TRANSIT by Soen portable Bluetooth speaker comes to India at Rs. 12,990

TRANSIT by Soen portable Bluetooth speaker comes to India at Rs. 12,990American audio equipment maker Soen Audio is set to announce its entry into the Indian market. The company will officially launch its popular TRANSIT Bluetooth speaker in the country later this week priced at Rs. 12,990. The speaker is already available at leading online retailers.

TRANSIT by Soen, a California-based company that specialises in high-end audio equipment, is a compact, premium Bluetooth speaker set that sports 1.3″ x 6.6″ x 3.8″ dimensions and weighs around half a kilogram. The speaker is powered by a rechargeable battery that gives around 8 hours of playback time on a single charge. It also comes with a built-in mic, which means you can pair TRANSIT with your phone for hands-free calling.

NDTV Gadgets had a chance to spend some time with the speaker and our overall impression was extremely positive. TRANSIT exudes quality from first glance at the packaging of the product, to the time you hold the speaker in your hand, and of course when you start listening to music.

The build quality is excellent and the speaker comes with a magnetic cover that snaps on to offer protection from dust and accidental damage when not in use. The speaker can lie flat on its back or you can push a button to bring out the kickstand, which makes it ideal for placing on, say, a bedside table. The retail pack comes with a USB charger, a Micro-USB cable, documentation, as well as a 3.5mm audio cable (for the aux-in port).

TRANSIT by Soen has a flip power button on the side, with the pairing button sandwiched between the volume up and down buttons at the top. The Micro-USB and aux-in ports are at the side as well. Getting started by pairing the speaker with our smartphone was simple enough, like most Bluetooth speakers.

As far as the audio quality is concerned, we were impressed by the clarity of sound, which did not distort even at maximum volume. However, we found ourselves wishing that the speaker could go a notch louder. The bass performance was impressive for a speaker this size; probably the best we’ve come across in a compact Bluetooth speaker.

As stated earlier, the company claims 8 hours of audio playback on a single charge, but we did not get a chance to test this claim in the limited time we had with our unit.

TRANSIT by Soen retails for $200 in the US, which makes the Indian price of Rs. 12,990 extremely competitive. The product will hope to take some marketshare away from Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth speaker, which was launched in India earlier this year carrying a price tag of Rs. 16,200.

“Our mission is to create best-in-class products with stunning sound and elegant designs,” says Hari Seedhar, co-founder and Head of Marketing at Soen Audio. “With TRANSIT by Soen we are taking portable entertainment to the next level.”

Commenting on the pricing, Harpreet Kaur Sapra, co-founder & Chief of Operations, Love 4 Apple, who are the exclusive online distributors of Soen Audio products in India, said, “Our commitment to India is to bring the best in the world accessories at price points that match the global market. With TRANSIT by Soen we have matched a dollar to rupee target price, something unheard of, as far as technology goods in India are concerned.”

TRANSIT by Soen is now available via online retailers like Amazon India and Love 4 Apple, with other leading retailers set to follow.

‘Airtel may raise mobile call rates up to 20 percent’

'Airtel may raise mobile call rates up to 20 percent'Telecom major Bharti Airtel may increase mobile call rates by 10 to 20 percent, equity research firm Nomura said in a report.

“On our call with Bharti management today, it stated voice prices are still trending up and there is potential for a 10-20 percent increase from current levels,” it said.

When contacted, an Airtel spokesperson said: “At the moment, we have no plans to raise headline tariffs anywhere in India. The current focus of the company is on reduction of discount schemes and promotional offers to improve realisations.”

In September, the company increased tariff rate for postpaid customers, raising call rates by up to 50 percent.

Local and STD rates of 50 paise per minute to Airtel mobiles were increased to 60 paise, while calls to landlines went up to 90 paise per minute from 60 paise.

Nomura said that Bharti’s management sees its recent agreement with Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio Infocomm reduces the risk of any “gorilla attack” fears and there is room for “peaceful co-existence” for all.

“It (Bharti) again stated that creating a “collaborate supply chain” will see genuine cost savings,” the report said.

The research firm said that Bharti may consider exit from Africa it it fails to succeed in its strategy reach one of the top positions in each of the markets by either organic or inorganic growth measure as it could prove to be a suboptimal operation.

Nomura said that it expects Bharti Airtel to exit from Sri Lanka if its current position of number 5th in terms of market share doesn’t improve.

The research firm said that Bharti sees era of SMS to fade away as the revenue its generates from mobile internet service over 6 times more than SMS.

Airtel saw increase revenue from mobile Internet services which now accounts for 10 percent of its total business, Nomura said.

“Currently, sale of data packs brings in Rs. 100 per user, versus SMS ARPUs of about Rs. 15 which is at risk from cannibalisation,” the Nomura report said.

Airtel did not comment on upcoming spectrum auction but the research firm expects company to bid for airwaves in process which starts from January 23 next year.

“It is likely that Bharti could participate in the upcoming auctions in January 2014, we think,” Nomura said.

Moto G starts receiving Android 4.4.2 KitKat update ahead of schedule

Moto G starts receiving Android 4.4.2 KitKat update ahead of scheduleMotorola has announced that its Moto G budget smartphone has started receiving the Android 4.4.2 KitKat update over-the-air (OTA).

Motorola at the launch of Moto G had revealed that the smartphone would be receiving a ‘guaranteed’ Android 4.4 KitKat update in January; however it seems the Google-owned Motorola has rolled out the update ahead of schedule.

Punit Soni, vice president of product management, Motorola Mobility, confirmed the news in a blog post, and stated that Moto G smartphones bought via the company’s online store and Amazon US will receive the Android 4.4.2 KitKat update starting Thursday. The blog post also did not reveal the details of Android 4.4.2 update for other carriers and countries but said, “KitKat will come to other Moto G carriers and regions soon as well.”

Motorola notes that the update brings the latest version of the Android OS (Android 4.4.2 KitKat) and also introduces new features, enhancements and bug fixes for the Moto G. Some of the new features include enhancements such as restyled status and navigation bars; new colour emoji support; new full-screen mode; enhanced phone dialler app; improved ‘touch to focus’ and new photo editing features in the default Gallery app.

(Also see: Moto G review)

Motorola has also added support for printing photos from Google Docs, Gmail, and other content on phone via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and hosted services like Google Cloud Print and HP ePrinters. The Android 4.4.2 update for Moto G also incorporates new Google Hangouts version that supports messages and MMS.

It’s worth pointing out that the Android 4.4.2 update has been rolling out to Nexus devices, making the Moto G becomes the first non-Nexus device to get the update. In November, Motorola rolled out the Android 4.4 update for Moto X.

The Motorola Moto G features a 4.5-inch HD ‘edge-to-edge’ display with a resolution of 720×1280 pixels (translating to a pixel density of 329ppi) and boasts of a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 screen. Powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor coupled with an Adreno 305 GPU, the Moto G features 1GB of RAM. The Moto G sports a 5-megapixel rear camera along with an LED flash and also includes a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. The rear camera supports HD (720p) video recording.