Weekly News Roundup – India
In a new 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.
It’s been a busy week for in India for international manufacturers in India, with Sony releasing the Xperia SP, HTC officially launching the HTC One, while also slashing the prices of the One X and the One X+, and finally, we found rumored release and pricing information of the highly-anticipated Samsung Galaxy S4. But that’s not even close to how busy Indian manufacturers (and one Chinese manufacturer) have been!
This week, we have two smartphone announcements from Lava and Intex. But this has definitely been the week for budget-friendly Android tablets, with three (!) new tablets on offer from Micromax, two from Karbonn, and one each from iBall and Lava. There’s also great news for owners of the Lava Iris 501 and the WickedLeak Wammy Titan 2, with both companies announcing software updates for their respective devices. If you’re planning to pick up some of these devices, or any others, you’ll also be interested in Vodafone’s “One Time Trial” 2G and 3G packs that the company introduced this week.
As you can see, there’s a lot to talk about. Let’s get started!
Lava Iris 455
While the company’s Xolo lineup of smartphones is certainly more popular, Lava continues to add to its budget-friendly portfolio with the Iris 455. The Lava Iris 455 features a 4.5-inch display with a 960×540 resolution, 1Ghz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage expandable via microSD, 5MP rear camera and 0.3MP front camera, and a 1,500 mAh battery. While similar devices from competitors, at best, feature Android 4.0 ICS, Lava has upped the game with the Iris 455, which comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on-board.
The specifications of the Lava Iris 455 are decidedly mid-range, but will also boast a price to match that, which is expected to be in the Rs 7000 to Rs 9000 range (~$132 – $169). The device will release with two color options, grey and silver.
Source – Tech 2
Intex Aqua Wonder 2
Intex earlier this week announced its intention to join the budget-friendly quad-core market with the Aqua Wonder 2. The company is hoping that what will make the Intex Aqua Wonder 2 stand out is the fact the device will be priced at less than Rs 10,000 (~$188), while similar devices currently available are pushing the Rs 15,000 (~$288) mark.
The Intex Aqua Wonder 2 features a 4.5-inch qHD display, 1.2 Ghz quad-core MediaTek MT6589 processor, 512MB RAM, 2GB internal storage expandable via microSD, 8MP rear camera and 1.3MP front camera, 1,800 mAh battery, dual-SIM support, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on-board.
The low pricing certainly makes sense, considering the compromises made with RAM, and internal storage. The Intex Aqua Wonder 2 is expected to release tomorrow, and will be available for Rs 9,900 (~$187).
Source – Think Digit
The biggest concern consumers have when deciding to buy a smartphone or tablet from a local manufacturer is software support. Most devices from Indian manufacturers don’t receive software updates, and remain stuck with the Android OS version it released with. Luckily, this is a trend that is slowly changing. This week, WickedLeak and Lava announced software updates for their respective devices.
The WickedLeak Wammy Titan 2, which was released a month ago, will now receive an official update to Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which is amazing, considering a lot of international manufacturers haven’t released the Android 4.2 update for their devices yet. The update, that is rolling out now, will feature performance and stability enhancements, Google Now, GPS Info with Pictures synced with Camera, and swipe/gesture typing. This is another good reason to pick-up the low-cost alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
Lava also announced an update for the Iris 501, which had launched with Android 4.0 ICS. The update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will feature Google Now support, enhanced notifications, UI changes and Project Butter improvements. Unfortunately, the update will not be over the air, and will require you to go to a Lava service center to update your phone. You can find the full list of Lava Service Centers here.
Micromax Funbook Talk P360, Funbook Talk P362, and Funbook 3G P560
Micromax announced three new budget-friendly Android tablets this week, two a part of the company’s Funbook Talk series that features the ability to make voice-calls from the device, and a new addition to the Funbook 3G series.
Most of the specifications of the Funbook Talk P360 and the FunBook Talk P362 are the same, with the only differences being the fact that the former features a 1Ghz single-core processor, 2GB internal storage, and Android 4.0 ICS on-board, with the latter coming with a 1.2 Ghz single-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 4GB internal storage, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on-board. Other specifications of both devices include a 7-inch capacitive display with a 800×480 resolution, 1GB RAM, expandable storage up to 32GB, 2MP rear camera and 0.3MP front camera, 3,000 mAh battery, in-built 2G support and 3G support via USB dongle.
The Micromax Funbook 3G P560 features a 1Ghz single-core processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage expandable via microSD, 7-inch capacitive display with 800×480 resolution, 2MP rear camera and 0.3MP front camera, Android 4.0 ICS, 3,000 mAh battery, and in-built 2G and 3G support.
As you can see, Micromax is continuing its strategy of flooding the market with devices with minor differences between each. The Funbook Talk P362 is the pick of the lot, with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on-board, and a comparatively faster processor, and with the insignificant difference in pricing, it’s difficult to understand the reasons behind releasing the other two tablets.
Source – AndroidOS.in
iBall Slide 6309i
iBall continues to make waves in the budget-friendly Android smartphone and tablet segment with the launch of the iBall Slide 6309i, which is one of the cheapest 7-inch tablets available compared to other devices with similar specifications.
The iBall Slide 6309i features a 7-inch display with 1024×600 resolution, 1.2 Ghz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 1GB RAM, 2GB internal storage expandable via microSD up to 32GB, 2MP rear camera and 0.3MP front camera, 3G support via USB dongle, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on-board.
Considering the fact the specifications are comparatively better than the Micromax tablets on offer above with only the option of 2G voice-calls not available, it’s amazing that the iBall Slide 6309i is priced at just Rs 5,199 (~$98). You can find out more about the iBall Slide 6309i here.
Source – NDTV Gadgets
Lava ETAB Connect
Apart from the Iris 455 smartphone, Lava also launched the ETAB connect Android tablet this week. The Lava ETAB Connect boasts specifications that are very similar to the Micromax Funbook Talk P360, including voice-calling capabilities, but with the ETAB Connect allowing for 3G voice-calling, while the Micromax tablet is restricted to 2G.
Specifications of the ETAB connect include a 7-inch capacitive display with 800×480 resolution, 1Ghz Qualcomm processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage expandable via microSD, 2MP rear camera and 0.3MP front camera, 3,000 mAh battery, and Android 4.o ICS on-board.
The selling point for the Lava ETAB Connect is its pre-loaded content, that features over Rs 15,000 worth of digital content from Hungama, BIGFLIX, MeritNation, EduKart, and more. That being said, the Rs 9,499(~$179) price point is steep compared to Micromax Funbook P360 and the iBall Slide 6309i.
Source – BGR India
Karbonn A37 and A34
Karbonn has also adopted the policy followed by Micromax, and released two tablets with minor differences between the two. The Karbonn A37 and A34 both have a lot of similar features with the difference lying in the fact the the former features a 1Ghz dual-core processor, 4GB internal storage, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on-board, while the latter is powered by a 1Ghz single-core processor, with 2GB internal storage, and Android 4.0 ICS on-board. The Karbonn A37 also features 3G voice-calling support, as opposed to the A34, which is restricted to 2G.
The other common specifications include a 7-inch capacitive display with 800×480 resolution, 512MB RAM, expandable storage via microSD, 2MP rear camera and 0.3MP camera, dual-SIM card slot, and a 3,000 mAh battery.
The Karbonn A37 and A34 boast very similar specifications and features to the other tablets on this list, and is similarly priced as well, with the Karbonn A37 available from Infibeam for Rs 9,490 (~$179), while the Karbonn A34 is priced at Rs 7,290 (~$137).
Source – BGR India
Network Carrier News
Vodafone introduces 2G and 3G “One Time Trial” Packs
With so many budget-friendly Android smartphones and tablets on offer, it’s become very easy, but maybe a bit confusing, to pick up a smartphone. Of course, the best of using a smartphone is to get online and stay connected, which requires an additional 2G or 3G data connection. To help you decide which option suits your needs the best, Vodafone has announced 2G and 3G “One Time Trial” packs.
The 2G pack is priced at just Rs 25 (~$0.47) with the 3G pack almost double at Rs 49 (~$0.93). Both packs will be valid for 7 days after activation, and will include 500 MB of data. The user’s device will determine which pack can be activated on your device, that is, if you have a 3G-enabled phone, then the 3G pack will be chosen. The “One Time Trial” is available for both pre-paid and post-paid Vodafone customers, and can be activated by sending TRY to 111 by SMS.
Source – BGR India
What do you think of the latest Android smartphones and tablets that were released in India last week? Would you consider buying any of these devices? If you’re a Vodafone customer, have you tried out the 2G or 3G One Time Trial Pack? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, and also let us know what else you’d like to see covered in this segment.