Mahindra Satyam acquires 51 pc majority stake in Brazilian company

M-Satyam buys 51 pc stake in Brazilian co

IT firm Mahindra Satyam on Friday said it has acquired 51 per cent majority stake in Brazilian SAP consulting services provider, Complex IT.

This acquisition will focus on developing solutions for the rapidly expanding enterprise solutions market within Brazil, Mahindra Satyam said in a statement.

However, it did not disclose the financial details of the deal.

Brazil is the second fastest growing geography globally for enterprise solutions provider, SAP. The current spend on IT by companies in Brazil is approximately $70 billion, with $36 billion being spent on services and software.

Mahindra Satyam and Complex will go to market with proprietary solutions for large manufacturing, financial and consumer services companies in the market, the Indian IT major added.

“This combination of Complex and Mahindra Satyam strengthens our commitment to the Brazilian market, which is one of the fastest growing Enterprise solutions markets,” Mahindra Satyam Global Head (Latin America and Strategic Accounts) Arvind Malhotra said.

Complex IT’s turnover last year stood at USD 50 million and it has 500 employees.

As Brazil gears up to host FIFA 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, it would only provide an increased impetus to an already rapidly growing IT services market, he said.

“The relationship with Mahindra Satyam will mean enhanced career opportunities for our team, and increased quality of services to our customers and partners,” Complex IT Chairman and CEO Antonio Rossi said.

BenQ G1 BenQ G1, the world’s slimmest swivel camera, score with its aperture

Value In Focus

BENQ G1
Price: Rs 15,000
Rating: 4.5/5
Specs: 14 MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS; f 24~110mm; f 1.8, 1/2000 ~ 2 sec; ISO 6400; Full HD 1080p /30fps; SD cards (up to 32GB).

The BenQ G1 is the world’s slimmest swivel camera. So what, you might ask. Swivel screens are nothing new, both DSLRs and compacts have them now. But not on bodies this thin. And yet, this isn’t the USP of this camera. That has to be the f1.8 aperture.

Firstly, the 3-inch swivel screen is very flexible and folds back on to the body with the screen facing you. While the swivel screen is good for taking shots at tricky angles, it is also a great way to protect the LED. The 920K LED screen has good clarity. It’s only when we kept poking icons on it that we realised it had no touch. But with Benq indicating which dial controls each value on the screen, life is not so tough.

Now for the f1.8, a setting that will naturally give you better results in low light. But at this point, the lens is too wide for a point-and-shoot and you have to zoom in to frame a good shot. The 4.6x zoom is decent (it also has a so-so digital 6x that has to be activated). The G1 has everything you would expect of a 14-MP camera of this price range, even an ugly retro-looking cover. And when you see the crisp and vibrant results, it is hard to make out that all this was created by a camera that cost half as much as a smartphone.

Continuous shooting is fast though it takes a while afterwards to save the pictures. The Filter mode, in which you can click some kiosk-like, sketch finish and oil painting pictures, is good as it the HDR. We also thought that the background defocus mode was a good addition. However, the wait time to get such images processed was a dampener.

The video quality is good too, with FullHD at 30 fps. There is so video mode though and you just have to click the separate record button to start/stop filming. No, you cannot click photos as you are recording a movie, but the zoom is one of the smoothest we have seen in a camera like this

Benq has tried to bring a lot of premium features to a very affordable camera, the latter being the forte of this company. With all the features, this camera has the potential to become a one-stop imaging solution for the family, combining fun and quality. Seems Benq has a winner here.

HP Envy X2, Panasonic Lumix, HTC Droid DNA and more

The Hot and the not so Happening

Sam Abraham introduces new products to help you zero in on those that offer value for money -

PANASONIC LUMIX FZ200
Rs 34,290
Rating: 4/5

FEATURES
>> 25-600 mm lens, 12.1 MP, CMOS sensor

The DMC-FZ200 is an excellent super zoom . You can keep a constant aperture of F2.8, meaning considerable improvement in low light and at maximum zoom. This is because you can choose higher shutter speeds at low ISO settings. The electronic viewfinder is brilliant and the rotating LCD offers great visibility, while the auto mode is very effective. However, it’s a little more expensive than other super zooms (albeit with a better lens), images are a tad noisy and there is problem with redeye correction. Read Dpreview.com for an extensive review.


 

KARBONN A30
Rs 11,900
Rating: 2.5/5

FEATURES
>> 1GHz dual-core processor, 2,500 mAh battery
>> 8 MP rear & 1.3 MP front camera

India now has the world’s biggest phone, though if that’s a good thing is debatable. The 5.9-inch device might have crossed the line on size and is pretty heavy at about 280 gms. Only a stellar display could have saved it but the 480×800 pixels is disappointing. Despite it being almost pure Android 4.0 (Jelly Bean would have been better), it’s got a few too many bloatware. The 1GHz dualcore processor is good enough but RAM details have not been disclosed. The price and dual SIM capabilities are the device’s attractions.


 

HP ENVY X2
Rs 59,990
Rating: 3/5

FEATURES
>> 1.8 GHz Intel Atom Z2760, 2GB RAM
>> 64GB flash memory, 8 MP camera

The Envy is sleek with an aluminium body and is a light tablet (1.5 pounds), while the dock attaches and releases very smoothly. The display (1366×768) was adequate but viewing angles could have been better. Processing was the same as that of a netbook, not slow but not very fast either. Windows 8 was a solid performer as well. Working on it as a tablet was great with fluid manoeuvring. But, it is average on battery life (7 hours as a tablet, 11 hours with the dock) and the keyboard is cramped.


 

HTC DROID DNA
NA
Rating: 4/5

FEATURES
>> 1.5 GHz quad core Snapdragon S4, 2GB RAM
>> Android 4.1 (Jellybean), 8 MP camera

The Droid is built to last with a polycarbonate back lined with aluminium sides. The powerhouse quad-core engine, combined with Jellybean, makes for a heady product (though gamers might find a few glitches). The USP is, unarguably, the magnificent 5-inch 1080p display with the IPS panel, also known as Super LCD3. You don’t have to strain even in direct sunlight. The camera might not add to the Droid’s covetousness but it’s no deal breaker. It’s weak on battery life and you’re stuck on memory with no microSD slot.


 

HUAWEI MEDIAPAD 7 LITE
Rs 13,700
Rating: 2/5

FEATURES
>> 1.4GHz Cortex-A8 processor, 1 GB RAM,
>> 1024×600 display, 3.2 MP rear camera

The Lite has a solid build but and yet feels and looks great (think matte aluminium and white plastic). The best thing about it is the lack of opering system modifications, though it is still running Android 4.0 (ICS) and not Jelly Bean. That’s about it, only dampers ahead. Deemed a budget tablet, it runs on a single core processor (perceptible lag), the display is only 1024×600 (poor for any tablet), and battery life and camera are less than stellar. There are better 7-inch devices available for about the same price.

Casio GW-A1000 wrist watch can test your patience

Casio GW-A1000: Complex Times

The Casio GW-A1000 looks like a very busy watch with a handful of push buttons and dials. If it looks intimidating, it is. For the watch is impossible to operate if you haven’t read the manuals thoroughly. And there is quite a lot to go through, for this watch can do a fair bit, especially for an analogue watch.

The build quality is excellent, with highgrade plastic strap and body of toughened metal. And despite being a rugged GShock model, it doesn’t feel heavy on the wrist. Being solar powered watch, there is no need for batteries.

Well, you are not spending a packet just to know what time it is. This watch can tell the temperature too, though in Fahrenheits. Also, remember that body temperature can skew the readings, which are shown as combination of the minute and second needles. A smaller ring on top shows the 24-hour time, while another one below shows the day. The fly-back function allows the watch to shift modes instantaneously. It isn’t called a pilot’s watch for nothing-it can show the time in many other cities too. Press the push button on the left, pull the crown out and turn it to select the city of your choice. This is quite easy, though you have to wait a few seconds for the watch to go from one time zone to the other. You can use the mode to activate a stopwatch too, once again a fairly complicated process.

While the watch has luminescent dials which work in dark conditions, it does not have any illumination that would have added to the ease of use. In the digital era, this watch is perhaps for the purists.

Pocket Player Zebronics Zebmate is a good music player but the punch is missing

Pocket Player

You would be forgiven for thinking that competition in the portable media player segment was over. We thought so too, as the iPods had pretty much ended the argument in their favour if the mobile phone hadn’t already made the portable media player extinct. Well, there are some people who clearly don’t agree. With its Zebmate, Zebronics seems to think it will be able to find a customer base. Well, we have to agree that at this price point there will sure be a few buyers.

The Zebmate is a tiny, no-complications device with a 1.8-inch touchscreen and jut one home button for the rest. But it can play almost all music files, some video formats and also receive FM radio. The screen is responsive enough for you to operate the media player and the interface easy enough for even kids to figure out.

However, we are not sure we would want to watch video on a stampsize screen. And, we encountered problems playing many popular formats. But the Zebmate is a good music player and FM radio, the sort you’d want to take on a morning walk or to the gym.

However, you are advised to buy a better pair of the earphones as the one in the box is basic. The Zebmate has an 8Gb internal memory and can take a Micro-SD card.

How BlackBerry 10 stacks up against the competition

A BlackBerry executive shows off the new Z10 model during its launch in Toronto on January 30, 2013. (Photo: AP)

On January 31, Canadian telecom company Research in Motion renamed itself BlackBerry, after its well-known brand. But the real highlight of the day was the launch of the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which the company hopes will help it take giant strides in the smartphone market it once dominated.

BlackBerry has some interesting devices on the BB10 operating system. But that may not be enough for it to challenge the dominance of devices that run on iOS (Apple) and Android (Google).

Here, BT looks at how the BB10 stacks up against the iOS 6, Android Jelly Bean (JB) and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 (WP8) operating systems on parameters we think matter the most in a smartphone.

Parameters BB10 iOS 6 Android JB WP8 Winner
User Interface Single finger use with peek capability, negating the need of a home screen No home screen. Grid-based interface with four static icons at the bottom. No app launcher Grid-based interface. App launcher with all apps. Icons remain static at the bottom Live, tile-based interface. Customisable tiles on the home page. List-based menu for apps access WP8
Messaging client BBM now supports video iMessage for text messaging. FaceTime for video calls Gtalk, Hangout for video calls Messaging hub BB10
Camera Interface Time Shift: Can capture a shot and select the best settings manually

 

iSight: supports Panorama, HDR Capabilities. Photo Sphere: Allows users to snap pictures in every direction and fuses them into incredible, immersive photo spheres Download lenses from the app store to put themes, effects, and more in camera’s viewfinder, edit photos BB10/Android/iOS
Social Networking integration BlackBerry Hub: a single place for personal or work email, BBM messages, social media updates

 

Twitter and Facebook integration Preloaded by manufacturers. No integration, apps available for installation Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook integration BB10
Browser BlackBerry 10: supports HTML 5 multiple tabs. Private browsing and reader mode Safari: supports HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. iCloud tab. Offline reading list. Media uploading Stock Browser: supports HTML 5, JavaScript, vertical text, including Ruby text and other vertical text glyphs Internet Explorer 10: supports HTML4, built-in webpage sharing, tabs and favourites Android JB
Apps Claims to have all the top apps (70,000) Exclusive apps and top apps available (App Store: 650,000+) All top apps available (Google Play: 700,000+) A few ‘top’ apps available (Windows Marketplace: 120,000 +) iOS 6
Physical Keyboard Yes No No No BlackBerry 10
Processor Dual-core Dual-core Quad-core Dual-core Android JB
Multi-tasking Real time multi-tasking Not real time. Freezes the state of the apps in the background Real-time multi-tasking While switching between apps, the app’s state is preserved, enabling quick resumption later BB10/ Android JB
Security Secure Secure Prone to malware Secure iOS, BB10

 

DSLR versus compact mirrorless cameras

DSLR versus compact mirrorless cameras

Compact system cameras are supposed to be as good as DSLR when it comes to picture quality. We decided to put this to test by pitting the Panasonic Lumix DSC GX1 against the Nikon D5200. Remember, the latter is a DSLR and has a 24MP sensor compared to the former’s 16MP sensor.

Full Auto
In the full auto mode, the image from the GX1 appears a bit darker. That is because it has used a ISO of 500 in comparison to the D5200′s ISO800.

Though both were shot at 18mm, the frame of the Nikon is also much bigger. However, the GX1 is by no means a bad picture.

ISO1600
Both cameras have higher film speeds, but we decided to test them at ISO 1600. Both shots were taken at 18mm with Shutter Speed 1/60 and Aperture Value 4.5. The GX1 again has a slightly darker image.

The D5200 has a larger frame.

Close up
Clicking macro, both cameras produced identical results. The shots below were both taken at 18mm and ISO 200 with Shutter Speed 1/100 and Aperture Value 5.0.

We are not tagging the pictures, so you will have to guess which picture is from which camera.

35mm
At 35mm too there not much to differentiate the two except for the Nikon’s larger sensor.

The D5200′s colours see a bit more natural.

Review: BlackBerry Z10 is good stab at rebirth

A BlackBerry executive shows off the new Z10 model during its launch in Toronto on January 30, 2013. (Photo: AP)

Are you ashamed to have a BlackBerry? It’s not exactly a status symbol any more, at least not in the U.S., after it got left in the dust by the iPhone. Now, there’s a new BlackBerry that wants to get back into the cool club: the Z10 .

It’s the first phone to run the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, and it is, at first blush, a very good stab at regaining at least some of the cachet of the BlackBerry.

The problem is that no one has ever succeeded in turning around a failing smartphone maker. Remember the Palm, anyone? It’s simply a brutal industry. So even if the Z10 does everything it set out to do, it might not be enough to save Research In Motion Ltd., the home of the BlackBerry. The company is changing its name to BlackBerry, but that could just be the prelude to riding the brand into the sunset once and for all.

It doesn’t exactly help that the Z10 looks like every other smartphone on the shelf. It’s a flat black slab with a touch screen, nearly indistinguishable at 15 feet from the iPhone 5 or a bevy of Android smartphones. The screen measures 4.2 inches diagonally, a bit bigger than the iPhone but smaller than most Android phones. It will go on sale in the U.S. in March, probably for about $200 with a two-year service contract, in line with the iPhone and other rivals.

Turn it on, and the differences become more evident. Older BlackBerrys are great communications devices, but are poor at multimedia and at running third-party apps, something the iPhone excels at. The new BlackBerry 10 software is a serious attempt at marrying these two feature sets, and after a few hours of use, it looks like it succeeds.

BlackBerry 10 was delayed for about a year, and it seems as if the extra time was put to good use. The software is, for a first release, uncommonly slick and well thought out, completely unlike the PlayBook disaster of two years ago, when RIM released a tablet computer that couldn’t do email.

The Z10 is easier to use than an Android phone. It is more difficult to use than the iPhone, but it is also more powerful, giving you faster access to your email, tweets, Facebook status updates and text messages.

These communications end up in the “Hub,” a window that slides in from the left side of the screen. Whatever you’re doing on the phone, you can get to the hub with a single swipe on the screen, and then go back. It’s a great feature for the always-connected.

The software is good for on-the-go types as well, because it’s designed for one-handed use. While texting, you’ll have one hand free for holding your bag or pushing open doors.

It’s also completely touch-oriented, which isn’t what you’d expect from a BlackBerry. You don’t use a hardware buttons to navigate the phone at all: They’re just to turn the phone on or off, or adjust the volume. To get around, you swipe across the screen. Up, down, right and left swipes all do different things, but they’re fairly easy to remember. Sadly, it’s reminiscent of webOS, the last hurrah of smartphone pioneer Palm Inc. It was a great, swipe-based interface that never found an audience and was ultimately put to rest.

Very rarely does BlackBerry 10 display a “Back” button on the screen, which is a blessing. I find Android’s always-present “Back” button a huge annoyance, since it’s rarely clear where it will take me. Will it take me back one screen or kick me out of the application I’m in? Only one way to find out: pushing it.

BlackBerry diehards will lament the lack of a physical keyboard – they’ll have to wait for the Q10, a model in the more traditional BlackBerry form. That’s due this spring. But before writing off the Z10, these loyalists should try its on-screen keyboard. It’s really very good. It provides more vertical space between the keys, imitating the steel bands that separated the hardware keys on the BlackBerry Bold. It’s very accurate and easy to use.

The Z10 will also have a replaceable battery, something lacking on the iPhone. Screen quality will be good, too, at 356 pixels per inch, compared with 326 for the iPhone 5 and 306 for Samsung’s Galaxy S III. Unlike the iPhone, the Z10 will allow you to expand storage with a microSD card, and it sports a chip letting the phone act as a credit card at some payment terminals and share data wirelessly when tapped against some other phones. The Z10 is heavier than the iPhone, though – at 4.78 ounces to the iPhone 5′s 3.95 ounces.

So why does the Z10 and BlackBerry 10 face such an uphill battle?

Well, the library of third-party applications is the biggest reason. The iPhone and Android have a huge head start when it comes to getting developers to make applications that run on their phones. RIM says BlackBerry 10 will launch in the U.S. with about 100,000 apps. That sounds like a big number, and it includes important apps such as Skype and Facebook.

But it’s inevitable that the iPhone will have apps you want but can’t get on BlackBerry 10. There’s no Instagram, no Netflix. It’s also obvious that the number includes some apps that were written for the PlayBook tablet and don’t work well on the smaller phone screen.

But the biggest obstacle to a RIM comeback is simply that the iPhone and Android have become the default for phone buyers, and few will see a reason to try something else. Microsoft, which has vastly more resources than RIM, has tried for two years to get people to buy Windows Phones, with very little to show for it.

BlackBerry 10 is nice, but I can’t point to anything about it that would make me say: “Forget those other phones: you have to buy this one.”

How the iPhone 4 stays relevant iPhone 4 continues to be a good buy

A full-page newspaper advertisement for a new flagship smartphone is not news. But a full-page advertisement for a phone that came out two years ago might not make sense to even ad gurus. But that is the clout of the iPhone 4 , which at a cheaper Rs 26,500 is still one of the best phones in the market. So how does the iPhone 4 stay relevant even in 2013?

DISPLAY
Apple increased the iPhone 5′s display to 4-inch from the 3.5 inch (measured diagonally) though retaining its width at 2.31 inches. This means, Apple has just increased the height of the iPhone 5 by a 0.37inches. Hence, the 3.5-inch Retina Display of the iPhone 4 isn’t small in comparison to the latest version. Unlike some of the biggish phones today, that need to be operated with both hands, the iPhone 4 can be comfortably held and used with a single hand, using the thumb to type. Introduced in 2010, the Retina display with 960×640 pixel resolution and 330 ppi pixel density is still amongst the best around.

IOS 6
The biggest benefit of using an Apple product is the democratised software support one enjoys. As and when Apple updates the OS, every user, irrespective of their location, is entitled to update the phone’s software. When launched, the Apple iPhone 4 ran the iOS 4. Buy one today and you will get it with iOS 6.

PROCESSOR
In 2010, a 1GHz processor was considered powerful enough to handle all operations. Now, the iPhone 4′s 1GHz single-core A4 processor might seem outdated in comparison to the quad-cores and dual-cores. But the fact is that we still don’t have much apps that need multiple cores to run or can utilise this extra processing power. So the iPhone 4 is still good enough and performs without any lag.

CAMERA

THE CLASS OF 2010
The pace at which the leading handset manufacturers launch smartphones has reduced the shelf life of the existing ones to a maximum of 18 months. But the Apple iPhone 4 is not alone. Before the launch of 808 PureView, the Nokia N8 was one of the best camera phones in the industry. Launched in 2010, the Nokia N8 has a 12-megapixel autofocus camera with xenon flash that captures really stunning images. The 3.5inch capacitive touch display of the N8 is very responsive. The Symbian operating system might not impress everyone, but it good enough to ensure that 680MHz processor is not stressed out. The Nokia N8 is retailing for Rs 18,990 and still makes for a good camera phone.

What good are megapixels if you can’t get a good image? Most flagship smartphones today have 8MP cameras and even midsegment phones sport 5MPs like the iPhone 4. But it still shines above the rest thanks to the backside-illuminated sensor that is more sensitive to light. It also features a powerful built-in LED flash. Apple had also pioneered HDR settings on a smartphone with this model. Actually, this feature has only recently started making its entry into other phones. Combining three images captured at different exposure, this feature can deliver images better than regular ones. Along with still images, one can easily record and edit HD videos on the iPhone 4.

APPS
Apple’s App Store is undoubtedly the best application stores today. Everyone criticises Apple for its strict policy regarding apps, but this ensures that there are no bugs or malware in any of its apps. A vast majority of apps on the store are still compatible with the iPhone 4. In case an app is not compatible with the device, the store prompts you about the same.

BATTERY
The biggest challenge one faces with smartphones today is the poor battery backup. With so much loaded on these devices, even the high-end ones fail to last a day with average usage. But surprisingly, the Apple iPhone 4 has no trouble giving you a day-and-a-half.

 

Another budget phone Videocon A30: Another budget phone

Videocon A30
Price: Rs 7,699
Specs: Android IceCream Sandwich; 4.0 inch capacitive display; 1GHz dual-core processor; 4GB onboard memory, expandable up to 32GB; Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G, A-GPS; 5MP auto focus camera; 124.3 x 63.8 x 10.8mm; 1500 mAh battery

Videocon has introduced a couple of Android smartphones of which the A30 comes across as an interesting budget smartphone. Here’s what we liked and disliked about this smartphone.

As is the trend these days, the Videocon A 30 does not look like any other popular smartphone. Actually, it is not much to look at. With the black plastic running around the display, it has ‘Made in China’ screaming out at you. The power key and a 3.5mm jack have been placed at the top while the volume controls and charging port dominate the left panel of the phone. The 4-inch capacitive display is responsive, but a bit too slow. Below are four touch sensitive keys – home, option, back and search – which is in contrast to the usual three. These keys illuminate when the phone is in use. The back is made up of white plastic that feels soft to hold. The 5.0 MP camera sits on the top while the Videocon branding and speaker are towards the bottom of the back panel. Overall, the A30 looks like a budget smartphone.

Unlocking the smartphone greeted us with a lock icon with two antennae at the top. Touching the lock icon throws four icons on its sides – camera on the top, phone on the left, message on the right and unlock at the bottom. Sliding the lock icon towards the icon will directly launch the app or unlock the smartphone. On the top of the homescreen is the Google Search bar and the bottom is dominated by the row of five icons – phone, phonebook, app tray, message and web browser that stays static throughout the homescreen panels.

Running on Android IceCream Sandwich, the main menu is divided into two – apps and widgets. A Play Store icon appears on the top right offering an instant access to the store.

Based on Qualcomm’s Reference Design platform, the A30 is powered by a dual-core processor clocked at 1GHz and paired with 512MB RAM. The device fetched our emails instantly and it offered a smooth browsing experience. But unfortunately, there is a slight lag in launching some of the apps.

For added convenience, Videocon has loaded Documents To Go on this device. Using this app, we were able to open the documents on the phone itself. But for editing, one will have to purchase the full version of the app. There are plenty of other free apps loaded on this device.

The A30 has a 5MP auto-focus camera with flash. But don’t expect it to capture superb pictures as there camera is just about average. We noticed some noise even when the images were captured in good light. Then the flash failed to live up to our expectations. With a built-in FM and music player onboard, there isn’t much that we can complaint about in the sound department.

However, the biggest challenge of using this dual-SIM device is its battery life as when both the SIM cards were inserted in the phone, it failed to last a day on a full charge.