Monthly Archives: March 2008

Centro – Affordable Palm Smartphone for India


Palm India recently launched Centro its newest, cheapest and probably also the best smartphone offering in India. I am calling it cheapest because its retail price as listed on the website is Rs. 13,990. When Treo 680 was first launched in India, its listed price was more than Rs. 25000, however I just checked and its now being sold for Rs. 14,400. However I would quickly like to point out that in US Centro is available for just $99 with service contract and rebates which makes it almost free.

I also call it best palm smartphone because its undoubtedly the smallest and sleekest smartphone from Palm and does everything a Treo 680 does. It also has a camera better than Treo 680.

However I have 2 complaints from Palm.

1. They don’t advertise much and their distribution/dealership network does not exist on non-metro Indian cities. I am so tired of people looking at my Treo 680 and asking me what kind of phone it is? Is it a Chinese phone? Is it good and such things. People recognize an O2, Imate or even HTC quite well here and everybody recognises Nokia.

2. Second problem I have is that there are simply no color choices available for Centro in India, but I guess that’s because they only have a single color available for GSM Centro. They have option of 3 very attractive colors for CDMA versions in US though.

Virgin rings in India, pays you to recieve call

Virgin Mobile was launched a few days back in India in traditional Virgin (read Path-breaking) style. Timing couldn’t have been better for me as I just finished reading his autobiograpy.

Richard Branson came flying down a Hotel to launch the Virgin Mobile logo. Virgin Mobile is a youth targetted mobile service and is available on CDMA networks of Tata Teleservices which operates its Mobile services called Tata Indiacom.
Mr. Branson talked about briging 10 firsts to Indian telecom market, the most interesting in my opinion is their offer to give 10 paise per minute to their users for every incoming call.

The launch was followed by daringly different TV commercials. I am personally very excited by Virgin’s entry in Indian telecom space even if they don’t own a network here. I hope they will bring in lot of excitement and set benchmarks in customer services as they have done everywhere they have gone. However I am not sure if they can achieve this with Tata Indicom running support operations for Virgin. Tata Indicom’s customer service has generally been very poor like most other telecom operators in India.

Tata and Virgin are not in complete sync was also evident from statements from both the sides during the launch. Richard Branson said “At Virgin Mobile we believe that the existing operators are all pursuing the same strategy: to get as many subscribers as quickly as possible. We want to deliver a more tailored, more relevant offering for a single, distinct segment,”

and in the save event Anil Sardana, managing director, Tata Teleservices, said, “This association would support our efforts to be the fastest growing mobile network in India.”

I guess that means while Branson wants to not pursue strategy of just getting a lot of subscribers quickly, Tata’s are just concentrating on a lot of subscribers as their primary mission.

Well good luck to Virgin and I hope some of Virgin culture and craziness will rub off to Tata Indicom as well in due course. I am too sad that I won’t be able to have a first hand experience of Virgin service myself as I don’t want to change my number and I am on GSM as of now. May be Richard Branson should put his wait behind in ushering in the Number Portability regime in India so that users from other networks can choose Virgin if they want to.

A personal note to Richard if he ever reads it: I always admired you and after reading your Autobiography I am in awe of you and will probably even risk a balloon flight to meet you 🙂

Develop Software Applications for Samsung i800


Without sounding too loaded with all technical jargons let me tell you ALP or Access Linux Platform is Access’s strategy to revive the good old Palm OS, so at the core its a Linux OS but they have wrapped Palm interface on top of it so it looks quite familiar to old Palm OS which came with Zire, Treo and Tungsten from Palm.

If you want to develop applications for soon to be launched ALP phones like Samsung i800, you can develop applications for old Palm OS 5 and it should run find on the new phones as well. You can also develop Java applications like you do for other mobile phones and they should run fine on it as well. You also have choice of writing web 2.0 applications to be run on their NetFront browser, but the best choice for developing a new application is developing a native application for ALP.

You can develop native ALP applications using ALP Development Suite which is available on their Developer Portal – http://accessdevnet.com/. ALP Development Suite includes:

  • A complete Eclipse-based set of development tools
  • The Glade 3 Interface Editor for GTK Apps
  • The ACCESS Linux Platform Simulator which runs on the Linux™ desktop and provides seamless application debugging
  • A Compilation Toolchain: gcc, linker and gdb
  • The VirtualPhone Tool which simulates a carrier network for telephony applications
  • Scratchbox, which enables command-line development and cross-compilation for ARM device targets
  • Headers and libraries
  • How-To Documentation and an Integrated API Reference

I will probably have to wait till they launch simulator and other tools for windows desktops as well or till existing Palm Tool manufactures port their development tools for native ALP.

Evolutionary iPhone, Revolutionary Morph


Apple always maintained that iPhone is revolutionary. Many bloggers and analysts have said that it is just evolutionary. When I first watched webcast in which Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, I was really impressed by what I saw and I still feel that iPhone is probably the best phone available in the market today.

However I just watched a breathtaking video of Morph Concept forwarded to me by my friend Abhijeet and I don’t know what to say about it. I am very very impressed.

Well who wouldn’t be impressed with a phone which behaves like elastic and can stretch and change shape and can be worn on your wrist as wrist band or can even be used as a fashion accessory to match your style. Well that’s what Morph intends to be. However Morph is just a concept device now so we can’t think of laying hands on one in near future.

In its press release Nokia describes Morph as a joint nanotechnology concept, developed by Nokia Research Center (NRC) and the University of Cambridge (UK). Morph demonstrates how future mobile devices might be stretchable and flexible, allowing the user to transform their mobile device into radically different shapes.

It demonstrates the ultimate functionality that nanotechnology might be capable of delivering: flexible materials, transparent electronics and self-cleaning surfaces.