December 31, 2011

Android 4 ICS update for Sony Ericsson devices in early 2012

Sony Ericsson has officially confirmed its Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update schedule – it's arriving in early 2012. The first devices to receive the ICS update are Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V and Xperia Ray. Other Sony Ericsson devices such as the original Arc, the Xperia Play, original Neo and the Xperia Mini and Mini Pro duo - plus the Xperia Active and Live with Walkman are also slated to get the ICS update by March/April 2012.

"Our developers are now busy merging our current Xperia software with the new features in Android 4.0," Sony Ericsson said in a blog post. The company also points out that the update will be rolled out over several weeks. Thus, update will not be available at the same time, users will have to wait for their turn. Sony Ericsson has also posted a separate blog to explain the upgrade plans.

The Xperia users will receive a notification on their devices once the ICS is ready for the installation. The update would be made available for download via 3G or Wi-Fi. The update will also be accessible to users, who want to connect their device to the PC.

Moreover, Sony Ericsson will also be rolling out the update to its recently launched tablets – Sony Tablet S and Tablet P. However, the company has not yet revealed when the update will arrive for these tablets. Sony made the announcement at its U.K. community forums.

Angry Birds the most downloaded paid app of 2011

Rovio's Angry Birds has been named the most downloaded paid app for the smartphones and tablets in 2011. According to research firm Distimo, Angry Birds was downloaded more than any other application across all major operating systems including Android, iOS, Windows Phone and others. The only platform missing out on the list is BlackBerry. However, the game was recently made available on the BlackBerry's App World.

Angry Birds was followed by Fruit Ninja, while another variant of Angry Birds, Angry Birds Season grabbed the third spot on the list of the paid apps for the year 2011. Among the free apps, Facebook grabbed the top spot, while Pandora Radio followed at the second spot. The free versions of Word with Friends and Angry Birds remained on third and fourth position respectively.

The Distimo report covers data collected from January to November 2011. The report has various notable findings such as Apple App Store has four times more revenue than Google's Android Market. China is rapidly catching up with the US in downloading apps from the Apple App Store. Amazon's Appstore for Android has posted the fastest growth in terms of apps availability. The Windows Phone Marketplace has increased the number of apps by 400 per cent past this year and is the fourth largest app store.

Loop Mobile powers's auto-tracking service

Loop Mobile is bringing an auto rickshaw tracking solution for commuters using the commuting service in Mumbai. The tracking facility is built-in on Loop Mobile SIM cards, which will be given to the auto driver to keep all day. This will give the ability to track its drivers, in an effort to make it convenient, even during peak hours, as well as safer for the customer. allows the people of Mumbai to book auto rickshaws that are sent to their doorstep. Users can request for pickups and drops, and night trips – metre fare, driver information, and other details are available on the website.

With the new service, will be able locate the nearest auto rickshaw in the required location, and then SMS the Loop Mobile and customer contact details to the customer and driver.

The new service comes as a premium to’s regular services, at an additional charge of Rs. 20. Loop Mobile subscribers get the service for Rs. 15, while senior citizens is Rs. 10 only.

December 30, 2011

Kindle Fire Hack Installs Ice Cream Sandwich

Amazon's Kindle Fire is not only a great way to access Amazon content, soon it may also be a cheap way to get your hands on a tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Android. JackpotClavin, a hacker on the xda developer forum, has released what is being dubbed as a pre-alpha build of Ice Cream Sandwich for the Kindle Fire. But as the term "pre-alpha" suggests this release is still a little buggy and is really targeted for developers who want to help improve how Google’s operating system works on the Kindle Fire.

Some of the various bugs and issues popping up include a problem with mounting SD cards, and the blog Liliputing says Ice Cream Sandwich on the Fire has problems rendering video. Nevertheless, this latest Fire hack appears to be promising and if the project continues, the $199 Fire could be a better option for a cheap Ice Cream Sandwich tablet than the $99 Novo7.

If you'd like to give ICS on the Fire a try, keep in mind that this release is targeted primarily at developers. If you're feeling daring, you can find ICS for the Fire on this xda thread. JackpotClavin's version of Ice Cream Sandwich for the Fire is based on CyanogenMod 9, according to Liliputing. CyanogenMod is a popular version of Android for people willing to root (gain administrative control) over their devices. The current stable build of CyanogenMod is version 7 based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

Ever since Amazon released the Kindle Fire in November, hackers have been hard at work getting the device to run unofficial software. Just two days after Amazon's media tablet started shipping hackers were able to root the Fire. A recently released app called Kindle Fire Utility, a command line interface for the Amazon tablet, can also be used to root your device

Spire Program Ports Siri to Jailbroken iOS Devices

A recently released Siri port called Spire promises to bring Apple's personal digital assistant to any jailbroken device running iOS 5. And unlike previous Siri ports, Spire is not burdened by copyright issues, according to its developer. But as is typical for hacks that put Siri on non-Apple approved devices, Spire is not a complete solution and there a few technological hurdles to overcome. Besides a jailbroken iOS device, you also need access to an iPhone 4S and a proxy server as a go-between for your jailbroken device and Apple's servers.

Spire comes from Grant Paul (no relation to the author) who recently worked with Steve Troughton-Smith to get Siri running on the iPhone 4 and helped created an iPad 2 jailbreak method in July.

A token iPhone 4S

The downside of porting Siri to devices other than the iPhone 4S is that they require an authentication token from Apple's latest smartphone, currently the only Apple-approved Siri device. Most of Siri's voice-command processing happens via Apple's servers instead of on the actual device. To prevent unauthorized use, Apple requires each Siri-enabled device to have an authentication token before it can communicate with Apple.

Thus Spire will only work if you have access to an iPhone 4S to get your authentication token, and then you need all commands to go through that proxy server. That seems like a lot of technical overhead just to get a few voice commands on your phone, but right now it appears to be the only viable solution.

Other hacks, including the H1Siri hack that came out in early December also require a proxy server. The advantage with Spire, however, is that you can configure your own proxy instead of using a third party. Using your own server is a much safer way to handle a Siri hack since it avoids having your personal data flow through a server that you may not be able to trust.

Another advantage Spire has is that it appears to be a "legal" Siri hack, or at least a piracy-free one. “Spire uses a new method to obtain the files necessary for Siri, so it doesn’t have the copyright issues encountered by previous attempts,” Paul recently told 9-to-5 Mac. Earlier in December, Apple released an iPhone 4S update that allowed hackers to obtain iPhone system files without resorting to piracy. You can download Spire for free from the Cydia market for jailbroken iOS devices, but you'll want to be connected to a Wi-Fi network when you do it as the app download requires 100MB of data. You can also find a tutorial on how to install Spire on the blog Limera1n.

If you're thinking of jailbreaking your iOS 5 device, the iPhone Dev Team announced Tuesday morning that an untethered jailbreak for devices running iOS 5.0.1 (not including the iPhone 4S and iPad 2) was now available.

December 29, 2011

Sony Releases PlayStation Vita Bug Fix

Sony has released a software update for the PlayStation Vita to fix bugs with the device ahead of its U.S. launch in February. The PlayStation Vita 1.51 firmware comes just over a week after the device was introduced in Japan and fixes an issue that affects progress in NEXT Dynasty Warriors, one of the 26 games available at launch.

The software update is actually the second to come from Sony, if you count the 1.50 firmware, which was available when users first powered up their Vita after purchasing the device. You can grab latest firmware (for those who couldn’t wait until February and imported a Vita) through a PC, PlayStation 3 network function, or the Vita itself, via the Settings/System Update menu.

It’s unclear whether the 1.51 firmware fixes scattered problems some early adopters reported with the Vita. These include various crashes and gameplay lag, as well as sudden device freezes several users documented on YouTube. Sony, however, denied that such glitches exist, hence why the 1.51 update only mentions the NEXT Dynasty Warriors game progress fix.

Sony’s PlayStation Vita has had a solid, yet unspectacular start. In the opening weekend, around 325,000 units were sold in Japan; in comparison, Nintendo’s 3DS handheld sold 371,000 units in its first 48 hours. Some 26 titles were available on day one for the Vita, and Sony announced U.S. and European customers would have 33 games available for purchase when the Vita goes on sale Feb. 22 for $250. A $300 3G-enabled version will also be exclusive with AT&T.

Meanwhile, The Verge reports that Sony updated the Japanese PlayStation Store with a couple of new game demos: the first for Uncharted: Golden Abyss, one of the launch titles, and a second for a yet-unreleased game, Gravity Rush, which is set to arrive soon after the U.S. launch of the Vita

Apple's Purchase of Anobit Will Give It a Leg Up on Rivals

Apple's buyout of Israel-based solid-state drive (SSD) manufacturer Anobit Technologies will give the company a significant technological boost in the mobile market, and the deal could yield huge cost savings.

Apple is the industry's largest NAND flash consumer , so acquiring Anobit gives it a means of addressing the reliability problems that arise as solid-state memory shrinks in size.According to published reports , Apple will pay around $500 million for Anobit. It sees the purchase of a NAND flash technology developer as key to its product strategy going forward. The acquisition of Anobit would be Apple's largest purchase since it bought NeXT in 1996. NeXT, which produced high-end workstations, was founded by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs after he was fired from Apple in 1985.

Apple has been using NAND flash memory in its products since 2005, when it began selling the iPod Nano media player. It has continued expanding its use of flash with an all-flash MacBook Air, the iPad tablet and SSD options for its MacBook Pro line of laptops.

The purchase of Anobit addresses several issues for Apple. It frees the company from dependency on flash component makers such as Samsung and Intel , which lead the market in NAND flash production. Using Anobit's controller technology -- a type of error correction code (ECC) -- would allow Apple to choose the cheapest NAND flash chip inventory available for its products. "It could ultimately impact the cost of the NAND flash they buy if they're able to continue to develop [technology] that allows them to use the cheapest flash possible," said Michael Yang, a memory and storage analyst at market research firm IHS iSuppli.

Industry analysts said they weren't surprised by Apple's move, noting that it follows an industry trend. In March, SSD-maker OCZ Technology Group signed an agreement to acquire privately held Indilinx, a maker of popular NAND flash controllers, for $32 million. In October, fabless semiconductor maker LSI Corp. announced it was acquiring flash controller maker SandForce. Neither Apple nor Anobit have confirmed the sale, and neither company responded phone calls or emails seeking comment.

Objective Analysis analyst Jim Handy said Apple won't be saving much money by owning its own controller technology. "These controllers cost from $5 to $20. The NAND flash in most SSDs is significantly more expensive than that," he said. Joseph Unsworth, a Gartner analyst specializing in NAND flash and SSD, said that "if this acquisition was to take place" it would support Apple's strategy of using technology that allows it to innovate and differentiate itself from competitors with flash management and system software. He added that it would also enable Apple to use the cheapest flash available, and that should help boost the company's profit margins.

"That's why Anobit is interesting," Unsworth said. "This is about flash management and the integration of this technology into their greater ecosystem" of both hardware and software. Noting that intellectual property "is always important," he added, "having it is always better than not." Unlike LSI, which said it would continue to sell SandForce's technology to other equipment makers, Unsworth said it's highly unlikely Apple will allow Anobit to court competitors. "I see no value for Apple in doing this. Why share their secrets?"

"This is NAND management technology, not actual flash chips. So to me this makes little sense when considering other [system manufacturers]," Unsworth added. Handy agreed, adding, "I think the door will be shut. Apple very infrequently shares technology." Anobit has produced two generations of its Genesis SSD technology . The intellectual property that sets it apart from other SSD manufacturers is its controller, which uses firmware it calls Memory Signal Processing (MSP), a type of ECC.

Anobit's MSP technology increases the signal-to-noise ratio, making it possible to continue reading data even as electrical interference rises. The MSP controller technology also extends the endurance of standard consumer-grade multilevel cell (MLC) flash from about 3,000 write/erase cycles to more than 50,000 cycles -- making MLC technology suitable for heavy-duty cycle applications, such as relational databases.

According IHS iSuppli, in 2010, Apple spent $17.5 billion to purchase semiconductors -- that was an increase of 79.6% from the $9.7 billion it spent in 2009. Earlier this year, iSuppli figures showed Apple's iPad was leading an almost fivefold surge in NAND flash memory use as consumers gobbled up tablets in increasing numbers.

"Flash memory is not getting better. It's getting worse. So having a controller technology that you work in-house allows you to dictate ... technical specifications as the geometry moves down," Yang said.
Yang said while Anobit's intellectual property is key to Apple, it isn't unique. Flash controller makers Indilinx, Marvell and SandForce all have slightly different ECC technology that accomplishes the same thing: improving the resiliency and performance of NAND flash memory.

December 28, 2011

Samsung Galaxy devices to get Android 4 ICS update by Q1 2012

Samsung has already announced its plans to roll out Ice Cream Sandwich update to its Galaxy devices. However, it did not then provide any time-table for the roll-out. According to the latest reports, the company has now confirmed that it will update the Samsung S II and Galaxy Note to the latest Android OS by the first quarter of 2012. Apart from the S II and Note, Samsung will be rolling out Android 4.0 ICS update to the he Galaxy R, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 7.7, and Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus.

Meanwhile, SlashGear reports that Samsung has held back Android 4.0 updates for Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. It further says that the company was holding the update to “monitor feedback”, after several users complained about the high battery drain. The reported glitch can also be associated with a recent update to Android 4.0 Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Nexus users had earlier complained about similar problems.

Earlier this month, Motorola said that it would announce next month which of its devices would be getting the upgrade and when. Back in November, LG had announced that the ICS update would be available for the Optimus 2X, the Optimus Black, the Optimus 3D and the Optimus LTE, but did not reveal exactly when that would take place. Huawei Honor is also arriving in February with the ICS OS.

It appears that all the smartphone players are pushing for most of their top handsets to get the ICS. It will be interesting to see which of the manufacturers make most of the ICS update in near future.

IIT Bombay Techfest kicks off this January

IIT Bombay would be hosting the 15th edition of its Annual Science and Technological festival – Techfest from January 6-8th 2012. Since its inception in 1998, it has grown to become the Asia’s largest Science Festival and has also been patronised by the UNESCO in its endeavour of spreading Science and Technology to the masses.

This edition would be witness to some of the most renowned lecturers, state of the art exhibits, exciting competitions, adrenaline rushing night shows and highly entertaining on the spot activities. Lecture Series at Techfest would be host to Mr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (Noble Laureate 2009), Karlheinz Branderburg (Founder, MP3), David Griffiths (World renowned author) and many other noted personalities.

Keeping with its tradition of showcasing the cutting edge technology from all over the world, Exhibitions at Techfest would be displaying 35 international exhibits from over 12 countries like USA, UK, Denmark, France, Germany etc. All the established research centres from the world like MIT Media Labs, Aldebaran Robotics, Disney Research would definitely give the visitors a highly enriching experience
With competitions ranging from the raging robots in Robowars to IC Car Racing - Full Throttle to the Aero modelling competition, Techfest provides the opportunity for the participants from all genres to compete with their counterparts to emerge as the best

Well, if you are not a geek, we still have lots of activities to ensure you have a memorable day out. Laser tag, Gaming Zone, Super Bike Expo, Amazing Race, Poker Championship, Junkyard wars and still- to- be launched installations would make the entertainment levels reach a new high.

After a hard day at work at Techfest, lots of entertainment stuff beckons the visitors. With shows like Copenhagen Drummers (Winners of Denmark has got Talent), Real time light painting Lichtfactor, thrilling stunts by Apex parkour, they would be witness to shows that would uniquely integrate entertainment and technology.

To catch up with all this, you just need to remember these:

Dates : 6-8 January 2012
Venue : IIT Bombay
Entry fees : None
Website :

Aakash tablet now selling on

If you missed out on ordering the Aakash tablet last time, here's good news for you. DataWind's ultra low-cost tablet is now available at online shopping site The Aakash was previously exclusively available at the The is offering the Aakash tablet for Rs. 2,499 along with Rs. 199 shipping charges. Though customers are given option of cash on delivery, but the site stresses that it will give preference to online paid orders as they have limited stock of the Aakash tablet.

It may be recalled that that Aakash tablet was sold out in less than a week it was released online. However, the last update we had on the Aakash that DataWind had delayed its delivery till January. The Aakash tablet was supposed to be delivered within seven days of the order. A spokesperson of DataWind said the people who had booked the tablet online would start receiving the device in January.

DataWind is still taking pre-orders of the UbiSlate 7, the upgraded version of the Aakash tablet, which is slated to arrive early next year. The UbiSlate 7 a.k.a Aakash 2  comes with various improvements over the present Aakash tablet. Read our detailed analysis on why you should skip the Aakash tablet and choose the UbiSlate 7. Also read, five reasons why UbiSlate 7 should have been the original Aakash tablet. For more details on the availability of the Aakash tablet on NCarry.

Ice Cream Sandwich for LG Phones in Mid-2012

Android 4, also known as Ice Crean Sandwich, will be coming to a number of LG smartphones sometime in the middle of next year, according to a post on the company's Facebook page. According to LG, the company will begin introducing updates to Ice Cream Sandwich in the second and third quarters of 2012 (that's April-September) to select smartphones, with a "global roll out" following sometime thereafter.

According to the posting, the following LG phones will get Ice Cream Sandwich during the second quarter (April-June) of 2012:
  • Optimus LTE
  • Prada by LG 3.0
  • Optimus 2X
  • Optimus Sol
  • myTouch Q
  • Eclipse
LG will update five more phones in the third quarter (July-September) to Google's latest tasty mobile OS treat:
  • Optimus 3D
  • Optimus Black
  • Optimus Big
  • Optimus Q2
  • Optimus EX
One thing to note here: Armando Rodriguez, PCWorld's resident Android expert, points out that the phones LG lists are all European versions of the phones, not US versions. Some LG phones go by different names in the US, though (as Cnet notes, the Optimus LTE goes by the AT&T Nitro HD in the US, for instance), so it may be possible that US versions of these phones will get the update too.

Still, if you're in the US, you may want to double-check with your carrier to see whether or not your LG phone will be getting Ice Crean Sandwich.

If you don't want to wait for LG to release an update and you're not afraid to hack your phone, keep an eye out for the upcoming CyanogenMod 9, a custom variant of Android (also known as a "ROM") for rooted Android phones. CyanogenMod 9 will be based on Ice Cream Sandwich, and it should be out sometime in January. The catch: We don't yet know for sure what hardware CyanogenMod 9 will support--the current release supports only two LG models as of this writing. Check the CyanogenMod blog for ongoing updates on future releases.

Samsung announces dual-SIM versions of Galaxy Y and Galaxy Y Pro

Last week’s leak has turned out to be real, with Samsung announcing not one, but two new dual-SIM devices in the Galaxy family - the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos, and the Samsung Galaxy Y Pro Duos. For now, no information about pricing or availability has been revealed. Notably, the single-SIM Galaxy Y Pro has not yet been officially launched in India.

Both devices are roughly identical two their single-SIM counterparts, with the exception of the Duos branding, as well as slightly larger batteries, slightly different displays, and more RAM. Both Galaxy devices have Android 2.3 Gingerbread onboard, ~830MHz processers, 384MB of RAM, 512MB of ROM, 2GB microSD card (supports up to 32GB), and 3.15MP cameras.

The Galaxy Y Duos has a slightly larger 3.14-inch display compared to its single-SIM variant, with the same 320x240 pixel resolution. It has a 1,300 mAh battery, compared to the earlier 1,200 mAh one, and weighs in 109 grams.

The Galaxy Y Pro Duos on the other hand, has the same sized screen, with a higher resolution than its single-SIM variant, at 400x240 pixels. It also has a front-facing VGA camera in addition, as well as 1,350 mAh battery, and weighs in at roughly 112 grams.

Other common specifications between the two devices include such connectivity options with 7.2Mbps HSDPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with hotspot functionality, GPS with A-GPS support, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, microUSB v2.0, a 3.5mm audio jack, and stereo FM radio with RDS.

Both Duos phones also come with the ChatON instant messaging app, as well as Samsung's Social Hub, on the TouchWiz UI. Also onboard, is the Polaris Office document editor, as well as Find My Mobile, for locating or remote locking/wiping the devices.

December 27, 2011

Apple will launch iPad 3 on Steve Jobs's birthday

If Apple sticks to its usual schedule, Cupertino will likely unveil its third-generation iPad in early 2012. But when exactly will we get our hands on the shiny new tablet?

A new report from the Economic Times, picked up by Focus Taiwan and 9to5Mac, says Apple will launch the iPad 3 on Feb. 24 in honor of Steve Jobs's birthday.

As 9to5Mac noted, Apple typically unveils its gadgets at press events on Tuesdays or Wednesdays and launches those products on a Friday or Saturday. Feb. 24 is a Friday, so if there's any truth to the rumor, the iPad 3 would probably hit stores that day but be introduced earlier in the month.

The iPad 2 hit stores on Friday, March 11; it was unveiled on Wednesday, March 2. Jobs, who at the time was on medical leave, returned to show off the new tablet. "We've been working on this product for awhile and I didn't want to miss today," Jobs said at the time.

The first iPad was unveiled on Wednesday, Jan. 27 and hit stores on Saturday, April 3.

Apple has not made any announcements regarding its next-gen tablets (and it won't until the invites go out). It would, however, be great timing for my own birthday just a couple weeks later, should Apple feel like passing one along.

Whatever the release schedule might be, we'll likely see a spate of rumors surrounding the iPad in the coming weeks. Already, we've seen reports of an early 2012 launch, a revamped iPad, display shipments, a March launch with a smaller dock, and a cheaper, smaller iPad.

Mumbai students to get the Aakash tablet for Rs. 1,138

Mumbai college students will be soon given the Aakash tablet at a subsidised price of Rs. 1,138. It's notable that the market price of the ultra low-cost Aakash tablet is Rs. 2,500. According to a TOI report, the subsidised Aakash will be made available in 100 varsities including Mumbai University.

Rajpal Hande, director, board of college and university development, tells TOI that the department had issued circulars to all affiliated colleges and department in this regard and they have already given their requirements. Hande further says that the students might also be offered the upgraded version of the Aakash tablet a.k.a UbiSlate 7, which is scheduled to be launched in January.

The official further says that the Aakash will help students access online content for different courses. To get the Aakash tablet, students need to place an order with their respective colleges or the departments concerned. The tablet will allow both teachers and students in the university to access online content whenever they require.

The Aakash tablet was sold out in less than a week after it was released online. DataWind, the maker of the Aakash, has stressed on pre-booking of the UbiSlate 7, which is said to be the upgraded version of the Aakash tablet. The UbiSlate 7 comes with various improvements over the original Aakash tablet and costs just Rs. 499 more.

The Aakash tablet is still not available in the retail stores and DataWind has not yet provided any information on its availability. You may wait for another few weeks to lay hands on a better version of the Aakash tablet.

December 26, 2011

Indian Court Orders 22 Websites to Remove Offensive Content

A court in Delhi on Saturday ordered 22 Internet companies, including Google and Facebook, to remove certain "anti-religious" and "anti-social" content, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

India has been concerned recently about online content that it considers objectionable, with the country's Minister for Communications and IT, Kapil Sibal, calling on Internet companies to develop a framework to ensure that such content does not appear online. The government's critics however hold that it wants to censor online content critical of India's politicians.

The companies have until February 6 to report compliance to the court, detailing what action they have taken to remove the objectionable and derogatory content from the websites, PTI said. The judge was acting on a private complaint. Sibal was at the center of a controversy earlier this month after newspaper reports said that he had asked Internet companies to pre-filter objectionable content before it was posted online. Executives of two Internet companies confirmed, on condition of anonymity, that Sibal had indeed made the demand.

The minister however subsequently denied in television interviews that he had asked for pre-filtering of content, which he said would have been a "foolish" proposal. Sibal said he was talking to Internet companies to push for a mechanism to remove offensive content after it is posted. Some of the Internet companies were allowing content that would fail to live up to the laws that they are enforcing in their own country by their own community standards, he told one TV channel.

India's Information Technology Act requires intermediaries like Internet service providers to remove content that is found objectionable within a period of 36 hours of being notified of the content. Intermediaries are also required to warn users against posting or uploading a variety of objectionable content in their user agreements and other rules and regulations.

Very often demands by the government for removal of content have gone unheeded by the Internet companies, and the companies have also declined to provide information on who has posted the content, Sibal said. While private persons have the option to approach courts to get content they consider objectionable removed under various Indian laws, some of them have complained that the court process ensures that the objectionable content often continues online during the duration of the case. Some Internet companies also pass the blame to their parent companies in the U.S., saying that they run the websites.

The order of the Delhi court on Saturday however requires the Internet companies to remove the content considered objectionable until disposal of the suit, Santosh Pandey, the lawyer for the prosecution, told a local TV channel in Delhi. "We comply with valid court orders wherever possible, consistent with our long standing policy," Google said in an e-mailed statement on Saturday. "We're yet to receive the details of this order and can't comment on this specific case." Other Internet companies were not available immediately for comment on the Delhi court order.

December 25, 2011

DoT Rules 3G Roaming Illegal

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked mobile operators to stop providing 3G roaming services or risk the termination of their roaming agreements. The telecom regulatory body has stated that this is in violation of licence norms. Mobile operators are definitely going to feel the pinch of this new ruling because they stand to lose a lot of revenue.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had earlier made similar inference following which, the Law Ministry, Communications, and IT Minister Kapil Sibal had asked Telecom Secretary R Chandrasekhar to notify all 3G operators operating in this "illegal" manner about the diktat. The DoT plans to penalise operators not abiding by this new ruling.

Earlier this year, no one operator was able to bag a pan-India 3G licence. Therefore, they had no choice but to enter into roaming agreements with each other to provide the service across the country. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, and Idea Cellular entered into such a roaming agreement, while Tata Teleservices and Aircel, who had initially agreed to such an arrangement, later terminated it.

The DoT received complaints regarding the illegal nature of such agreements. After seeking legal opinion, it decided to issue notices to these firms to terminate these agreements immediately, failing which they are liable to face legal action. The three operators to whom the notices have been served have written to the PM demanding refund of the spectrum auction payment if 3G roaming is not allowed.

Reliance to offer Rs 10/GB 4G plans with its low-cost tablets

Back in November, we'd reported that Reliance Industries and DataWind are prepping an ultra low-cost 4G tablet. The latest media reports suggest the 4G tablet will be launched by 2012-end at an expected price of Rs. 3,500. In addition, the tablet will come with bundled plans as low as Rs 10 per 1 GB of data.

It's notable that RIL is an exclusive pan-India 4G licence holder, having paid Rs. 13,000 crore for the spectrum. RIL's 4G services will be based on Qualcomm's Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. The LTE technology is presently in the test phase and has only been implemented in selected developed markets by major telecom operators such as Vodafone, Verizon and Telenor. RIL's subsidised 4G-based tablets are certainly going to boost its 4G spectrum services.

According to reports, RIL's services will be accessible from all devices. Apart from the tablet PCs, there will be USB sticks and Wi-Fi modems, so that all kinds of users are able to access its services. RIL's subsidised 4G services are likely to create a tough time for the existing 3G service providers, who have reportedly paid similar amounts to get their licences. While RIL shelled out Rs. 13,000 crore for a pan-India 4G licence, Bharti Airtel paid Rs. 12,295 crore for spectrum in just 13 circles.

The data services at a subsidised rate of Rs. 10/GB is almost one tenth of the present 3G plans. Airtel recently launched its Super 950 plan under which it was offering unlimited 3G data services for a monthly rental of Rs. 950. The plan is presently available only for Rajasthan circle. It's expected Airtel and other telecom operators may soon come up with similar unlimited plans in other circles.

Other than the existing 3G rivals, RIL may face stiff competition from other CDMA operators like Reliance Communications, Tata Communications and MTS. These CDMA telecom operators have been offering their tariffs at lower prices. RCom has already forayed into the tablet market with its Reliance 3G Tab.