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HTC Touch HD – An Ultimate Contender for Touch Glory!

September 13, 2008

This is getting really interesting; a new rumoured device from HTC has now been surfaced out of no-where code-named HTC TOUCH HD. It looks like HTC is now going full device touch screen with the amazing screen size of 4 inches & astounding resolution of WVGA (800X480). 

The HTC Touch HD is all poised to be the ultimate device in the much hyped TOUCH phone segment with all the making of  the real I-Phone killer. The phone is rumoured to be based on Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional & will be running HTC Touch Flo 3D (just like Touch Diamond).

Below is some known specification highlights of HTC TOUCH HD, meanwhile the Touch HD is said to be due in Christmas means we can expect its announcement really soon…

 System:
4-inch 65K TFT touchscreen with 480 x 800 pixel resolution
– 512MB ROM, 327MB available to the user
– 288MB DDR SDRAM
– microSDHC (up to 32GB)
– Built-in accelerometer
 

Connectivity
– GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS900, UMTS2100
– CSD, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA
– mini-USB connector
– Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
– Wireless LAN
– FM radio with RDS
– 3.5mm standard audio jack
– GPS receiver Qualcomm gpsOne with A-GPS

Camera
– 5 megapixel autofocus camera
– No camera flash
– Video recording: 320×240 pixels(QVGA)@30fps
– Secondary VGA video calls camera

Battery
– 1350 mAh capacity.
Till more news… Cheers!
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HTC Touch DIAMOND Review – Experience A New Dimension

September 8, 2008

Author’s Note: (I have recently written this product review for HTC Touch Diamond for one of a leading magazine & wanted to share it with my blog visitors)

The Prosumer’s smart phone market is a notoriously difficult market to crack, with subsequent successful devices proving few and far between. If any Windows Mobile device has ever eagerly awaited it has been the Touch Diamond from HTC. Small, sleek and with a version of HTC’s fancy TouchFLO interface that has expected to knock the socks off its predecessor, the arrival of the HTC Touch Diamond is a bit of a ‘baited breath’ moment.

The HTC Touch Diamond is a 3G handset, made with a touchscreen, 4GB of storage for music and photos and more. It’s an elegant follow-up to the HTC Touch and should give the 3G iPhone a run for its money, The best part of the HTC Touch Diamond by far is its beautiful craftsmanship, but the touch screen and functionality come in a close second and third.

HTC Touch Diamond – Designer Feel

The HTC Touch Diamond looks fabulous. It’s relatively small and lightweight for a smartphone, at just 11mm thick and weighing in at only 110g. But don’t let these stats deceive you, as the Diamond packs an awful lot into its svelte body. The 2.8-inch screen dominates the front of the handset, with a panel featuring four hard keys and a command key found just underneath. The panel feels a little loose which is a shame because apart from that the Diamond is a work of art. The back of the handset features a plastic glossy prism-like design that gives it a real designer look, although both this and the screen is a real magnet for grubby paw prints.

The icons are both vivid and expertly animated, and the clock on the home screen can be changed from digital to a retro-style clock that flips over as the minutes pass.

HTC Touch Diamond – TouchFLO 3D

Following the success of HTC’s patented TouchFLO technology, the Diamond is the first to sport the updated TouchFLO 3D user interface. Despite operating on Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, it looks similar to the user interface found on the iPhone, with the ability to flip through your contacts or music collection with each name or album cover coming towards you from the screen.

The 3D view of the HTC Touch Diamond’s software is excellent. You can look through your contact list by picture with the sweep of a finger if you add pictures to people in your contact list, or take their picture with the phone’s 3.2Mp auto-focus camera. For music listeners, the album covers show up so you can flip through them in the same way you look through the contact list. Of course, you can type in names as well by hand or stylus.

The HTC Touch Diamond is packed with features and not forgetting its smartphone roots features HSDPA, Wi-Fi and HSUPA, meaning it’s equally quick in uploading content as it is to download. We were particularly impressed with the Wi-Fi connectivity both in its speed and its ability to recognize potential servers. Using our office Wi-Fi network we found surfing the net proved just as fast as our own desktop.

HTC Touch Diamond – Opera Mobile

HTC recently announced that all of its Diamonds would come with Opera 9.5, a purpose-built mobile internet browser, embedded on the device. Internet Explorer is also there, but Opera is so good that Internet Explorer is likely to remain redundant. The beauty of Opera is that it automatically resizes web content so that it fits neatly on the screen. Simply tap the screen twice on the area of the page that you want to read and you will zoom in. The Diamond is also fitted with accelerometers allowing you to view web pages (as well as photos) in portrait or landscape view.

A quick link to YouTube can also be found in the list of programs. The quality of video when being streamed is some of the best we’ve seen, though there is an ever so slight sound delay.

HTC Touch Diamond – Rain or Shine

The weather application was a particular favourite of ours. Choose from a list of locations – you can be as specific as particular boroughs of London – and be greeted by a large weather symbol indicating whether there is sun, rain or snow, as well as the current temperature. It’s updated automatically and regularly, and could prove particularly useful to the jet-setting businessman, for example.

The Diamond also features A-GPS, although the mapping software will need to be bought in addition to the device; however the complete package does come with the excellent CoPilot Live included. However, Google Maps is embedded in the device, and the accuracy of the results was excellent, pinpointing us to the exact location.

HTC Touch Diamond – Multitasking

While there’s no expandable memory option, the Diamond does pack 4GB of internal memory, which is a generous offering. What’s more unlike some other phones is that the Diamond allows you to use multiple programs at any one time, by minimizing them as you would on a PC. For example, you could be surfing the web when you want to check your calendar. Simply bring up your diary, check your appointment and then return to where you were on the web.

HTC Touch Diamond – The verdict

We applaud the HTC Touch Diamond for its ambition and promise. With the Sony Ericsson Xperia and Samsung Omni i900 coming soon, offering their own customizations of Windows Mobile 6.1’s UI and widescreen displays, the competition will be getting a little fierce. The TouchFLO 3D is definitely fun and interesting, though it doesn’t always translate into a more efficient and expedient UI. We wish you didn’t have to read the manual to learn the in’s and out’s of finger navigation (isn’t the point of touch phones that they should operate nearly transparently), though first time WinMo users will likely find the visual presentation easier to figure out than standard WinMo. However, in terms of price and features the Diamond is a high-end power user’s phone, and those generally attract veteran users who may grow frustrated with the visuals when wanting to accomplish tasks quickly.
Certainly, the feature set is incredible– VGA display, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, 4 gigs of storage and a good autofocus camera. And it’s a marvel that HTC fit all this in such a slim, small and light device. Based on the hardware, the Diamond is indeed a gem.

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Pakistan’s Smart Phone Market – Does Windows Mobile hold True Potential?

September 4, 2008

The Days gone by when PDA’s (read Win Mo Mobile phones) were only meant for geeks & Techies, since than PDA’s have come to an age of unattractive looking communication devices to a fashion/ professional accessory .As the data consumption by local consumer is increasing (following the footsteps of their global counterparts) along with all kind of new data services being introduced by Telco’s. This scenario has now led to a sudden surge in demand for handheld devices to fulfill customer’s both (professional & style) requirement in a single mobile device.

Currently the local smart phone market entails 3 major players (OS/ platform plus devices). The Nokia smart phones (primarily its e-series with Symbian OS), RIM with its BlackBerry devices/ services & the Microsoft Windows Mobile enable devices (aka PDA’s) approx 80% of which manufactured by High Tech Corporation – HTC).

Why Windows Mobile?

For Individual Consumers:

1. Great potential in business phone category with thousands of professionals are looking for the solution of their professional requirements,

2. Growing acceptance of Windows mobile as the foremost OS in business category,

3. Plenty of choices (in the shape of different device manufactures) available in Windows Mobile, with different design choices (from a sleek stylish looking device to a professional looking full auto sliding keyboard built device)

4. A sudden surge in young executives segment in Pakistan, who want to fulfill both of their professional & style requirement through a single mobile device.

5. Win MO offers loads of customization for each individual needs, cyber world is abundant with apps from Games to Touch navigation (finger swapping navigation) soft wares.

For Corporate:

1. Growing trust on Windows Mobile by IT/IS departments of leading organizations.

2. Windows Mobile offers High security & control for organizations unmatched by other hand-held devices,

3. Data facilities from cellular operators are improving, which is now encouraging corporate organizations to modernize their business processes through utilizing these facilities.

4. Advance level of connectivity now required by companies from their employees,

5. Growing trend of Office automation through Hand held devices,

6. MNC’s are being instructed by their foreign offices to switch onto Windows Mobile.

How to Promote Windows Mobile?

1. Awareness: (through targeted, coherent & interactive communication)

2. Reach: (through communication & sales channel)

3. Experience: (connect Windows Mobile attributes with consumers hence enhancing brand image & build customer relationship)

4. Value Proposition: (provide the rationale (tangible and intangible benefits) for making consumers choose Win Mo products over competition)

Communication Activities to Focus:

1. ATL: ATL will help in awareness & hype of Win Mo devices. In addition, these media also give strength to Windows Mobile brand (esp. TV & Print in Pakistan)

2. OOH: (Billboards only)

3. BTL: BTL needs to be more aggressive through road shows & high-end in-store branding,

4. Trade Marketing: Sales promotion, premiums, Win Mo device demonstration at select potential Malls & outlets,

5. Corporate Marketing: Training workshop, Corporate giveaways, PR events, Win Mo enable units for corporate demonstration.

Conclusion:

1. Windows Mobile has the required product portfolio & potential to make it big in Pakistan,

2. If Windows Mobile or Win Mo devices adopt targeted & focused approach towards 2 most vital segments than the objective of higher number of Win Mo user in Pakistan can easily be achieved,

3. The value of each segment (Individuals & Corporate) is very important in taking Windows Mobile devices towards leadership position in high-end category,

The upcoming products including HTC Diamond, Samsung Omnia, HTC Touch Pro & Sony Ericsson Xperia X-1have the potential to achieve greater success for Windows mobile in Pakistan.

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“Samsung Omnia (I900) Launched in Pakistan”

September 4, 2008

Arguably the most hyped Win Mo device (along with Touch Diamond) has now hit the Pakistan market. The first 5 megapixel Windows Mobile camera phone will be available from 2nd week of September; this was announced in a recently held Press conference by Samsung Mobile, Pakistan at a local hotel in Lahore. Omnia boasts one of the coolest features around in the market.

Main Highlights:

• 3G with HSDPA 7.2 Mbps
• Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional OS
• 624MHz Marvell PXA312 CPU and 128 MB RAM
• 3.2″ 65K-color touch screen with resolution of
   240 x 400 pixels
• 5 megapixel autofocus camera with wide dynamic
   range mode, face tracking, smile detection,
   geotagging
• 8 to 16 GB of storage memory, microSD expansion
• Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS
• Wi-Fi
• Stereo Bluetooth and USB connectivity
• FM radio with RDS
• Optical joystick with virtual mouse functionality
• Built-in accelerometer for auto screen rotation
   and call muting
• TV-out
• Solid build and great finish
• Slick design and slim body
• Nice battery life
• Fast response and performance
• Excellent thumb-optimized software package
• Thumbnable virtual QWERTY keyboard with optional
   landscape mode
• Touch-Wiz UI
• DivX video support right out of the box
• Above average audio quality
• Headset comes with a 3.5mm audio jack

The expected price of Omnia in Pakistan will be around Rs. 50K, though this price looks expensive but I am sure the price will go down as the initial hype fades away. ..

Cheers!…

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HTC Announced new Smart Phone S740 – A Revival of Windows Mobile (Standard version)

September 1, 2008

 HTC has announced the new addition in their smart phone line-up, the HTC S740. This new successor of HTC S730 has a very interesting design, a reminiscent to HTC Touch Pro but with extra T9 keypad boasting Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard as the OS. The HTC official website define this weird beauty as

“HTC S740 transcends power, usability and simple key-control to deliver the most joyful and intuitive writing experience; designed with both beauty and function in mind, the S740’s slender formation of bold angles and distinctive facets perfectly conceals a slide-out keyboard that makes typing-intensive tasks more pleasurable than ever before.

Working in perfect harmony with the S740’s quick messaging tools… writing documents, texts, emailing and instant messaging conversations feel as natural as they do on a notebook, giving you the freedom to communicate the way you enjoy the most.
Surf the Internet anywhere with broadband-speed HSDPA or hook up to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot to peruse the web at your leisure.

 Stay in the loop with everything the world of media has to offer with a built-in RSS hub to alert you of the latest in news, entertainment and content as it appears.

Perfectly balanced to be as indispensable to the demanding business communicator as the most energetic of social butterflies… the HTC S740 belongs to everyone who’s passionate about staying in touch, whatever the medium.”

The S740 will be the flagship model of HTC very successful S- series (S620, S710 & S730). The S740 will be available from the month of September or October.

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An Insight into the Mind of Mobile Phone users – The battle of Needs & Aspirations!

August 30, 2008

In continuation to my previous post on Pakistan’s handset industry; this article will shed further light on the same industry but highlighting the opposite side of the spectrum .i.e. the mobile phone users. The mindset of our local mobile phone user is very unique & complex. Influences of socio-economic & demographic factors, peer pressures & life style etc are the main driving force through which the consumer ends up owning a particular model for his/her communication needs.

“A professional looking guy is standing nearby you, he is pretty calm & collected but needlessly try to show of his latest PDA, few seconds forward than he pulls out his phone stylus & tap here & there on the screen than put the phone in his pocket while giving a good gaze to all the near by guys boasting a smirking proudly smile.

I bet many of you have observed incidents like these but have you ever wondered why on earth a decent looking guy in professional attire can ever do this kind of antics.

To further explore this mindset, let’s look closely, the phenomenal growth in mobile penetration have created a very unique socio cultural psyche. just imagine from a 12 year old kiddy to a 60 year old man are all playing with the small communication device known as mobile phone. A rough estimate suggests that in Pakistan the usage span of a new cell phone is mere 3 months (means majority of local users upgrade their cell phone within 3 months time).

Confused, let me throw a simple question. What exactly do you want from your mobile? The 3 top of the mind features which comes instantly should be the core reason for you to owning your current handset; if that isn’t the case than you must have lost the battle to the aspirations which are hiding somewhere underneath your mind.

Sound interesting right, precisely your honest answer is the basic premise of this article. Pondering further on this same concept, I have summed up the Pakistan’s mobile user into 2 main categories (2 basic types of users).

1. Those who are driven by their needs (read 3 core phone functionalities)

2. Those who are driven by their aspirations (Users who can easily suffice their communication requirement through a say Rs. 10k mobile phone but instead they choose to carry a cell phones worth Rs. 40K or more)

In every mobile phone user’s mind there is a battle going around, a battle between their needs & aspirations. Some own phones to suffice their communication needs while some own phones to meet their aspirational urges.

 

Now look at the mobile phone user preference chart while making actual decision, the data is a study & I have used extrapolation for analysis purposes as it enable us to understand the psyche of local consumer. Also take a look at the chart depicting local consumer purchasing pattern.

 

I personally have come across so many professionals/ executives who take their hands on any new business phone which hits the market, to few of them I even asked the question why you are carrying a blackberry/ PDA or a latest Nokia E-series phone…. the only answer I got in reply was we need to check our emails 24/7 & that’s about it (surprisingly no words about PIM, one of the major feature of any business phone since majority of them doesn’t exactly know what this Personal Information Management really stand for). I have even tried to convince majority of them that there are cell phones which can meet your exact requirement in half of the price you want to spend but my efforts always go in vain.

The main reason lies in the consumer mindset (the aspirational value attached to carrying a business phone) since the consumer tend to believe that how he/she will look professional (read top executives) if they are not carrying a BlackBerry or a PDA phone.

And this is not just a local phenomenon, even mobile users of developed countries tend to be manipulated by their desires & aspiration rather looking to their actual communication needs. Hence this battle between needs & aspiration will continue…. how long, i am not too sure…

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The state of Pakistan’s Handset Market – An Analysis

August 28, 2008

Handset market has played the most pivotal role in the overall growth of Pakistan’s telecom industry. For me the handset market has played a kind of un-sung hero role in-comparison with the local Telco’s who have taken much of the limelight in the phenomenal growth of Pakistan’s telecom industry during these 6 years.The 1st H of 2008 was a difficult period for telecom industry in general with plenty of political uncertainty, negative economic indicators, ever rising inflation & unfavorable budget policies played their role in restraining the growth pattern of previous years.

The hardest hit area in this declining growth pattern has been the handset market of Pakistan.
Till Dec, 2007, the growth of handset market was excellent with around 1 Million handsets were being sold on monthly basis. However in July, 2008 the figures came down to 600 K units per month (depicting 40% decline in volume during 6 months). While the picture looks grim, i am pretty sure that volume will start to pick once the clouds of uncertainty settles (positive indicators including decline in inflation & Pak rupee getting strong against $).

Handset Market – Current Scenario

Pakistan’s handset market is primarily a low-end market with majority of volume comes from low-end mobile phones. Another important aspect is that our handset market is extremely price sensitive just like any other handset market of a developing country.

To comprehend the local market dynamics, below is the price segmentation analysis along with the market share each price segment comprised upon.

If we look at how the current market stands with respect to market share of each handset manufacturer, Nokia still has a sizeable lead though their market share has been deteriorating steadily (from 65% in 2006 to 48% at the end of July, 08). The progress of Samsung has been phenomenal from 8% market share in 2006 to the current 30% with indication of further progression in 2009. LG is the second biggest gainer (approx 17% share for a player who has just been active since 2 years) with most of the success came from its 2 successful models LG KG195 & KG270. Sony Ericsson & Motorola represent 2 of the biggest loosers in the handset market with only 5% & 1% share in the total pie.

I believe that these figures might be shocking for some people, since in Pakistan most of the guys still think Sony Ericsson is the second major player in the Pakistan’s handset market which isn’t correct any more… As I mentioned earlier Pakistan is primarily a low end market with approx 63%-65% volume generates from phones worth less than 3k & if you look into SE local product portfolio you will not find a single SE model in this price range, strangely enough their majority of portfolio compete in a price segment (High-end) which is just a mere 5% of the total handset market.

Motorola is just vanishing in Pakistan, the disaster of their F-3 model started a vicious slide from which they never recovered with the future seems more bleak.

The Koreans are playing their cards really well with the success of both Samsung & LG they are really flying high. Especially the success of Samsung is very impressive with a very strong portfolio (the most balance portfolio in the industry covering all price segments with good products). This success in Pakistan has come down from the global success Samsung Mobile has been enjoying from the start of 2007. Their flagship model SGH C-160 targeting the low-end category is making waves in the most lucrative (volume vise) price segment in Pakistan’s handset market. With more emphasis on R&D & product development the future looks bright for this giant conglomerate.

LG has also succeeded really well through getting direct benefit from the absence of any substantial products by SE. But the question mark on the product quality is hurting the brand to grow exponentially; I believe that they need to work very hard in building their brand image (development of high perceived value through High-end Flagship model) as LG still have very low brand image in comparison with the competition.

What to say about Nokia, the global leader in the world is still the player to beat in Pakistan’s handset market with the resounding success of Nokia 1200 & 1208, this global giant has so much to offer in-terms of quality products. In Pakistan, Nokia plays a major role in 3 main price categories (Low-end, Low Mid & High) which comprised upon 82% of the total market.

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