Unlike Samsung which relishes high-profile launches, Karbonn and Spice Mobiles have quietly launched a couple of smartphones/phablets in the Indian market. The devices run on the Android operating system and are all priced below Rs 15,000, targeting the mid-price range segment of mobile phone users who are looking to own a cheap large screen smartphone. Here is a quick look at the devices.
Karbonn S1 Titanium for Rs 10,990
The dual-SIM smartphone has a 4.5 inch high qHD multi-touch capacitive display (960Ã—540 pixel resolution) and runs on the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system. It is powered by a 1.2 GHz Quad-core processor, has 1 GB RAM and comes with 4 GB internal memory that can be further expanded up to 32 GB with a microSD card.
It has a 5 megapixel autofocus rear camera with LED Flash that can also record videos and a front-facing camera for video calling. On the connectivity front, the device has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G, and a microSD slot. The smartphone measures 134.6 mm x 66 mm x 9.25 mm and weighs 161 gm. Karbonn has provided a 1,600 mAh battery in the device that it claims will provide up to four hours of talk time and 200 hours of stand-by time.
The fact that the smartphone has a Quad-core processor means that it should be able to run most of the applications smoothly, and at the price it is being offered, it is worth considering for a buy.
Spice Mi-530 for Rs 13,999
The company's phablet offering has a 5.3 inch qHD IPS touchscreen display (960Ã—540 pixel resolution) and runs on the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS (Jelly Bean has been out for a while). It is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and has 1 GB RAM. It comes with 16GB of internal storage, which can be further expanded an additional 32 GB with a microSD card.
The phablet has an 8 MP autofocus rear camera with LED flash that can also record full high definition videos (1080p) and a 5 MP front-facing camera (which is an interesting addition since it should allow high-resolution mug shots as well). Similar to Karbonn's S1 Titanium, this device will also support dual SIMs. On the connectivity front, the phablet has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G and will come with a microSD card slot. The company has provided a 2,550 mAh battery that it claims will provide over four hours of talk time and 600 hours of standby time.
While there is still no clarity on the dimensions of the device, it is available for a price of Rs 13,999 on the e-commerce site Saholic.com. In addition to this, the company has also launched Stellar Nhance Mi-435, an under Rs 10,000 smartphone with a 4 inch capacitive touchscreen also running on the Android ICS OS. This one is powered by a 1 GHz processor, has 512MB of RAM and is available for Rs 7,199 (on the same site).
It is interesting to watch the smaller handset players taking the phablet route, but whether they will be able to give Samsung a run for its money, is something we will have to wait and see. And since Samsung has also started launching toned down versions of its popular smartphones/phablets (remember Galaxy SIII mini and the recently launched Galaxy Grand Duos), these players could start feeling the heat very soon. In terms of competition, homegrown handset maker Micromax also recently unveiled the A116 Canvas HD, which will also be priced below Rs 15,000 (read here for more on that) and is a decent device.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)