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Google's new mobile handset Nexus One will not be available for consumers in India. In the US, it is being sold only through the Google Web store for $529 without a service plan
Internet search giant Google has launched its much-awaited, and correctly predicted by Moneylife along with some other media, its mobile handset titled as Nexus One. Google will sell the phone through its Web store. However, it will currently be available only for US consumers.
"The Nexus One belongs to the emerging class of devices which we call 'superphones'. It's the first in what we expect to be a series of products which we will bring to market with our operator and hardware partners and sell through our online store," Google said in a release.
Google said the Web store would allow consumers to purchase the Nexus One without operator service or with service from T-Mobile USA. Google further said that it expects to add more operators, more devices and more countries in the future, including Verizon Wireless in the US and Vodafone in Europe.
The Nexus One, which was garnering favourable first reviews on tech websites and forums, ships immediately from Google's online store for $179 with a two-year contract from Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA, or $529 without a service plan.
According to Techcrunch.com, Google has a lot riding on this launch. Sure, it would be nice for the phone to be a popular device in its own right. But, as many have pointed out, it’s the disruptive distribution model that’s going to have the biggest impact down the line. Google needs to show that this new online distribution model is something that people are willing to actually use, it added.
Manufactured by HTC, the Nexus One features dynamic noise suppression, a large 3.7-inch organic light emitting diode (OLED) display and a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset for blazing speeds. Running on Android 2.1, the newest version of Eclair, the software includes innovations like a voice-enabled keyboard so that you can speak into any text field, fun Live Wallpapers, a 3D photo gallery for richer media experiences and lots more. Of course, it also comes with a host of popular Google applications, including Gmail, Google Voice and Google Maps Navigation.
Nexus One's launch, especially in the US, assumes significance as T-Mobile and AT&T's exclusivity deals with Apple for its iPhone are about to come to an end. Google's phone would prove to be a shot-in-the-arm for these carriers, who so far had to depend on iPhone for higher-end mobile handsets.
The move also marks a rare foray into direct sales for Google. With the exception of an appliance it markets as a search tool to businesses, the company hasn't sold hardware in the past.
Google became a high-profile player in the mobile arena two years ago, when it launched its Android software. A number of leading handset manufacturers, including Motorola, built phones running the software, some of which contain branding "powered by Google". But the phones—many of which hit the market in recent months—haven't sold nearly as well as Apple's iPhone.
As far as India is concerned, Google's website says "Sorry, the Nexus One phone is not available in your country". Officials from Google India were not immediately available for comments. So for Indian enthusiasts, the wait could be a little longer.
Be it reality shows or reality-based soaps, the small screen in 2009 was all about getting close to people's lives, while fairy-tale sagas became history
Be it reality shows or reality-based soaps, the small screen this year was all about getting close to people's lives while fairy-tale sagas became history, reports PTI.
A horde of issue-based serials were prompted by 'Balika Vadhu' last year and 2009 saw daily soaps finally departing from the world of rich urban families to give way to more 'real' ones.
Shows which reflect the lives of people who actually watch them have become a fad now. Each one represents a certain problem, section or phenomenon in society, like 'Na Ana Is Des Lado' dealing with the issue of discrimination against the girl child and 'Uttaran', the rags-to-riches story of an orphan girl.
Some new shows have come up at the end of the year, like 'Pratigya' which has the female protagonist fighting against eve-teasing and 'Tere Mere Sapne' addressing the problem of people migrating from villages to cities in search of a living.
"We are not a ‘saas-bahu’ channel anymore. We have come up with new shows like 'Tere Mere Sapne' and 'Pratigya' in order to connect well with the audience," said Anupam Vasudev, executive vice-president for marketing, Star Plus.
Middle-class families and rural backgrounds have become a favourite with channels in an attempt to bring the audience closer to the shows.
"It’s as if our own life stories are being shown on TV," said Gayatri, a homemaker, who regularly watches '12/24 Karol Bagh', the story of a middle class family living in Delhi.
The rural setting and dialect has been skilfully utilised in 'Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo', which has the female protagonist bearing the yoke of her family in a village in north India.
Interestingly, the series replaced the long running K-serial 'Kasamh Se' on the same channel.
"The serial bears the essence of the rural culture of India. The clothes we wear and the language we speak on the show is deeply connected to the soil," said Roopa Ganguly, who plays a major character in 'Agle Janam...'
There were some major innovations in terms of reality shows as well. Almost every aspect of human life has been explored this year in the form of some or the other reality show.
'Sach Ka Saamna' created a furore even in Parliament with people protesting against the show's way of making people confess the deepest secrets of their lives.
The hype around marriage was tactfully encashed in 'Perfect Bride', which brought two lives together and also executed the first real marriage on television.
Actress Rakhi Sawant gave the people of the nation a chance to become her fiancé in 'Rakhi Ka Swayamvar', which became one of the most popular reality shows of 2009. The show is going to have a second season with Rahul Mahajan, son of late politician Pramod Mahajan, looking for his prospective wife.
Family life became the subject of a reality show once again with Ms Sawant starring in 'Pati Patni Aur Woh', which also had other TV actors trying to manage an entire family. Ms Sawant, who found a life partner on a reality show, used another to dump him publicly, all this while managing good television rating points (TRPs) for the channel.
Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi is presented as a judge in 'Aap Ki Kachehri' to solve problems in lives of people and 'Raaz Pichhle Janam Ka' journeys back in time to establish the connection between the present and past lives of people.
As new concepts have come up, the popularity surrounding talent hunt shows have waned a bit. The third season of 'Bigg Boss' also could not generate much interest despite having megastar Amitabh Bachchan as its host.
Some older reality shows have held their forte on youth channels, like 'Roadies' and 'Splitsvilla', prompting other channels to come up with shows like 'Dare to Date' and 'Kidnap'.
In the ‘Trek Study’, willing backpackers who develop travellers' diarrhoea will be paid to attend a clinic and also injected with a new agent to see how they react
Wanted: 1,800 volunteers for free holiday packages to Mexico and Guatemala. All inclusive. Also on the cards: Free vacation in India! Yes, a US company Intercell is offering free holidays in Mexico and Guatemala, including airfare and accommodation, to tempt some 1,800 young people to test its drugs for one of the most common holiday afflictions—travellers' diarrhoea, reports PTI.
In the ‘Trek Study’, willing backpackers who develop travellers' diarrhoea will be paid to attend a clinic and also injected with a new agent to see how they react, British daily ‘The Independent' has reported.
The $1,500 holiday package includes stay in three-star hotels but travellers can choose where they go and what they eat and drink, provided they do not stray for more than three hours from any one of the centres at Mexico or Guatemala. Travellers are required to visit these centres for blood tests and provide stool samples if they develop an upset stomach.
Intercell's clinical director, Nigel Thomas, said, "We are looking for people who've already planned to go to Mexico or Guatemala and think this would add another interesting aspect. It is almost like going on a package holiday.
"They will be met by a concierge who will take them to their hotel and arrange for them to give their first blood sample within 48 hours."
And, though not yet finalised, a second study is planned of travellers to India. Thomas Lingelbach, chief executive of Intercell, was quoted as saying, "We need to show the vaccine is effective in different geographical settings, as the bacteria that cause diarrhoea are different in different regions.
"If we can show broad coverage against travellers' diarrhoea, we estimate we could get peak sales of $500 million a year in five to 10 years."
However, the travellers' diarrhoea vaccine has already been tested on humans and an initial study with 170 American volunteers, who also travelled to Mexico and Guatemala, was encouraging.
Half were given the vaccine and the other half a placebo, and results published in 'The Lancet' medical journal last year showed that the vaccine reduced the incidence of diarrhoea by 75%.