In a weekly segment, I’ll be doing a roundup of the mobile technology news in India, including new device announcements and releases from Indian manufacturers, network carrier news, and anything else that captures the pulse of the Android scene in India.
In today’s “Weekly News Roundup – India,” Micromax launches a new stylus-toting smartphone, as well as one for music enthusiasts, Panasonic enters the Indian smartphone market with a not so budget-friendly quad-core offering, the Nexus 4 is finally officially available in India, the Vertu Ti is released at the price point of a compact car, Notion Ink teases the Adam II tablet, and Vodafone launches new International Roaming plans.
As you can see, there’s a lot to talk about. Let’s get started!
Micromax continues to add to its Canvas smartphones portfolio, with two new additions this week. The first, called the Canvas Doodle A111, joins the exponentially increasing budget-friendly quad-core smartphones in the country, but will be offering something different from the rest, with the Canvas Doodle A111 featuring a stylus. Specifications of the latest Canvas smartphone from Micromax include -
Unfortunately, the specifications of the Micromax Canvas Doodle A111 aren’t up to the mark compared to the rest of the quad-core smartphones available in the country. Priced at Rs 12,999 (~$245), the availability of a stylus isn’t enough to recommend the Canvas Doodle over other similarly-priced smartphones. There’s no information yet on whether Micromax will be launching stylus-specific apps for the Canvas Doodle A11.
If you’re interested in picking up the Micromax Canvas Doodle A111, you can do so from online retailers SnapDeal here.
Source – Tech Tree
Micromax released a second smartphone this week, this time in association with JBL, a company well known for its audio products, called the Canvas Music A88. The specifications of the latest offering from Micromax includes -
Priced at Rs 8,499(~$160), the specifications of the Micromax Canvas Music A88 aren’t the best in its price range, but in this case, has a very specific music-oriented target audience in mind. The JBL association means inclusion of a free JBL Tempo headset, with Micromax also offering free unlimited music download from a database that includes over 3 lakh songs via the “MLive!” application.
Source – Times of India
Panasonic is a well-known electronics brand in India, and the company has now decided to take a chance in the already overcrowded Indian smartphone market, with the Panasonic P51, announced at a launch event in Delhi this week. The specifications of the Panasonic P51 include -
The Panasonic P51 comes with a free magnetic flip cover and a stylus, along with handwriting recognition support, and boasts more than decent specifications, along the lines of quad-core offerings from local manufacturers that fall in the Rs 15,000 price point. So, it’s somewhat unfortunate that the Panasonic P51 is priced at a whopping Rs 26,900 (~$507), and the inclusion of a stylus and the latest Android OS isn’t enough to justify a difference of close to Rs 10,000.
The Panasonic P51 is available from various retail stores around the country. You can find the complete list here.
Source – NDTV Gadgets
Samsung launched the Galaxy Grand last year hoping to capture a piece of the mid-range market in India, but with local manufacturers beginning to release quad-core devices at less than Rs 15,000, Samsung had a difficult go at things. Now, Samsung has launched a revamped version called the Galaxy Grand Quattro, which, as the name suggests, boasts a quad-core processor. Specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro include -
Like every new Samsung device, the Galaxy Grand Quattro looks a lot like the Galaxy S4, with the major difference being the smaller display size of the Galaxy Grand Quattro. While Samsung India had priced the first Galaxy Grand wrong at close to Rs 20,000, the company has a much better contender to take on similar quad-core offerings from local manufacturers with a Rs 16,900 (~$318) price point. Granted, the price is slightly higher, but the brand recognition of Samsung is enough for consumers to ignore that difference.
The Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro comes in the Black Mist and Frosty White (just like the Galaxy S4) color options, and is available from the Samsung India e-Store here.
Source – Fone Arena
The long wait is finally over! The Google Nexus 4, which has been one of the most highly-anticipated smartphones in the country, is now officially available. Unlike with the Nexus 7, the Nexus 4 will not be available via the Google Play Store but directly from retailers including LG exclusive stores, multi-brand stores, and various online retailers.
As a reminder, the specifications of the Google Nexus 4 include -
The Nexus 4 is still one of the best Android smartphones around, and is comparatively far cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, priced at Rs 25,990 (~$490). Granted, this is far higher than the $300 price point in the US, but the marked up price has always been an issue in India, and the Nexus 4 is no different. The Nexus 4 is currently up for pre-order from online retailers Flipkart, with an expected delivery date in the last week of May.
Source – GSM Arena
If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to make a decision between buying a car or picking up a smartphone, you can now do so, with the official arrival of the Vertu Ti “luxury Android smartphone” in India. Before we get into how much this device costs, let’s take a look at the specifications -
Of course, it’s not the (decidedly mid-range) specifications that makes the Vertu Ti the most expensive Android smartphone in the world, but the fact that it features a Grade 5 Titanium body, scratch-free sapphire crystal display, and premium Bang a& Olufsen speakers. The smartphone also comes with a feature called Vertu Key, which provides instant access to various services, such as country specific security alerts, articles, city briefs, and Vertu Customer Service. You’ll also get exclusive event invites, club memberships and more.
Wondering how much getting your hands on the Vertu Ti is going to set you back? Rs 6,49,900 (~$12,262).
If you have that kind of money lying around, you can find the full list of retail stores around India here.
Source – Zee News
When Bangalore-based Notion Ink announced the first Adam tablet, the company promised to deliver a product that would offer a viable alternative to every high-end tablet, but couldn’t deliver on its promise. The Adam tablet was plagued with software issues, shipping delays, and poor build quality. A couple of years later, and the company is attempting to make in impact in the Android tablet market once again, with the Notion Ink Adam II, which was teased at the National Technology Awards this week.
Here’s a quick look a the specifications of the Notion Ink Adam II -
One of the interesting features of the Adam II is the secondary display located on the spine of the tablet, which is a Super-twisted Nematic display (STN), that shows notifications as well as contextual data related to what showing on the main display.
The Notion Ink Adam II is expected to be released in June. The second attempt by Notion Ink is impressive, but may fall short in the highly-competitive Indian tablet market. Unlike two years back, local manufacturers have embraced the Android tablet, and have begun to consistently release budget-friendly tablets with great specifications. If the company can deliver on what it hoped to accomplish the first time around, it’ll be interesting to see how the market reacts to the arrival of the Adam II.
Source – BGR India
This week, Vodafone announced a new international roaming plan for Indian subscribers, which features a discount of around 90% on data, and close to 64% on voice calls. The plan, priced at Rs 2,499 (~$47) and valid for 30 days, features the following changes in rates -
It’s difficult to believe that regular international roaming data charges are Rs 563 per MB! The new roaming plan is available with select network providers in 45 countries, including the US, UK, Singapore, and UAE. Of course, while the rates may have fallen, regularly using the phone could still prove to be very expensive, so depending on the duration of your stay, it is always recommended to pick up a local SIM whenever possible.
Source – Think Digit
What are your thoughts? Will you consider picking up either of the two new Micromax smartphones announced this week? How well do you think the Panasonic P51 is going to do ? What do you think about the Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro? Can you imagine spending that much money to buy the Vertu Ti? Are you excited that the Google Nexus 4 is finally officially available in the country? What do you think of Notion Ink’s second attempt at an Android tablet? Do you think the new discounted international roaming plans are going to make a difference, or is it still to expensive? Let us know in the comments section below.
See you next week!