The 19th edition of Infotech, the largest ICT event in Mauritius, was held at SVICC from 13th to 16th September 2012.
As usual, I made the trip so that you don’t have to go there. :)
This time though, I went earlier than usual, so as to avoid the week-end crowds (& being crushed in the bus).
So here I was at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre.
The downside of going on opening day is that many of the exhibitors aren’t even ready with their stands or with their products. That shows you just how seriously they take Infotech.
Near the entrance you have the biggest stands – from left to right – Courts, DCL, Emtel, Orange, Apex and Cash & Carry. Here’s a link to the floorplan.
Emtel pulled all the stops to showcase their new logo and their speedy 4G LTE modems. Price? Rs 7595 (VAT incl). Coverage is still sporadic (North, Centre & West).
In other news, Emtel will be launching their FTTH services as from early next year. BTL, Orange & now Emtel. Let the games begin. :)
Not to be left behind, Orange came up with an even bigger screen!
Among the various Infotech promotions, there were new data packages, free bonus sms during top-ups, 50% discount for first 3 months for new Internet subscribers, new MyT channels, etc… You can find all of it here.
But the major attraction for Orange was their Rs 3000 tablet. Not the one above as you’re being led to believe by the ads.
This one, the 7” IS703C, made by Indian tablet manufacturer Pantel. It has a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, 1GB RAM, HDMI out, 0.3MP front camera, 8GB storage, USB support & comes with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). Worth Rs 3000?
I’m not sure, because it was practically unusable the first time I turned it on. After closing all the running apps, the lag decreased considerably. Even then the touchscreen wasn’t very responsive. Even with that 1GB, apps lagged to launch. Overall, it felt very cheap. Like Rs 1000-1500 cheap, not Rs 3k.
The other tablet was the 8” WS802C, being sold at Rs 6000. 1GHz Cortex A8, 512MB RAM, 2MP camera, GPS, 3G, HDMI out, 4GB storage, microSD & ICS. I was surprised by how much it didn’t lag. The camera was useless. The physical buttons were terrible. Other than it’s pretty decent. But not worth Rs 6000 when you can get a Nexus 7 at nearly the same price (shipping excluded).
The one thing that bothered me was that these tablets are being targeted at people who have the least knowledge of tech. The stands were a bit crowded, so I got to hear some of the questions that were being asked and how the product representatives were “misleading” them. A lot of people signed up to get on the pre-order list. I can bet they are in for a nasty surprise when they’ll be getting any of these tablets.
Next to the Orange stand was Apex, the new Apple reseller.
Ah, the new “iPhone 5” – the best iPhone since sliced iPhone.
Cash & Carry
Lo & behold – Cash & Carry!
As I previously mentioned, even past opening day, many exhibitors weren’t ready with their stands. Among them was C&C who hadn’t yet printed their brochures.
That was one very impressive TV – the lack of bezel made it look so much better. Yeah, just ignore the price.
Just a C&C promo I found on Vimeo.
Near Cash & Carry was a Nokia booth. Surprisingly, there was no HM Rawat stand at this year’s Infotech. Instead, they had demo booths (accompanied by absolutely clueless representatives).
Oh yes, the 41MP 808 Pureview was here. So I took two photos, one at 8MP & another at 38MP. Which were promptly transferred to my phone and… then automatically deleted because I didn’t save them. Sorry for being such a noob. What I can tell you was that I wasn’t really impressed with the 808’s low-light photos.
Moving on, near the Emtel stand was DCL. DCL had setup several PCs to demo the services they’ll be offering with their new Internet service - ALICE.
I tried to run a speedtest, but the page didn’t even load.
The DCL representatives were by far the most helpful at this Infotech. ALICE uses 4G & not WiMax as it was erroneously written in a local newspaper (& which I subsequently tweeted). Prices and offers will be announced on October 1st when it’ll launch. Speed of between 2-20Mbps. Coverage for the time being only in Plaines Wilhems. Port Louis & the North by the end of the year and other regions next year.
The above two devices are the 4G modems. The smaller one is for connecting to PCs and laptops. The big one is the modem/wireless router.
Courts were mostly promoting Samsung devices.
Like this Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. Clearly, the stickers come as a bonus.
& then I caught sight of this all-in-one PC - the Toshiba Qosmio. Running Windows 8. Even though there was no Microsoft stand this year, Courts were the only exhibitor demoing Windows 8.
& next to it, I found this. The Acer Iconia W700. That was the most recent gadget being on display at Infotech. But it was only a demo unit - it’s not even available for sale anywhere in the world! Kudos to Courts for bringing it.
Specs – Ivy Bridge CPU, 11.6” 1080p IPS screen, THREE USB 3.0, micro-HDMI, 5MP camera, 32/64GB SSD, 8 hours battery. The build quality is impressive. Feels very solid, but quite heavy. The screen is awesome.
However, I was most interested in testing the OS. The tablet experience of Windows 8. Windows 8, not Windows 8 RT.
The Desktop is totally unusable with touch. As for the
Metro Ballmer UI part, the only thing I could do was horizontal scroll. Swiping from the sides and pinching did nothing. & then I launched a video which immediately caused the tablet…
… to crash. Now that’s why it was still a demo unit. But here’s the most astonishing thing – it took only 5s to restart!
So I moved to the other Windows 8 tablet – the Acer Iconia W510.
Specs - 10.1” 1366x768 IPS screen, Clovertrail/Atom CPU, USB 2.0, micro-HDMI, microSD, 18h battery.
This one luckily had a fully functional Windows 8. & god was that impressive! The smoothest tablet I’ve ever used.
Metro Ballmer UI absolutely shines in a tablet. It’s so intuitive, so fast… & so unfortunate that I noticed these tablets at the end of my visit; I barely spent 5 mins with them. One thing’s for sure – Windows 8 is one hell of a tablet OS. Such a shame, it’s being forced upon desktop users.
They had a Samsung stand and next to it…
This is a 15” Macbook Pro.
& this is a 15” Macbook Pro Retina. See the difference?
No, I’m not talking about the new Magsafe 2 connector.
Let’s take a closer look.
On the left, you have a 1440x900 resolution. & the right, a 2880x1800 resolution. Both in a 15.4” display. You simply cannot see the pixels. Is it as ground-breaking as the iPhone’s Retina display? Perhaps, it was my poor eye-sight or the low-light, but the difference didn’t really jump to my eyes. You need to use it for some time to notice it. I couldn’t browse some websites to analyse the webpage rendering because the free wifi provided by Orange/Emtel was utterly useless.
The Macbook Pro Retina isn’t just about the display. It adopts a new Air-like compact body, non-removable parts and is only available with SSDs, thus shedding the weight down to 2kg. Do all these features justify the price?
At these relative prices, of course.
I should probably mention that the same 2.6Ghz MBPR is worth $2800 in the US. Like Rs 26,000 cheaper.
& that the 2.6Ghz MBP is worth $2200. Rs 20,000 less.
The iMac. Only Rs 16k more.
Macbook Air. Rs 10-15k.
The “New iPad 3.” Dat resolution!
At least here, the price difference was only Rs 5-7k.
No Infotech tech trade fair would be complete without the electronics bazaar.
Central Business Equipment.
La Sentinelle. Win prizes by registering on classified.lexpress.mu
TechKnow Magazine. Enter the competition here.
Career Guidance zone. Half of the companies were call-centres…
While I was roaming around, I came across the stand of LAVIMS - the Land Administration, Valuation and Information Management System, i.e. the Cadastre.
Upon enquiry, I found out that these images weren’t taken by satellite, but by plane. Which explains the very high resolution, perfect colours and extreme details of the map. Quite incredible.
& the tools they use? A special 360º camera – the Girocam.
The FujiFilm X-Pro1. Photography buffs will know what this is. Price around $2000. :)
The Samsung Galaxy SIII. First impression – the screen is awesome. The colours are rich, the contrast is awesome and it’s very responsive to touch.
2nd impression – the 4.8” screen is big. Where big is defined by ‘cannot fit into my hand.’ Anything between 4” to 4.5” would be perfect for me.
One-handed operation wasn’t easy, given that Android menu buttons usually alternate between top and bottom. The physical buttons are ok, except that the lighting was very inconsistent – turned on & off too quickly to my taste.
Trying the video overlay mode. Swag.
Under these perfect light conditions, HD Super AMOLED performs well. Practically no sign of this being a PenTile matrix display. I would have liked to test it in complete darkness to check if it still has those AMOLED faults.
The camera is pretty good. The continuous shooting (zero shutter lag) and the live-stitching panorama mode definitely are the best features.
It is quite big, but its lightness makes up for it. The ‘natural’ sounds are quite annoying, to be honest. & I would have preferred a non-glossy back. In internal specs, there’s no doubt this is the best smartphone out there. Overall, I quite liked it. If the SIII is that fluid on ICS+TouchWiz, I wonder how good it’ll be on Jalebi.
Now, don’t expect me to wipe those smudges.
Anyway, 4.65”. Now that’s one phone size that fits me perfectly. Reminds me of the N900. Just too bad, they didn’t bother to update it to Jalebi. Would have loved to see the results of Project Butter.
Galaxy Tab 2 10.1”
In the photos I’ve seen on the Internet, it looks ugly. In real life though, the side grilles don’t matter at all. In fact, the Tab feels nice in your hands.
& when you’re playing a movie on that gorgeous screen, those speakers really, well, shine. The only downside is Android. There aren’t many built specifically apps for tablets. Hopefully, that’s set to change with Jelly Bean.
After several tries, I got the Wifi working and managed to load a page. I love the desktop-like browser experience here.
Best product info display ever!
So here ends my visit to Infotech 2012. It wasn’t quite as boring as I expected it to be and in the limited time I had, I discovered enough stuff to make my visit worthwhile. I couldn’t record any product videos as my new camera was too big to multi-task. :(
The only thing which I think was missing at Infotech was a certain ISP working on FTTH. Are they really serious about launching their product? Infotech would have been the perfect place to demo the new tech they’ll be using and gain so many new customers. Although I don’t want this to happen, this smells like failure…
- Noulakaz - Infotech 2012 feels like an empty box
- Clever Dodo - InfoTech 2012
- Island Crisis - Infotech Mauritius 2012 = Noobtech
- Yashvinblogs - What are people saying about Infotech 2012?
- Muzzammil15 - Infotech 2012
- L’Express - Infotech : Pour rester branchés
- Defimedia - Infotech 2012 : les dernières innovations hi-tech sous un seul toit
- Defimedia - Infotech 2012 nous met plein la vue…
- Defimedia - Télécommunication – Emtel lance la 4G et son nouveau visuel
- Defimedia - Internet : Alice, nouvel opérateur 4G
- Le Mauricien - NOUVELLES TECHNOLOGIES: ALICE au pays du 4G
- TechRadar - Acer Iconia W510 hands-on
- TechRadar – Acer Iconia W700 hands-on