Blackberry vs. India

by Shijaz Abdulla on 13.03.2008 at 07:12

The Indian Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had announced that it will terminate the Blackberry services in India over concerns of security, since the Indian government cannot monitor the Blackberry servers as they are located in Canada.

Indian mobile operators that offer BlackBerry services, top executives of the Canadian telco Research in Motion (RIM) (the company that owns the “Blackberry” brand), security agencies and officials of the DoT are meeting on March 14 to discuss the concerns of security agencies in order to prevent having BlackBerry services terminated after the March-end deadline.

BlackBerry is famous for its push-mail services that deliver mails as and when it receives, and has over 12 million customers across the world. It is estimated that Blackberry has around 400,000 corporate customers in India.

Google and Yahoo declined to comment on the issue and Microsoft India said the issue was not of immediate concern to them.

Sumeet Gugnani, Director, Mobile Communication Business, Microsoft India, said: “Windows Mobile-enabled handheld devices and cellphones enable users to configure mails on their respective in-house (read in India) Exchange Servers if they so wish.”

I believe in a country like India where mobile internet services is inexpensive, it may be worthwhile to use Exchange Activesync push-mail services which can be hosted by the organization’s Exchange Server itself.
Update: March 15, 2008
The government announced that it is not seeking to ban mobile operators from offering Blackberry services in discussions over security concerns. However cellular operators where asked to reason with RIM to work on a possibility of legally intercepting the data.

No more blackberries for breakfast!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 27.10.2007 at 10:31

For the past 3 years I’ve been using a Windows Mobile powered device and have actually surrounded my life around it. I’ve had good times with it (and bad ones too, with the regular restarts). Until now.

Yes, the organization I joined runs Blackberry.

During my consulting days, I have always attacked (or, tried to attack) Blackberry and have always positioned Windows Mobile and Activesync to all my clients.

So here I am, exiling my Windows Mobile to the back of the drawer for a Nokia E61 that runs the Blackberry app and has no stylus/touch-screen. Its frustrating each time I feel the urge to poke at the screen with my finger to control the device, but in vain. I guess I’ll learn to live with it some day.

What’s inside the Apple iPhone?

by Shijaz Abdulla on 26.10.2007 at 10:22

The guys at TechRepublic have totally disassembled an Apple iPhone. If you’ve always wondered what its like inside one of those, this is your chance. Check out their step by step image gallery as they strip the handheld piece by piece.

From PDA2k to X-BOND

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.01.2007 at 16:20

My views on this subject have changed with time. Please scroll on to the end of this post for latest information.

My i-mate PDA2k had served me flawlessly (well, with ROM updates) for the past 2 years. But now, with the onset of newer and better (read: smaller) handhelds, my PDA2k with its handful size was becoming more of a subject of public attention (and conversation!).

It was time. I finally decided that I should get rid of my PDA2k and have it replaced by newer, more “handy” technology.

I had already begun looking away from the i-mate, with other competitors like Eten and i-teq coming up with innovative and pretty cool devices. First on my wishlist was the Eten Glofiish X500 with its GPS capability. After doing some research on the web, I decided to get down to GOSI Shopping Complex and have a look myself.

The Eten Glofiish X500 was cool with its GPS capability, but I ended up buying the i-teq X-BOND. I also looked at minute features (even the carry case – which apparently was a book-type case in the Glofiish – the type without the belt clip).
The X-BOND has TV and FM Radio receiving capabilities (although the TV antenna attachment is kind of … well.. big). Apart from the usual software (Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, Powerpoint Mobile, Pocket MSN, and the lot) it came with great software that lets you block incoming calls selectively (Block list), answering machine (wow), set up a background noise while you attend calls (you can make your boss/friends believe you’re in a car, in the street, in a meeting, or even at the airport!).

Thinking again, I wouldn’t need to use much of GPS – it would be one of those things which would be good to have, but rarely used. So I finally decided to go for the i-teq.

For me, it was more about doing out with the old and in with the new. You can see for yourself what that means!:

The new and the old: X-BOND (left) and PDA2k (right)

Update (25-Apr-2007): Don’t buy this device!

I found the following issues with the i-teq X-BOND:

– When you use GPRS for sometime, and the device goes into standby, it never comes back on again. During this time, you will not receive incoming call indications although the calling party will hear ringing.
– If you do a soft reset under this circumstance, sometimes you lose the latest additions to data (new contacts added or new SMS message received or last few calls in call history)
– There was one instance where I had to do a hard reset and re-install the ROM because the device went bonkers. Incoming calls automatically went into ‘Speaker ON’ mode.
– The TV feature doesn’t work well indoors.
– Online support is no good. The forums in the members area are full of people who hate the device. Now the forum doesnt work. They blocked people from adding new messages to their forum.
I guess we will have to wait for the next ROM update from iteq.

July 12, 2007: They still havent released an update, they still haven’t responded to customer queries by email, the forum on the members area of the site is dead. Everybody there hates the device. They will not survive in the market.
– They have another brand name called G-Smart. It is the same inferior device with a different branding.
– The screen is of inferior quality and is prone to scratches – the ‘original’ stylus that came with the device itself makes scratches on the LCD display.

It is PDA vendors like iteq / gsmart that give Windows Mobile a bad name. Microsoft should thoroughly screen these vendors before giving them the right to use the Windows logo on their devices.

January 8, 2007:

I left the phone switched off for a month, and then the phone became a dead brick. It wouldn’t turn on. I took it back to the service center in Bahrain, they sent it to Dubai and after 2 weeks of “fixing”, they sent it back. Now the phone boots, but the microphone is dead. The person on the other end can’t hear me. My warranty is expiring on January 19th. No software updates released yet. Repeat: DO NOT BUY THIS DEVICE.