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Welcome to ZenUnwired; a blog dedicated to tracking developments in technology and strategy, and to deciphering the impact of these developments on wired and wireless ISP's, device manufacturers, OS and application developers, and most importantly - you.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Weekly Roundup - Week Ending April 3rd 2010


Starting this week, I am starting a weekly roundup of the latest developments in the Indian and US wireless markets (or at least a roundup of those developments that catch my attention). Taking a quote from one of my favorite columnists Mike Dano (from RCR Wireless); “there's a lot of nutty stuff that goes on in this industry, so this column is a chance for me to rant and rave about whatever rubs me the wrong way”

And without further ado:

India

The Indian wireless market continues to be red-hot. Although I will post a detailed note on the recent growth at a later date, here is a preview of how the numbers look for February 2010.

Wireless Providers:

Devices:
There are a ton of new devices being in launched in India each week. I’ll try to cover off some of the launches that I think are worth mentioning.


  • The Moto Droid is launching in India as the Motorola Milestone for Rs 32,990 ($735). At these prices the Milestone is more expensive than the iPhone! That said, the Milestone will be the first Android 2.1 powered phone in India, and it comes with lifetime free access to voice-guided street-level maps of 401 cities in India (maps through mapmyindia) 
  • Sony Ericsson launches XPERIA X10 , Vivaz in India 
  • Education Tablet Device iProf Launched In India: iProf Learning Solutions India has launched a personal education tablet device called iProf priced at Rs 14,900 ($330). The 7” touch screen, WiFi enabled tablet is made by Archos, and runs the Android OS with a proprietary Learning Management System installed on it.
Regulatory News:
Except for the occasional spark of sheer brilliance, government regulations in India usually tend to be ill-conceived and illogical. Therefore, these ‘announcements’ are a source of headaches (for folks in the wireless industry) and entertainment (for everyone else). Read on - 
  • In an interview with Rediff Sachin Pilot, the Minister of State for Telecommunications and Information Technology made an interesting prediction that phone calls could become totally free in India. Considering that India is a telecom market where even VoIP is almost non-existent, Sachin Pilot’s comments are just plain ridiculous.
  • Indian engineers for Indian towers: In another boneheaded move, the DoT has said through a directive posted on its site, that the operation and maintenance of telecom networks in India should be done entirely by Indian engineers without any (or minimal) dependence on foreign engineers.
  • Mobile Number Portability in India has been postponed yet again until June 30th. Apparently the reason this time is that BSNL, MTNL and Uninor have not yet completed building out their gateways. Worth considering here is the fact that of the three, BSNL and MTNL are government owned entities both of which are losing market share to private operators. So who’s betting money on the June 30th deadline? Not me.
  • Following an order by the DoT, Mobile operators' purchase of telecommunications equipment has come to a grinding halt. The DoT order now requires operators to obtain security clearances before buying any telecom related hardware or software.
  • Here’s an idea that actually makes some sense - Centre working on project to tap solar energy for cellphone towers


Miscellaneous:


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US

It’s been a pretty quiet week in the wireless industry here in the US, but thanks to the iPad launch, the weekend promises to be chaotic. Here are some of the highlights for the week (and yes, the iPad is covered here too)

Wireless Carriers:


Device Manufacturers:


Miscellaneous:
  • doubleTwist brings Android Market browsing to the desktop: Android users can now use doubleTwist to browse the latest Android Market offerings right on their desktop. However, doubleTwist still hasn’t added the capability for users to download an Android app to their desktops for synching to their phones via USB.
  • Android 2.1 update for DROID now live: the Android 2.1 update for the DROID is now being pushed out. Sprint Hero and Moment users are still waiting!
  • LinkedIn for BlackBerry now available: The LinkedIn App for BlackBerry is finally out. The App gives users access to features such as network updates, messages, invitations and connections, etc. The App also has the ability to integrate with the stock BlackBerry Calendar, Contacts and Messaging apps.
  • RadioShack for sale? The New York Post is reporting that technology retailer RadioShack is looking for a potential buyer.