Showing posts from July, 2012

Budget tablets in India force us to pay attention

The Indian market is flooded with budget tablet offerings from newly set-up Indian companies like Swipe TelecomMilagrow Humantech and Zync. I have noticed some refreshing and interesting trends in budget tablets over the past few months:

1. Budget tablets are no longer under-powered

1.2 GhZ and 1.5 GhZ chipsets are  becoming de facto on budget tablets, even those that cost under Rs. 10,000. The credit for this goes to Chinese SoCs like the Allwinner A1x series wihch uses a Mali-400 GPU. To give you a context, this GPU powers top smartphones like Samsung Galaxy S2 and Anandtech tests showed it to be the most powerful smartphone GPU last year. Allwinner sells its chipsets for as little as $7 and upwards, which explains why such high performance internals are now entering cheap tablets.The Allwinner series has revolutionised tablet technology by outclassing budget SoCs from established manufacturers. 

2. Active USB ports to connect 3G Dongles, and much more

Instead of raising the cost by i…

Google Fiber - the next frontier of conquest is the TV screen

There are two things  that I rather like about Google. They think big and scale up their ideas fast. And, they are not afraid of falling flat on their faces. 
When their products fail (and they do, time and again - think Google Wave, Google Health and dare I say it, Google Plus) they nonchalantly pick themselves up, and try again.
I am always interested in their offbeat projects, so I perked up my ears when I read about Google Fiber, a broadband service offered currently only in Kansas City. At $120 per month, subscribers get  unlimited GB bandwith at 1 Gbps, hundreds  of cable channels and on-demand channels, and no caps or restrictions on downloads. This compares favorably with Verizon, Comcast etc. who have caps AND start throttling connections that use too much data. You can read more about Google Fiber here.
So how will a cable offering in one US city change the world? The answer lies in the struggle for power that is going on between data/cable providers and content providers. …

3G plans for iPad in Mumbai

I have been using an MTNL 3G connection on my iPad since May last year and I am quite happy with it. Currently, I am on the Rs.4500 pre-paid plan which offers me unlimited data for 6 months. It's due for renewal within the next month and I see to my disappointment that MTNL has withdrawn it. These are the current pre-paid plans offered by MTNL Mumbai

The bad news is that there is nothing as good as the unlimited 6 month plan. However, there  are still two decent plans for long term users - 3G 1190 with 9 GB for 90 days and 3G 2500 with unlimited usage for 60 days. It compares favorably with Airtel which has no unlimited plans at all, and does not seem to have too much choice for pre-paid users other than 'charge and use'
I have mentioned that MTNL works for me because I actually travel/roam extensively and I find my iPad working well on BSNL networks in small towns, on trains  and even on the road. And they now offer online recharge like all the private operators. 
I defi…

Take your business online yourself at just $10

Last week, I started a partnership firm called Bright Angles Consulting with a friend, in the digital branding and marketing space. One of the first questions that we had to tackle was getting our business online. We needed to put up a website immediately and we certainly could not operate using our gmail IDs. However, we did not have money to spend on  getting professional help. As the self-designated technophile, I was asked to look around and figure what we could do. There were three things that we needed to take care of
1. Official email IDs 2. A website 3. Social media
I soon figured that the easiest route was Google Apps. The basic suite of services is free and includes upto 10 email IDs, Google Drive, Calendars, a blog, website etc. All we needed was a domain. We could purchase one independently and link it to Google, but it was easier to spend $10 on Google Wallet and purchase it from one of Google's affiliates - you have a choice of eNom or GoDaddy. Google then automatically …

Why you should stretch your budget for an Android

As the popularity of Android increases, I get more and more requests to point out the best Android phone to pick up. This is a practical decision, and linked to a budget which is often modest. Most people do not need the latest and the greatest and there is a price threshold beyond which they are not willing to spend. This post is written from the perspective of telling you the LEAST that you should spend to get value from the Android experience.

The fact is, when you buy a smartphone today you are buying a mini-computer. And just as you experience with a PC, there is a steep trade-off between price and performance. A netbook or entry level notebook PC has a slower processor, lower-grade display, variable keyboard quality and compromises on the hardware quality and finish. All of these factors affect the user experience, the performance and therefore overall useability of the device. It is no different with a smartphone.

What do I mean by useability?  I mean the ease with which you c…

When BlackBerry is still relevant

I have just returned from a one week beach-side vacation with a bunch of good friends. In a low network (Edge only) zone, my Galaxy Nexus quickly gave up on uploads, the super-slow FB app and browsing of most sites. My mail worked fine (GMail on Android is just about the best mail app, apart from BlackBerry) and I was happy because I expected nothing else.

My friend is a BB addict and she was constantly on BBM, uploading pictures and chatting with friends. Within a few hours of our arrival, she had uploaded pictures of our beautiful beach cottage and idyllic rural surrounds and elicited envious responses from other friends. I was still struggling to find the best network zone within the house. I could upload literally nothing. Nothing. Until we went up a lighthouse one day and miraculously I saw the H (HSPA) icon flash. Immediately I choked up Instagram with the many uploads I had wanted to do on all the preceding days and was unable to.

It's not that I could not have  tweaked my…