Is the iPhone your best bet?

The soon to be launched iPhone 3G is coming to India. But will you be getting the best deal? What about options?

Apple has developed a (good) habit of turning seemingly ordinary
concepts into gadgets that border on science fiction. iPod and the more
recent iPhone will more than testify for this.

iPhone led a new
genre of cell-phones with an intuitive touch interface. Many gizmo
freaks however were disappointed when the iPhone did not launch in
India. But this time ‘round, things look better with two of India’s
biggest telecom players announcing that iPhone 3G will indeed be
available for cell-phone users.

What seems to be catching many
people’s eyes — perhaps more than the iPhone 3G’s new design — is the
price. At $199 (Rs8,000) the iPhone looks cheap. But the iPhone may not
be available at this price in India. Even in the US, the data-plans
offered by telecom companies such as AT&T will be more expensive
for the iPhone 3G than for other phones.

To cut a long story
short, the iPhone 3G costs around $450 to $500. Telecom companies like
AT&T will subsidise the cost initially, but will more than make up
for it in the data plan (cost for talking, SMSing, and browsing the
Internet).

Sources within Vodafone India could not confirm the pricing of the
iPhone 3G or the plans that would be offered along with it, adding that
the pricing model in India may well differ from the one in the US. Surprisingly, existing iPhone users are not too kicked about the launch.

“I would have considered going in for the official version with
Vodafone had I not bought one last November,” says Suyash Barve.
According to Barve, the new version doesn’t offer anything additional
features that are significant, at least in India.

Other users like Ritesh Rai, CEO, Genesis Modern Trade are actually
planning to give up their iPhone. “Once it launches there will be a
whole lot of people who will be carrying the iPhone around. There will
no longer be a novelty factor attached to it,” says Rai.

When the
iPhone launched in January 2007, there was nothing that came close to
its design, touch interface, and audio-video playback. But this time
other companies have caught on and launching worthy competitors of
their own, dubbed the iPhone killers.

HTC’s Touch Diamond has
already hit the Indian market (with Airtel for approximately Rs27,000).
Apart from a sleek design, it features a 3D interface that should make
the Touch Diamond stand out from the crowd. The other goodies are
top-of-the-line as well – it has built-in global positioning system,
Wi-Fi connectivity, and 3G-connectivity. The Touch Diamond runs on
Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional.

After the Touch Diamond the
most anticipated iPhone killer is Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X1 – the name
itself oozes with style. It was rumoured that Sony Ericsson may
postpone the launch to 2009, but recent reports confirm that the Xperia
X1 will be available by late 2008. Xperia X1 will feature a 3-inch
touch-screen display. And for those who type a lot (SMS/email), there’s
a slide-out QWERTY keyboard where the keys are arranged exactly like
your PC’s keyboard.

And can Nokia be left far behind? The
Finnish behemoth till date has not been too keen to develop
touch-screen models, but will now enter the fray with the Nokia Tube.
Nokia has not yet revealed too many details and the phone is due in
late 2008.

Other models to look out for are the LG Dare, which launched last
week, Blackberry Thunder, and the Samsung i900 Omnia, which features a
heavy-duty 5MP camera.

Of course, none of them as of now turn as many heads as the ‘bitten
apple’. iPhone’s brand value will remain high for some time to come.
But while you spending your moolah, you
might as well have a look at the options coming your way.

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