The Hot & the not so Happening

Sam Abraham | Print Edition: August 2011

Sam Abraham introduces products and services to help you zero in on those that offer value for money.

Google Places (ver 5.7) | Free

Google Places
>> Taps into GPS module to determine current location

Navigation 5.7 for Android has seen the addition of Transit Navigation, which brings GPS turn-by-turn to public transit systems in over 400 cities worldwide. There is also improved directional services within the Place pages.

Search suggestions have also been improved with the addition of category icons and auto-insertion of places. Finally, the Photo viewer for Place pages should help you better visualise what youre about to walk (or drive) into.

Zen music player
Zen Style M3000 | Rs 6,000 (est)

>> Built-in Bluetooth 2.1, MicroSD card slot

>> 1.45-inch display, 16GB memory

Creative's M300 might not be great competition to the iPod in terms of style, but it offers greater flexibility as the MicroSD slot can be used to expand memory and the built-in Bluetooth giving you the option of a wireless headset. Youll also get a built-in FM radio, a mic for voice recording, a promised 20 hours of battery life and a choice of four colours.

Localscope | Rs 90 (approx)

>> Customisable options, iOS application

Localscope relies on mapping engines, such as Google Maps, Bing, Four Square and Wikimapia to locate restaurants, pubs, hospitals and anything else you want to find. There is also an interesting search of Twitter to find 'tweets' about places in the vicinity. Don't rely on it too much though, it can throw up unusual results sometimes.

Google WDYL.com | NA

>> All Google services on one page

A search on wdyl.com (What do you love?) will give you results on all of its services on one page. For example, punching in football brings up its popularity in Google Trends, lets you set up Google Alerts, plan related events in Google Calendar, e-mail someone in Gmail, or hit up Picasa, YouTube or Google News with the same query. Of course, it's plain useless if you actually want any surfing done.

LG Optimus 2X
LG Optimus 2x | Rs 27,000 (approx)

>> 1 GHz Dual Core Tegra 2 Processor, Android OS

>> 4 inch IPS screen, HD 1080p, HDMI connectivity

Behold, the worlds first smartphone built around a dual-core processor. That's what the ad says. But what do you need to do on a phone that can bog down a 1Ghz CPU? Also, despite the muscle, the UI is sluggish, plus the software has minor bugs. Of the positives, the most important would be the improvement in hardware, with great attention given to detail and the design is uncomplicated.

Toyota Etios Liva
Toyota Etios Liva (VX) | Rs 5.99 lakh

>> Four cylinder, 1197cc, five-speed manual gearbox

The Etios success story should be taken forward by its hatchback sibling, especially since it offers everything the former does, except the boot space. The 1.2 litre engine is highly fuel efficient with adequate power and torque. The boot, at 251 litres, is not the biggest among the segment. The price is also attractive, with the range starting from Rs 3.99 lakh.

HTC Flyer
HTC Flyer | Rs 37,499

>> 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor

>> Android (Gingerbread), Battery-powered stylus

The 7-inch screen is of great quality and just the perfect size for thumb-typing. The 'Magic Pen' scores better than any other stylus for ease of use with the screen being designed to detect it perfectly. The aluminum casing also ensures durability. However, it's priced a little steep and the apps are just expanded versions of those designed for phones.

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