Showing posts from January, 2012

Has e-commerce come of age in India?

All reports indicate that ecommerce is booming in India. With a growth rate of  40% per annum the industry is currently valued at Rs.50,000 Crore, of which 80% comes from travel-related purchases (online ticketing and booking of rail/air tickets) and 20% comes from retail e-commerce (purchase of products). Research also reveals that 40% of ecommerce activity comes from small towns (Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities). Further, venture capitalists like Tiger Global and Accel Partners have pumped in more than $300 billion into the sector, heavily backing companies like FlipKart, Indiaplaza and Myntra.

And the ecommerce industry is predicted to grow to Rs.400,000 Crore by 2025, with retailing projected to have 50% share of the total.

I have seen changes in my own online shopping behaviour in the last two years.One of the biggest ones is that I do not hesitate to buy high ticket items online - mobile phones, laptops, expensive speakers. Another change is that I often end up buying from foreign sit…

SOPA - Why India (and everyone using the Net) should protest

At the time of writing this post, Wikipedia, Reddit and hundreds of other sites are in blackout, as a protest against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). Meanwhile, many industry experts, bloggers and journalists have reported in depth on the draconian law, currently before US Congress, which may well be re-titled "Stop the Free Internet".  To understand why the international web community is up in arms against the law, it's worthwhile to read some of the well-written articles about it:

Why SOPA is dangerous by Chris Heald at Mashable
What is SOPA and how does it work? by Nilay Patel at The Verge
SOPA page at Wikipedia which is available through the blackout period

Why should this US law have relevance for India, or for that matter anyone in any country other than the US? 

The web unites us, more than we ever realise. It connects people together, as strongly, and perhaps more strongly than national boundaries ever will. Whether you are a Youtube user uploading a video to the tune …

Buying a future proof Android smartphone

This is a continuation of my  previous blog post on buying a future proof smartphone. In this post, I want to address the issue of buying a future proof Android phone (quite a challenge, that!)

If you are looking for an Android phone, chances are that you would have heard of Android 4.0 (ICS), the latest and greatest version of Android. Currently, the official ICS update is available only on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus (yet to be launched in India) and the earlier Nexus S (now discontinued). Of course, several unofficial custom ICS 4.0 ROMS are already available for certain devices, but many people might not want to experiment with these, and would prefer to wait for official updates from manufacturers.

I believe that it's important for everyone buying an Android phone in 2012 to ensure that they get ICS 4.0 as their operating system. 

For one, it's a unifying update from Google - henceforth all Android tablets and top smartphones will run on one operating system, while budget pho…

Buying a future proof smartphone

Every time the 'latest' phone comes out, I feel tempted to buy it, but I have developed a strategy that protects my pocket. I just wait for a few months. Grit teeth and wait. Sure enough, the next greatest phone appears on the horizon, is announced, or already launched. Waiting without jumping for  the latest phone has saved me thousands of rupees, and something more important - it has saved me angst. I have a different type of angst - for example, now my dilemma is to choose between a Samsung Galaxy S2 and the Galaxy Nexus - but this is better than being stuck with an S2 and wondering if I should have waited for  the Nexus.

How do you make sure that your expensive piece of kit stays relevant, at least for the 11.5 months that an average smartphone user keeps a phone before replacing it?
1. Software upgrades are the key to having an updated phone

It's the software, more than hardware alone, which controls the 'up-to-date-ness' of a phone.

Nowadays, all the major oper…

New Year's resolution - take care of your gadgets in 2012

Our life expectancy  from gadgets (and the timespan in which we get bored and want to replace them) is shortening rapidly. Earlier, I had blogged about how the lifespan of my first two mobile phones was 7 years. Nowadays, I get bored with them in less than a year, and I don't have to feel guilty about it - research shows that the average smartphone user replaces his handset after approximately 11 months.
However, even if we replace our toys sooner, we can still take care of them better. In fact, extra care is indicated because they are more expensive AND more fragile than ever before. Touchscreens, even those protected with Gorilla Glass, are not likely to survive falls.  Both battery longevity and life are under threat from increasingly powerful processors in tablets, mobile phones and laptops. The displays and the fancy surfaces of gadgets are increasingly susceptible to smudges, scratches and scuffs. 
Whether you plan to sell or exchange your old gadgets or simply pass them on to…