Friday, December 31, 2010

Number Portability in India - Benefits and Drawbacks


One of the most awaited developments in the mobile telecommunications space is the introduction of “Number Portability” in India. Remember when as a student, you used to keep changing numbers as and when a new scheme was introduced by different service providers, and it was such a painful affair to update your friends with your new mobile number? You know what, it’s no longer going to be that. Number Portability promises to remove the shackles that the service providers have over the user by allowing them to retain their existing number while moving to a new network. So, is this for real? Let’s see what we as a user should be aware of before jumping into the game.


What You Should Look Forward To

Increase Competition – Reduced Call Rate

If you believe in Murphy’s Law (Who Doesn’t), then the service provider apart from yours always has that perfect plan which your network just refuses to adopt. It may be a roaming cost of 50 Paisa per second or free national SMSs or Night Time free calls on the same network. Whatever be the reason, you are now free to say goodbye to your current network. Also, with increased competition due to users switching to other networks, mobile operators will be forced to come out with new schemes and value added services to retain customers.

india-mobile-number-portability (1)

Better Service

One of the most annoying aspects of having a mobile phone is that when there is a problem with the mobile phone service, it is very difficult to get it rectified by calling the respective customer care or resolving the issue by visiting one of their physical offices. While some service providers have excellent resolution times, most don’t. The second annoying aspect of owning a mobile phone is the number of telemarketing calls and SMSs one gets from the service provider. Apart from wasting valuable time, it may end up costing money in case the user is in roaming. Number portability should address both these issues, since operators would want to retain existing customers.

Better Coverage

Network operators will also be forced to invest in their infrastructure to ensure that it’s the state of the art, providing high call clarity and wide coverage. There have been several instances, especially during roaming, where one is stuck in a place with no network coverage and unable to connect to a different network. This should change and call drops would be a forgotten issue.

What You Should Be Careful About

Pushing Postpaid Schemes

We had written previously on how attractive a prepaid scheme is currently. With the introduction of Number Portability, this should change. By making postpaid more lucrative, service providers would hope to retain customers and ensure that their Average Revenue per User (ARPU) remains high. So, if you are the kind of user who prefers to recharge their account on the fly and like to track call costs after every call or SMS, Number Portability would probably change that.

Number Portability in India = Increased Call Charges?

We just mentioned how call rates would reduce with the introduction of Number Portability. However, there are just a handful of operators, and it would not be difficult to align their schemes with each other so that the incentive for the user to shift service providers would be removed. However, this is just a possibility and it may just not happen.

Introduction of Contract Based Phones

It is no secret that the iPhone revived AT&T’s fledging sales in the US. If a mobile phone manufacturer would introduce one of the best handsets that you have always coveted, but locked to a network that you do not prefer, then the whole purpose of number portability would be defeated. However, this is something that we as users would just have to live with.

However, all said and done, number portability is set to revolutionize the mobile telecommunication scene in India and despite the above mentioned drawbacks, it is a welcome move. The end user has more to benefit that lose and that is what matters.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Five Tips to take the Best Photos on your Cell Phone

When it comes to be photography, there are two kinds of people – one who love to have their photographs taken and the other - who love to take photos. While having a state of the art digital camera would be the best option for both kinds of people, it is not always possible to lug it around everywhere we go. Sometimes, the best camera is the one which you have at hand – your cell phone. Most cell phones have at least a decent VGA camera if not a 5 or 8 megapixel camera phone. Let’s see how to take great photographs however good or bad the quality of your phone’s camera may be.

Get Closer to the Subject

Most camera phones do not have a great zoom lens. What you usually see is digital zoom which really does not make much of a difference. In order for you to get sharper and clearer photographs with your cell phone, get closer to the subject. This will ensure that you don’t have to use the inadequate zoom and at the same time help you capture the finer aspects of your subjects.


Use Light Effectively

It is common knowledge that photography is all about light irrespective of whether you are using a DSLR or a camera phone. Make sure that there is adequate lighting, especially on your subject. Also, use the phone’s flash if it has one in order to highlight your subject.


Get to Know Your Camera Phone’s Settings

Most camera phones let you change the ISO settings, adjust the white balance and also allow you to play around with different photography modes. For instance, you can shoot on your camera in black and white or sepia modes if you want to give it a special effect. While white balance and different ISO settings will give your pictures a more realistic look given a variety of lighting situations. If your phone has night modes, sunlight, incandescent light modes, burst mode etc, they would also help in shooting great photos under different lighting conditions. Also ensure that the phone is set to capture photos at the highest quality. Most phone’s us low quality JPEF as default.

Hold It Still

While professional and even simple digital cameras have some great auto focus functions, unfortunately, your cell phone camera will not be able to boast of the same. The only option is to hold the phone really still and ensure that your subject is also not moving. Apart from low quality auto focus functions – most camera phones are notorious for their lag while taking a picture. As many of you would have noticed, the phone usually takes a couple of seconds to save the image and if the subject or the camera moves, it results in a blurred photo.

Learn To Use Editing Software

You don’t have to be a Photoshop Guru in order to distinguish your photos. Even with a free and a relatively simple software such as Google’s Picasa, you will be able to create very good montages, collages and even movies with the photos you shot on your cell phone.


The most important lesson is to not stop experimenting. Unless you know your phone’s settings in and out – from the way the zoom works to the different settings in the phone, it would be difficult to take good photos. Also, simple hygiene tips like keeping the lens clean and going for a phone which has a lens cover can result in some amazing photos that you would treasure for a lifetime.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Securing and backing up your phone


All of us have faced at one time or the other the agony caused by losing a mobile phone. More than the pain of losing an expensive phone, it is the problems created due to the loss of our phonebook, SMS history, Pictures and Videos. Also, the fear that this precious information can land into a stranger’s hands can be a nightmare. So, let’s see how we can secure our phone, and back up our phone so that we can just get another new phone and continue without a major disruption to our lives.

Securing Your Phone

Use Default Security Applications

Many mobile phones have their own software which lets you track your phone if it is lost. Remember to enable the security options and use it so that the phone alerts you when the SIM card is changed. Some smart phones also activate your inbuilt GPS device to SMS the phone’s location to a saved contact.

Label Your Phone

Sticking a label with your contact information can go a long way in helping you recovering your phone. Just add an alternate contact number, your name and email address. You can also add some kind of a reward for the person who returns your phone.

Backup Your Phone

Most phones have expandable memory card slots. Ensure that your phonebook, photos, videos and other information is backed up on your memory card. Ensure that you backup your memory card using a computer so that you can just buy a new memory card and have your new phone fully functional very quickly.


Use the PC Suite Software

Most of us just ignore the software that was provided with the phone. It’s a good time to have a look at it. These software suites automatically synchronize your phone with the software on your computer. This is an excellent way to ensure that you always have a copy of your contacts, SMS, and multimedia.


Use Backup Software

Many service providers provide a GPRS based application to backup your mobile phone. BSNL, for instance provides a synchronization application to backup your phone’s contacts, events, tasks, notes, photos, videos, SMS and even ringtones.

If you are outside India, Verizon for instance provides a media storage service that helps to back up 25 gigabytes worth of photos, documents and other unprotected content from the phone to the cloud. Eventually, the idea is for that content to be viewable on a variety of screens, including phone, TV, tablets or computers.

Irrespective of which method you choose, the most important and absolutely essential part is to have some kind of a backup. And with a good backup strategy comes peace of mind tags along.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Effectively manage E-mail, Instant Messaging and Web Surfing on the go


Mobile phones have gone beyond being a device with just calling and texting functions. Just a couple of years back, it was difficult to get our hands on a good mobile handset which could offer a complete multimedia experience without burning a hole in the pocket. By multimedia experience – it includes not just camera and Bluetooth but a complete online internet suite which lets you do what you love best – communicate, in a variety of ways such as email, IM, texting, tweeting and social networking. There are several handsets now which let you do these and much more. Let us have a look at how we can redefine the way we look at communication on the go with a decent handset and just an affordable GPRS connection.


If you have not experienced the benefits of checking your email on the move, then you are definitely losing out on several hours of productivity. Even on a slow GPRS connection, Gmail and Yahoo Mail for example load easily and give you the flexibility of accessing your mail without rushing to your computer.


Instant Messaging (IM)

All of us love to chat on IM. It’s the only form of entertainment at work. Imagine if you can do the same thing on the move. Connect to your friends and colleagues in real-time with IM. See who’s available, and carry on a chat for as long as you like. It’s fast, easy, and affordable. With phones offering a variety of resources such as Nimbuzz - an application which lets you communicate with online buddies from Windows Live Messenger (MSN), Yahoo IM, ICQ, AIM, GoogleTalk, Facebook, MySpace and many more, it is easier to get in touch. Many phones offer Skype services as well which lets you get closer to your friends abroad without worrying about call rates.

Yahoo IM

Use Social Networking Like a Pro

With a simple GPRS connection, you can update status messages and photos on your Facebook account, ensuring that your friends and family stay in touch with you. Or if you prefer, you can also use Twitter to send quick and relevant updates to hundreds of your friends at the same time, without resorting to texting them.


Get on the Information Super Highway

Getting on the internet was never easier. With most phones available with the preloaded Opera Mini Browser, slow page loading is no longer a concern. Check your favorite websites on the go and stay informed on the latest sports, current affairs and entertainment news quickly and easily.

The biggest advantage of using instant messaging and email to texting and making phone calls is that they most service providers do not charge additional rates while using web based services in roaming. These services enable you to harness the web experience on your phone, saving you not just time, but also money.

If you’re on the lookout for mobile phones packed with all these utilities, at astonishingly affordable rates you should check out the latest offerings from Accord Mobiles, here:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Prepaid Vs Postpaid - The Real Cost


At some time or the other, all of us have faced this dilemma - to opt for a prepaid mobile connection or for a postpaid one. Given a choice, most mobile operators would want you to choose a postpaid plan simply because their Average Revenue per User (ARPU) is higher on those plans. If your phone bills have been bothering you lately, it’s time to have a long hard look at your mobile phone bill and see where you can cut costs.

Understand your Usage Type

It is important that you understand your usage type. Are you the kind who makes calls for a few seconds and hangs up or the kind who talk for long hours on the phone? If you are the former, there are several plans available in the market offered by almost all the operators which bill you by the seconds. This way, if you make calls for a few seconds, you will not be charged for the entire minute. If you tend to talk for longer durations, it is advisable to go for a plan which bills you by the minute. While these options are available in both prepaid and postpaid avatars, usually prepaid plans come with better deals once in a while (which are announced via SMS), say for example billing at half a paisa per second for local calls, and sometimes even for STD calls.

Pay Per Secons

Understand Your Usage Needs

It is essential that you understand how you use your mobile phone. A mobile phone now is more than a communication device. It is a lifestyle device which lets you share photos, videos, email and a host of other things. Once you know the kind of usage that you put your phone to, it is easier to understand which plan suites you well. If you are someone who uses a lot of data – like GPRS (now 3G), Multi Media Services (MMS), and make a lot of STD calls, it is advisable to opt for a postpaid plan since it would be silly to keep recharging your phone constantly. On the other hand, if you are a person who uses more of SMSs (both local and National), makes less calls and not much use for data services, a prepaid plan makes better sense. Postpaid plans are better suited for the older generation while prepaid plans are more suitable for the youth.

Understand Your Requirements

The final part in this section is to know if you can afford a postpaid plan. While prepaid offers full talk time, displays the cost of each call and allow you to change plans as and when they are launched, postpaid saves you from constantly recharging your balance, it is also useful while in roaming when your mobile plan will not leave you high and dry without any currency to make important calls.

Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both these offerings.

Pros and Cons of Prepaid


  • Provides you tighter control on the cost.
  • It is more economical.
  • Provides flexibility in terms of changing plans.
  • Call rates relatively the same (or cheaper)


  • Have to recharge constantly
  • Can leave you without connectivity in an emergency

Pros and Cons of Postpaid


  • Provides details of each call at the end of the month(Itemized billing)
  • Can be used to claim Mobile phone bills (at offices which reimburse the same)


  • Has hidden charges like service taxes etc.
  • Not as transparent as prepaid

While postpaid plans have their advantages, it is clear that prepaid is the way to go if you are looking at cutting down costs.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rain Proofing your Mobile Phone


All of us love the rains. It is the time of the year when everything around us seems clean, fresh and new. Then reality strikes us and we are traumatized by traffic jams, getting late to work and a non-functional, rain affected mobile phone. While we can’t do much about the first two, there are certainly ways by which we can ensure that our mobile phones last through the rain. Here are a few pointers:

Get a Ziplock Bag

Sometimes, the best solutions are the easiest ones. Just head over to the kitchen and find yourself one of those ziplock plastic bags which your mom uses to keep food fresh in the freezer. If those bags can last in the freezer, then the rain has absolutely no chance. You may consider using one of those bags which you need to squeeze to lock, as they are more durable than the bags which you need to slide to lock. You can even throw in a silica gel packet which comes with electronic goods to ensure that any moisture trapped in the bag would be absorbed by it.

Get a Protective Cell Phone Case

While a mobile phone case will not really completely secure your phone from the rains, it will definitely reduce the damage caused by the water, since the case would cover the essential ports and the back. Another advantage is that these protect your phone from physical damage, scratches and falls – ensuring that your phone lasts longer, and maybe get you a better value when it’s time to upgrade.

Go for a Rugged Phone

Some of the phones have rubberized covers which prevents dust and to some extent – water from entering the phone. Also consider using an alternate and inexpensive, yet sturdy phone during the rains so that you can prevent the damage on your more expensive phone.

Basic Common Sense

How many calls do we receive that are absolutely essential that makes us whip out the mobile phone when it’s raining? If you replied not many, then just don’t answer the calls. Let it be safe inside your ziplock bag and tuck it inside your bag. However, if you MUST answer the call, use hands free to connect it to your phone which is in the waterproof bag.

When Everything Else Fails

  • If despite all your precautions, you end up with a water damaged phone, try the following steps.
  • Take the phone apart, and let it naturally dry on a newspaper in the sun. if it’s still raining, then use a hairdryer, but be careful not to put too much heat. Once you ensure that the phone is completely dry, let it charge overnight. Hopefully, this should make the phone work.
  • Most manufactures do not provide warranty against water damage. Your best bet would be to walk to the nearest corner mobile repair shop. They usually do a good job of bringing your phone back to life.
  • So, go ahead, enjoy the rains while they last, because it really is the best time of the year. And do yourself and your phone a favor – leave it behind.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

How to get the Maximum Battery Life from Your Phone


All of us have been in the situation where we are stranded with a phone on low battery and dreading the moment when it will get switched off. Though we may have chosen a phone with a marathon battery, maybe even a dual battery – and despite our best efforts, this is still a likely scenario. However, it is possible to get the maximum juice from your battery by following simple guidelines.

Reducing Brightness

The fact that a cell phone’s battery is mostly consumed by its display is not very well known. One of the easiest ways to ensure that your phone stays on for a longer period is reducing the brightness, at least during the night or when you are indoors. You can also use black wallpapers since bright wallpapers tend to use more battery to enhance the display.

Airplane Mode

The mobile phone radio (and no, not the FM Radio) is the next battery hog. While it is impossible to decrease the usage of the cell radio, it is definitely possible to reduce its battery usage. While you are low on battery, it is a good idea to use a single SIM on your dual SIM phone, as this reduces the load on the cell radio. When travelling, consider switching to the airplane mode, which completely turns off the reception. You can switch off the airplane mode when you reach the destination. This will prevent your mobile phone to constantly check for signal, especially when in roaming.

Go Minimalist

When you are low on battery, quickly ensure that your Bluetooth, GPRS, Infrared, and Wi-FI are turned off. Also, avoid using your phone to take photographs and to listen to music or watch videos. It is also wise to turn off the vibrate mode too. By disabling the above features of your phone, you can make the remaining charge last surprisingly long.

Some Good Habits

While the above suggestions would get you more juice from your phone, it is also important to follow some good practices to ensure that the battery health remains stable for a longer duration. Lets quickly have a look at them.

Keep Battery Contacts Clean

This is one of the easiest but most ignored facts. Imagine wearing a contact lens which has dust on it. Now apply the same principle to your cell phone battery contacts. Over time, contacts may accumulate dirt which reduces the efficiency of energy transfer. Clean them with a cotton swab and rubbing or isopropyl alcohol. And yes, don’t overdo it.

Avoid Constantly Charging The Battery

Batteries come with a limited number of charging cycles. Usually it is a good idea to charge the phone after the battery is completely discharged. However, the general thumb rule is to charge it every alternate day (provided that your battery has enough charge remaining).

So go ahead, use your phone the way it should be used – without any boundaries.

                                         Long Battery Phones

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Indian Athletes Create History at The ASIAD


While the celebrations for their stellar performance at the Common Wealth Games had just started to mellow down, Indian athletes have given the country men another spectacular reason to cheer. And this time it was in China, at a stage much more competent than Common Wealth Games, Delhi. At the 10th Asian Games, India has delivered its best performance ever by gathering a total of 14 gold, 17 silver, 33 bronze medals and ranking 6th in the overall medal tally.









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clip_image004 South Korea






clip_image006 Japan






clip_image008 Iran






clip_image010 Kazakhstan






clip_image012 India






clip_image014 Chinese Taipei






clip_image016 Uzbekistan






clip_image018 Thailand






clip_image020 Malaysia





Although we are 5 ranks below China, the new behemoth in the world of sports, and even under some countries like South Korea, Iran and Kazakhstan, the performance at Guangzhou has proved that this billion plus civilization is undoubtedly a force to reckon. With an upbeat performance at the Olympics, CWG, and now at the Asiad, the Indian contingent in Guangzhou has announced in true style the arrival of India on the sports arena. We take this opportunity to highlight the performance of 10 outstanding athletes and two teams, who by grabbing the top slot for the tricolor on the flag staffs in Guangzhou have made their countrymen proud and happy beyond measure.


From all the 64 medals in India’s kitty, perhaps the most cherished four are the ones earned by Indian Women’s athletic team in Guangzhou. This brigade of young girls from the nooks and the corners of our country not only stood the ground in face the stiff competition from some of the world’s finest athletes. Leading the bandwagon was Aswini CA from Udipi who grabbed the top spot in 400m hurdles. Aswini then partnered with her team mates – Manjit Kaur, Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose to seal another gold medal for the nation in 4 X 400m relay. Here is a recap of the nail biting photo finish that kept the entire country at the corner of their seats:


India at 4X400m relay

The third gold medal in Athletics came from Sudha Singh, a 24 year old from Rae Bariely who bagged the first slot in the 3000 m staple chase. And the final medal in this category came from Preeja Sreedharan who proved her mettle in the most grueling and demanding format of the spot – the 10,000 meter run. While the brave ladies from the women’s contingent clearly stole the show, one gentleman ensured that men’s team also gets a mention in the final list of gold getters. Joseph Abrahim, A Indian Railways employee from Kerela gave his career best performance in the 400 meter hurdles to secure the top berth on the podium.


India’s silver getter in the Beijing Olympics 2008, Vijendar Singh displayed top form at Guangzhou. Vijendar dismantled Attos Aboev, the double world champion from Uzbekistan in true style gaining an unassailable five point lead to seal his gold in men’s 75 kg category. Here is a quick recap of the final:


Boxing Finals at the 10th Asiad


Right on his footsteps was Vikas Krishan, another prodigy from the boxing hot bed of Bhivani. Vikas displayed a precocious combination of skill and tenacity to ensure his place on the podium in the men’s 60 kg category.


Somdev Devvarman created history by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in the men's singles tennis event of the Asian Games after outplaying top seed and world number 44 Denis Istomin. The 25 year old from Guwhati then partnered with Sanam Singh to brag the doubles title as well.


As the inventors of the sport, Indian’s commonly consider dominance in the sport of Kabadi as their prerogative. But little do we realize the stiff competition that countries like Iran, Kazakhstan, and even China pose in the Kabadi ring. Hats off to the men’s and women’s Kabadi team, who despite the tough competition passed the test with flying colours.


While every name in this list of athletes is in itself an extraordinary story of unflinching determination and indomitable will, none is more inspirational than the story of oarsmen Bajrang Lal Takhar who before enrolling for the rowing team couldn’t even swim. Relying purely on his courage and hard work, this gentleman overcame daunting odds to row India to its first major victory in a water sport.


India’s gold haul in Guangzhou was given a head start by country’s most famous Billiards and Snooker champion, Pankaj Advani. The 25 year old from Bangalore clasped the gold in the billiards men’s single in a close fight with Myanmar's OO Nay Thway Oo.