Jan 31, 2011

Up Above The Android So High

If you are a smartphone maker and you do not produce Android devices then today should be a "not so very happy day" for you. The expected has finally happened. According to the Q4 2010 report  by Canalys, Google's Android has now become the leading smartphone platform leaving behind Nokia's Symbian. The report said that 32.9 million phones were sold in the Q4 when compared to 31million Symbian based devices. HTC and Samsung were among the leading vendors. In Q3, number of Android devices sold were 20.3million. Now that's a huge jump.

As far as the vendors are concerned, In the US, RIM was back to the number one position replacing Apple, while HTC continued it's commanding stay at the 3rd spot.
All this news might have put Microsoft in an uncomfortable situation, but there was something more to add on to that. CEO of the networking solutions company Netgear, Patrick Lo said it was "Game over" for Microsoft in the smartphone business referring to the failure of WP7 to compete with Android. He also took on the head of Apple. Calling him egoistic he said,  "Once Steve Jobs goes away, which is probably not far away, then Apple will have to make a strategic decision on whether to open up the platform.". If this is to be believed, then I'm guessing there maybe quite a few waiting for Jobs to make an exit.
To be frank, CES-2011 was a complete "Android show" and it looks like the Mobile World Congress coming up next month is going to be similar. If Nokia and Intel are going to hint anything about MeeGo there, they better make it huge enough.

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Jan 30, 2011

IBM - 100 years 100 innovations

It's the name you see most often in your text books if you are a student of computer science. IBM is a century old today, and has become a synonym to the word "innovation". 

Yes. a 100 is a big big number. 

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Jan 28, 2011

Qwiki -The Information Experience

Enter Qwiki. This unique website which went into it's alpha testing stage on Jan 24, provides audio-visual search results for every query. Qwiki gives a robotic reading of the queried topic by using pages from wikipedia and also provides multimedia content pertaining to the topic. Founded by Doug Imbruce and Louis Monier, Qwiki is funded by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, and YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim(who uploaded the first video onto YouTube. Search for the video "Me at the zoo"). The founders of Qwiki say they've turned information into experience and I guess they are quite right in saying that. Qwiki is more of an experience. So check out this concept for yourself and do your first Qwiki search.

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Jan 26, 2011

Motorola Defy in India

To begin with, a friend of mine asked me yesterday, why is there so much of buzz about Android? I'd say, it's not because it is better than it's competitors(maybe it is, that's debatable), but because it is moving ahead much faster than the others. So fast that it's getting difficult for others to come out and play(yea.. MeeGo and WebOS). Anyway, anybody looking for the perfect mid-ranged, Android powered smartphone? Here it is. Motorola Defy is now available in the Indian market and rumored to be around 18K-19K. Currently running on Android 2.1, but it is close to getting a Froyo update. Defy is a dust proof, water resistant smart phone and the display hardware is supposed to be really strong. It comes with MotoBlur, that allows plenty of customization for the user's benefit. Defy boasts of features like the 5mpx camera with LED flash, pinch to zoom, 512 MB of RAM, 2GB of internal memory, extendible upto 32GB with microSD card and supposedly a 800Mhz processor and the screen display of 3.7 inches. For full specs, click here.


Frankly, I'm a fan of HTC, but this smartphone with these specs is smart enough to ask serious questions to the HTC Desire. I'm hoping this phone will force HTC to make a decision of producing mid-ranged phones. Wildfire was a start, but we need to see more and we probably will.

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Jan 25, 2011

iPad set to be released in India

Yes, you heard it. The Telegraph, yesterday reported that Apple will launch the iPad in India on January 28th. This announcement reminds of the "3G in India" episode. While the world was all set to welcome 4G networks in their countries, India just began to experience the 3G capabilities. Similarly, when everyone is eager about the announcement from Apple regarding the specs of iPad-2, India will finally get hands on the 9.7-inch, first version of the device which is the world leader in the tablet market.

Giving details, the Telegraph said "The WiFi version of the iPad will be sold in three versions: 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB. The price will vary from Rs 26,000 to Rs 37,000. The WiFi that will come with a 3G Sim card will cost between Rs 33,000 and Rs 44,000, depending on the storage capacity of 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB."

While we wait for it to come, enjoy this video... :)

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Jan 24, 2011

Freshly baked Android in Nexus S

Here's the engadget review of the Android's latest version 2.3, the Gingerbread up on Samsung's Nexus S. Engadget says there are no huge changes when compared to Froyo, but the noticeable ones are with the UI, the color of the icons, the transparency and also with some new live wallpapers. About other changes, this is what engadget had to say, "On a slightly brighter note, there are big improvements in word suggestion and selection, including new markers which you can use to grab selections of text. Well, let's be clear -- Google still has major issues with text selection and editing on Android devices. The first striking problem is that there is not a consistent method of selecting text on the device."

Very recently, HTC said that it will have devices shipped with Gingerbread, something to watch out for.

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Jan 23, 2011

Mobile Number Portability in India

The day is here, when you can finally say "Me and my number are leaving you" to your current mobile operator. Every mobile operator will do it's best to attract new customers and also to keep back the existing ones. The parameters likely to influence switching of operators are mainly, value for money and the quality of service. Smaller operators like Idea and Docomo were among the firsts to start a media campaign, Vodafone joined in later while Airtel is yet to start an aggressive media campaign.

They are calling!
How will it work?
Switching from one network to another (while keeping the same number) is pretty simple: Customers have to send an SMS from their mobile number, SMS PORT <mobile number> to 1900 to get their UPC (unique porting code). Customers now have to follow the normal procedures of buying a new connection and mention their UPC in the application. Within the specified time period, customers will be able to use their new connection while retaining their old number.

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The $35 Sakshat tablet cancelled?

According to a report in the Economic Times of India, the tender for the $35 tablet was cancelled, which was scheduled to be launched by January 15, 2011. In the month of August last year, Mr.Kapil Sibal mentioned that the tablet wouldhave 2GB RAM, WiFI and 3G, microSD storage, and will run the Android OS.  The Government of India had selected HCL Infosystems for this project which was named as the "Sakshat Tablet". Recently, a mail being circulated inside the Ministry of HRD seen by ET says that 'the vendor shortlisted for the delivery of these devices has started listing some additional, unacceptable, conditions.' HCL was dropped as the vendor for the tablets after it disagreed to pay a sum of Rs.60 crores as a bank guarantee. The government says it's looking for a vendor to replace HCL or maybe they just realized it isn't realistic.

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The End of the "Schmidt era"

A post in the official Google blog yesterday by the current CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt spilled all the beans. Schmidt said that he will step down as the CEO and will be taken over by the co-founder of the internet giant Larry Page with effect from April 4 this year. Eric Schmidt joined Google's board of directors as chairman in March 2001 and became the company's CEO in August 2001. The 55 year oldguided Google in the past decade through ups and d...err, only ups(touchwood :) ). Gmail, Gmaps, Docs, Android, Google revolutionized every bit of technology and Schmidt was the man behind it along with 24000 employees worldwide. In 2007, Eric Schmidt was named by PC World as #1 on the list of the 50 Most Important People on the Web, along with Google co-Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. In the blog post, Schmidt said "Larry will now lead product development and technology strategy, his greatest strengths, and starting from April 4 he will take charge of our day-to-day operations as Google’s CEO" ... "As Executive Chairman, I will focus wherever I can add the greatest value: externally, on the deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology". In the past decade, Google almost successfully managed to live up to it's motto "Don't be evil". With the rising competition with Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, it will be interesting to see whether G's image will be retained under Page's reign.

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Why the Chrome OS wasn't a great idea

All the ingredients to be a hit. Google+Linux+OpenSource. Why then won't it work out? Most critics had foreseen it back then when Google announced the operating system on July 7, 2009 and said it would be based on the most loved Linux distro, Ubuntu. Probably Google thought users would easily accept the Cloud. Won't happen in the near future for sure. Moreover G would ship it with limited hardware drivers and the applications running under the Chrome OS are really just interactive Web pages. Yes, we do realize that the Netbook market is now on the peaks more than ever before, this could've been another reason for Chrome to taste some success, but then with the great run that Google is having with Android(and let's not forget the recently announced "tablet friendly" Honeycomb) Chrome has poor chances. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had also accused Google of not being able to make up its mind. Google has suggested that the two operating systems address different markets, mobile and personal computing, which remain distinct despite the growing convergence of the devices. Co-founder Sergey Brin suggested that the two systems "will likely converge over time".

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CES 2011 Highlights

Motorola Xoom - The show stealer:
Looked like Motorola had the biggest bite in the CES this year. Google announced it's "Tablet friendly" version of Android, Honeycomb 3.0, and which player had the honor? yea... MOTO!! Honeycomb is specifically designed by keeping the tablet in mind, unlike before where the same version of Android was used both on Smartphones and tablets as well. Future of Honeycomb? Next products? Stay tuned, we have a close watch.
The Specifications of  Motorola Xoom Android 3.0 Tablet:
  • 1Ghz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor
  • 10.1 ” 1280X800 gorilla touch screen display
  • 1080p video and HDMI output
  • 32 GB internal storage (will need software update for SD support)
  • 1 GB DDR2 RAM
  • 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, 720p Video capture
  • 2 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Gyroscope, barometer, e-compass, accelerometer
  • 3G and Wifi  connectivity
  • HDMI 2.0,USB 2.0,3.5mm Audio Jack

There were other tablets announced too. Asus launched 4 tablets, an Indian start-up company announced the Adam tablet and also Acer with it's A500 running on Android 2.2 with NVIDIA's dual core Tegra inside and for Apple lovers, there was a hint that ipad-2 may be around the corner.

Motorola Atrix 4G:
Nope! Motorola wasn't done yet... 1gigz, dual-core... yeah! Atrix! See for yourself...

Sony Ericsson launched it's Xperia Arc featuring 4.2-inch 'Reality Display'; while the LG Optimus Black with a 4 inch 'NOVA' screen that reduces energy consumption. Samsung rolled out a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen for its new Infuse 4G phone.
Wait wait... Did we expect Steve Ballmer to talk about the next version Windows OS ? That did NOT happen. MS seemed in the smartphone and tablet mood too. Ballmer said that the upcoming version of Windows would be fully compatible with mobile ARM processors such as the Tegra 2 and Snapdragon range.
Also what everyone expected was some great insight on MeeGo, the hot-topic which may die if Nokia and Intel don't do something real quick, CES-11 had a hands on, on netbook running MeeGo. Phones? Naa!!

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