September has been an incredibly busy month for the Android scene in India, with the latest flagships from Samsung, LG, and Sony all releasing in India this month, following their announcement during IFA 2013 at the beginning of September. It’s great to see the Indian market being given a priority by these international OEMs, with the country being one of the first to receive all of these amazing smartphones.
Along with a host of smartphones and tablets released by local manufacturers, new Indian app releases, and some network carrier news, we have a lot to talk about. Let’s get started!
A few months after its official announcement, the HTC Butterfly S has finally made it to Indian shores earlier this month. A successor to the HTC Butterfly (or Droid DNA), the Butterfly S features an upgraded processor, and HTC’s new Ultrapixel camera technology, while keeping the design aesthetics of the current smartphone similar to its predecessor. Here’s a quick look at the specifications of the HTC Butterfly S -
As you can see from the specifications, the HTC Butterfly S is a very impressive device, but would have done much better if it had released a few months back, considering the fact that the latest high-end releases feature Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. Not helping is the fact that HTC seems to have got the pricing completely wrong.
The HTC Butterfly S was first spotted online priced at Rs 52,428 on Saholic (the listing has since been pulled), and now the smartphone can be picked up from online retailers Fadka for Rs 49,600, with another listing by Infibeam indicating a price tag of Rs 54,990. This price point is definitely not a good idea, since the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, LG G2, Sony Xperia Z1, and other high-end flagships released earlier this year are all cheaper.
Continuing to add to its ever-growing smartphone portfolio (check out our complete guide here), Micromax has launched yet another budget-friendly quad-core smartphone, the Micromax Canvas Ego A113. Here’s a quick look at the specifications of the latest smartphone from the local manufacturer here -
Compared to some other similar releases in India that feature MediaTek processors, the Canvas Ego A113 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 chipset. The Canvas Ego is definitely a good buy at its price point, available from Rs 11,884 from Flipkart, and Rs 11,934 from Snapdeal.
While popular local manufacturers like Micromax have shied away from Full HD devices to avoid high costs, lesser known OEMs such as WickedLeak and Intex have taken up the cause. This month, Intex announced the launch of the Intex Aqua i7, a 5-inch smartphone featuring a Full HD display, a quad-core processor, and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on-board. Here’s a look at the complete specifications of the Intex Aqua i7 -
As you can see, the Intex Aqua i7 is comparable to most high-end releases from international OEMs, at least on paper. Even though the device doesn’t feature a microSD slot, you also get access to free 5GB of storage on Intex cloud.
The Intex Aqua i7 is currently available for Rs 21,900 from online retailers Flipkart.
Along with the Aqua i7, Intex also launched the Intex Aqua HD, another quad-core smartphone, but with more modest specifications compared to the Aqua i7. Let’s take a look -
While the specifications are quite standard (expect for the impressive camera), The 7.9 mm thick Aqua HD comes with a metal frame with a piano lacquer back cover and aluminum alloy keys, along with its 4-7-inch display featuring OGS (One Glass Solution).
Another day, another budget-friendly quad-core smartphone. This time it’s a device from Celkon Mobile, the Monalisa ML5. Let’s take a look at the specifications of the device -
The Celkon Monalisa 5 is priced effectively to compete against the numerous smartphones currently available in the Indian market that boast similar specifications. You can pick up the Monalisa 5 from online retailers Snapdeal for Rs 10,720.
Following the official announcement of the device at a pre-IFA event, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has officially been released in India as well, making India one of the first markets to receive the highly-anticipated smartphone. India is also one of the countries to receive the Samsung Exynos 5420 octa-core version (1.9 Ghz quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 + 1.3 Ghz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7) of the smartphone. As a recap, here’s a quick look at the specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 -
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is currently available from various Samsung stores, the official Samsung eStore, and online retailers such as Flipkart for Rs 49,900. Snapdeal has the device on offer for a slightly cheaper Rs 49,229.
The smartwatch companion to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Gear, was also launched. As a reminder, the Galaxy Gear features a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display with 320×320 resolution, an 800MHz processor, and 512MB of RAM. Other features include a 1.9-megapixel BSI sensor on its strap, 4GB internal storage, and a 315mAh battery, which, according to Samsung, can last for “more than a day.”
The Galaxy Gear is currently available from the Samsung eStore for Rs 22,990.
Don’t forget to check out our hands-on and comparison videos of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Gear in action below -
A day after the Samsung Note 3 launch, Sony held its own press event in Delhi during which not only was the Sony Xperia Z1 launched, but also featured the releases of the Sony Smartwatch 2, the Sony attachable camera lenses, and a new wireless speaker from the company that can connect to your smartphone or tablet via NFC.
Sony is a very popular OEM in India, and it’s no surprise that the Sony Xperia Z1 has made its way to the country so soon after its global announcement earlier this month. As a reminder, here’s a quick look at the specifications of the eagerly-awaited smartphone -
The Sony Xperia Z1 is now available from various authorized Sony retail stores around the country for Rs 44,900, as well as for a slightly cheaper Rs 42,500 from Flipkart. If size doesn’t matter, that is, if you’re not adamant about picking up a Galaxy Note 3, and you’re looking for a high-end smartphone with a great camera, the Sony Xperia Z1 is definitely the best smartphone around.
Don’t forget to check out our hands-on and comparison videos of the Sony Xperia Z1 below -
Also launched with the Sony Xperia Z1 was the Sony Smartwatch 2. The new smartwatch from Sony packs a bigger 1.6-inch touchscreen display that offers a higher resolution (220 x 176 pixels) and improved screen brightness. The SmartWatch 2 features an aluminum body and stainless steel wristband. The device is water-resistant (IP57 certified) and offers NFC and Bluetooth support for pairing with Android smartphones and tablets that run Android 4.0 or higher. Unlike the Galaxy Gear, the watch works as a standalone wristwatch when a connection to an Android device is not present. However, users will be able to read previously downloaded emails even when the device is offline.
The Sony Smartwatch 2 is currently up for pre-order for Rs 14,990, with estimated 3rd week of November shipping date.
The Sony Smartwatch 2 is not the only NFC-totting accessory Sony announced during the event. The company also introduced a new wireless speaker, the GTK-N1BT, which can connect to your smartphone or tablet using NFC or Bluetooth. The speaker is quite portable sporting dimensions of 554x213x280mm and weighing in at 8.75kg. In terms of specifications, it offers 100W RMS of output, which includes a 60W sub-woofer. The Sony wireless speaker is available for Rs 16,990.
Finally, also launched were the Sony QX10 and QX100 attachable camera lenses. In case you’re unaware of what these amazing lenses do, here is a quick look at what the devices have to offer -
The Sony QX10 is available for Rs 12,990, while the QX100 is priced at Rs 24,990. Check out our hands-on video of the attachable lenses below -
Panasonic announced its intention to compete in the already over-crowded Indian smartphone market with the launch of the P51 a few months back, and now adds to its portfolio with the Panasonic P11. Here’s a quick look at the specifications of the P11-
The specifications of the Panasonic P11 are standard fare for devices in its price range, and should allow the company to compete against similar devices from Micromax, Karbonn, and others. The Panasonic P11 is currently available for Rs 15,149 from Snapdeal.
Closing out a spectacular month for Android fans in India, the LG G2 was officially launched in India earlier today. While not as prompt with an Indian release as Samsung or Sony, LG released its current flagship just in time to compete with the Galaxy Note 3 and the Xperia Z1. As a reminder, here’s a quick look at the specifications of the LG G2 -
Apart from the high-end specifications, what is truly unique about the LG G2 is the fact the the power button and volume rocker of the device are the back of the smartphone, along with the fact that the LG G2 boasts one of the thinnest bezels that can be seen on a smartphone.
The LG G2 will be available for Rs 41,500 for the 16GB version, with the 32GB version of the smartphone setting you back Rs 44,500. Don’t forget to check out our detailed review of the LG G2, along with comparisons between it and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Xperia Z1 below -
While everyone is eagerly awaiting the Xolo tablet powered by an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor which will be launched next month, Xolo’s first foray into the Android tablet market in India is with the budget-friendly Xolo Tab, which the company launched this month. Here’s a quick look at the specifications of the Xolo Tab -
The Micromax Canvas smartphone series has a reputation for boasting amazing features at a reasonable price and are some of the most popular devices from the company. Hoping to cash in on that reputation, Micromax has launched its first tablet in the Canvas series, the Micromax Canvas Tab P650. Here’s a quick look at the specifications of the device -
While both the Micromax Canvas Tab P650 and the Xolo Tab feature the same display, that is where the similarity ends, with the former boasting a bigger battery, better cameras, and more internal storage. Which is enough to justify the more expensive Rs 16,500 price tag of the Micromax Canvas Tab. The tablet is currently available from various online retailers, including Flipkart.
Likely in anticipation of the release of its latest tablets, Amazon India has slashed the price of the Kindle Fire HD. First, here’s a quick look at the specifications of the Kindle Fire HD -
Amazon isn’t the only company that is slashing prices in anticipation of its upcoming releases. Since the Nexus 7 (2013) has been confirmed to be releasing in India by the end of the year, the previous iteration, the Nexus 7 (2012) has received a price cut as well. Granted, this drop is available only from Flipkart and is not reflected on the Indian Google Play Store yet, but that should also change quite soon.
As a reminder, the ASUS-made Nexus 7 (2012) features a 7-inch display with 1280×800 resolution, quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, 1GB RAM, 1.2MP front facing camera, 16/32GB internal storage, and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean on-board.
Considering the specs, the Google tablet is an absolute steal at just Rs 9,999 for the 16GB, WiFi-only version of the device. The 32GB, WiFi-only version is now available for just Rs 12,999, while the 32GB, 3G-supported version will set you back Rs 15,999.
Of course, there’s also an opportunity for you to pick up the Nexus 7 (2013) for free. Well, not completely free, but at the cost of a Kitkat. After announcing its partnership with the popular chocolate brand, the Android edition of Kitkat is now also available in India. All you have to do is look for a Kitkat with the Android bot on it. Inside the wrapper is an 8-digit code, which needs to be sent either via SMS or by entering it on Android’s website. Don’t forget that the wrapper needs to be in your possession to claim the prize.
Nestle will randomly pick out 1,000 codes and the people who sent them will win a Nexus 7 (2013). The contest ends on November 15.
Sygic India and MapMyIndia announced that their offline GPS Navigation app, earlier priced at Rs 1,399, is now available from the Google Play Store for free. The app is one of the best navigation apps available for Indian roads, and the free availability will only serve to make it even more popular.
Some of the key features of the Sygic India GPS Navigation app include -
You can download the Sygic India GPS Navigation app from the Google Play Store here.
Notion Ink, well known for its Adam range of Android tablets, has now released a safety-related Android app, which is essentially to help someone get out of a difficult situation by notifying your friends, family, and anyone else you choose to include. The “I’m Shakti” app (Shakti = Strength) will notify all your emergency contacts by sending an SMS, which will include a preset message and your location, if you press your power button at least 5 times (in 2 seconds).
The way the notification works is as follows -
The app also features a battery saver option, for the not-so-sinister emergency situation, that is, you running out of battery while needing to contact someone, and you can also send an emergency SMS from the app itself if required.
You can download the Notion Ink “I’m Shakti” app from the Google Play Store here.
Aircel released an e-book store called “Aircel BookMate” for its customers that will allow them to download ebooks on to their smartphones, tablets, or PCs. Users can browse, store, download, and read books, magazines, and comics, from a comprehensive catalogue which are available to purchase or for free. Books in English as well as various regional Indian languages will be available.
Key features of Aircel BookMate include -
Since this is limited to Aircel subscribers only, you will need to have a valid Aircel mobile number to which an authentication code will be sent when you sign up. You can access the ebook store from the web, or download the app from the Google Play Store here.
Joining the growing list of network operators that are readjusting their 3G data tariffs and plans is Idea Cellular. After slashing their 3G prices by up to 70% earlier, the company has now announced data and voice packs that are even cheaper, and should do a lot to boost 3G data use among Idea Cellular subscribers.
The plans start from Rs 128, which includes 1GB of free data, or Rs 247 plan which gives 2GB of free data and local calls (Idea to Idea) at 20p/minute. Both plans are valid for 30 days. On crossing the free data limit, data will be charged at 2p/10kb. If you’re looking for a longer validity period, packs priced at Rs 297 and Rs 746 with 60 days and 150 days validity respectively. Both these offers feature 1GB of free data per month, along with local call tariffs at 20p/minute. Even more long term is the Rs 1,296 pack, which also features 1.5GB of data plus 200MB of facebook usage per month, along with the same local call rate as the other plans.
For Idea Cellular subscribers who use 3G services via USB dongle, the plans are a lot more clear cut and simple. Rs 175 gets you 1GB of data, Rs 177 gets you 3GB, and Rs 496 gets you 10GB of 3G data. All dongle packs are valid for 30 days.
Aircel has reduced its local calling tariffs by as much as 90% in Delhi, bringing them down to as low as 10p/minute, with the launch of two special schemes, priced at Rs 27 and Rs 11.
The Rs 27 calling scheme will feature 100 minutes of local calls at 10p/minute after which, the charges will go up to 40p/minute. This pack will be valid for 21 days from the day of activation. The second scheme, for Rs 11, is applicable only for local Aircel to Aircel calls. All calls made between two local Aircel numbers will be charged at 10p/minute. This scheme is valid for 15 days from the date of activation.
Micromax and Aircel announced a strategic partnership to promote data usage and drive data growth among their users. The companies have comes together to launch new reverse handset bundling offers for up to Rs 12,000 per month for a new Aircel subscriber using Micromax handset.
As per the offer, new Micromax smartphone owners who subscribe to the Aircel network will be given benefits worth Rs 12,000 for the first three months after SIM activation. Local call rates for both 2G and 3G users will reduce to 30p/minute, with STD calls being charged at 60p/minute. This offer also includes 2GB of free data per month, as well as up to Rs 10,000 worth of WAP content for free. 3G users will get access to the Internet TV app, and Micromax dongle users on Aircel’s 3G network will get 500MB of free data as well. All the mentioned offers are valid for the first three months only.
What are your thoughts on the numerous smartphone and tablet announcements this month? What other news/information would you like to see on the India Monthly News Roundups? Let us know in the comments section below.