Monthly Archives: January 2014
“Oppo makes its India debut with the premium phablet, the N1, touting its innovative features as differentiators”
As expected, Chinese brand Oppo announced its entry into the crowded Indian smartphone market today, having roped in Bollywood stars Hrithik Roshan and Sonam Kapoor as its brand ambassadors. The Oppo N1, the brand’s salvo in the Indian smartphone wars, is a premium phablet that comes loaded with high-end specs, along with a stylish design and innovative software features that act as its mainstays as the brand tries to find its feet in the country. Here are our first impressions on the device.
First up – it’s gargantuan. Any smartphone that sports a 5.9-inch screen can’t be small, and the N1 certainly isn’t. As can be expected, the device isn’t for those who like to use their handsets one-handed. The size isn’t helped by the innovation Oppo has done at the top by making use of a swiveling design for the camera, which is an industry first. The Gionee E7 Mini, which was unveiled later, also boasts of the same feature. The shooter on the N1 has a 13-megapixel sensor, and comes with a dual-LED flash. Courtesy its swivel design that enables it to rotate 206 degrees, the same camera takes on the responsibilities of being the main shooter as well as handling video calling and selfie duties at the front. Apart from that, it also helps you take pictures from weird angles if required. Oppo’s definitely done a great job with the build quality – the device is slim, stylish and sports a build that feels solid in the hand, helped further by its sealed design.
Coming to the specifics of the design, the device is encased in white plastic and the fascia is dominated by the large full HD screen. The latter has a black bezel surrounding it, with large areas at the top and the bottom occupied by the swivel shooter and the capacitive hardware keys respectively. A thin chrome-finished strip runs across the spine, lending a touch of elegance to the expanse of white.
A power cum sleep key is placed on the right spine, along with a volume rocker, while the 3.5mm audio socket, microUSB port and speaker are crammed together at the bottom. The aforementioned swivel camera makes it presence felt at the rear too, where it’s joined by an Oppo logo to keep it company. A rectangular touch-sensitive area is located slightly above the centre of the rear, and we’ll get it to shortly.
Software-wise, the Oppo N1 runs a custom build of Android dubbed ColorOS, which uses Android 4.2 as its base. Similar to what Gionee has done with its Amigo, ColorOS covers most aspects of the Android UI, giving the N1 a custom interface complete with different iconography and theme support as well. ColorOS touts support for a variety of gestures which the user can customise, allowing one to swipe multiple fingers on the top of the screen to perform actions such as playing music, navigating tracks, speed-dial contacts etc. This is further aided by what Oppo calls the O-Touch – a feature that makes use of the touch panel at the rear. The location for this panel is where your index finger would rest when holding the device in the most natural position, and you can customise the actions in settings. O-Touch can be used for scrolling, navigating the phone’s interface, activating the camera, clicking pictures, and so on. Apart from the swivel camera, O-Touch forms yet another mainstay for the N1, and to some extent, enhances one-handed usability, handy for a device of this size.
With a quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 chip powering the show along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of non-expandable memory, the N1 shouldn’t have issues handling multitasking and gaming, and in our brief time with the device, it did seem quite smooth. The large screen, which boasts full HD resolution, also seems sharp. While we’d like to reserve judgement till the time we get to review the handset properly, it comes across as being quite capable overall. The beefy 3,610mAh battery sealed inside should also be able to keep it away from the power socket for a fair bit of time. Yet another highlight of the new phablet is O-Click, a tiny Bluetooth tag that’s bundled along with the phone and enables find-my-phone features, apart from other functionalities such as acting as a remote release for the camera shutter.
The Oppo N1 carries a sticker price of Rs 39,999, which we think is slightly ambitious, especially considering that the brand is relatively unknown in the country. A difference of a few thousand rupees becomes insignificant at that price, and the N1 will be facing some stiff competition from the likes of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra and the Nokia Lumia 1520. However, the Oppo N1’s real nemesis is likely to be the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which offers excellent performance combined with a very compelling camera and long battery life, not to mention a highly useful stylus. Further, the Gionee Elife E7, which offers a better processor and is priced much lower, will makes things even tougher. It’ll be interesting to see if its distinguished brand ambassadors and the special features N1 comes with, help establish Oppo as a brand to be reckoned with in India.
In a big strategic shift at the Tata Group, Cyrus Mistry, a year after taking over as the chairman of the group, has decided to exit the telecom business completely, sources with direct knowledge share that the Tata Group has initiated talks with Vodafone to sell both Tata Communications and Tata Tele. Deal talks are at a “preliminary stage” sources point out.
It will be a deal in several stages as both Tata Tele and Tata Comm have large shareholders with dominance on board decisions. Japanese firm NTT Docomo holds 26% in Tata Tele and has a put option which expires on March 31, 2014. Sources suggest that Docomo may give a one year extension to their put option to pave the way for a deal with Vodafone. ET had reported on Tata Tele-Vodafone deal talks on January 3, 2014.
Government of India holds 26% in Tata Communications and as part of the deal negotiations with Vodafone, Tata Group will first buy out government’s stake in the company and then sell to the UK based telecom giant. Talks between Tatas and the government have been on for a while. In the interim Tata Comm is selling it’s stake in African arm Neotel to Vodafone’s Vodacom.
In response to an e-mail query sent by ET Now on the specific query to Tata Sons, “Tata Sons is looking at exiting telecom business completely, talks are at a preliminary stage” Tata Sons’ spokesperson said, “We do not comment on speculation.” When ET Now contacted Vodafone, the spokesperson said, “No comment.”
Celkon Announced Celkon S1 With Full HD 5-inch Display QuadCore Processor Android 4.2.1 Jellybean Smartphone At ₹ 14,999
“Bearing a full HD 5-inch display and a quad-core processor, the Celkon S1 comes with a price tag of Rs 14,999”
Indian mobile phone brand Celkon has announced the launch of its latest Android smartphone, the Celkon S1 in the market. Priced at Rs 14,999, the S1 is aimed at users who wish to get a performance-oriented device within a budget. Apart from sporting compelling specs, the S1 also offers a design that puts it at par with premium Android devices currently made available by brands like Micromax, Karbonn and Lava to name a few.
The Celkon S1 boasts a 5-inch IPS (In-Plane Switching) LCD display with 1,920 x 1,080 pixel native resolution. Under the hood, there’s a MediaTek quad-core processor running at 1.5GHz combined with a dedicated graphics engine. To supplement the chip, there is 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage that can be further extended up to an additional 32GB using a microSD card.
For imagery, Celkon has used a 13-megapixel autofocus camera at the back, supplemented with an LED flash for illumination. In the front, there is an 8-megapixel fixed focus camera for video calling.
The device is based on Google Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean operating system and comes with dual-SIM connectivity, with 3G connectivity being available on the primary SIM only. To power the device, there is a 2,300mAh battery pack, though battery life could vary depending upon usage.
The Celkon S1 comes with powerful hardware specifications at a sweet price, but will face some stiff competition from devices such as Spice Pinnacle FHD, Micromax Canvas Magnus and Zen Ultrafone 701FHD.
Recently state run telecom PSU MTNL has introduced free roaming incoming in Mumbai and Delhi and there were speculations that BSNL could follow suit. But at the launch event of MTNL Mumbai Mr Kapil Sibal , Minister of Comm & IT , had revealed that due to revenue implications BSNL could not make national roaming completely free but it will make roaming more affordable and it will cost just Re 1 per day for a period of 90 days to enjoy national roaming.
BSNL has now come out with complete details. BSNL has launched a new prepaid roaming STV for Rs 90. The incoming calls while roaming will be free and outgoing calls both local and STD will be charged at 1.5p/sec. The validity of the STV is 90 days. All other charges will be as per base .
This toolchain wraps Chrome Apps with a native application shell, thus allowing developers to distribute their Chrome apps via Google Play like any other Android app.
“We provide a simple developer workflow for packaging a Chrome App natively for mobile platforms. You can run your Chrome App on a device or emulator using the command-line or an IDE. Alternatively, you can use the Chrome Apps Developer Tool to run your app on an Android device without the need to install an IDE or the mobile platform’s SDK,” Google noted on the Chromium blog.
This development should bring a whole new crop of applications as well as developers to Google Play. Developers can read more about the same at source.