Weekly News Roundup #2 – India

April 28, 2013
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wnri feature

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.

The Android scene in India this week was dominated by the launch of the highly-anticipated Samsung Galaxy S4, along with the release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 510 (Note 8.0) and the ASUS Fonepad, and the availability of the 32GB version of the Nexus 7 from the Google Play Store. But as always, Indian manufacturers have been a tad busier. In the second edition of the Weekly News Roundup, we have two new budget-friendly quad-core smartphones, a Jelly Bean voice-calling tablet, a new app from Rediff, and a host of network carrier news.

As you can see, there’s a lot to talk about. Let’s get started!

Android Smartphones

Spice Stellar Pinnacle Pro

wnri spice stellar pinnacle pro

Following the success of the Spice Stellar Pinnacle, the company has now launched the successor of the device, which features an upgraded quad-core processor and one of the few devices from not only local, but international manufacturers as well, to feature Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on-board. The specifications of the Spice Stellar Pinnacle Pro include –

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  • 5.3-inch capacitive display with 960×540 resolution
  • 1.2 Ghz quad-core MediaTek processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 32GB
  • 8MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • 2,550 mAh battery
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on-board
  • Dual-SIM capabilities

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With a quad-core processor and Android 4.2, the Spice Stellar Pinnacle Pro has a lot of advantages, but the qHD display resolution is definitely not good enough for a screen of that size, especially with competing devices from Micromax and Karbonn featuring 720p displays.

The Spice Stellar Pinnacle Pro is available from for Rs 14,990 (~$282) from online retailers Saholic.

Source – NDTV Gadgets

Zen Ultrafone 701HD

wnri zen ultrafone 701hd

Following similar releases from Micromax, Karbonn, Spice (above), and others, it’s now time for Zen Mobiles to jump on the quad-core smartphone bandwagon. The Zen Ultrafone 701HD, which falls in the sub-Rs 15,000 category as well, boasts some impressive specifications, that include –

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  • 5-inch HD IPS display with 1280×720 resolution
  • 1.2 Ghz quad-core MediaTek processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
  • 8MP rear camera, 3.2MP front camera
  • 2,000 mAh battery
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • dual-SIM support

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As you can see, the specifications are definitely worth the price, and the fact that Indian manufacturers have moved to Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on their latest device releases is great to see. The Zen Ultrafone 701HD is available for pre-booking from SnapDeal, and is priced at Rs 11,999 (~$226). You can find out more about the device here.

Source – Think Digit

Android Tablets

Solara Fontab

wnri solara fontab

Joining the slew of voice-calling capable 7-inch budget-friendly Android tablets in the country is the Solara Fontab. Priced at just Rs 6,899(~$130), the device features decent specifications that include –

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  • 7-inch display with 1024×600 resolution
  • 1.5 Ghz ARM Cortex-A9 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 32GB
  • 2MP rear camera, 0.3MP front camera
  • 3,500 mAh battery
  • Voice-calling via in-built 2G SIM slot, 3G via USB dongle
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

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The specifications are standard fare for a tablet at this price point, but it’s really good to see budget-friendly devices featuring the newer iterations of the Android OS, which has been an issue in the past.

Source – BGR India

Android Apps

Rediff News

wnri rediff news

Rediff.com launched a news app that gives users free access to news from over 30,000 Indian and international sources including the New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, Economic Times, Times of India, The Hindu, and more, as well as news from rediff.com. Features of this new app include –

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  • Breaking news in the Top News section, including cricket scores of ongoing and recent matches
  • Categories include Top News, World News, Business, Sports, Cricket, and Entertainment
  • Search news articles in categories of your interest
  • Share news on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, SMS, and e-mail
  • Choose to turn of article images to reduce data usage
  • Offline modde support allowing you to preload articles to read later

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The simple tile-based interface is intuitive and easy to use, and the app works great as a compiler for news from around the world. You can download the Rediff News app for free from the Google Play Store here.

Source – Think Digit

Network Carrier News

RCom offers unlimited access to Twitter for 3 months

wnri reliance twitter

Reliance Communications has announced a partnership with Twitter, that gives users unlimited access to Twitter on their smartphones with no additional data consumption charges. Valid for 90 days, the “Reliance Twitter Access Pack” is available for free to all Reliance GSM prepaid subscribers.

Of course, additional charges will apply if users choose to visit external links from Twitter.The  Twitter page for people who opt for this free service will show a customized message informing of any such additional data charges when clicking on an any external link.

Anyone interested can subscribe to this service by visiting twitter.com or mobile.twitter.com on their Reliance GSM prepaid device. Users can also subscribe by sending a “ACT Twitter” SMS to 53739 or by dialing *777*30#.

Source – BGR India

Vodafone launches special roaming packs for prepaid subscribers

Vodafone Logo

If you travel a lot around the country, I’m sure you have multiple SIM cards for different states to avoid high roaming charges, which also the reason for the popularity dual-SIM smartphones in the country. The good news, if you’re a Vodafone prepaid subscriber, is that the newly announced special roaming packs drastically reduces the call rate while on roaming.

Now, outgoing calls will cost 90p per minute, with incoming calls, which earlier cost up to 1 Re, now reduced to 30p per minute. The plans come with a roaming benefit of 30 days, with a tariff validity of 180 days. The packs are priced in the range of Rs 26 and Rs 47, depending on which circle you’re a part of.

Granted, this plan isn’t as good as a similar offer from Aircel, in which incoming calls on roaming are free, but with National roaming expected to be free by the end of the year, this is a good first step, and we can expect similar price cuts from other network carriers as well.

Source – Think Digit

What are your thoughts? Will you be picking up any of the new smartphones or tablets announced this week? Have you tried out the new rediff news app yet? What do you think of the free access to Twitter pack from RCom, and the reduced national roaming charges from Vodafone?  Let us know in the comments section below, and also let us know what else you’d like to see covered in this segment.

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