At a time when operators are slashing data charges in an effort to attract/retain customers, Airtel has gone ahead and done the unthinkable. It has actually hiked its 2G data charges, that’s right – not 3G but 2G data charges. While this could have been construed as a move to push customers to adopt 3G, this isn’t the case as the hike is happening in Punjab and other states as well, where Airtel has no 3G spectrum and thus no 3G services.
1 GB of 2G data on Airtel is now Rs. 125, 2 GB is 199, and usage outside these plans is 10 paisa/10 KB. Reliance on the other hand has just announced a huge reduction in its 3G rates, and 1 GB is down to just Rs. 123, 2 Rupees less than what Airtel charges for horrible 2G data that never seems to work. While I am not a huge fan of Reliance due to their shoddy customer service, I cannot really complain about its 3G performance whether I’m in Delhi or in Chandigarh. I have been using a Reliance connection for its 3G data in a second phone, and only get spotty coverage once in a while.
I have been an Airtel customer for almost 10 years now but if Airtel keeps this up, porting out will become a very real option.
Tizen is a brand new platform with a focus on HTML5, and just like any platform in its infancy, it has the challenge of getting developers on board. While, Intel and Samsung have been doing a lot, like giving all attendees of the Tizen conference a Tizen developer device, there’s still a bit of work to do.
One quick way of getting around the problem, similar to what Blackberry did with the Playbook, is to open the doors to Android apps. Open Mobile is a company that has been demoing a solution of their own called the ‘Application Compatibility Layer (ACL)’ that they claim lets you run Android apps on a Tizen device with 100% compatibility and with the same responsiveness as you would expect on a native Android device.
The solution is targeted towards OEMs and not end users. So its upto the manufacturers of Tizen devices to modify the kernel etc to bake support in for ACL.
I really think this is something Samsung and others who end up making Tizen devices should consider. Tizen devices will be targeted towards the high-end of the spectrum and having a full set of apps with the benefits of HTML5 should be something that users will feel safe embracing.
Note: The UI that you see on the Tablet is not the Tizen tablet UI.
A lot of people at one point in time or another have waited in line for a shiny new Apple product, and Samsung’s decided to go all in, toss subtlety out of the windows and mock them for doing so. The one minute ad focusses on the insecurities of the buyers, the iPhone’s battery issues and the lack of ‘4G’.
What are they pimping instead? The Galaxy S2 of course!
Remember Tizen? The brand new open source platform that MeeGo made way for back in September, yes that one. Tizen is backed by Intel and Samsung and an initial release of Tizen is only intended for Q1 2012, while devices are only expected in mid-2012. So its not surprising that we haven’t heard much about it for the last few weeks. However it seems its not all quiet on the Tizen front.
The first Tizen Asia Summit has been announced and taking place in Beijing on the 8 and 9th of December. But there’s no need to expect major announcements yet, as the Summit is being organised by Nomovok, a software supplier for Open Source based embedded devices and not Intel or Samsung or the Linux Foundation.
The program of the Summit is more along the lines of ‘why Tizen’ and why it makes sense, so if you’re interested in open source development and are in the neighborhood, it may make sense to drop in.
With Tizen, the aim is to use HTML5′s capabilities and cross platform flexibility and the Tizen SDK and API will allow developers to use HTML5 and related web technologies to write applications that run across multiple device segments, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, in-vehicle infotainment, and netbooks. Intel’s AppUp center will be expanded to support Tizen with Intel AppUp as a store front for multiple Tizen device implementations.
Nokia’s made the big move to Windows Phone, and that means it’ll be a fresh start for its developers. While Windows Phone with Microsoft’s backing has had some success getting the big name developers to deploy apps on its platform, it still has a bit of catching up to do.
But as we’ve seen, it’s not just about the big brand apps that have global appeal. A lot of the times, the end users care about the fact that whether or not their local bank has an app on the App Store or whether their favourite multiplex has an app that lets them book tickets to their favourite movies on the go. So here’s what I propose.
Nokia is clearly willing to spend a lot of time, effort and money to promote Windows Phone, and make sure its customers have an amazing experience.
So just like the Ideas Project, Nokia should have a local site, divided by countries where users can suggest and then vote for their ‘local’ apps. The idea is not to find new and innovative apps, but help find out which apps are possible deal breakers for users in their desire to switch to Nokia or Windows Phone devices in general. For example, my local multiplex PVR Cinemas has an Android app that I use regularly. I’d very much like such an app to be available on Windows Phone. Same with my bank, and so on.
Once this is website is setup, e.g. india.ideasproject.com, uk.ideasproject.com etc, I could then go there, search for the ‘PVR Cinemas’ app to see if someone has already requested it, if yes, vote for it. If not, add it so that others can also vote for it.
Then every month, the local Nokia people in each country who are associated with developer engagement, look at this list and pick the top 5 out of those apps. They then try to get those companies or developers to develop for the platform. This push could range from just approaching the company/developer and showing him the benefits of developing for Nokia/Windows Phone, to hooking them up with hardware and support, to even fully or partly funding the project, the last option of course used cautiously because you just don’t need a version 1, you need the developer/company to keep supporting the app, adding new features etc.
This would not be for any prizes or fame for the end users, nor does Nokia need to promise that they’ll be able to get 5 of those apps into the Marketplace. But the fact that Nokia is listening and very actively trying to get its users what they need, would reassure a lot of people who are wondering whether to switch. I’ve heard Nokia was influential in getting Whats App onto the Windows Phone platform, and I’d see them use their influence more and more.
What I have in mind is a very broad outline, and I’m you guys can think of a better way to do it. Have something specific in mind? Please comment, I’m sure Nokia would want to know!
We are just 5 days away from the start of the second MeeGo Conference and a very interesting video has just popped up, a promo for Nokia’s first MeeGo device, the N9. The video is nothing more than a teaser, but does manage to reveal a bunch details about the device which may even be called the N950. The only problem is that the OS the phone is running looks a lot like upcoming Symbian releases, right down to the icons, so may be the teaser that Pocket Now has scooped was a work in progress, with the MeeGo parts to be placed in later.
Nevertheless, the hardware does look solid. First, it packs an auto focus camera with a Carl Zeiss lens and a dual LED, no EDoF unit here. My guess is a 12 MP. Then there is the all aluminum body, with a physical QWERTY and a 4″ screen in a very E7ish design. Here are some images that promise to reveal more.
Looks like a 12MP AF, dual LED camera with a Carl Zeiss lens.
The earpiece, just under the top end of the phone. It does have a very narrow bezel.
Looks like a great QWERTY keyboard, in an all aluminum body.
Fairly large screen, possibly 4″.
It’ll come with Ovi Maps with driving navigation.
An app in action.
Looks like a very capable browser, with the speed dial screen shown perhaps.
The QWERTY virtual keyboard.
The tilt up slide mechanism which is a lot like the E7.
The bottom of the device, with the camera and speaker grill.
The calender in action.
Notice how thin the bezel is.
The face of the N9/N950, with a front camera. It does look good.
Notice the sliding transition to move to the next screen.
Nokia calls it ‘Our Next Sense’. Perhaps they want to get back at HTC.
Now for the video that Pocket Now has been able to scoop:
We’ll probably know more on Monday when the MeeGo Conference kicks off. I’ll be there to bring you the latest.