Google Announces Android One – For Low Cost Smartphones

It’s well known that Google wants everyone to carry an Android smart phone. Not just the high-end market, but at the lower end as well. Now we’ve all seen that the lower end of the Android market is plagued with outdated Android versions and virtually no updates.

To overcome this, Google today announced their Android One program. In this, Google is working on a set of hardware reference platforms which include hardware specs and which components are used in the device. Manufacturers who’ve partnered with Google can use these to create “high quality affordable smart devices”.

It doesn’t stop at hardware, these phones will come with stock Android experience. Through Google Play, Google will allow manufacturers and carriers to add locally relevant apps and content to the phones. The good thing here is unlike preloaded apps, you can choose to uninstall these if you wish to.

Micromax Android One PhoneWant more? All the software updates for Android One will auto update on the phones, since these will be coming directly from Google.

Google is currently working with Micromax to build out an Android One phone which comes with a 4.5 inch screen, Dual SIM, SD Card support and FM radio. This phone is set to retail at a price point of Rs. 6,000 or less. In addition, they’ve also partnered with Karbon and Spice to bring out more Android One devices in India.

This is going to boost up the quality of budget phones which will be hitting the Indian markets towards the end of this year. How I wish Google had initiated an update process like they’ve announced for Android One for mid-range and Flagship phones as well.

Android One Partners in India

Motorola’s Moto E Launched in India at Rs. 6999

After all the leaks and the teasing the Moto E is finally Official. The phone was launched in India in partnership with Flipkart at a price of Rs 6,999.

The Moto E is a direct competitor to the Nokia X and comes packed with a 4.3″ screen with a qHD display (540 x 960 pixels) and a pixel density of 256 ppi. The phone measures 124.8 x 64.8 x 12.33 mm in dimensions and weighs 140g. Powering the phone is a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor with Adreno 302 GPU. Memory includes a 1 GB RAM and 4 GB internal memory expandable up to 32 GB through a micro SD card.

moto e front and back

On the Camera front, the Moto E features a 5 MP rear camera with touch focus, without autofocus unfortunately, and 480p capture at 30fps. Unfortunately there is no flash nor a front facing camera. The phone runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box and a 1980mAh Li-On battery holds the charge.

moto e colors

The phone comes in White,  Black, Turquoise and Lemon color options. Flipkart is offering 50% on Moto E Covers and 50% off on 8GB Transcend Memory Card and Rs. 1000 worth preselected eBooks only for today. Head over To Flipkart if you can’t wait to get your hands on the Moto E.

Moto E Specifications

[table th=”0″]
Processor, Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 200 with 1.2GHz dual-core A7 CPU Adreno 302 400MHz single-core GPU
Display, 4.3 inches 540 x 960 qHD with a pixel density of 256ppi
OS, Android Kitkat 4.4
Dimensions, 124.8 x 64.8 x 12.3mm weighing 142 grams
Camera, 5 Megapixel rear camera capable of recording video at a resolution of 854×480 at 30 fps
Battery, Built in 1980mAh battery capable of 24 hours mixed usage
Connectivity, “Bluetooth 4.0 LE, WiFi – 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4GHz, 3G network Connectivity, MicroUSB with USB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack, FM Radio, GPS – Glosnas”

The Nokia Asha Series – Hands On Video

I’m just back from the Nokia World 2011 event which took place last week in London, and have just got around to uploading videos from the event on Youtube. Here’s a video of the Nokia Asha range of phones giving you an overview of the phones, features and functionality.

Nokia released the Nokia Asha range of feature phones which are inexpensive and targetted towards the youth market. They run on the Symbian Series 40 (S40) operating system. Even though these are feature phones, they pack a punch because the devices like the Asha 303 run on a 1 Ghz processor giving the phone enough processing power to … wait for it… run Angry Birds!  It’s now become a fad to say that a phone’s arrived if Angry Birds runs on it. Apart from that, you’ve also got the popular multi-platform messaging Whatsapp service available on this phone. The S40 range of phones also have access to a lot more apps on the Nokia Store, with more on the way.

One main feature of the phone is the Nokia Browser, which streams web pages you access through their Cloud servers, compressing data, for a faster web experience. So even on an Edge connection, you should see a much faster browsing experience.

Enough of writing, and let’s jump to the video:

An Intex Android Phone for India?

The latest player to join the low-end Android market in India is Intex.

Due to launch in the first week of February next year, the phone will be running on Android 2.2 (Froyo), complete with a 3.2MP camera, 2.8 inch resistive full-touch screen, Wi-Fi and GPS.

We haven’t had any Intex phones on test as yet, but lets hope we do get a few soon. The price set for this Android budget phone is Rs 5500 in India! Pretty impressive if that figure is true.

It will be interesting to see how this phone functions with a resistive screen on FroYo. Hope all goes well for this latest release from Intex.

Hat tip to TechKnots for the heads up.

Nokia C5 Available in India

The Nokia C5, a feature rich smartphone for the budget concious, is available in India now. The phone should be available from tomorrow at Nokia retail stores, with a Retail Price of Rs.8500.

The phone comes preinstalled with   Nokia Messaging, Ovi Maps 3.0 with free navigation,  and Social Networking apps like Facebook.

Here are the specifications of the phone:

Display and user interface
  • Size: 2.2″
  • Resolution: 320 x 240 pixels (QVGA)
  • Up to 16.7 million colours (TFT)
Data network
  • GPRS/EGPRS MSC32 class B, maximum speed up to 298/178.8 kbps (UL/DL)
  • HSDPA cat9, maximum speed up to 10.2 Mbps
  • HSUPA cat5, maximum speed up to 2 Mbps
  • Support for MS Outlook synchronisation of contacts, calendar and notes
  • Dual transfer mode
  • TCP/IP support
  • Capability to serve as data modem
Power Management
  • BL-5CT 1050 mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Talk time (maximum):
    • GSM 12 h
    • WCDMA 4.9 h
  • Standby time (maximum):
    • GSM 630 h
    • WCDMA 670 h
  • Video playback time (3GPP, 8 fps, maximum): 11 h
  • Video recording time (QCIF, 8 fps, maximum): 5.4 h
  • Video call time (maximum): 3.5 h
  • Music playback time (offline mode, maximum): 34 h
Data network
  • GPRS/EGPRS MSC32 class B, maximum speed up to 298/178.8 kbps (UL/DL)
  • HSDPA cat9, maximum speed up to 10.2 Mbps
  • HSUPA cat5, maximum speed up to 2 Mbps
  • Support for MS Outlook synchronisation of contacts, calendar and notes
  • Dual transfer mode
  • TCP/IP support
  • Capability to serve as data modem
  • MicroSD memory card slot, hot swappable, up to 16 GB
  • Internal memory: up to 50 MB
  • Bluetooth version 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate
  • Support for local and remote SyncML synchronisation
  • High-Speed USB 2.0 (micro USB connector)
  • Charging via USB supported
  • 3.5 mm AV connector
Operating frequency
  • Quad band GSM EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
  • WCDMA 900/2100
  • Automatic switching between GSM bands
  • Flight mode
GPS and navigation
  • Integrated A-GPS receiver
  • Ovi Maps 3.0 pre-installed
  • Ovi Maps Loader application via PC
  • Free lifetime navigation included*
  • 3.2 megapixel camera (1536 x 2048 pixels)
  • Full Focus EDOF (extended depth of field) technology
  • Up to 4x digital zoom
  • LED flash
  • Still image formats: JPEG
  • Secondary camera for video calls (VGA, 640 x 480 pixels)
Video codecs & formats
  • Video capture at up to 640 x 480 pixels (VGA) and up to 15 fps (main camera) and 176 x 144 pixels (QCIF) at 15 fps (secondary camera)
  • Video recording format: 3GPP; codecs: H.263, MPEG-4
  • Audio recording codec: AMR-NB
  • Video playback formats: MP4, 3GPP, AVI; codecs: H.263, H.264 and MPEG-4
  • DRM support: OMA DRM 2, Windows DRM-10
Check out the full specs over on the Nokia Product Page.
Head over to Fonerena for more hands on pictures with the C5, over here.

Nokia 5233 – First Impressions

After unboxing the the 5233 and turning it on, the first thing that’ll grab your attention is the screen.The clarity of the 3.2′ screen is quite impressive. Colours are vibrant and well defined and it does betray its modest price tag especially when compared to the screen of the N97. Budget phone it may be, but the screen quality of the N97 pales in comparison.

Scrolling through the menus you’ll find the lack of kinetic scrolling quite irritating, but magically kinetic scrolling is present is the sub-menus, so brace yourself for a considerable amount of confusion for the first few hours of usage. Hopefully firmware upgrades in the future will include kinetic scrolling throughout the interface.The menu transitions are incredibly neat and subtle, with applications sliding away or collapsing gently, its a a small visual detail but does add to the experience of the 5233 and manages to never get irritating. As good as the screen is it does suffer a bit in bright sunlight, though this can be remedied to a certain extent by shifting a brighter theme. The screen is pretty resistant to fingerprints, so you won’t have to worry about cleaning it often.

Home Screen and Menu

The body of the 5233 follows the traditional monoblock design and is shaped exactly like the Nokia 5800. The volume rockers are flush, and unfortunately feel and feedback from them is a bit limited. It would’ve been better if they were protruding a bit to aid adjusting the volume. The dedicated camera key sticks out a bit, which  makes it easy to access. The slide to lock/unlock button lies in between the volume rockers and the camera key.

Volume Rockers,Camera Key and Slide to lock/unlock

The rear panel feels a bit cheap when compared to the other panels the phone, and it houses the 2 megapixel camera. The camera lens is recessed, so you won’t have to worry about scratches especially since there isn’t a lens cover.On the left hand side you have the slots for the sim card and the microSD memory card. Quite honestly they don’t seem very sturdy so be gentle while using them. On top you have the slot for the micro usb cable(which isn’t supplied!),the charging port, the slot for the 3.5 mm jack and the power button.

Charging port, slot for 3.5mm jack, lot for micro usb connector and the Power button

The 2 mega pixel camera seems quite inadequate, not because of the resolution but because it has no auto-focus, even the absence of a flash is acceptable. You’ll be able to get good shots during the day, but the camera suffers in low light conditions, and i struggled to get any decent close up shots.

GPS! I really expected the phone to have GPS, the 5230 had GPS, fine they lopped off its WiFi and 3G capabilites to make it more affordable in its 5233 guise, but GPS is really cool and a definite selling point. Running through the User guide confused me as well because of the diagram showing where the GPS antenna was/is  :S , anyway back to the point. The 5233 does not have real GPS,but it does have network based GPS.

No true GPS!

To sum it up the Nokia 5233 definitely has its inadequacies and shortcomings, but its price is a redeeming factor. For around Rs. 7500 you get an excellent touch phone, with a beautiful screen. Nokia seems to have a winner on their hands, even though most buyers will definitely miss GPS.