Apple’s iPhone 3GÂ officially debutsÂ in India on Friday, 43 days after the hot mobile phone was launched in the U.S.
After 41 days of owning and using a 16GB iPhone 3G in the U.S., we would caution potential buyers that the hype is way ahead of the reality for this device. Caught up like a lot of people in the iPhone 3G hype, we were initially enthusiastic about this mobile device.
While the iPhone 3G is a user-friendly touchscreen-based phone, it has a few serious shortcomings that should make potential buyers in India pause in their tracks:
1. The 3G connectivity is not widespread even in the U.S.
Even while traveling in New Jersey andÂ New York area, we found 3G connectivity to beÂ very limited. Our AT&T salesman told us that 3G was available in our area. But that turned out to be false.
India does not have 3G technology up and running yet. So your Internet accessÂ will be at a much slower speed.
2. Call quality with the iPhone 3G leaves a lot to be desired. Calls drop far too often.
3. Battery drain is a serious issue.
4. There are hardly any India-specific native iPhone 3G applications. Out of the two iPhone 3G apps for Indophiles,Â one (India News) was plain garbage while the other AOL Radio had two decent Bollywood music channels.Â
5. Wi-Fi is still not ubiquitous in India at both home and outside as it is in the U.S.
Although 3G is not available in our area in the U.S., we use the Wi-Fi at home for the iPhone 3G to get fast connectivity for watching Pappu can’t dance on YouTube. Purchase of the iPhone 3G would heighten expectation and end up causing a great deal of frustration since the Wi-Fi option is unlikely to be available to a lot of potential buyers in India.Â
6. We have also seen reports that Indians don’t have access to the iTunes store and therefore will be unable to buy music, video, TV shows and audiobooks. This, along with the need to download iTunes on PCs/laptops on slow Internet connections to get updates for the iPhone, is bound to be another major drawback.
Points 7 & 8 are updates:
7. Since iPhone 3G does not support Flash or Java many Web pages will not load.
8. Applications crash suddenly a la Microsoft products. Whether this is Apple’s fault or the third party application developer’s fault, Apple is responsible (because the apps are vetted and released by Apple through the App Store).
Apple has already put out two updates to the iPhone 3G to fix some of the issues. And we expect more will be coming.
Despite the two rounds of updates, there is considerable chatter online about the iPhone 3G not meeting its owners expectations.
We have heard that Vodafone will price the 8GB version of the iPhone 3G at Rs 31,000 ($199 in the U.S.) and the 16GB model at Rs 36,100 ($299 in the U.S.).
Given the extortionist prices of the iPhone 3G in India, potential customers would do well to wait before Apple fixes the issues and the phone prices to come down before parting with their hardearned money.