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Customer Reviews : Airtel (Maharashtra and Goa)

Posted by jestin Thursday, September 10, 2009 0 comments

airtel review
This review is written by Mihir Patil. He is Senior Writer at MobiGyaan. Mihir has reviewed Airtel for Maharashtra and Goa Telecom Circle.

Network Availability- 6/10
Coverage has always been the main drawback of Airtel in Maharashtra & Goa circle.Subscriber usually faces calls drops in elevator,basement and parking lots.Company has been struggling with the issue of less cell sites in main cities of Maharashtra & Goa circle like Pune,Nagpur,Nasik and Panjim.Network is usually full in outdoor places but the strength decreases drastically as soon as subscriber enters an indoor place.

Network Quality-6/10
Network quality of Airtel in Maharashtra & Goa circle is very average.User faces congestion in peak hours and the call quality is way below average with frequent call drops even in the heart of city.Very less measures are taken in last 5-6 years to improve the network strength and depth.Network quality on highway is better because highway is scarcely densed.

Innovative Schemes- 7.5/10
The success of Airtel in Maharashtra & Goa circle completely relies on new schemes and offers which are somewhat better in its own way than other providers.Airtel dared to launch “Airtel Friendz” pack years ago in Maharashtra & Goa circle when 10 paise/min calling was considered as joke! However this pack no more exists but people who are already on this plan can still use it without facing any problem of validity as there are schemes like the 110 Rs recharge which gives 98 Rs talktime and 1 year validity with no change in the tariff plan.Airtel also introduced the 20 Rs voucher which gives 2000 local and national voice sms to any provider in India with a validity of 30 days.This scheme still exists and is a boon for subscribers who like to exchange info by sending voice sms instead of the orthodox way of sending texts.

Customer Care- 6/10
Customer care of Airtel is good but certainly not the best.The staff is well mannered but lacks enthusiasm.They can give you the info you require but for that they need to consult their seniors.Call customer during peak hours and they have ready answers like “our sytem is down..please callback after sometime” or “we are not able to check your information because of system upgradation so please callback after sometime”. Some customer care executives can’t even speak fluent English.All in all a user gets his problems solved by calling customer care but the experience is not something which can be relished.

VAS- 8/10
Airtel has made a significant mark by launching a wide array of value added services…some services are just meant to empty the pocket of subscribers like the astrology section where random predictions are given not based on any calculation and charging hefty amount for it.Hello tunes were first launched on Airtel in Maharashtra & Goa circle in 2004.Months later other providers launched their own services of Hello Tunes with different names.Airtel has usually given unmatched value added services in this circle like the mobile office service,NOP service.However they have gradually increased the GPRS rates in a span of 5 years which made them lose few of their loyal GPRS subscribers because of the new entrants like Aircel and Reliance GSM which offers unlimited free internet for as low as 98 Rs per month and 5 paise/10 kb respectively.

Things I like the most about my operator
The innovative schemes is the only good thing about Airtel in this circle.

Things I hate the most about my operator
Network Quality

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Facebook mobile
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Android, Google, Blackberry, iPhone, Nokia. There are plenty of mobile platforms and Facebook professes to love them all. At a media event here at Facebook headquarters on Tuesday, the social networking phenom laid out its ambitions in mobile and talked up its current efforts.

Those efforts include launching Facebook Connect for mobile last week and yesterday's announcement of Facebook for the Android platform of mobile devices. Facebook is already on the iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Nokia phones, among others.

Facebook officials say they'll have more platform announcements to make in the next few weeks.

"Mobile is a unique opportunity because you can have the device in your pocket, anywhere you go, which means there's an opportunity for new kinds of applications based on, for example, location," Facebook's director of mobile, Henri Moissinac, told InternetNews.com.

Moissinac's not alone in seeing big things ahead for mobile apps. A recent report by ABI Research predicted huge growth in cloud-based mobile applications, particularly location-based services.

Facebook's mobile team is relatively small, but it's grown quickly from what the company said was only a few people two years ago to 15 today. Facebook Mobile was launched in 2006 and the company said there are now over 65 million users worldwide.

Gareth Davis, a Facebook platform manager, said the social networking site's open platform has brought back a surge of smaller "garage" developers who can run with an idea without the barriers of traditional closed or walled-garden systems.

"Independent developers have some incredible ideas we'd never think of," he said. "And these can be people coding at night or as a side business at very low cost."

The iPhone, with over 65,000 applications, is the hottest platform for mobile developers right now. In terms of discovery, Facebook takes a different approach than Apple's App Store -- Davis said the company is committed to supporting the idea of social discovery among its users.

So, for example, he says Facebook has no plans to do "best seller" lists like the iPhone App Store does.

"We like social distribution," he said. "Sharing with friends you trust and go to for recommendations is best, not lists."

But Jeremiah Owyang, a partner and analyst at strategy and consulting firm Altimeter Group, said lists and independent editorial oversight can be useful to consumers and Facebook, with so many thousands of applications to choose from, might be making a mistake by not including such capabilities.

"Recommendations from people you know are helpful, but they can also just be more reinforcement of what you already like, so you're not being exposed to other types of applications you might find useful," he told InternetNews.com.

A bigger issue for Facebook, he said, is that a lot of mobile applications being developed are "disposable" -- they don't get used more than a few times because they don't have a lot of depth, like a simple game.

"It's important to Facebook to get more long-term experiences out there to build more loyalty to the platform," Owyang said. "It's a very immature market right now without a lot of business applications."

Still, Owyang added that he sees Facebook making the right moves elsewhere, like with Facebook Connect, which enables mobile, Web and PC app developers to tie their offerings into Facebook accounts and data.

"I like what they're doing with Facebook Connect for mobile because it really extends them beyond the Facebook.com domain," he said.

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Long time rivals in the mobile phone arena Nokia and Microsoft have agreed on a partnership that might result in Microsoft's Office applications appearing on Nokia phones.

The agreement, which is yet to be officially announced comes as Microsoft sees its dominance being increasingly challenged by competition like Google Docs that allow web-based office application access. With phones getting better and more "web-friendly", users are using their phones to view, edit and transfer official documents, spreadsheets and presentations, right from their phones. So, it was only a matter of time when Microsoft had to partner with Nokia, arguably the worlds largest manufacturer of mobile phones.

On the flip side, Nokia too is facing the heat from newer rivals and software platforms like the iPhone and more recently, Google's very own Android platform. Interestingly, Microsoft and Nokia too compete with each other, albeit indirectly if you add in Windows Mobile, Microsoft's smartphone OS platform to the list of competing mobile OSes. For the same reason, it is widely expected that this co-operation will only exist for MS Office access on Nokia phones and nothing beyond that.

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Nokia N900

Posted by jestin 0 comments

NOKIA'S LATEST Internet tablet or Mobile Internet Device (MID) arrives almost two years after its previous version, the N810, and an additional failed model that came inbetween, the N810 WiMax edition.

How the N900 differs from the previous model is firstly in the software as the device runs the latest version of the Linux-based mobile OS, Maemo 5. The second largest change is in the hardware, as the N900 is now an actual phone for the very first time in this series.

Previous generations, including the N770 of four years ago, were just MIDs and nothing else. Now Nokia has included the ability to make calls, somewhat of a novel feature for a mobile phone company (*cough*).


Nokia's N900 runs on a Texas Instruments OMAP3 ARM processor, a successor to the OMAP2 found in the Finnish firm's previous N810 model and its N95 handset. This new processor has dynamic frequency scaling, where the CPU can ramp from 200MHz to 600MHz depending on the number of applications running and their processing needs.

This supports the multitasking capabilities of the N900, which just wasn't possible with the N810 and other past models. The INQ has been informed that the other notable mobile phone to run on the OMAP3 CPU is the Palm Pre, which is well known for its multitasking prowess too.

This handset-come-Internet device rocks up with double the RAM of the N810 at 256MB. There is also a further 768MB of swap memory available from the onboard storage, if and when needed for running applications.

On the topic of storage, Nokia's new MID has 32GB of onboard storage whereas the N810 only had 2GB. Three of Nokia's devices have now reached this level natively, with the N97 and X6 being the others in the range. Other phone manufacturers cannot boast similar storage capacity within a number of products without relying on supplemental means for boosting storage availability.

Nokia has also tested the N900 with the latest 32GB microSD memory cards due out soon with the in-built microSD slot. It's been confirmed to the INQ that all is well with this all-round compatibility, which doubles the capacity of the device to 64GB of possible storage. This trumps Nokia's previous best with the N97 and its 32GB of onboard storage plus a measly 16GB microSD card for the grand sum of 48GB of possible storage.

Worked into the N900 architecture is graphics hardware acceleration. The PowerVR SGX enables rather realistic 3D gaming with in-game photo realism. There wasn't a great deal of content for the N900 at the launch event to show off this promised capability, but the games that were available did pass along an inkling of what's possible using the built in accelerometer for game control. We were told developers are working on a lot of new content, with Nokia partners set to offer up some titles both at launch and afterwards.

The onboard audio jack socket also doubles up as the TV-out port, as with the N97 handset. This is capable of displaying 800x400 with the provided cable. The N900 media centre has also been upgraded, so playback of many new formats is possible, such as DiVX, WMV and MP3 files.

Nokia has included the same camera that's in a few of the other top tier handsets, the 5 megapixel (MP) offering with a Carl Zeiss optical lens. It has proven to be popular in other models and does take a great image. Nokia does finally have an 8MP camera in the fairly new N86, and although that could have looked good in the N900, we felt it would be overkill at this time. The 5MP camera does however record a greater video size than the 8MP camera at 848x480, so not all is lost with a lower megapixel count.

The Finnish phone makers have opted for a smaller touch screen in the N900, as compared to the much larger display in the N810. The screen has shrunk from a 4.13-inch size to a 3.5-inch version. Nokia has however still kept the 800x480 pixels WVGA resolution. In comparing the two models side by side, the size difference is obviously noticeable, but the picture quality comes across much better in the N900. We would have assumed Nokia would have worked multi-touch into this latest version of its tablet computer, as their competitors nearly all have this capability now. Alas, this isn't the case and there's no date when this might become a feature in Nokia's handsets.

As with many companies, Nokia has adopted the microUSB standard of charging, as this is becoming a forced EU standard by 2012. We first saw Nokia adopting microUSB charging in the E63 in late 2008, whereas now it's a rare sight to see anything else but this method in its devices. It could very well be all over for Nokia's propriety charger that powered its devices and nothing else.

As this is Nokia's first N series MID to have phone functionality, it's also the first to have A-GPS on board along with GPS, where both can be used together to gain a more accurate, fast and better GPS position.


Besides being a quad band GSM phone, we've been told the N900 is also a quad band CDMA phone for accessing almost all North American networks. There is no other phone in the Nokia portfolio to date that has this vast range of communication capabilities. Nokia hasn't made public whose chipset it has used for the phone functions of the N900, but it has worked in HSPA over the HSDPA variant for the much improved uplink speeds, which isn't even in their flagship N97 model.

Nokia has included the exact same removable Lithium-ion 1320 mAh battery that accompanied its 5800 music handset. Nokia stated to the INQUIRER that it's possible to run the N900 continuously for 24 hours, double the time of the N810. We weren't able to put this to the test.


Its keyboard is reminiscent of the budget model of the Nokia E71, the E63. The rubberised keys are a move away from the steel feel to the N810, although it must have proved popular to be included in this device. We did find the individual keys were a tad too close together initially, although after some time in use the adjustment was fast and the writing was much smoother. This is far removed from the other rubber keyboard handset we reviewed recently, where the HTC Snap was cumbersome to type with as a direct comparison.

The Maemo operating system on the N900 is the latest 5th edition, while both the N810 and N770 of two and four years ago respectively ran version 4. On-board is an up-to-date Linux kernel, and accompanying the mobile OS is now four desktops that are all accessible by just sliding your thumb across the touch screen. These are customisable in order to house various widgets and applications. As a comparison, the N810 had only one desktop and none of the current apps which feature on the N900.

Every widget expected is available, from the likes of Facebook apps down to accessing the Ovi store for the first time with this series of devices. We've been told all of these will be ready at launch, with more coming down the pipeline. Existing N810 applications are being ported across to the latest model, all with a view not to lose that audience along the way.

The N900 is capable of running several applications at once, where the N810 wasn't at all. Nokia boasts all these applications can be instantly accessed with no delay, which we can confirm. The apps running aren't halted when not in use, they're just minimised to a small window where you can clearly see the applications still running with no lag. We were told Nokia was going for the same experience that Microsoft Windows has with many apps running at once, offering up the same experience of the desktop only in a handheld device.

Nokia has stuck to the S60 Symbian menu for the Linux N900, purely for brand continuity. It looks and feels much the same as the N97 and 5800 menu structure, plus it performs in much the same way.

The accompanying web browser is based on the Mozilla Firefox engine, which supports Flash and full-screen browsing. Once again Nokia has gone for mimicking the desktop PC with this functionality, which works well over WiFi or through the cellular modem.

There's an interesting way to zoom in and zoom out of web pages on the N900. It's performed by swirling a finger on the touch-screen in clockwise circles or anti-clockwise to zoom out. This does work surprisingly well and is easy to use, although there are regular zoom in and zoom out buttons just in case this throws some people off. Moving a finger off the left of the screen produces a mouse arrow, ideal for those websites that do require this type of operation.

The contacts application on the Internet tablet is pretty much complete, with access for a person via various email addresses along with Google Talk, Skype, Jabber and Ovi Chat instant messaging all present. What wasn't there was Windows Messaging, but we've been assured this will be present and correct from a third party extension. Email setup was easily performed from the likes of Exchange, Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail. Folder support has also been enabled if your email backend has this ability, just as it is with Microsoft Exchange.

Threaded SMS and instant messaging chats are a feature of the N900. This is a popular feature of the Iphone and Palm Pre, with a proven success in those handsets.

Announced at Nokia World was Lifecasting, which is a widget for the Nokia N97 mini handset. This displays at the press of a button, or automatically, exactly where you are straight to a Facebook status update. This is also due to make its way to the N900, we've been informed, around the launch date in October.

For the first time kinetic scrolling has come to Nokia handsets. It's on the N900 and the new N97 mini and in an upcoming firmware on the N97. This is where scrolling down a web page is performed by running a finger down the screen and then off of the handset, where the web page continues to keep scrolling. It's a very useful feature of handsets and saves running a finger down the screen, then repeating the action for the next page and the next.

In Short
When the N770 was first announced back in 2005 there weren't many devices around that could claim the full multimedia experience of video, music playing and web browsing and it stood out. Now, the world is full of these handsets and perhaps Nokia is entering a market it doesn't have much space in anymore.

We feel Nokia has made large strides since the N810, although we can't help wondering why it has taken so long to include the functionality of a phone in these products when, after all, Nokia is a phone company.

Despite its improvements from the previous generation we really don't think many will notice, as Nokia hasn't seemed to market these products very well in the past. We're hard pressed to find any of our early tech adopter colleagues that actually own any of these Nokia Internet tablets and they are the target market.

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Nokia N97 mini

Posted by jestin 0 comments

First look: Nokia N97 mini

All those planning to buy Nokia's recently -launched high-end smartphone N97, will soon have an option.

The world's top cellphone maker Nokia is all set to launch a smaller version of N97 called N97 mini. Touted as a smaller mobile computer, the phone has a few changes vis-a-vis its predecessor N97.

Here's looking into how the new Nokia N97 mini will look, features offered and expected pricing.

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By Tarmo Virki, European technology correspondent

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia Oyj plans to skip tailoring software of its upcoming top-of-the-range model N900 to different operators, raising the risk some carriers, who focus on integrating their own software, could refuse to offer the model.

Nokia's plan for phones using its Linux Maemo operating system is the latest twist in a battle between handset vendors and operators for access to cell phone users.

The world's top cell phone maker last month unveiled its first phone running on Linux, aiming at improving its offering and assuring investors of its ability to compete with Apple Inc and Google Inc.

Nokia is looking to save costs on launching new products while also competing with likes of the iPhone, but relations with operators remain crucial in some key markets such as the United States and Britain.

The focus of cell phone business has shifted to services and software following Apple and Google's Android entrances to the market in the last two years.

"Very clearly Apple, Android ... are a whole lot less about providing customization to the operators and a whole lot more about providing a really cool, compelling value proposition to the end-consumer," David Rivas, Nokia's vice president for devices R&D, told Reuters.

Nokia and its Symbian operating system -- which it tailors very specifically, installing operators' software -- have lost market share in smartphones, but they still control almost half of the smartphone market.

"We have an opportunity, that we are going to take advantage of, with Maemo platform to play the game a little bit more along those lines than with Symbian lines," Rivas said.

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Nokia Says No to Operator Branding Maemo

How many times have you bought an operator locked, branded handset expecting it to be the device it actually was and not something that was loaded with the usual "crapware" - as most branded, customized software are termed?
This was a common occurrence across most brands. Operators were given the liberty to tinker with the phone's firmware. This resulted in users locked to one network usually ending up with heavily customized handsets - complete with operator specific services forcefully embedded into the phone. Nokia seems to have had enough of this forceful thrusting of customized stuff -- and has subtly announced that its Maemo platform would see less of operator intrusion into the device software.

Nokia seems to be taking a stand where it, rather than the operator, would dictate the terms of the level of customization that goes into its devices. This is also particularly important for the consumers, as they would not need to resort to methods like debranding which is a great excuse for operators to "void" your warranty, in case you brick or damage your phone whilst debranding.

This is what David Rivas, Nokia's vice president for devices R&D, had said when he was asked about operator customization: "Very clearly Apple, Android are a whole lot less about providing customization to the operators and a whole lot more about providing a really cool, compelling value proposition to the end-consumer. We have an opportunity that we are going to take advantage of, with Maemo platform to play the game a little bit more along those lines than with Symbian lines."

We are still unsure how things would work out between operators and Nokia if they resort to such a stance. Will Nokia's stature as the world's biggest phone maker be enough to "force" operators to soften their stance on the customization levels? With the Maemo based N900 ready for sale in October, we would soon find that out!

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