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iPhone 4 comes to India, finally!

Last updated on: May 27, 2011 12:56 IST

iPhone 4 comes to India, finally!

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Thinkdigit.com

Here's a quick round up of the latest and hottest happenings in the world of gadgets and gaming this week.

After various announcements, the last of which was more than a month and a half ago, operators Airtel and Aircel are finally making good on their claims of bringing the iPhone 4 to India. The duo will be launching it on May 27, Friday, almost a year after it was launched in the United States, last June.

The 16GB Apple iPhone 4 will retail for Rs 34,500, and, the 32GB version will retail for Rs 40,900. A requisite bumper, to avoid the 'death grip', will be charged for separately.

This news fortunately is not too confusing for potential customers, as at that price, there are plenty of other phones with better specs, including the just-launched Samsung Galaxy S II, available for around Rs 33,000.

Customers opting for a new connection will get a micro SIM for the device, and we expect some provision from the operators to help cut SIM cards for existing customers.

We were hoping the iPhone 4 would launch with some sort of contract, enabling customers to buy it at a lower price. Aircel has come up with some plans, but we aren't too sure they will entice customers.

Aircel postpaid customers will be able to get the phone for "free" in the Premium Money Back plan, by paying up front, and then availing voice and data plans that are equal to the phone's value, valid for 24 months. The Advantage Money Back plan is the same thing, at half the phone's value and for one year validity.

Let us hope Airtel comes up with better plans.


Image: iPhone 4

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Samsung Galaxy S II launches in India, priced at Rs 32,890

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It has finally happened, and no later than expected -- the Samsung Galaxy S II (16GB) is officially on its way to India. It is destined for shelves with a June 10 retail release date and Rs 32,890 price tag, and can be pre-ordered now.

The Galaxy S II can however be procured a week earlier, if you go the Vodafone way having scored an exclusive launch deal. Vodafone will be offering the Samsung Galaxy S II online at the same Rs 32,890 price tag, from June 3.

What's pleasantly surprising is the almost modest price of the Galaxy S II, a phone that can rest easy with the expectations of being Samsung's flagship handheld. Endowed with specs more than sufficient to take on any competitor in the market (definitely, the more expensive Indian iPhone 4), we're glad a top-end premium was not stuck onto this product. Elsewhere, a high price was one of the few cons in a long list of positive reviews of the product.

Salient features of this Android 2.3 Gingerbread phone include a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus 480x800 display, a dual-core 1.2GHz Exynos processor with a Mali 400 GPU, 8MP camera 1080p HD video recording, and 16GB of inbuilt storage for the base model.

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Image: Samsung Galaxy S II

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1 coming soon to a store near you

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2010 was Apple's year with the iPad's dominance of the tablet market, though one other tablet deserves some attention -- the Samsung Galaxy Tab (7-inch), the next best-selling tablet, and the only Android tablet that has sold over two million units worldwide.

The tablets, especially the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab, will be directly competing with the new Apple iPad 2.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 sports a WXGA TFT touchscreen display with 1280 800 pixels screen resolution, an 8MP primary camera with LED flash, 2MP secondary camera for video calls, HD video playback and recording, 3.5 mm jack, 16GB internal memory and more multimedia features. It is loaded with Android Market, Android browser, Google applications, social networking, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB data connectivity.

The Galaxy Tab 8.9 sports similar features with a smaller screen size.

Now that India is too big a market to ignore (corroborated by Apple finally launching the iPad 2 here), Samsung seems to be planning to launch the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1 in India as soon as June 2011.

The Samsung Galaxy S 2 is also slated to launch in the first week or so of June.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1's global release date is June 8, so only expect it to arrive sometime after that, with the 8.9 following in a while.
The exact prices at which all versions (Wi-Fi / Wi-Fi+3G, 16 GB or 32 GB) will be launched are a bit hazy, but it will soon be clearer with time passing by. We'll bring you the latest updates as soon as we get them.

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Image: Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1

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Nokia's low-cost dual SIM phones: X1-01 and C2-00

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Nokia has announced two new low-cost dual SIM dual-standby phones, the Nokia X1-01 and C2-00, due in India by the end of June. So far, only suggested pricing has been revealed, euro 34 or roughly Rs 2,200 for the X1-01, and euro 45 or roughly Rs 2,900 for the C2-00.

Both are Symbian phones, with the Nokia X1-01 running Series 30, and the C2-00 running Series 40. India will probably be one of the 'selected markets' where these phones will also offer Ovi Life Tools services.

Nokia X1-01, a music phone, is rated to deliver up to 13 hours of talk time, 43 days of standby time, and 36 hours of continuous music playback with its 1320 mAh battery.

Nokia C2-00 is rated to deliver 5.75 hours of talk time, and 19.2 days of standby time with its 1020 mAh battery. They both have 1.8-inch 65K colour screens, with resolutions of 128x160 pixels, and are dual band devices.

The low-priced X1-10 apparently has the loudest and clearest speaker on any Nokia device till date, which can deliver up to 106 phon (unit of loudness) with minimal distortion. It has the range of music phone features you expect, with dedicated music keys, MP3 player, one-click playlist creator, a 3.5mm audio jack, FM radio, and up to 16GB of storage via microSD. It also has a flashlight, and can remember settings for up to five SIM cards, even letting you assign logos/signatures/ringtones for each one.

Over and above these features, the Nokia C2-00 includes a VGA camera, GPRS connectivity, browser and Nokia Messaging apps, and up to 32GB of storage via microSD. It also offers 'Easy Swap', a featuring a hot-swappable SIM slot on the side of the phone. Including FM recording, it also has Bluetooth v2.0 and microUSB connectivity.

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Image: Nokia's low-cost dual SIM phones: X1-01 and C2-00

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Twitter finally acquires TweetDeck

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It was coming your way regardless, TweetDeck being purchased by Twitter -- in a cool move by the latter who forked out over $40 million for the application that is widely used for organising the display of tweets.

TweetDeck has, after all, been the subject of speculation concerning a takeover for months, and Twitter's PR account tweeted (but of course, did you expect any other medium?), "For all those who might be curious, we continue to not comment on rumours."

Twitter had always maintained a policy of being silent or downplaying third-party apps as well as acquiring them.

Needless to say, this did not mean that Twitter didn't bother purchasing other companies that they thought would be useful for their future -- among them, the popular iPhone app known as Tweetie, while working in tandem with photo add-on TwitPic as a new interface rolled out.

We hope that it is a sign of a better Twitter experience for the users.

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Image: Twitter finally acquires TweetDeck

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Microsoft Windows Phone 7.1 to get 500 new features with Mango update

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Microsoft announced the Mango update for Windows Phone 7 at a press conference in New York recently, an update that brings 500 new features to the platform, and will take the version number to Windows Phone 7.1, rather than 7.5 as previously rumoured.

While the Mango update was detailed a bit further, there was no real information imparted, and even a release date was left nearly as ambiguous as before -- sometime in the American Fall. Andy Lees, president of Microsoft's Mobile Communication Business, headed the webcast.

The biggest change Mango brings to the platform is true multitasking, allowing users to switch between all types apps, including third party apps, which will continue to work in the background. Lees added: "Third-party applications have been freed from their silos... They're [now] part of the total experience."

Live Tiles have been improved, enabling better glance-and-go information and notifications, as well as personalised, as described by Joe Belfiore earlier at MIX11. Other changes include a version of Internet Explorer 9 (left) for the Windows Phone platform -- apparently faster than any other mobile browser out there, a new unified linked inbox, a thread-based IM aggregator, and a new Groups-based contact system. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are all natively integrated.

Also new was the native application -- Local Scout -- providing real-time local search results and recommendations for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Windows Phone 7.1 will also feature App Connect, an improved way to discover apps in web-based searches. There is also a Quick Cards feature, meant to provide brief descriptions of related apps, events, and products in search results.

Improved Bing for WP7.1 also brings Visual Search and Music search to the fore.

The announcement also held a few details about a new and improved Xbox Live hub, and, native access to the Skydrive cloud storage service. Also important, is the voice-to-text and text-to-voice support that's been built-in for handsfree use.

While these changes are numerous and all for the better, and, users will have no real reason to complain, the future of Windows Phone 7 is still a quite uncertain -- after all, its ecosystem could hardly be compared to those Android and iOS enjoy, with the sheer diversity of apps available on the Android Market and Apple App Store. While Windows Phone Marketplace does have over 18,000 apps, and Microsoft doesn't miss any opportunity to boast of its record-breaking growth, we can't help but wonder if it will be enough for Microsoft to carve back a niche in the smartphone market.

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Image: Microsoft Windows Phone 7.1 to get 500 new features with Mango update

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Toshiba Thrive spotted -- a 10.1-inch Honeycomb tablet

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Toshiba's Folio 100, last year's Froyo-based tablet, fared poorly with critics and users alike, and a Honeycomb offering has been awaited ever since Toshiba announced it back at CES, apart from showing off some fairly well-received Honeycomb prototypes.

Now, it seems it's not going to be too long before such a device actually hits the market, for a 10.1-inch Honeycomb tablet called the Toshiba Thrive was spotted on pre-order for short while before being hastily pulled from an online-retailer's listings.

Priced at $449 for the 8GB version, and $579 for the 32GB version, the Toshiba Thrive is powered by the Honeycomb-prescribed dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor.

Presumably, it will launch with 3.1 Honeycomb onboard, when it arrives in Japan sometime in the third quarter of 2011. Other listed specs 1280x800 resolution screen, auto-brightness, SD card slot, HDMI and USB ports, a 5MP rear camera, and a 2MP front-facing camera.

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Image: Toshiba Thrive spotted -- a 10.1-inch Honeycomb tablet

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An app from the Android Market to unlock Galaxy S II

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Tired of having to wait for the Samsung Galaxy S II to arrive on our shores? Well, it looks like you won't have to anymore. Thanks to the folks at XDA-developers, they've managed to come up with the Galaxy S II SIM Unlocker that can let you free your phone from its carrier-locked state to allow you to use any SIM card you want in the phone. This means you can get one of these babies imported to India and working with your current SIM card. And for those of you who just want to use the phone on a different carrier -- this unlocking app is for you.

What the app does is that it searches your phone for its SIM unlock code. Once the app finds it, you write it down and then place the SIM card you would like to use in the phone. When you are prompted for the unlock code, just enter the code that was found by the app and you should be good to go.

However, like most apps that mess around with your phone and requires your phone to be rooted (a state where you have the ability to modify and access files you normally wouldn't be able to) -- there's always a risk involved.

The app is called Galaxy S2 SIM Unlock v1.0, and is available on the Android Market as a free download, though the developers would appreciate some donations.

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Image: An app from the Android Market to unlock Galaxy S II

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Will the HP TouchPad deliver on its best in market claim?

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HP's expectations for its new TouchPad tablet are running pretty high -- so high, in fact, that they can only be expressed with a make-believe number. During a recent press conference in Cannes, HP's Eric Cador boldly declared that his company's new slate won't just be the best on the market, it'll be the bestest.

Cador explained: "In the PC world, with fewer ways of differentiating HP's products from our competitors, we became number one; in the tablet world we're going to become better than number one. We call it number one plus."

A spokesman later confirmed that the device will launch in the UK with apps from the Guardian, Sky and Last.fm, but promised that "thousands" of other apps are on the way.

The metrics might sound a bit optimistic, but the message is clear: HP thinks the TouchPad will annihilate the iPad and blow our minds to smithereens. We'll just have to wait and see whether it's as explosive as advertised.

HP needs to compete with the popular iPad 2, as well as the wealth of Honeycomb tablets expected. In terms of design, HP has already been criticised for sharing a similar design (and thickness) with the iPad 2 -- at least it will look good.

A 9.7-inch tablet, the TouchPad will run the Flash-compatible webOS 3.0 operating system, which unfortunately is an immediate disadvantage in terms of apps. HP is attempting to jumpstart the platform though, by dual-booting webOS on its Windows PCs -- thus providing an ecosystem for developers, and special synch features for users.

The specs of the TouchPad aren't bad however, but even so, we struggle to see just how HP can keep up with Apple, Samsung, Acer and the rest in offering a well-developed ecosystem... even if it is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor. Maybe if they price it really low? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below:

Specifications:

  • 9.7-inch XGA capacitive, multi-touch screen with a vibrant 18-bit color, 1024 768 resolution display
  • Operating System : HP Web OS
  • HP Touchstone for TouchPad
  • Weight: 740 grams
  • Dimensions: 240x190x13.7mm
  • Processor: Dual Core CPU 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 1.2GHz
  • Front-facing 1.3 megapixel webcam for Video calling
  • Stereo speakers
  • 6300 mAh Battery
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Micro USB connector
  • Wireless LAN : 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • A-GPS (3G models only)
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR with A2DP
  • Memory : 16 GB or 32GB
  • Audio formats: DRM-free MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV
  • Video formats: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264
  • Gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, light sensor
  • Google Docs, Quick Office, Dropbox and Box.net compatibility
  • Email: Microsoft Exchange email with Microsoft Direct Push Technology POP3/IMAP (Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, etc.)
  • Browser with Full Flash support
  • Features Synergy which can sync all your personal information easily
  • VPN support, wireless printing

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Image: HP TouchPad

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