Mar 26, 2014

Google's pivot - Chromebook

It's not uncommon to read online reviews which say, "Company X must be having something in mind..."; "Company Y has the bigger picture..."; "In the long run...", and whenever I read something like this, I thought "Yeah sure, they know what they're talking about, they've seen the trend and they must be right".

Something of similar sorts has been happening to me lately. If it isn't fairly obvious then I would like to say that one company, which I feel has been taking the right steps towards it's larger picture is Google. Ok, I think that was obvious. However, if you're thinking Android, I am not. I'm thinking Chrome OS and Google Drive. Ahaa! That is not what you thought and also you've probably lost interest in this article.

Nevertheless, I plan on making my point. Let me start with Chrome OS and then link it with Drive(you'll see how).

The Chromebook

The first signs that Google has something cooking with Chrome was when it launched
the Chromebook in mid-2011. Even before that when the announcement was made, I was actually thinking, "ah!, I think Google can bring out a stable Linux OS". Yes, Linux; that's what I thought Google was up to and I was on my sofa screaming, "Microsoft, Apple, your days are numbered". Ok, no I wasn't. But I was absolutely convinced that the OS would  compete with MS and Apple. But then, when I realised  that it was going to be a browser based, I thought to myself, what is the point? More Chrome users? Pfff, silly strategy then. But the Chromebook reviews were pretty amazing, people actually liked the idea that a small notebook is what they need if all they're going to do is some word..err..document processing and mostly Facebooking. Besides being inexpensive and stylish, Google offered free* Drive, so that was cool.

Why not just do it with Android?

Well, Google had it's success with Android already, and they were happily using all of Google's products: Maps, Drive, GMail, Docs. But Google had a large chunk of users of the Chrome browser, sitting in front of their PCs or Macs, just staring at the shiny browser with awe...and using it...sometimes.

Also, these users not just used the browser, but also many of the thousands of Chrome add-ons and extension. Google was very successful in getting the developers to build them. It was nothing less than a hit, something - I feel - that Mozilla had the chance for, but only faintly leveraged.  Soon these extensions and add-ons became synonyms to productivity. Experience talking.

Around this time, the adoption of Drive was also growing. Google now had to just get the Chrome fans to use Drive more like a natural choice.

Drive Apps

A wide range of apps that integrate with Google Drive. The apps worked around Drive for storage purposes and also supercharged your Google Drive itself.

And take my word that these apps don't feel like they're lacking in any sense. They're efficient in what they do, fast like your native Windows or Mac applications, if not better.

The Final Step(s)

So, Google had most of the steps in place. All they had to do is introduce the Chrome OS. How do they do it? Version 32 of the Chrome browser transformed your Chrome to more Chrome OS style...all while you stayed within your Windows or Mac. This also allowed a new breed of Chrome apps, that felt more native rather than a browser app. Few of which ran offline. Sounds familiar? Yup, if not the OS itself, Google was now in a position to challenge Windows 8 apps.

All Google now needs to do is push developers to build high quality apps and more users to be using Drive. Proof for that is the Google Apps referral program and the drop in price for Drive and also the fact that some of the Android flagship phones now offer free Drive space. 65GB with the new HTC One M8 (oh, that beauty!)

Also, there is enough evidence that Chrome OS could land up on your next tablet. Honestly, I feel it could have more success than Android on tablets. If all of this goes right, we could soon be Chromebook converts. I am sure MS or Apple hadn't seen this coming.

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Apr 9, 2012

Indian govt can now spy on you BlackBerry users

If you're one of the million loyal lovers of the hobbling smartphone, BlackBerry, here's something that might   alarm you. According to a report in India Today, the Indian government can lawfully keep an eye on the messages you send through the BB Messenger. This move is taken in concern with the national security issues.
Department of Telecommunications (DoT) secretary R. Chandrashekhar said the process is underway and that directions can be given to any service provider for interception of all BlackBerry services.

The government had given an October 2010 deadline to RIM for providing access to intercept data passing through the BlackBerry services. It was then extended up to June 2011. In February this year, RIM setup a server in Mumbai which enabled government agencies to monitor BBM data.

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Sep 9, 2011

Conan O’Brien cracks one on the lost iPhone 5 issue [video]

After reports of an Apple employee losing, what is said to be an iPhone 5 prototype a week ago, Conan O'Brien and his team made a spoof of the way Apple executives give an overview of a new product. Conan, an Apple fan himself had earlier parodied the iPad2 and the video editing software from Apple, Final Cut Pro X. Only this time his team talks about how they're planning to torture the guy who is in possession of the lost prototype device.

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Aug 16, 2011

Google-Motorola deal under the microscope

Google has shelled out $12.5 billion in acquiring Motorola mobility, one of the founding members of the Open Handset Alliance and one of the leading Android mobile manufacturers. Money well spent? Well, for now it makes Google look good and apart from getting hardware in it's hut, Google now has rights over 17,000 patents which were owned by Motorola. So what does this deal mean to Google, Android and YOU, the consumer? Let's dig in.

1. All about Patents

The patent attacks over Android have been pretty brutal over the past few weeks; and after Google came all guns blazing against Microsoft and Apple for their claims over bogus patents, Googorola may seem like a desperate attempt by Google; maybe it is, but it's a good one. Larry Page said in the blog post,  "Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies."

2. The missing piece of the jigsaw
One thing Google lacked in it's ascent in the smartphone business was hardware, and now Google has pocketed that. But did Google actually need hardware? Well, like I said, the key here might be patents, but then if you own the world's most popular smartphone operating system, you might as well buy some hardware, put the OS on it and make some money out of it. You cannot justify $12.5bn on the basis of just patents, can you? Also, Google can now pair the latest developments in Android with the hardware it owns, optimizing it to the exact specs, giving the consumer the best experience.

3. The 'Others' 
So where does that leave the other members of OpenHandsetAlliance?
Even after the success of the Droid devices, Motorola hasn't really been able to boast about big numbers. Moto Xoom, the first Honeycomb device didn't do as well as expected. Motorola wasn't a big threat to the other Android partners in any way. Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson and LG welcomed the announcement. Here's what they said:

"We welcome today’s news, which demonstrates Google’s deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem.” -J.K. Shin, President, Samsung, Mobile Communications Division

“I welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.” -Bert Nordberg, President & CEO, Sony Ericsson

“We welcome the news of today‘s acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem.” -Peter Chou, CEO, HTC Corp.

“We welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.” -Jong-Seok Park, President & CEO, LG Electronics

Remember how Google's Nexus phones are the first to get updates for Android? Let's just say every Motorola device from now on, will enjoy that benefit as well. I'm not saying Google will not produce Nexus devices for other players.

Page said "This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. We will run Motorola as a separate business. Many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences."

All said and done, the patent wars just became more interesting now. Google seems to be in a better position to fight back. As far as smartphones are concerned; a good flagship Motorola Nexus device, and Google should be on it's way.

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Aug 14, 2011

Microsoft Touch Mouse reviewed [video]

You may totally be a Windows guy(or a girl), you love what Microsoft does and hate the others cough*Apple*cough. Whatever it is, you have surely been amazed with the multi touch gesture based Magic Mouse introduced by Apple, a couple of years ago.

Cut to the present, Microsoft has done it, and done it pretty well. Enter: Touch Mouse. There has been a touch sensitive mouse by MS before, but this one is specifically designed for Windows 7 and the integration of the mouse drivers with the OS seems pretty clear. Take a look

Mashable reviewed the product and says that, once you have it, it's very easy to get used to the product and the shape of the mouse is just perfect for everyone. Apart from the gestures you saw in the video above, you can also swipe your finger to the right to jump forward in a web page and a swipe to the left lets you move back to the webpage you viewed previously. $67, and it can be yours.

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Aug 11, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 and 730 launched in India [specs and price]

 At an event held in New Delhi on August 10th, Samsung launched it's tablets, Galaxy Tab 750 and Galaxy Tab 730, which are better known by the names Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 8.9 respectively. Very recently, Samsung provided the users of Galaxy Tab 10.1 with an update containing great new features, the details of which you can see here.

The launch took place in the presence of Younghee Lee, Senior Vice President of Global marketing at Samsung, Mr. Ranjeet Yadav, country head of Samsung India and Bollywood actress Lara Dutta. The media launch event, which lasted for about 2 hours was webcasted live for online viewing. The event had a section where people from different walks of life shared their experiences with the GalaxyTab, and how the device had well managed to fit in, in their lifestyles.

The Galaxy Tab 750 is 10.1 inches wide, weighs 565g and with a thickness of just 8.6mm, it's currently the world's thinnest tablet, which makes it highly portable and extremely handy for everyday use.

The device sports a 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor and 1GB of RAM. The tablet has 3MP rear camera with LED flash that allows HD video recording and a 2MP front cam, perfect for high quality video calls.

The Galaxy Tab 750 will have Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity features. Support for Adobe Flash in the Android browser gives you full web browsing functionality.

 Apart from the goodness of Android 3.1 Honeycomb operating system, Samsung provides TouchWiz, a feature set aimed to enhance the user experience. Two of the most appealing features are Live Panel and Mini Apps.

Live Panel allows you to customize your home screen by adding different widgets which update data in real time, be it your Email, social network feed, weather or just a simple image gallery.
Mini Apps are a set of light weight commonly used applications like PenMemo, Calendar, Calculator, World clock, Task manager that can be launched as a pop up over full screen applications, thanks to the multi-tasking feature.
Social Hub is another great feature that allows you to integrate and manage all your social networks, Emails and instant messaging from a single place.

The tablet will come pre-installed with the My Reader application that will give users, access to Indian newspapers, magazines and language books.

From where I see it, with the Galaxy Tab, Samsung has a good chance of penetrating deep into the Indian markets and give other players some stiff competition. The Galaxy Tab 750 is priced at INR 36,200 and will be available in the markets by the end of this month, when it will probably spread like a wildfire as in the advertisement below.

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Aug 10, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 launching in India today [Live Webcast]

The 10.1 inch Android tablet that has well managed to gather rave reviews all over, is now being launched in India today with the name Samsung Galaxy Tab 750. Samsung, recently rolled out an update for the Galaxy Tab which included some pretty smart UI improvements. The webcast of the launch event being held on 10th August can be watched live below starting 12pm to 2pm IST.

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