Touchscreen mobile phones are the latest rage in India, and cellphone manufacturers have jumped onto the touch screen phone bandwagon by launching several models. And there is more to come too.
Updated 3 Feb 2011
AKAI WOW 3D touchscreen phone This budget 3D phone comes with a 3.5 inch resistive touchscreen. Price is around Rs 8,000. If the 3D is good, that is a great price – and even better, it is a dual SIM phone which the Indian consumers seem to love.
Micromax Andro A60 phone review We have reviewed the low-cost Android touchscreen phone from Micromax, the Andro A60. This is not a phone for those who love the big screens and capacitive touch of the Galaxy or HTC models. But as a first Android phone, this does a great job. The Andro A60 is currently the cheapest in the market.
Samsung Wave II launched in India priced Rs 20.900 The original Samsung Wave was quite popular, and many preferred this stylist touchscreen phone to the more expensive Galaxy models. And now we have the Wave II, and if you are not set on Android phones, this is one device you should definitely look at.
Micromax EG333 phone with TV channels and Tata Photon Plus This is not yet launched, but looks like an interesting phone. This has a 7.6 cm touch screen, and comes with GSM and Tata Photon Plus TV, which means that at below Rs 10,000, you would get an amazing phone that has both touch and TV. But you will have to wait a couple of months for it, we think.
Upcoming Nokia touchscreen phones Nokia has a large bunch of touch screen phones coming up. Click the link above to see the full list.
Maxx Mobile Android phone MR440 The Andro A60 has gotten everyone quite curious – and Maxx Mobile has decided to jump in on the action by launching a budget Android phone priced similarly. Not in the market as of now, but should be soon.
Apple iPhone 4 – This is expected to be launched in India by Vodafone and Airtel in June 2010.
Sony Xperia X10 Android touchscreen phone – already here. Available in the market for price between Rs 28,000 to Rs 35,000 depending on who you ask.
G-Fone 777 – low end touchscreen phone (21/6/2010)
The iPhone 3G is the most high-profile touchscreen phone yet in India. Priced at around Rs 35000, the iPhone is capable of working in 3G wireless environment. The 3G touchscreen phone has support for GPS tracking, and supports Microsoft Exchange and the new App Store. And unlike any other touchscreen phone in India, it combines the features of an iPod, a mobile touch screen phone and an internet device.
The iPhone’s touchscreen is remarkably intuitive compared to any of its competitors. The phone address book appears as a list, and you can scroll through the entries by flicking your finger over it. The iPhone 3G maps, loaded separately, can be zoomed in and zoomed out by a pinching motion of your fingers. This too is a feature unique to the iPhone touchscreen phone. The iPhone has a 3.5-inch widescreen display touch screen. Phone calls can be instantly made by tapping any contact on the phone list.
The iPhone touchscreen phone has a ‘virtual’ keypad, with predictive text. Like the BlackBerrys, the iPhone keypad too has a QWERTY format. However, many users have complained that the SMS functions in an Apple iPhone 3G touchphone are seriously handicapped. Update: New story on Nokia touchscreen mobile phones in India
The iPhone has a full-functional iPod beneath its skin. The iPhone 3G touchscreen phone is available in 8 G and 16 GB formats. Take your pick. The music videos and TV shows are easier to watch on the iPhone, thanks to the wide screen. The video controls come alive by just a flick of the finger. It’s a breeze to scroll through the iPhone playlists, albums and iTunes controls.
To me, the most advanced feature of the iPhone is its Safari browser. The internet can be accessed through GPRS EDGE, 3G or even faster WiFi. It’s easy to zoom in and out with a pinching finger motion. The iPhone touchscreen phone also has Google and Yahoo search built into it. However, it has to be remembered in India, still, 3G is in its infancy and WiFi is hard to find, besides being expensive.
The iPhone email works just like email on a PC. It has support for email servers and providers — including MobileMe, Microsoft Exchange, Yahoo! Mail, Google Gmail and AOL — and most industry-standard IMAP or POP mail systems. However, the email is not as user-friendly as the BlackBerry, which is practically a dedicated email device. However HTML-rich email appears as it is meant to be, not separated into text and images as in most other browsers, including the BlackBerry. Push mail for enterprise functions is also built into the iPhone 3G touchscreen phone. The iPhone also has GPS functionality built in, though map usage features still leave much to be desired. However, GPS maps too are picking up in India, and once more map data providers start offering their services cheaper, this should not be a hassle.
A major disadvantage of the iPhone is that the touchscreen phone is still available only as a locked model. This means that the iPhone you bought from an Airtel dealer cannot be used with Vodafone, Idea or MTNL. The same is true of iPhone bought from Vodafone. Currently Apple sells iPhones in India only through Airtel and Vodafone-Essar outlets.
The latest touchscreen competitor to the iPhone is the Nokia XpressMusic 5800, now available in India. Like the iPhone which is built around the iPod, the Nokia XpressMusic 5800 touch screen phone is also built around the idea of bringing music to the phone user. It comes pre-loaded with about 200 songs and the touch screen is easy to use. The XPressMusic 5800 too uses a QWERTY colour display along with predictive dictionary typing facility. The XPressMusic 5800 has a 3.2 mega pixel camera on its 3.2 inch screen and sports mini-USB connectivity. The Nokia Xpress Music 5800 camera has still/video camera facilities with dual LED flash. It has a Weight of 109 g. The XPressMusic 5800 touchscreen phone is available in Red, Blue and Black. It has a monstrous video recording time of 3.6 hours. Nokia claims that the music can play back up to 35 hours. The phone can play music in MP3, SpMidi, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+ and WMA formats.
The Nokia XpressMusic 5800 touch phone works on GPRS EDGE networks, and has bluetooth connectivity. It also has a TV out cable, which means you can play your recorded and saved videos on a TV. The XPress Music 5800 also sports a GPS chip, and assorted systems and Nokia Maps. The inclusion of GPS Maps is a wise idea, since many GPS cellphones available in India are handicapped since the user has to buy map software at additional cost to make use of the functionality. The touch phone comes with an instant messaging client, and supports IMAP, POP, SMTP email protocols. However, WiFi is notably absent in the Nokia XpressMusic 5800 All in all, the Nokia XPressMusic 5800 is a pure entertainment phone, with internet and wireless functionalities as frills.
BlackBerry Storm is the first touchscreen phone which Blackberry has launched in India. With its features, it promises to be a tough challenger to the iPhone 3G. In terms of the cool quotient, the Storm is neck-and-neck with the iPhone, though cheaper. Like every other Blackberry, the Storm offers seamless email integration and wireless access. The Storm is the first serious attempt by Blackberry makers Research in Motion to tap into the entertainment segment.
The BlackBerry Storm touchscreen phone features a 3.25 inch (8.3 cm) TFT-LCD display. Unlike other touch phones, Blackberry Storm features a screen which is physically receptive to touch, providing haptic feedback. The Storm is the first touch phone providing haptic feedback, a technology patented by BlackBerry as SurePress. However, some reviewers feel that the SurePress is more of a hindrance than a help. The jury is still out on that. The touch screen 360 X 480 pixel resolution, and can display 65,536 colors. The scratch-resistant touchscreen has eliminated the need for a stylus. The virtual keyboard is standard QWERTY, and comes with automatic spelling check and dictionary typing.
The earlier generation BlackBerrys with their strict business emailing focus left little scope for entertainment. Not so the 9500 series, where the Storm is the first product. The Blackberry Storm 9500 touchscreen phone features a 3.2 megapixel camera with flash and autofocus. The device comes with 1GB built-in memory, which can be expanded up to 16 GB with a micro SD card.
The web browser on BlackBerrys, which has always been a massive disappointment for users has been substantially upgraded in the BlackBerry Storm touchscreen phone. Though BlackBerry Storm users won’t need to download Opera Mini or other similar browsers anymore for a richer surfing experience, the BlackBerry Storm browser is still no match for the iPhone’s Safari browser.
Unlike the Blackberry 8800 series and the Bold series, the Storm does not have WiFi connectivity. The built-in GPS is good, though lack of affordable and available mapping services in India will not help BlackBerry push GPS as its USP. The Storm has the best of both worlds – a good business phone, (like all its ancestors) – and a good entertainment device too. However, Blackberry’s habit of selling operator-locked phones is not going to help it much in India, where it is available only from Vodafone.
Samsung Omnia i900 is Samsung’s latest multimedia phone in India, and hopes to grab a share of the growing touchscreen phone market. Omnia, (meaning everything in Latin) the multimedia phone from Samsung, features a 5 megapixel camera with auto focus and flash, which can shoot both stills and videos. Video telephony options are also built into the Samsung Omnia. Unlike the iPhone and the Blackberry which run their own proprietary systems, in comparison, the Samsung Omnia touch phone uses the Windows Mobile platform. This naturally means a lot more applications can run on the Samsung Omina, but like all Windows systems, this can be vulnerable to Windows Mobile specific spyware and Trojans.
The Samsung Omnia i900 provides a full touch based user interface with easy access to applications such as today screen, Launcher, Call log, Camera and Touch player. It weighs 122 g,Like the BlackBerry Storm, the Omnia i900 touchscreen comes with haptical feedback. The Omnia mobile also sports WiFi and Bluetooth, besides GPS on board. The Omnia works on GPRS EDGE networks, and is 3G-ready.
The touchscreen display is standard 3.2 inches. Samsung says the Omnia battery has a standard talk time of 5.8 hours and a standby time of up to 500 hours. Unlike the iPhone 3G, the BlackBerry Storm and the Nokia XpressMusic 5800, the Samsung Omnia i900C comes fitted with an FM radio. The Omnia too comes with a TV output cable. However, despite all these options, we feel the Samsung Omnia touch screen phone is overpriced at Rs 40,000 for a 32 GB model and Rs 38,000 for a 24 GB model. Besides, its rather clunky looks are nowhere close to the BlackBerrys, the iPhones and the XPressMusics. The cool quotient of the iPhone 3G, the BlackBerry Storm and the Nokia 5800 touchphones is somehow missing here.
A late entrant into India’s mobile phone space, HTC has tried to make good the delay with a smart HTC Touch Diamond. The HTC Touch Diamond sports a 2.8 inch LCD screen and a 3.2 megapixel camera. Note that the screen size is smaller than those of its touch screen competitors. The HTC Touch Diamond comes with Bluetooth and GPS, must-haves in all smartphones. The phone looks quite sharp and chiseled. The HTC Diamond also features what it calls a TouchFLO 3D, which means you can flip the files and icons with 3D feel, like you flip through a sheaf of papers. The Diamond has a mini-USB and audio output built into one. The company claims a battery life of 330 minutes of talk time and over 280 hours of stand by time. The Diamond touch screen phone has an internal memory of 4 GB, which we think is not quite enough these days. The HTC Touch Diamond also sports an FM radio. The HTC Touch, like the Samsung Omnia, uses the Windows Mobile 6.0 operating system.
Compared to the other smartphones in its league, Sony Ericsson has not been able to make a mark so far in the touch screen market. The Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 touch screen phone weighs a heavy 158 grams, which makes it about 50% heavier than similar smart phones. It features a 3.2 megapixel camera, which can click digital stills and videos. A flash is also available. The Xperia X1 touch screen phone runs Windows Mobile operating system, with the Internet Explorer browser and the Windows Media Player. For good measure, the Xperia X1 also has the free Internet browser Opera Mini loaded. It has Bluetooth, GPS and GPRS EDGE connectivity, and comes with FM radio. The touch screen has predictive text input options. The navigation options include the optical joystick navigation and a navigation key. Google Maps is also loaded to complement the GPS system. The Xperia X1’s large size means it houses a powerful battery too – The Sony Experia touchscreen phone claims a talk time of 10 hours and a standby time up to 640 hours.
The cheapest touch screen mobile phone was recently launched by Gee Pee, a Kolkata based company. The price of the touch phone is just Rs. 7,500. Gee Pee’s mobile phones are custom-made in Shenzhen in China, from where they are imported and distributed in India. Though Gee Pee’s mobiles are yet to be seen widely, the price tag at Rs 7,500 shows that mobile phone prices, especially the touchscreen phone prices, can come down a lot.