 8x digital zoom
  • 55×111x13.3mm / 111g

However this service will be extended to the more popular models on Nokia and Sony Ericsson. If you have unlimited bandwidth on your phone you can still download the 360 onto your phone (provided the phone is compatible).

Samsung – Recession? what recession?
Oct 31st, 2009 by Pai Solebille

Samsung_Logo

Samsung Electronics seems to be doing rather well in a recession. Declaring results for the last quarter Samsung announced a massive $30.3 billion (£18.4 billion) in sales and a respectable $3.6 billion (£2.2 billion) in profits.

The South Korean electronics gaint has not been impacted as badly as the other big player in the electronics markets. Nokia has recently announced massive losses for example.

The key point to note is that their telecoms division has done exceptionally well. Far better than their other divisions. Raking in a net profit of nearly a billion dollars.

Samsung’s strategy has recently been, to provide higher feature electronics at a lower price. However they seem to have not yet been able to provide an end to end integrated solution like Nokia or Apple. The strategy of including a better camera or a better touch screen inteface has not yet paid dividends in the high end market segment. Samsung has hence done much better at the lower end of the market, while the Nokias, Apples and Blackberries have been battling it out on the smart phone side of things. The lower and middle segment of the mobile phone handset market is still massive. It is very easy to get diverted by the Nokia vs Apple battle, even though they account for a very small share of the overall mobile phone market. The bulk of the phones still sold in the world are the simple low end ones.

This seems to have played into Samsung’s advantage. They have silently cornered a higher share in the lower and middle segment. This is what the results declared validate.

Samsung is also going to invest nearly 5 billion dollars in research and development.

This huge spending means more pixels in our camera phones and higher disc storage on them. Overall, good news for the consumers indeed.

Blackberry Storm vs Blackberry Storm 2
Oct 29th, 2009 by Pai Solebille

Blackberry Storm 1(vs) Blackberry Storm 2

The Blackberry Storm that was launched by Research In Motion (RIM), an year ago, was plagued with problems post release. The Storm was launched in a rush and hence the problems. The interface didn’t work as it should, the touch screen left a lot to be desired and the phone auto-rotate feature was too slow to respond.

The Storm 2 basically fixes all that. Technically Storm 2 is called the 9520 (The Strom 1 was a 9500). However its not just the look and feel that have been upgraded. The Storm 2 has loads of new features built in, which were not previously in the Storm 1. Looks wise, both of them have the exact same dimensions and weigh nearly the same.

For starters, the Storm 2 has a ‘flashlight’. Well that is called progress. What would one do without the flashlight feature on the phone.

The major new features are:

  • Flashlight
  • The camera on the Storm 2 has a led flash.
  • A new upgraded sensor for the auto-rotate
  • The new Blackberry messenger
  • Wi-Fi support
  • Additional WAP support
  • Higher 2GB memory

Essentially the Smart 2 fixes all the issues with the usability aspect of the Storm 1 plus adds in loads of new features.

If you are thinking of getting the Storm 1 (9500), don’t, get the Strom 2 instead.

Also interesting is the fact that, at the moment the Storm 1’s are more expensive to buy, compared to the Storm 2. (Source: www.obil.co.uk)

Sony Ericsson Kurara – A scaled down Satio?
Oct 28th, 2009 by Pai Solebille

Sony Ericsson Satio

Nokia did it with the N97. The N97 has turned out to be a decent hit with smart-phone buyers. Hence Nokia decided to come out with a lighter/smaller version of the N97 called the N97 mini. The N97 mini, will have most of the features of the N97, but would only be smaller, lighter and cheaper. That was one great move.

Sony Ericsson is not letting itself be left out in the miniaturising existing successful phones story. The Satio has been fairly successful for Sony Ericsson. Featuring a massive 12MP camera, a touchscreen interface, Wi-Fi, integrated google maps and geo tagging. The camera obviously is its key selling point. The camera ofcourse in itself is  advanced for a mobile phone version. With integrated Xeon flash, autofocus, face recognition and an image stabiliser. Technologies that one can find in the mid-range digital cameras. The sequel to the Satio would be the Kurara. The best of Satio, scalled down a bit and ofcourse a lot cheaper. The camera is being toned down to a 8MP one.  Which is still more pixels than others have to offer at the moment.

Ofcourse, this means the Karura pricing would be correspondingly cheaper as well.

The Satio is a high price product from Sony Ericsson. (Eg: OBIL.co.uk sells them starting at £25 a month contract, with a initial handset cost of £135. Which is quite high.). The Kurara should be a lot cheaper than that.

NASA images now on iPhone – New App Launched
Oct 26th, 2009 by Pai Solebille

NASA

The official NASA App is out now.

The App connects you directly to all the high resolution pictures that are presently in NASA archives. Also included are the latest video updates, a countdown to the next major NASA launch and ofcourse the NASA official twitter update.

So for geeks around here, this is a one stop shop for all things ‘NASA’.

Hopefully NASA also comes up with an Android & Symbian version of this App for the other handset owners.

Included in the App are:

  • High resolution pictures
  • Latest videos
  • News updates
  • Countdowns
  • NASA Twitter updates

Enjoy !!

Apple’s iPhone to be on Orange early November 2009
Oct 26th, 2009 by Pai Solebille

Orange_Large

iPhone sales in the UK has been monopolised by O2, since the time the phone first arrived in the UK. This has pushed the prices up on the iPhone. The best contracts on O2 started at £34 a month, which ofcourse included a hefty initial charge for the handset. The prices on Carphonewarehouse (and their sister concern mobiles.co.uk which added the iPhone recently) mirrored the exact same pricing plans as O2 had set it. Generally Carphonewarehouse and its sister stores always offer better deals compared to the service providers (well most of the time).

This is all set to change. With O2 losing its protected right of sale on the iPhone early November, the other major players are already trying their best to get the best-selling iPhone on their inventory as early as possible. Getting it in stock early November would mean a good entry into the Christmas sale market (which is generally the high sales period). Missing the November deadline would mean O2 would have the massive share of the sales.

However looks like Orange might infact be ready to sell iPhone as early as the 2nd week of November. It would be a great coup if they could achieve that. The logistics involved in doing this would be phenomenal. Loads of marketing and sales guys will have to work overtime to ensure that they would be able to smoothly handle this transition. It is also likely that they could get it totally wrong, by hurrying things up and that means end users who pay for their phones, but do not eventually get hold of them in the specified time frame. Hopefully Orange does a good job with the planning.

Other networks, are not even remotely contemplating ending O2’s monopoly till just after Christmas and new years. Vodafone’s targetted release of the iPhone is early Jan 2010.  This is most likely because Vodafone have already worked on a Christmas sales strategy and are unwilling (unable) to change it at the last moment.

Orange has been really bold and hope they can pull it off.

Ofcourse one thing is for sure, the iPhone is going to be highly affordable in the future.

Nokia delays N900 internet tablet launch – Again !!
Oct 25th, 2009 by Pai Solebille

Nokia_Medium

The futuristic N900 was to be launched in October. Its already end of October and the phone is as yet not available to buy. Most probaly the phone should be out by Mid to End of November 2009. (That is guess BTW)

The N900 which is priced at the higher end of the market (expected pricing of £400) was expected to Nokia’s grand entry into the tablet sector.

Running a fully fledged Linux based operating system, this would in reality mean a near compatibility with the present day desktop/laptop generation. Supporting all the latest technology that for example a standard laptop could provide. The operating system would by way ahead of the existing ‘Symbian’ operating system that most of the present Nokia handsets tend to use.

The delay is not exactly good news for Nokia. A run up to Christmas sales means a further delay could cost them massive sales over the next few months. The have a few more weeks to get their act straight, before it would be too late for the sellers to change their planned inventory.

Most major sellers have already finalised their Christmas sales inventory by Mid August.

For Nokia, time is rapidly running out.

Nokia’s iTunes might be a failure
Oct 25th, 2009 by Pai Solebille

The much awaited Nokia’s ‘Comes with Music’ service does not seem to have done well enough to dent Apple’s share in the online music download segment of the industry.

The service launched in the UK around an year ago, was Nokia’s first major step into the ‘contents’ industry. This move signalled the move away from being a pure handset manufacturing role that Nokia has played for ages. Nokia has always believed that, it should concentrate on making great new handsets, while the external industry would deal with the content and services aspect of things. The arrival of Apple (with its iPhone) dramatically changed the way business is done in the market. The aim now was not just to corner the market of the handsets, but also to monopolize the whole services and content that came along with the handset.

Nokia_Medium

The number of subscribers to the Nokia service have crossed only the hundred of thousands and not the millions that Nokia would have hoped for.

The service has also suffered greatly due to the inability to package the deals well with the handsets. This has hence caused the service providers being non-interested in pushing and marketing the deals. No deal can be a success unless the actual service providers push for it. End of the day its they who decide what products sell and what don’t.

Nokia should work towards ensuring that the service providers in the future are a part of any future forays into content sales.

As of today Apple’s iTunes sits pretty with no new competition in sight.

Nokia to sue Apple over patent theft allegations
Oct 25th, 2009 by Pai Solebille

Nokia_Medium(vs) Apple_logo_Large

The best selling smart phone on the market has finally been challenged. Though not by a better phone from Nokia, but by a law suit claiming that the iPhone infringed on various patents that Nokia believes it needs to be compensated for.

The patents in question relates to the way speech is coded, the phone security & protection mechanisms and the wireless transfer technology applied on the iPhone and other Apple products.

Nokia, it must be remembered is not exactly doing well financially. Having recently reported a loss, this step by Nokia seems to  be a step towards claiming back the ‘big daddy’ tag in the mobile phone handset industry. Apple however has been doing exceptionally well. While Nokia’s marketing strategy has always been to flood the market with various models of phones, each catering to a different segment of the market, Apple has stuck to the single product model, which means it just bets on a single product (viz. the iPhone). The product is simple and does best what it is supposed to do. Apple seems to have got it totally right.

It is important to note that Nokia is the largest player in the handset sector (with a massive 40% share of the global market). Apple and others have years if not decades to catch up with Nokia in terms of net sales.

Apple’s share price did drop during the last few trading sessions.

However the outcome of this judicial battle will take quite a long time to conclude.

Till then however the whole mobile phone industry will watch this case with the utmost of interest, as this could set a precedent with unimaginable consequences for the industry.

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