iPhone 3G – Hold Off on the Purchase in India

Apple’s iPhone 3G officially debuts 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.

iPhone 3G

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 and New York area, we found 3G connectivity to be 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 access 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, one (India News) was plain garbage while the other AOL Radio had two decent Bollywood music channels. 

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. 

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.

One Response to "iPhone 3G – Hold Off on the Purchase in India"

  1. muthu   August 22, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    I don’t know what motivates you to write every negative thing in this blog. I guess you have to see everything in a better way too. Don’t argue with anyone that iPhone is useless. you are trying to portrait it that way. It’s one of the revolutionary phone at this moment. Apple is giving out this opportunity for lots of people all over the world. It takes time for other countries to get the same momentum like US. It’s just a matter of time. I recommend people to buy it. There are lots of great things which helps you more productive and have fun at the same time. There are some bad things because of the current situation. But you won’t regret buying one though.

    This site make me feel that i am reading some blog which has only bad news or the author changes the tone to be negative. Buddy, get back to reality.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Cut the blah, blah, blah and answer the specific points that we raised in our post.

    Our post on the iPhone 3G is based on our use of this device almost since its launch on July 11, 2008.

    Or are you so upset with us because we found your iPhone 3G application India News to be utter garbage that you are not objective. Even after you upgraded the India News app, your application is still a piece of shit (takes longer to load now the first time & some headlines don’t have a summary at all. For example: 17,985 identified for repatriation from Hindu today has no summary).

    2. You write above: Don’t argue with anyone that iPhone is useless.

    We wouldn’t go so far as to say the iPhone 3G is useless but the hype-to-reality ratio is tilted grossly in favor of the hype.

    3. Apple has already put out two updates for the iPhone 3G in the last 40 days. That’s Microsoft territory (putting out shoddy products and providing bug fixes later). Apple had a reputation for quality products. But this time Apple may have jumped the gun in releasing the iPhone 3G before it was ready for prime time.

    4. You write: Apple is giving out this opportunity for lots of people all over the world

    You make it sound as if Apple is organizing a free lunch for the poor at the Palani temple. Apple made a business bet on the iPod/iPhone and it worked.

    Once again, iPhone is a user-friendly phone but comes with a lot of limitations. Since we don’t have 3G in our area, we use it a lot like a handheld (for watching YouTube in bed, checking e-mail at the breakfast table, scanning news headlines and the like) via Wi-Fi. But Wi-Fi is not an option available to most people in India yet.

    Charging Rs 36,100 for the iPhone 3G with so many issues is nothing short of a rip-off. Just like your 99-cent piece of shit.

    5. You write above: This site make me feel that i am reading some blog which has only bad news or the author changes the tone to be negative. Buddy, get back to reality.

    SearchIndia.com is very objective in its reviews – of books, movies (Tamil, Hindi, English & Foreign) and products.

    This is what Reuters had to say about the iPhone Launch in India:
    Apple Inc’s iPhone 3G made its debut in India on Friday minus the mass hysteria and winding queues that had marked its launch in the U.S., Europe and parts of Asia last month.

    Perhaps, the folks in India are smarter than the folks here (in the U.S.).

    6. Like you, we think the iPhone is an important product. Hence we have a separate iPhone category on SearchIndia.com.

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