Archive for February, 2013

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Alcatel is seriously on a roll this year. After announcing 13 devices at CES, followed by the One Touch Idol X, One Touch Scribe Easy and the Firefox OS-powered One Touch Fire, the Chinese maker has now welcomed new additions to the One Touch family, the One Touch Snap and One Touch Snap LTE, reports GSMArena.

Measuring 130.3x67x8.99 mm, the One Touch Snap has a 4.5-inch qHD (540×960) touchscreen, a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 1 GB RAM, an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and 720p video recording, a 1.3-megapixel front camera also capable of shooting 720p videos, 4GB of internal storage (of which 2.4 GB is user-accessible), a microSD card slot and a 1,800 mAh battery which the company claims offers 7h of 3G talk time and 340h on stand-by.

It runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Available in China now, Alcatel expects the One Touch Snap to hit European markets by April 2013.

The device comes with Dragontail Glass for protection and oleophobic coating to keep it from becoming a fingerprint magnet. There’s optional dual-SIM (Micro-SIM) as well

The LTE version of the device has a different outlook in terms of specs. It has a bigger, 4.65-inch touchscreen but with a lower FWVGA resolution of 480×854 pixels, though it also boasts Dragontail Glass and oleo phobic coating to keep fingerprints at bay. It is also thicker measuring 134×69.6×10.9 mm.

The LTE version’s back camera is capable of recording 1080p Full HD videos, while still being 8-megapixel. The front-camera is 2-megapixel.

The Snap LTE is powered by a 1.4 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 1GB RAM and its battery is beefed up to 2,200 mAh. It also comes with 4GB of internal storage (2.4 GB is user-accessible). However, this model runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and is expected to be out in July 2013.

Both devices support Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G, Bluetooth 4.0 and quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900).

Alcatel One Touch Snap key specifications

  • 4.5-inch qHD (540×960) capacitive touch display with Dragontail Glass
  • 1.2 GHz quad-core processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 4GB of internal storage (2.4 GB is user-accessible)
  • microSD slot
  • 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
  • 720p video recording
  • 1.3-megapixel front camera
  • Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth 4.0
  • 1,800mAh battery
  • Android 4.2
  • 130.3x67x8.99 mm

Alcatel One Touch Snap LTE key specifications

  • 4.65-inch FWVGA (480×854)capacitive touch display with Dragontail Glass
  • 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 4GB of internal storage (2.4 GB is user-accessible)
  • 8-megapixel rear camera
  • 1080p video recording
  • 2-megapixel front camera
  • Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0
  • 2,200mAh battery
  • Android 4.1
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Acer has launched a 16GB version of its Iconia B1-A71. The 8GB version of the tablet was showcasedat the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013.Acer Iconia B1-A71 comes with 7-inch WSVGA (1,024 x 600) capacitive display. It is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Mediatek processor (MTK 8317T) along with 512MB of RAM. It features a microSD card to expand the available storage by another 32GB. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and Micro-USB. There is a 0.3-megapixel front camera to engage in live chats with your friends and family. The tablet runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).
As per the company, the Acer Iconia B1-A71 is targeted at young or new users or families looking for an additional tablet for their children and is also ideal for busy individuals seeking a convenient mobile companion.
The 16GB version of Acer Iconia B1-A71 is available in Europe, Middle East and Africa and is available for 139 Euros.
It is noteworthy, that the 8GB version of this tablet was launched in India in January and carries a retail tag of Rs. 7,999. So far there is no word on when the 16GB version will ship to India and what will be the price for the same. However, we are expecting this version of the tablet to be available in India in the coming few weeks.
Acer Iconia B1-A71 key specifications

  • 7-inch diagonal WSVGA capacitive multitouch screen with 1024×600 resolution display
  • Mediatek dual-core 1.2GHz processor (MTK 8317T)
  • 512MB DDR3 memory
  • 8GB of internal storage with microSD expansion slot with up to 32GB support
  • Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth wireless technology 4.0
  • GPS
  • Micro-USB (charging and PC connect) with USB 2.0
  • 3.5mm headset/headphone/microphone jack
  • Internal speaker
  • Front-facing 0.3-megapixel webcam
  • Rechargeable 2,710 mAh battery
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system
  • Dimensions: 197.4 mm x 128.5 mm x 11.3 mm
  • Weight: 320 g

Lava Etab Xtron review

Posted: February 28, 2013 in All category
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As more Indian brands explore the Android tablets segment, consumers are getting access to devices that sport decent specifications, and run the latest version of the OS, at attractive price points. We’ve recently seen Acer launching a 7-inch budget tablet running Jelly Bean, and now we have Lava launching its first Jelly Bean tablet, the Etab Xtron, in the Indian market, for Rs. 6,499. We take an in-depth look at the tablet.

Build
Unlike the Acer Iconia B1, the Etab Xtron exudes a feeling of durability, with its solid build. The 7-inch tablet looks compact yet sturdy. The front of the tablet features a 7-inch screen, which is surrounded by a large bezel. You’ll also spot a front shooter right at the middle.

The back of the tablet is made of polycarbonate but has been given a brushed aluminium finish. The frame extends to the front, and adds to the design of the tablet. A microSD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack sits on the top, while there are no ports on the bottom.
Lava-3_274413_114440_0289.jpgThe power button, a volume rocker, and a refresh/’return to home screen’ button, a micro-USB port and a microphone are located at the right hand side of the tablet. There are labels or markings for these ports and buttons at the back. There’s some Lava branding at the bottom left corner of the back and Xtron branding at the middle. The speaker grill is also placed at the top left corner of the back.
Display
The 7-inch TFT display comes with a resolution of 1024×600 pixels, which is decent compared to other 7-inch budget tablets in the segment. Images and videos looked good but text, specially with smaller font size was not very legible. The screen brightness is average, and although we found that it’s reflective to some extent, visibility under sunlight was not bad. The display has an IPS panel that facilitates wider viewing angles, which essentially means that more than one person can view content playing on the screen properly, even from different angles. We found that this holds true in the case of the Lava Etab Xtron, and we were able to view media playing on the screen from different angles. The touch sensitivity is good, and we didn’t encounter any issues while using the device.

Software/ Interface
The Lava Etab Xtron runs Android 4.1 – Jelly Bean, the latest iteration of the operating system, and doesn’t include any custom skin. It’s a stock build of the OS bundled with a few third party apps including music streaming app, Saavn, a file browser, an app for Video-on-demand service, BigFlix, education app EduKart, PingPong- a game, a video player and a local deals and search app, UAhoy. We like the fact that there’s no bloatware.
Lava-UI.pngThe Etab Xtron is one of the few tablets that runs Jelly Bean. Unlike the Nexus 7, the tablet’s onscreen controls are on the bottom left instead of the centre, and the notification panel and quick access settings (for Wi-Fi, Screen rotation, brightness, sound and shortcut to settings) are located at the bottom right.

During our use, we didn’t notice much lag while navigating through menus, and Google’s much touted ‘Project Butter’ makes the overall experience more responsive than tablets running Ice Cream Sandwich.

The other major feature that Jelly Bean brings is ‘Google Now’, a voice based information assistant and an extension of Google search. You can ask questions and the tool returns answers or search results. It uses ‘cards’ which are essentially small boxes that offer different sets of information ranging from weather forecast, directions, traffic information, scores, appointments, and currency conversion, among others. Google Now collects information based on the user’s behaviour, location and even email to  offer information, automatically.

We’re not sure if the tablet will get updated to Jelly Bean 4.2, but if it does, features like multi-user accounts (different profiles and access for different users) and lock-screen widgets would also come to the tablet.

Camera
The tablet comes with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. Although, personally we’re no fans on using tablets for clicking needs, some may miss having a rear camera that can be used for taking casual shots or just for scanning some documents. The pictures  that we clicked with the front camera, indoors, were decent. The camera does a decent job when used for making video calls over Skype or other video chat apps.

Performance/ Battery Life
The tablet is powered by a 1.5 GHz Cortex A9 dual-core processor, a Mali-400 GPU and 1 GB of RAM. We did not encounter any crashes while working on this tablet and multitasking was comfortable. We also did not notice much lag and were able to play tablet optimised games and HD video clips, without a hitch as the bundled video player supports all major video file formats. The tablet comes with the native Android browser and renders all webpages well. Adobe Flash is pre-installed allowing the browser to display Flash videos, banners and other elements. The speakers on the tablet deliver good quality sound at even high volume levels but the output through the speaker grill was not very loud. There’s no voice calling but the major omission is Bluetooth connectivity. We’re not sure why Lava had to exclude it since most major Android devices offer this functionality, and consumers might use it for wireless file transfers or for connecting a wireless input device. However, we see a lot of budget tablets these days ship without Bluetooth and we’re not convinced it’s a good trend.
Lava-4_274413_114439_9779.jpgThe tablet comes with a 3,500 mAh battery and we were not very happy with the backup that it offered, specially when playing multimedia files. We were able to get around 3.5 hours of video playback, with the display on full brightness levels. The standby  time with push notifications and emails on was decent, though. With intermediate usage during the day, we were able to get a day of backup.

Verdict
The Lava Etab Xtron is a decent tablet. At a price of Rs. 6,499, it offers a good package with decent hardware, compact form factor, a screen that supports wide angled viewing and the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean. It’s a good value for money proposition. It’s also interesting to look at if you’re looking for an e-reader or for a device for browsing the web.

Looking at competing devices, the Acer Iconia B1-A71 is also an interesting 7-incher, which also offers Bluetooth connectivity, but is inferior in terms of build quality and costs more. If you’re looking for a tablet that also offers voice calling, the Huawei Mediapad Lite is another good option available, but you’d need to shell out around Rs. 7,000 extra. The Wickedleak Wammy Desire is another 7-inch tablet running Jelly Bean, available at a price of Rs. 6,800.

Price: Rs. 6,499

Pros

  • Runs Jelly Bean
  • Good performance
  • Decent build quality

Cons

  • Battery life could have been better
  • No Bluetooth

Ratings (Out of 5)
Design: 3.5
Display: 3
Performance: 3.5
Software: 4
Battery Life: 2.5
Camera: 2
Ecosystem: 3.5
Value for Money: 3.5
Overall: 3.5


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The next billion people to connect to the Internet in developing countries will do so largely via smartphones, prompting a battle that could favour low-price Chinese manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE over market leaders Samsung and Apple.Fixed-line telephone networks are often weak in emerging markets and building new ones is expensive, and so smartphones are becoming a vital way to connect populations to the web and bolster economic growth.
Consumers in markets from Nigeria to Indonesia are hungry for features now standard in the United States and Europe that allow them to tweet or watch video on the go.
The challenge for smartphone makers is offering those features at a price local populations can afford.
Manoj Kohli, chief executive of Indian operator Bharti Airtel, said emerging market consumers were ready to leapfrog basic phone models and go straight for smartphones, but that prices could not come down fast enough.
“People in the developing world are going straight to the mobile Internet,” he said in a keynote session at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The focus on low-price smartphones could step up the challenge to market leaders Apple and Samsung, which are best-known for their top-end iPhone and Galaxy S3 models.
Lenovo, known for its PC business, has quietly become the fifth-biggest smartphone maker in the world by almost exclusively focusing on a single market: its home country China.
It is now expanding into Indonesia, India and Russia in a bid to appeal to the rising middle classes there.
And Huawei and ZTE have built share by bringing features pioneered by Apple and Samsung such as touch screens, fast processors and better cameras to the market at prices around $100.
Opportunities
The opportunities in emerging markets appear huge.
Just 4 percent of Africans had smartphones in 2012, according to research group Informa. The figure was slightly higher at 11 percent in the developing countries in the Asia Pacific region. In comparison, North America had the highest take up of web-connected phones, at 47 percent.
Between 2012 and 2017, telecoms consultancy Ovum expects that there will be 1.6 billion new mobile connections across the world, with 61 percent of these coming from Asia-Pacific. Africa will be the fastest-growing region, with mobile connections growing at a compound annual rate of 6.5 percent.
Lenovo’s Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing said strong price competition among Chinese players had resulted in a smartphone boom in the country of 1.3 billion. Of all the phones sold in 2012, he said 70 percent were smartphones, and he’s looking to repeat the trick elsewhere in Asia and Russia.
“We have been very successful in China, so we know how to win in emerging markets,” he told reporters.
“In a mature market you need to build a very strong relationship with the carriers so they can give you a subsidy, but in emerging markets you can sell in the open market.”
He pinpoints a problem for the big players. Top-end devices, like the iPhone and Galaxy S3 attract subsidies from network operators in Europe and the United States, hiding the cost of around $500-600 over a two-year contract. Such deals are much harder to find in emerging markets.
The result of a lack of subsidies means the appeal of a phone largely comes down to its upfront cost, which combined with the Chinese companies’ growing ability to match and in some cases surpass the technical specifications of the market leaders, could prove troublesome for Apple and Samsung in emerging markets.
Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, said the Chinese players, which also include TCL Corp, were already raising concerns at Samsung, which leads the Chinese market.
“If Samsung is worried, you’ve got to imagine that Nokia is terrified,” he said. “The Chinese companies can find enough volume in the Chinese market to sustain the volumes they need and the money they need to keep pushing internationally.”
Companies like Nokia, Samsung and Apple are not standing still, however.
Nokia, which has for years been strong in emerging markets with basic devices, is introducing new lower-priced phones with email and basic web browsing to target consumers in Africa and Asia-Pacific countries in particular.
At the same time, though, Chinese manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE are trying to shake off their copycat reputations by introducing marketing slogans and top-end devices in Barcelona.
Huawei’s Ascend P2 is billed as the fastest smartphone on the market, and has other innovations, such as power saving technology, priced at 399 euros.
Wan Biao, chief executive of Huawei Device Co, said the high innovation level in the Ascend P2 had already started to attract the attention of operators.
France Telecom’s Orange appeared on stage at the launch. It will sell the device in France from June 2013.
The operator’s VP of devices, Yves Maitre, said Orange was placing a bet on Huawei just as it had in the past with Apple and Samsung.


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Dropbox revealed on Wednesday that 1 billion files are being uploaded to the service every day. This announcement was made by company’s CEO Drew Houston at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013 in Barcelona.In addition to this, Houston also shared that 100 million users tap into the service with 500 million devices – PCs, smartphones and tablets.
Dropbox was founded in 2007 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi. At the time of launch, Dropbox could only sync files between different computers, but with time added support for smartphones and tablets. The company’s current valuation is being pegged at a staggering $4 billion.
The company had 100 million users as of November 2012. It is present on almost all popular mobile and desktop platforms including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, BlackBerry and Android. Unofficial ports also exist for Symbian and MeeGo platforms. The company recently rolled out an app for Windows 8 devices but Windows Phone 8 is yet to get an official Dropbox app.
Earlier in February, the company had rolled out its first comprehensive upgrade to its cloud-storage product aimed at corporate users. With the help of Dropbox’s new software IT administrators will be able to closely track which users have viewed a file and when it was viewed. Furthermore, the IT administrators can now instantaneously grant or withhold file permissions. The software also allows administrators to rope off certain files so they may be edited but not downloaded or shared in any way.
Dropbox has a strategic tie-up with leading smartphones makers such as Samsung and HTC. Under this partnership, users logging into Dropbox via select Samsung or HTC smartphones will get extra storage space for a limited period of time. For example, Samsung is offering 50GB of cloud space from Dropbox for two years with the purchase of Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note II.