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Enchancing their Reach
Saheer Karimbayil
Friday, May 30, 2008
Apple’s iPhone to be sold in India
The much-awaited Apple’s iPhone will reach the Indian market soon. The mobile phone group Vodafone has scored its first deal to sell Apple’s iPhone in India apart from nine other countries. iPhone, a touch-screen mobile phone, combines Apple’s popular iPod music player, a video player, and Web browser.

Vodafone will begin selling the iPhone by this year end. Earlier, a leading business daily had quoted unnamed sources at Apple retail saying the iPhone is expected to launch in India in the first week of September 2008. The report had said that initially only the 8GB version would be launched for somewhere around Rs 28,000 with the 16GB version expected to follow suit later.

The other nine countries where Vodafone will sell iPhone are Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa, and Turkey.

Trane opens global design center in Chennai
Trane, a U.S. based heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) firm launched its global design center in Ascendas IT Park in Chennai to support the company’s Indian market as well as its global research and development (R&D) wing.

The center, which has validation and verification capabilities, will initially focus on controls embedded and application software.

The facility, with a total capacity to accommodate 200 engineers, will exchange knowledge, expertise, and best practices with Trane’s design centers in other parts of the world. Currently, the center is now in the process of staffing it.

“Being located in a region with a large supply of engineering talent, the center can help accelerate new feature additions to existing products and reduce the time needed for new product introductions,” said Trane’s global engineering and technology Vice-President Prakash Bedapudi.

Marlabs launches new KPO division
Marlabs India, a wholly owned subsidiary of Marlabs, has launched a new division to provide Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) services to the health insurance sector. The new unit currently operates from the company’s Bangalore and Mysore offices. Marlabs is expected to hire over 2,000 medical professionals over the next 18 months to staff the KPO division and is investing close to $7-8 million in the venture. The KPO unit, which is already functional, has 400 professionals currently on its rolls.

On the new unit and the career opportunity, Ramesh Natarajan, Head of the KPO business unit for Marlabs India, said, “Medical KPO offers a career alternative to medical school graduates who may find the typically long period for establishing a successful medical practice unattractive. KPO enables medical professionals to leverage their learning and expertise in a new and growing area.”

Nethotzone launches free Internet kiosk for farmers
Technology is lending a helping hand to farmers in Vadodara. The Ahmedabad based Nethotzone has launched a free Internet kiosk in Vadodara to provide valuable information to farmers free of cost.

“Providing connectivity with content to the farmers will surely bring about a sea change in the agrarian economy of Gujarat,” said Ravin Vyas, CEO and promoter of Nethotzone. “The farmers would be able to utilize the Internet service for selling their produce with the help of skilled operators who will man the kiosk,” he added.

Nethotzone had joined hands with the U.S. based Ahem! Management Solutions last November to set up kiosks in 155 cities and towns of the country with an initial investment of Rs.1.65 billion.

Each kiosk will have a 19-inch LCD monitor and high speed Internet access with a revenue model based on online and offline advertisements. A network of kiosks at various public places is being planned to be set up in the next five years.

Vodafone, Microsoft, and CaféGadgets.in launch SMS searches
Searches are getting simplified! Vodafone and Microsoft India have launched SMS Search for Vodafone customers in India. The search is powered by Live Search. With this concept, Vodafone subscribers can send their query as an SMS text message via their handset to 55060, at a charge of 30 paise per query.

“Vodafone customers will now have a complete search experience with this service. After providing our GPRS users the ease and convenience of Windows Live Search, SMS Search was the natural next step forward,” said Harit Nagpal, Marketing and New Business Director, Vodafone Essar.

The development work to embellish the Live Search platform to deliver search service via SMS was done at Microsoft India Development Center (MSIDC). Live Search on Vodafone mobile enables users to search on-portal or deck contents like articles, local or directory information like restaurants, mobile sites (WAP sites), and the World Wide Web (WWW).

One week before the formers’ venture, Cafegadgets.in, an online retailer of gadgets in India, had introduced CG Mobile Search, an extensive product and price search on mobile phones. Anyone planning to buy a gadget like a laptop, digital camera, mobile phone, or an ipod can just send an SMS and check the prices on Cafegadgets.in to do a fair comparison. A one-stop destination to buy gadgets and IT products, CafeGadgets.in is a business-to-consumer (B2C) portal. The portal guarantees its customers the most competitive prices as all the products offered by the online store are inclusive of applicable taxes and have no hidden costs or shipping charges.

EskoArtwork launches Indian subsidiary, GRC, in Bangalore
EskoArtwork, a global supplier and integrator of solutions for packaging, commercial printing, and professional publishing announced the establishment of a wholly owned subsidiary and a Global Resource Centre (GRC) in Bangalore to support collaborative software and systems integration projects around the world and to provide enhanced service to its customer base in India. The announcement underlines the continuing success of the international growth strategy that EskoArtwork has been pursuing since the merger of Esko and Artwork Systems in August 2007.

“The new Global Resource Centre underlines EskoArtwork’s evolution as a global services-led company. It enables us to bring added value to collaborative software and integration projects for customers around the world,” says Carsten Knudsen, President and CEO, EskoArtwork. He points out two reasons to deploy additional support and service activities to Bangalore, “First because locating in Bangalore enables us to draw on a pool of world-class IT skills and technical support talent; and second because India itself offers a huge market potential.”

Yahoo! India launches Glue Pages Beta
Yahoo! India has launched the Beta version of a new search concept called Glue Pages. This new search experience integrates relevant information from across the Web onto a single ‘visual’ search results page, aggregating text, images, and video content related to the search key word.

In this new concept, available at www.yahoo.in, the results will be displayed alongside classic Yahoo! India search results along with links for other Glue Pages on topics related to the query.

“Searching on Glue Pages Beta will result in an experience that promises more than just Web links. Users will not have to go back and forth from one link to other on the basis of the navigation they are being guided, instead they will receive relevant, visually appealing search results from across the Web in one topical page,” said Gopal Krishna, Head of Audience, Yahoo! India.

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