Right phone, wrong price


Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 is a decent device and a worthy successor to the Galaxy Grand, but over-priced.

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SAMSUNG GALAXY GRAND 2

Price: Rs 24,890
Rating: 4/5
Specs: 5.25 inch display; 8MP rear camera; 1.2GHz quad core processor; 1.5GB RAM; 8GB + microSD card slot; Android 4.3; 2600 mAh battery; 163 grams

Most new smartphones these days are successors of previously launched devices. So too the Samsung Grand 2. The Samsung Grand was a popular phone and did fairly well in the market.

The Grand 2 comes with a 5.25 inch display and 1280 x 720 p resolution. The phone can be held in a single hand but I could not type on it with one hand. It has a plastic body but the back panel has a frame with faux chrome finish that makes it look better than its predecessor.

The Grand 2 also packs a 1.2GHz qualcomm processor, coupled with 1.5GB of RAM. Samsung has not increased the internal storage. It continues to have 8GB onboard storage with only 5.19 GB accessible for use.

Some have complained about the slowing down of the Grand, but I didn’t face any such problems with the Grand 2. The Touch Wiz user interface looks similar to to those of the past. I still prefer to load a third party launcher that speeds up the phone.

Some of the software in the flagship phones of the company are present in this one too. These include multi-view window, S-Voice assistant Group Play, etc. The phone supports most video and audio formats by default. It played full HD video .

The primary camera onboard is an 8MP shooter that does an impressive job. It can also capture full HD videos for sharing on social networking. The battery lasted me a day without recharge.

BAG IT OR JUNK IT:
A decent device but over-priced.

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How Apple plans to go ‘local’ in India


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Apple plans to go local with a vengeance, setting up small, neighbourhood shops in big cities and tier II markets.

KOLKATA/MUMBAI: Apple plans to go local with a vengeance, setting up small, neighbourhood shops in big cities and tier II markets, in a bid to get closer to potential buyers as it pushes ahead with an India-specific strategy aimed at trying to grab market share from dominant rival Samsung.

The shops will be set up by Apple distributors Redington and Ingram Micro besides existing trade partners and follows the revival of the iPhone 4 for sale in India and other emerging markets, which gave buyers who covet the brand the option of a phone that costs much less than latest models. Apple has also directly approached some trade partners and retailers regarding the setting up of the neighbourhood stores.

Samsung is widely present in the Indian retail market place, offering smartphone and tablets through more than 1,000 Smartphone Cafes. Apple is late to the game, only having seriously focused on India in the last two years but having since then given the local management a freer hand. Apple India has sought to push phones and tablets through exchange and finance programmes, besides reintroducing the iPhone 4, which is defunct elsewhere.

The company has also reintroduced the iPhone 4, which is defunct elsewhere.

Apple has informed distributors and trade partners in recent meetings that it is looking to set up exclusive 400-600 sq ft stores in neighbourhoods and some popular high-street locations. They will focus on mobility products such as iPhones and iPads, besides entry-level Mac computers and iPods, said three of Apple’s trade partners aware of the plans.

“Apple wants to focus more on its entry-level models in these stores such as iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPad mini and iPad 2, which are essentially in the sub- 30,000 segment and also its largest-selling products in India,” said a senior executive of a leading trade partner of Apple.

“The company feels these products are also attractively priced over competitors such as Samsung and Sony, and hence, being closer to the consumer will help to increase the conversion rate,” he said.

Apple wants to set up these smaller stores in areas where people have high disposable incomes, there’s a strong penetration of smartphones and a large student population such as Pune, Vizag, Guwahati, Durgapur and Gangtok. Apple has not set any expansion target for the small-format stores.

Apple declined to comment on queries regarding the plan. “We wouldn’t comment on rumours or speculation,” said Apple spokesman Alan Hely at regional headquarters in London.

The company has reached out to existing trade partners and multi-brand retail chains with its small-format store proposal, said the people cited above.

One of Apple’s premium resellers, Currents Technology Retail, recently set up two such stores in Kolkata and Panchkula in Haryana. Currents is distributor Redington’s own retail format.

Not all partners are enthused by the plan. One leading electronics retail chain decided not to take up the offer as profit margins on Apple are already among the lowest.

“After offering consumer discounts, the margin on iPhones and iPads is 2-5%, whereas it’s 7-10% for Samsung and other brands. Hence, it makes sense to continue with a multi-brand retail model where we can make more money,” said a senior executive at the retail chain.

An executive with another trade partner said Apple’s distributors want to ensure that the format will be viable, which could mean that the plan unfolds slowly.

Apple had around 2% volume market share of the Indian smartphone market in the October-December 2013 quarter, far behind market leader Samsung at 32% share and Micromax at 21%, according to market tracker Canalys. Apple’s value share, however, is higher due to the price of its phones, with the iPhone 5c starting at 41,900. That’s why reintroducing the iPhone 4, at a price that could go as low as 21,000, made sense for India.

Thanks to its marketing push, Apple India’s 2012-13 revenue rose to 3,030 crore from 2,003 crore in the year earlier. But that lags considerably behind Samsung India’s 27,000-crore revenue, although this includes television and home appliance sales as well. Samsung India’s mobile phone and tablet business is estimated to account for around 55% of total sales.

Apple wants to make sure that it doesn’t miss out on a burgeoning market.

Samsung Galaxy S5 has a fingerprint scanner that can kill passwords


The Samsung Galaxy will be available from April.

The Samsung Galaxy will be available from April.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is here. The fifth edition of what has been one of the most popular Android devices, carries the same design language forward with minor tweaks. Samsung seems to have decided that it was better to offer the consumers something they identified with instead of offering gimmicky features that might get the eyeballs, but won’t be all that functional.
The phone will be available from April.
DESIGN: The Galaxy S5 features a perforated pattern on the bac and will come in charcoal black, shimmery white, electric blue and copper gold, to complement the style of the individual consumer. The Galaxy S5 is IP67 dust and water resistant. But it still looks the same.

Samsung s5

CAMERA: The biggest upgrade seems to be in the camera, as the Galaxy S5 offers the world’s fastest autofocus speed of 0.3 seconds coupled with advanced High Dynamic Range (HDR). Users can also use selective focus to focus on a specific area of an object while blurring out the background.
CONNECTIVITY: The Galaxy S5 promises the best LTE and Wi-Fi experience and supports the fifth generation Wi-Fi 802.11ac and 2X2 MIMO, and supporting the large number of LTE frequency with LTE Category 4 standard. Plus, there is the Download Booster Wi-Fi technology for boosting data speed by bonding Wi-Fi and LTE simultaneously.

APPS: The device will feature enhanced S Health 3.0, a comprehensive personal fitness tracker to help users monitor and manage their behavior, along with additional tools including a pedometer, diet and exercise records, and a new, built-in heart rate monitor. It will also pair seamlessly with the next generation Gear products for real-time fitness coaching.
BIOMETRIC: The S5 will offer a finger scanner in the Home button, providing a secure, biometric screen locking feature and a seamless and safe mobile payment experience to consumers. Apple’s scanner does not do this at the moment.
It remains to be seen if these features are enough to satisfy Samsung’s customers. Incidentally, the S4 was not as popular as the earlier versions of the flagship phone.

Top Upcoming Android Phones in 2014


Android1With Consumer Electronics Show (CES) going on and Mobile World Congress (MWC) just around the corner there is lot of anticipation building up regarding upcoming smartphones from different manufacturer camps. Here we will take a look at the most awaited smartphones of 2014.

Sony

The last two years have seen Sony reveal their flagship device in January so, we might be pretty near to seeing Sony’s 2014 flagship smartphone, which is expected to set the feature and design standards for rest of the devices that will follow.

Xperia Z2: The Sony brought the ‘waterproof’ and ‘dustproof’ feature on board and saw huge success. The next version, Sony Xperia Z2 is also expected to bring some innovative features if Sony wants to stay in the game. We have not seen any news about flexible displays and homegrown 64 bit processors, Sony might be planning to stay away from gimmicky stuff. The rumours suggest that Xperia Z2 codenamed ‘Avatar’ will feature a 5.2 inch IGZO Triluminos 1080p display, 4K video recording, 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 20.7 MP camera, 3GB of RAM and 3200mAh battery. Advance wireless charging and and fast charging within one hour are some features that are being speculated.
Samsung

The Korean electronics giant is currently leading the Android smartphone race and they have lot of devices in their arsenal to take on other players in the fierce battle.

Samsung Galaxy S5: The next show stopper for Samsung from the legendary Galaxy S line is also up for release soon. Even if there are rumours that Galaxy F will take the high end crown from Galaxy S5, the ‘S’ line still is the face of premium smartphone range from Samsung. Rumours surrounding Galaxy S5 suggest that it will also come with 2k display like the Galaxy F. It will be powered by 64-bit Exynos or Snapdragon chipset, contain 3GB of RAM, 16 MP camera, 4000mAh battery and run Android 4.4 KitKat. The most exciting rumour is about inclusion of iris scanner which is set to put iPhone 5S’ fingerprint scanner to shame. The Galaxy S5 is set to debut at MWC 2014 and could be followed by the Galaxy F.

Samsung Galaxy F: Samsung is looking to go metal with this new flagship device which rumoured to debut alongside Galaxy S5 and will take the top spot in Samsung’s premium smartphone line up. If it has to go above the Galaxy S line it should contain the top of the line internal specs as well. The word is that it will be powered by Cortex A57/A53 octa core Exynos processor, and will have a display with QHD 2K resolution at 2560×1600 pixels, could even be a true flexible one. Other than that it will probably also have 16 MP camera module that Samsung has been working on, along with Optical Image stabilisation which has been missing from Samsung smartphones. There is not much information available about this mystery device yet.
HTC
Even though HTC is having a hard time keeping up with the competition, it is not giving up so easily and is working on their sequel to the HTC One which has seen some critical and commercial success.

HTC Butteryfly 2: The sequel to HTC Butterfly, is said to ahev a 5.2 inch Full HD display, and run on Snapdragon 800 chipset. The device is also expected to have UltraPixel camera and BoomSound speakers. The phone will have two-tone colour scheme and come in white, black and blue. Taking inspiration from Sony, HTC is also trying to get the Butterfly 2 waterproof IPX7 certified.

HTC M8: The successor to HTC One is in the news since a long time, codenamed M8. Recent leaks by @evleaks suggest that the device will be running Snapdragon 800 processor, 3Gb of RAM and display around 5.2 inches with 1080p resolution. It will inherit the same UltraPixel camera from HTC One but bump in megapixels might be on the cards. It is expected to run Android 4.4 with Sense 6.0 on top of it We are really worried how HTC plans to name the device. HTC One 2? We are expecting the device to launch during the first quarter of 2014, probably during MWC 2014.

LG

The Korean electronics maker LG is neck and neck with its hometown rival Samsung. LG is also making their own 64 bit octa core processors and has already showcase their flexible display technology.

LG G3: The flagship phone from LG and successor to LG G2 is set to come armed with a QHD 2560×1440 resolution screen with 5.5 screen size. The camera is going to be a 16 MP shooter. LG’s homegrown 64 bit octa core ‘Odin’ processor based on ARM Cortex A50 is expected to power the device. LG might not be able to debut the device during MWC and push the launch to somewhere around 2nd half of 2014.

LG G Flex 2: We don’t even have Lg G Flex available worldwide, so it’s a long shot to think about it’s successor yet. LG showcased their flexible display capability in LG G Flex, which was bendable to some degree. The second iteration, LG G Flex 2 is set have a bendability up to 90 degrees. The chassis is supposed to be made up of rubber to allow the flex. We have neither have information about the internal specs that will power the device, nor its release date, not even a hint.

Samsung Galaxy S III sales blow past target, topping 30 million units in 150 days


Samsung (005930) mobile boss JK Shin said in September that the vendor hoped to sell more than 30 million Galaxy  S III smartphones in 2012. With just under two months left in the year, Samsung on Monday announced that Galaxy S III sales have already surpassed the company’s target, topping 30 million units in just 150 days. “The GALAXY S III continues to be a runaway favorite with customers around the world,” Samsung’s Shin said. “Meeting this sales milestone in five months sets another record for Samsung, and we are extremely proud and yet motivated to continue to provide our customers with products that they love.” Samsung had previously announced that sales of its flagship smartphone topped 10 million units in under two months and it took about 100 days to hit 20 million.