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05 July 2013

Nokia Asha 501–First Impressions

We were privy to the Nokia Asha 501 Launch at Bangalore on the 29th of June, 2013 where the handset was displayed to us and also given to us to try. Available in a range of colors, the phone which along with an attractive pricing comes in attractive packaging boasts of a multitude of features and innovations!

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The phone comes with an astounding 40+ days of standby on a single SIM and 26 days on Dual SIM and supports 3G. The phone UI looks like it has been done ground up from the scratch and borrows heavily from the interactions that were a part of the erstwhile Nokia’s N9.

The UI works entirely on swipe and boasts of a new feature called Fast Lane. What this basically does is to log 50 of your past, present and future activities that seamlessly allow multi tasking. Since the OS is Nokia’s Series 40 at the back, it has not been optimized for multi window based multi tasking yet the Fast Lane manages to pull it off effortlessly. The UI has also been optimized for maximum screen real estate usage

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The phone comes preloaded with a host of 45 apps and games which Nokia believes would more than suffice any person who would want to start using the phone out of the box.

Nokia has successfully implemented several nifty features which goes on to say how much of thought process must have gone in behind developing the phone. We were told that the average user spends 30 percent of his battery time in looking at the time and checking for notifications. Nokia capitalized on this by providing a lock screen screensaver that works at minimal power yet shows a clock and all your notification without as much as moving a finger. Of course, if you do want to make use of the phone, a double tap at the screen brings it to life and displays the notifications in detail. Making use of the Swipe UI, a simple Swipe would take you to the app and display the contents of the notification.

The phone being for the youth features a interchangeable back panel which should be available off the counter from day one.

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However, with so many loaded features, there is one trade mark feature that Nokia has managed not to let go, viz. the sturdiness feature. The phone was physically abused right in front of our eyes by dropping it, banging it and throwing it. The phone was working perfectly fine despite all this! Oh so typical Nokia!

The highpoint of the demonstration was a Gesture Based Music Player which was wonderful! It allows you to be a Mozart in the true sense! A simple wave and the music plays the way you want it to! Truly innovative!

Kotak Mahindra Bank’s Privy League–Special Cards for Special People

Kotak Mahindra Bank launched the Privy League of Credit Cards at the Hard Rock Café last week on Thursday, the 27th of June, 2013. The card has been issued only to a select few High Networth Individuals who were selected using certain undisclosed criterion. The main features of the card lie in not the look but the facilities that the bank has managed to secure for its card holders.

A few of the card features have been listed below:

  • The bank allows the customers to choose their own reward programs ranging from memberships at most elite clubs to movie tickets. Gone are the days of reward points, it’s time now for instant gratifications!
  • The card comes with a wallet assist program which promises to replace the card in case of loss immediately no matter where you are located. This is also accompanied by the Loss Protection which covers any transactions that are made after you report the loss of the card.
  • The card also provides you a Demat facility with preferential brokerage rates, after market trading orders, expert analysis and research accompanied with a dedicated relationship manager who would be your window to one call trade.
  • On the basis of the relationship value, the bank allows you not only an unsecured overdraft limit but also preapproved loans at a competitive rate of interest and minimal documentation.
  • In case of the card being linked to Current Accounts, the bank offers a two way sweep facility, preferential booking of Forex Rates online for Transactions, Customized Trade Solutions and Management of Payments and Receivables.