India Monthly News Roundup – August 2013
The entire tech world is currently focused on the upcoming IFA 2013 event, and even more so, the pre-IFA launch events by Samsung and Sony, that will see the official introductions of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and the Sony Xperia Z1. With a slew of amazing devices on its way, August 2013 has been a relatively quiet month in most markets around the world.
I say relatively, because in India, we still had three major smartphone, and two major tablet, launches in the last month. Along with a host of special buyback schemes, network carrier news, Android app updates, and the current market share numbers in India, we have a lot to talk about. Let’s get started!
iBall Andi 5h Quadro launched for Rs 10,999
The month began with the announcement of yet another smartphone joining the iBall Andi series, with the latest offering, the Andi 5h Quadro, certainly being one of the most impressive of the lot, featuring some great specs at a more than decent price. Here’s a quick look at the specifications of the iBall Andi 5h Quadro –
- 5-inch IPS display with 960×540 resolution
- 1.2Ghz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB internal storage (Approx. 2GB available to user), expandable via microSD up to 32GB
- 12MP rear camera with dual LED flash, 2MP front camera
- 2,200 mAh battery
- Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
While these specifications are increasingly becoming standard fare from Indian manufacturers, one of the selling points of the iBall Andi 5h Quadro is its price, available for only Rs 10,999 from online retailer Flipkart and Snapdeal. That being said, the official iBall page shows an MRP of Rs 15,999, so online stores are offering the device at a significantly lower price.
Xolo Q1000S now available for Rs 18,999
Xolo is known for releasing smartphones that not only compete against releases from other local manufacturers, but also hopes to take on similar devices from international OEMs as well. The company seems to have done that again with the Xolo Q1000S, which, on paper, is quite an amazing device. First, let’s take a look at the specifications at the latest smartphone from Xolo –
- 5-inch IPS display with 1280×720 resolution, using OGS (One Glass Solution) technology
- 1.5 Ghz quad-core Mediatek processor
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage
- 13MP rear camera with BSI 2 sensor, 5MP front camera
- 2,500 mAh battery
- Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Xolo manages to pack some great internal hardware, including an impressive camera and a large battery into a sleek and stylish body which is only 6.98mm thick. The 13 MP Camera is capable of recording 1080p videos and can capture clear images even when the camera is shaking using image stabilization technology, and includes other features features such as scene detection and tuning, high dynamic range (HDR), low light enhancement, face recognition, panorama capture, geo tagging, and a burst mode.
Micromax releases Canvas Doodle 2, a 5.7-inch stylus-toting smartphone
Xolo isn’t the only company that is looking to take own popular international device manufacturers, with Micromax gunning for the Samsung Galaxy Mega series with its latest offering, the Micromax Canvas Doodle 2. Here’s a quick look at the specifications of the device –
- 5.7-inch IPS display with 1280×720 resolution
- 1.2Ghz quad-core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage (12.6GB user-available)
- 12MP rear camera with dual LED flash, 5MP front camera
- 2,600 mAh battery
- dual-SIM support
- Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Micromax has also upped its game as far as design aesthetics are concerned, with the Canvas Doodle 2 featuring a full aluminium body, except for a small plastic cover for the dual SIM slots. Unfortunately, this new design also means that the battery is non-removable, and for the first time, a Micromax smartphone doesn’t feature expandable memory. Of course, the device does feature a stylus that pairs perfectly with the pre-installed M! Doodle app, and also included in the box is a flip cover, which can also be used as a kickstand.
The Micromax Canvas Doodle 2 is currently available for Rs 18,900 from Flipkart, and Rs 19,200 from Snapdeal, which is priced perfectly to take on the more expensive Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8, which also features comparatively inferior specifications.
Dual-SIM HTC One now available in India
After releasing in China, the Dual-SIM version of the HTC One has now popped up in India as well, which is a good move on the part of the company, considering how popular the availability of a dual-SIM feature is in the country. The dual-SIM version also features expandable memory, which is also a big plus. Unfortunately, due to current foreign exchange rates, this version of the smartphone is significantly more expensive than the single-SIM version, which is currently available for Rs 40,622. The Dual-SIM HTC One is available from online retailers Flipkart for Rs 46,257.
Apart from the Dual-SIM feature and the inclusion of microSD expansion, all other specifications of the device remain unchanged, which include a 4.7-inch display with 1080p resolution, 1.7Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, 4MP “Ultrapixel” camera, 2.1MP front camera, 2,300 mAh battery, and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on-board.
To see if the HTC One is the right device for you, don’t forget to check out our detailed review of the (Single-SIM version) smartphone here –
Buyback schemes roundup
HTC is offering a buyback scheme on its Desire series of phones, with a larger focus on the affordable HTC Desire X and Desire U. Under this offer, exchanging your old phone will get you up to Rs 2,500 off on either of the devices. This buyback offer effectively brings down the price of the HTC Desire X from Rs 16,790 to Rs 14,280, from Rs 14,390 to Rs 11,890 for the Desire U.
Sony has also introduced a buyback scheme for its current flagships, the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL. Once again, exchanging your old smartphone will get you a minimum rebate of Rs 5,000, bringing down the price of the devices to Rs 33,790 (Xperia Z) and Rs 30,690 (Xperia ZL). Any new purchases will also include for free a case for the Xperia Z worth Rs 1,990, and a snap-on cover for the Xperia ZL worth Rs 1,490.
Finally, LG has also jumped on the buyback scheme bandwagon, by offering up to Rs 7,000 off on the LG Optimus G Pro, in exchange for your old smartphone. This offer will bring down the price of the Optimus G Pro to Rs 32,999.
Xolo announces software updates for the X1000, A800, and X900
Xolo has announced software updates for a few of its older smartphones, including the A800, X900, and X1000. The X1000, which boasts a 2Ghz Intel processor, was released back in March with Android 4.0 ICS on-board. The company promised an upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which is finally available for the device now. The 208MB upgrade, which will be available OTA, introduces a host of performance improvements. Along with the X1000, the Xolo A800 will also receive an upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Another older Intel-powered smartphone, the Xolo X900, which was still running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, will finally receive an upgrade to Android 4.0 ICS. In this case, the update will be available via USB, that is, by plugging your device in to your PC.
The Xolo Q600 and Q700, which had released with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on-board, have also received minor software updates for performance enhancements.
(Continue to Page 2 for the latest tablet and Android app releases in the last month)