Image by netzkobold via FlickrUAE telco Etisalat yesterday unveiled the new 'HTC Magic' smartphone, a device based on Google's Android operating system. There's no sign from today's newspapers that anyone at yesterday's press conference chose to press the telco that likes to say 'ugh' on the massive network outages that have taken place over the last few days. We're all 'on message' today.
This is the third device that the telco has announced it will support and sell in a reversal of the decision, taken back in the early '90s, to liberalise the UAE's terminal equipment market. Etisalat also sells RIM's BlackBerry (the source of the great spyware scandal) and Apple's iPhone. That decision, formalised in comments to media yesterday, is a tectonic shift in the market and deserved more coverage than it got. But perhaps its importance wasn't blindingly obvious enough for it to be picked up.
Gulf News' slightly breathless coverage is eclipsed by Emirates Business 24|7 (which is now, of course, only published five days a week, making it Emirates Business 24|5, but we'll let that go), which trumpets 'Etisalat to launch own branded mobile phone'!
The Emirates Business story on the HTC Magic mixes it up confusingly with the news that Etisalat is going to go back into the 'own brand' terminal market, with a new 'phone being brought to market under the 'Etisalat' brand.
Gulf News' story provides a great deal more clarity, information and depth on the HTC touch, which is a nice surprise. It also points out that the phone will ship with 'Goggle' applications such as mail, search, maps and Google Talk.
Goggle. Nice one, GN subs.
The telephone's 'connectivity technologies' include HSDPA 7Mpbs and HSUPA 2Mbps, reports Gulf News with a charming and complete lack of context.
HSPA is the 'next generation' of telecom protocols, at times referred to as 'beyond 3G', High Speed Packet Access. it comes in two flavours Downlink (HSDPA) and Uplink (HSUPA) and supports hyper-fast mobile data rates - today's HSPA networks can pump over 20Mbps down to a mobile, while HSPA evolution is going to more than double that. So we're talking about hyper-fast network access, streaming video, rich content downloads and all that good stuff. Except, of course, at Etisalat's rates, the whole proposition is utterly ruinous.
At 7 Mbps, you would eat through 1Gig of data in a little over two and a half minutes, taking 25 minutes to munch through the 10Gigabyte package that will be bundled with the HTC Magic contract (reports, uniquely, The National).
Worse, you'll be paying a smidgen under Dhs75 per second for data access when you're roaming.
Yup - at Etisalat's ridiculous roaming fees of Dhs2.5 per 30 Kbytes of data, you'll certainly be loving that old high speed download Magic!
(If this post seems unusually grumpy, it's probably because my lowly 384kbit 3G Nokia has been cut off by said telco because my bill is over Dhs1,000. Or two seconds' worth of Magic!)