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Showing posts from April, 2010

Smartphones for 2010 : part 2 : Android

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The Linux-based Android mobile platform was developed by Google and is now supported by a consortium of companies called the Open Handset Alliance. Android is an open source platform meaning that developers are free to access the code and develop their own proprietary apps without submitting them to any controlling agency. The companies supporting Android include Motorola, HTC, Dell, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba.

And there is an Android App marketplace, with 20,00 apps and growing. Of course, this pales in comparison to the 100,000 + apps that will run on the Apple ecosystem comprising iPhone, iPad and iTouch.

Last year,  Andrew Nusca blogged on ZDNet about a Gartner Research report, predicting that Android will take a 14% share of the smartphone market by 2012, overtaking Blackberry RIM, iPhone and Windows Mobile.

Huge excitement preceded the launch of the Google Nexus One, launched by Google but manufactured by the Taiwanese HTC Corp. The Nexus One packs a powerful 1 Ghz Snapdragon pr…

Smartphones for 2010 : part 1 : Windows Phone 7

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2010 will open up a new choice of smartphones running on different platforms. As an end-user, you now get to choose not only the brand and model, but also the platform OS. And you will have a choice of Android, Windows Phone 7 and the good old Symbian, in addition to iPhone.


Across tech sites, I have been following a slew of releases, leaks and press releases about what's new, so I thought I would do a round up.

Windows Phone 7 : A late entrant to the party, expected to be launched by end of the year, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform will compete with Android and the IPhone OS. Familiarity of MS users with the OS is a key advantage, and so is compatibility with all the software that you would run on your laptop or desktop including MS Office. The OS has been demo-ed and Engadget reports  that it is an entirely fresh interface, based on a new approach to navigate a phone. Development of this OS and the apps to run on it is still in progress and it should be launched by yea…

Does the iPad make sense in India?

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Despite heavy prices (post import duty, octroi etc.) and lack of iTunes store in India, many Indians are hardcore Apple enthusiasts. I count several of them among my friends and colleagues.

Given the worldwide hype over iPad and its phenomenal launch sales figure, it seems hard on us that this beautiful device makes so little sense to buy today.

Apple has wisely decided not to launch the iPad in India right now, but you can order one through international shipping - or of course, you could pick up one on your travels abroad. But does it make sense? Here are some serious cons that you should consider:

1. Without any USB or other interface, the only way to get your content onto the iPad is off the Internet. It offers a choice of Wi-fi and 3G connectivity. Now I had mentioned tentative 3G launch date in India in a previous post- it's in October 2010. So basically, you are dependant on Wi-Fi. With so few wi-fi hotspots even in a city like Mumbai, you will probably end up using it in h…

My dream IEMs are Customs....

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Since the past 10 years, I have been a convert to IEMs (In-ear monitors) which are inserted into the ear canal. They provide great passive noise cancellation, do not fall out of the ears like earbuds do and they typically can be played at lower volume levels, thereby helping to protect the ears.

There are several great IEMS across different price ranges and the best place to start understanding them is the IEM and earphone forum on Head-Fi. I spent hours on this forum where amateurs and experts share their listening experiences. And it has helped me to shortlist and buy my own Triple-Fi 10 IEMs.

But what I really aspire to own one day, is a pair of custom IEMs, which are custom manufactured to fit your ears. Initially intended for audio engineers or stage performers, companies like Ultimate Ears also make them available for audiophiles who have to shell out anything from USD 400 to USD 1350 to own a pair.


Ultimate Ears offers the widest range of Customs and also has a good reputa…

Time to start tweeting, India?

Seems that the social networking site Twitter is generating quite a bit of buzz not just in the tech world, but also in the political sphere.

Ars Technica reports  that The Library of Congress (LoC) (research library and cultural arm of the US Congress) has announced an ambitious plan to archive every single public Tweet made since Twitter started in 2006. Apparently, this will serve as a cultural history of our times based on our new habit of tweeting whatever is on our mind.

Would that excite you or not? :) Inquisitive minds want to know.

Incidentally, the same article notes that the LoC has archived a limited section of data of The Web since 2000 and already has 167 TB of web data.

Webmasterworld also has an interesting discussion around a BBC Interview with Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter. Noting that The White House Press Secretary is also a twitterer, he says that "Twitter will be a fundamental part of how people interact with their government".

Closer to India, th…

DRM-free Music in India?

According to BGR, Nokia launched its Comes With Music subscription service in China but with a twist. It will be a DRM-free service, meaning the tracks will not be copyright protected using Windows Media DRM. Effectively, even after the subscription period expires, users will be able to save and copy tracks.

Indiatimes reports that Nokia will bring the service to India soon, but is yet to give a launch date. A post on Fonearena reports that the Nokia 5325 Comes with Music Handset is already listed on the Nokia India website.

Incidentally, Vodafone launched a music download service for its customers in Mumbai a few days ago.

I would welcome the launch of more such services in India. There is no access at all to paid high quality content in India - even the iTunes store does not offer it. And we have certainly been ready for it, for a long time. I would rather buy individual songs than expensive CDs, and I would certainly rather buy digital music than go to the pain and trouble of ripp…

The future of mobile computing

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I don't normally use this space to speculate about the future. In the rapidly changing world of technology, speculation is rife, and usually the opposite happens. But this thought provoking post by Steven Levy on Wired has totally sparked my imagination.

I'm going to quote a portion of what Steven wrote:
The fact is, the way we use computers is outmoded. The graphical user interface that’s still part of our daily existence was forged in the 1960s and ’70s, even before IBM got into the PC business. Most of the software we use today has its origins in the pre-Internet era, when storage was at a premium, machines ran thousands of times slower, and applications were sold in shrink-wrapped boxes for hundreds of dollars. With the iPad, Apple is making its play to become the center of a post-PC era. But to succeed, it will have to beat out the other familiar powerhouses that are working to define and dominate the future.


True enough. I remember the first computer my dad brough…

Y'all, get some colorware!

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Engadget did a post on the IPad with ColorWare treatment yesterday. According to the site, for $410 dollars extra, you could get an IPad which looks like this;


 (image from engadget website)

 The colorware IPad page lets you check out infinite color combinations, customising the body, logo and button, and offers a choice of gloss or softouch finish.

There are options to add a lick of paint to other gadgets too.



(Blackberry Bold 9000) : Image from the Colorware website

There are more girly options as well




But you can go pyschedelic if you wish....


And I can't really blame the Engadget guys for being  a tad upset over what Colorware can do to the Nintendo DSi;


But the Nook posted on Engadget looks pretty cool...



Engadget regularly reviews colorware products, some a little too bright, others which work kinda well.

On its website, Colorware describes itself as 'an industry leader in altering the color of existing products', thereby 'creating a statement in fashion and indi…

3G services in India

I have been waiting like most Indians, for the launch of 3G services in India. The 3G spectrum auction has been delayed by almost a year but as per this  Economic Times article, it appears that tomorrow is D-Day. 9 of India's major cell phone operators are in the bidding fray. The 3G auction will be followed by an auction of WBA (Wireless Broadband) spectrum.

MTNL already provides 3G 'Jadoo' services in Delhi and Mumbai .While the basic service is cheap, the data rates are prohibitive (1 GB p/m at Rs. 450, and 2 GB p/m at Rs. 750 on MTNL Mumbai) Slight concessions and some free talktime is however offered for Video Calls. You can see the Mumbai MTNL 3G tariffs here.

BSNL has been rapidly expanding 3G service across the country, down to district headquarter towns (within the corporation limits)

What can we expect from 3G services in India?


1. Late 2010 launch : Although the 3G auction will take place tomorrow, according to DOT regulations, commercial launch of 3G can be st…

A non IPad post :)

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There's just so much out there on the IPad launch  today :) and I am not a fangirl (at least not of the Ipad). Thank you, Engadget and Nilay Patel, for acknowledging my sentiments. I am borrowing your sign for today.



 Since that is out of the way, let me post about a couple of articles which interested me:

First, this news posted on Crave about the shift that netbook manufacturers like Dell and HP are making, away from standard 10 inch netbooks. I have posted about my discomfort with Netbooks earlier, and Crave rightly points out how they feature low-end specs and are completely undifferentiated in most cases. It makes complete sense that manufacturers would look at higher-powered and more profitable models.

And here is one machine that is certainly tempting me right now. The Alienware M11x reviewed on Engadget is one helluva machine going by portability, specs and price.  The Alienware microsite touts it as the most powerful 11 inch gaming laptop in the universe. The fact that it…

Geek Gear : Laptop bags - unisex and for women

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Ok, so I confess I'm a sucker for rucksacks and new laptop bags. I have had my share of lemons but I still crave to own great bags.

BGR featured the H.A.L Mission 6 Timbuk2 bag which has really caught my fancy

What interests me most about this bag is the swing around access  described on the website, which apparently means that you can take the laptop out without taking the bag off. Anyone who has struggled to extract their laptop in a crowded queue near the XRay machine in the airport, will know exactly how convenient that feature is.

Another feature I loved on the Timbuk2 site is the build your own bag option, which lets you select the bag style and then customise the colors from a wide palate. This is a nice idea which addresses a gap in the market today, because most laptop bags come in uninspiring shades of black or grey.

Timbuk2 bags are justifiably popular inspite of their price, but I have not yet managed to find an online (or offline) retailer in India. If  you know anyone…

It's official - USB Pen Drive Survived the washing machine

Yesterday, I found my new 4 GB Kingston Pen Drive in the washing machine. Probably it was in a pocket of my jeans and it fell out into the tub. It had gone through the entire wash/rinse cycle for nearly an hour without the protective cap. I had no hope that it would still work, but it does.

This was not a shock resistant or waterproof or bullet proof pen drive like the IronKey Personal featured in PCMag just an ordinary thumb drive costing Rs. 400.

While I am happy that my flash drive is indestructible, the incident has raised new doubts in my mind. Should I kid myself that my washing machine is really working? I was mildly surprised to see that Kasperky Internet Security detected a virus on the pendrive - are you telling me that the turbo cleaning could not even get rid of that???

Geek chic - gear I would love to have

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I have drooled over the gear at thinkgeek for a very long time now. Never mind that the shipping cost to India is ridiculously prohibitive and often costs more than the product itself. 


Here are some of my personal favorites from their Tshirt section (all images are from thinkgeek.com)

And some more of my personal favorites on the site:

The survival kit in a sardine can which includes 25 survival items including chewing gum, tea bag and safety pin. I like :)

2) Atomic food containers as office conversation starters about what you've got for lunch;
3) File folders with attitude
And I love the attitude :)