Thursday, August 30, 2012

Word of the day : Skeuomorphic user interface

Slashdot taught me a new word today. At my age, that's not something that happens often, so I am happy!

The article points out that Skeuomorphic Graphic User interfaces are  in fashion today, pointing to Apple's leather tooled 'stitched' look for iCal. 

Skeuomorphic design  is defined as "an element of design or structure that serves little or no purpose in the artifact fashioned from the new material but was essential to the object made from the original material".

I found some interesting examples of skeuomorphic design when I looked at Pimp Your Screen, a popular screen saver/ wallpaper app for the iPad. Have a look at these designs for 'app shelves' (and the desire to arrange apps neatly on shelves is itself very skeuomorphic - if that's the right term)

Needless to say, the 'retro' look is part of this trend. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with apps. Beautiful design plays a big part in making you want to open and use apps. 

Nothing beats filter coffee :)

I have come full circle since I blogged in May about my new home espresso set up, and later about my acquisition of a Capresso grinder. After the daily joys of grinding beans and cleaning the espresso grinds and wiping the machine, shall we say that my enthusiasm has waned a little?

Yesterday I found some  old Mysore Concerns coffee powder and I primed up my stainless steel Madras filter to make some home style filter coffee. I tasted fresh brewed filter coffee after ages and it was simply divine paired with fresh boiled milk. It did not matter that the coffee powder was nearly a month old and stale beyond measure by espresso standards. I admired the versatility and simplicity of our traditional method of coffee brewing. It is gentle on the coffee and extracts without torturing the bean. You get a flavorful cup that is especially tasty with thick fresh milk. 

I enjoy brewing my cappucino's and espresso's but my filter coffee still holds a special place in my heart. I doubt I will be throwing out my coffee filter any time soon. It's also a fantastic non-electric back up in a country where power goes on the blink every now and then. 

Oh, and my Capresso Grinder will not grind anywhere near fine enough for filter coffee. Looks like Mysore Concerns will continue to enjoy my patronage for a bit longer.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The end of the DAP/ MP3 player

In the early days of this blog, I rhapsodised about all the MP3 players I have ever owned, including my current one - the Cowon D2. Last week, the D2 gave me a little trouble - the sliding power button broke and I had to get it fixed. I took it to a nearby, bustling cell phone repair shop where the repair guys are unusually resourceful. They kitted it out with a slider switch from some Nokia phone and now it's back in action.

But when I realised that the player would not power up, I experienced a moment of panic. Not because I would lose the music - most of it is on the SD Card and all of it is backed up - it's because there are almost no DAPs (Digital Audio Players) left to buy in the market. I expect all of them to disappear quietly over the next 2-3 years.

As much as cellphones have killed entry level cameras, they have killed the entire category of DAPs. I see most people today listening to their music on their cell phones - and as the personal storage capacity for music through SD cards has become widespread on cellphones, it has killed FM - but that's a story for a separate post.

I have said it many times before, that if a device can perform multiple functions competently, most people would prefer it over dedicated devices which perform each function better. And phones today, even feature phones below Rs.5000 are virtual Swiss knives which do a little bit of everything. When you can get such a value for money gadget, why would you want to spend even more than the cost of a phone for a dedicated DAP, unless you belong to the brigade of audiophiles?

I am an audiophile and I will say it - apart from the iPhone I do not find audiophile quality music on any cell phone. My high end IEMs (UE Triple-Fi's) mercilessly reveal the flaws in the sound rendering by most cellphones. For me a cell phone can never replace a dedicated DAP.

And people like me represent a shrinking market, with increasingly shrinking choices. The Apple iPod Classic has not received a refresh in at least 3 years. Cowon introduced the X7 a couple of years ago and brings in models now and then but none of them seem to match up to the heights of the old players like D2 and X5. A look at the iRiver website seems to suggest that they have de-focussed from DAPs with the site highlighting ebook reader and home audio products from the company. Creative Labs, another strong player in DAP space, thankfully still features a range of DAPs on the website, but I have never seen any of these in stock either in Croma or at prominent online retailers like Flipkart. 

I hate to say it but I think the end of the DAP is imminent.

What do you do with your old smartphones?

This post is  inspired by a question posed by a reader on Slashdot - what do you do with your old smartphone when you buy a new one?

Time was when I would exchange my old phones while buying a new one in order to save a new  bucks on the new purchase. I remember that dealers would endorse buying Nokia phones because they had the highest resale value.

Now life has changed. I have not exchanged a phone since the last 4 years - I have given away some phones and kept some with me. Resale values are pathetically low thanks to the general drop in cell phone prices. I would rather keep the phone for an emergency or hand it over to someone who wants to use it.

Cellphone recycling is an industry that is waiting to happen. This article in GreenBiz estimates that 140 million cellphones will end up in landfills this year. Cellphone recyclers buy your old phone and dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way. Incidentally, cellphones like most electronic devices contain a small amount of valuable metals like gold, silver, copper, aluminium etc. in addition to significant amounts of toxic substances like lead, mercury etc. This demands responsible and safe recycling, yet it's hardly on the horizon in India.

I have no idea what a retailer does after buying my second hand phone and I have never asked.

What have you done with your old smartphones?

Speaker stands for Audioengine A5 speakers

Since I bought my Audioengine A5 speakers nearly 3 years ago, they sat on the floor of my living room. Not an ideal solution, since they were exposed to a lot of dust, and it was a non-optimal placement for the sound to shine through. Though, I have to say that they still sounded superlatively good.

Last month, I finally bit the bullet and ordered these Samson MS100 speaker stands from I notice that the price is up, because I got them at an offer rate of Rs. 3500. They came by post within a week, and since they are rather heavy, I had to pick them up personally from the post office. 

I had done some measurement and estimation to figure if they would seat my Audioengines or whether I would have to upgrade to a heavier and more expensive pair of stands. But the Samson MS100 stands work perfectly. Here's a couple of shots:

The second picture should give you an idea of how the speakers mount. There are side clamps which you need to tighten. The speaker stands have no base, just a cross bar, and initially I was very worried that the speakers would not balance on it and would topple off. However they are extremely stable thanks to the super-heavy base. I tested pushing the stands several times and the speakers stay firmly in position.

The stands work perfectly for the A5s and I have noticed the change in sound once I mounted them. I feel I have lost a bit of bass (but most of it was boom) but they are sounding airier and have a wider soundstage than earlier.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Twitter - making changes for the worse?

Since a few months, the tech press has been noting with concern that Twitter is changing its policies towards third party developers.

 It started in June when Twitter disabled automatic publishing of tweets to the LinkedIn timeline. Now you can automatically send a LinkedIn status update to Twitter but not vice versa.

Then in July, Twitter pulled the plug on Instagram by disabling the 'Find Friends' on Twitter feature, which allowed people to find their Twitter friends on Instagram.

Micheal Sippey of Twitter has been commenting on the Twitter developer blog about the new changes. In one of his earlier posts, he noted, "my colleague Ryan Sarver said that developers should not “build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience.” That guidance continues to apply as much as ever today. Related to that, we’ve already begun to more thoroughly enforce our Developer Rules of the Road with partners, for example with branding, and in the coming weeks, we will be introducing stricter guidelines around how the Twitter API is used."

Now the stricter guidelines have arrived. In a nutshell, they control the third party twitter clients like TweetBot and Twitterific in two ways - by capping the maximum number of users they can have and secondly the number of 'calls' that are allowed by each end-point. Also, all apps which use the Twitter API will henceforth will have to be authorised by Twitter.

While the changes have caused widespread analysis and criticism of the company, it does appear that Twitter's goal is not to destroy third party apps but rather to encourage developers to create applications that do not encroach upon services provided by Twitter themselves. As for the restrictions placed on Instagram and LinkedIn, it appears that Twitter wants to control the user experience and environment more rigidly and not give competition a chance to build a hold on their own user base. Instagram has been bought by Facebook, which kind of explains Twitter's caution about giving too much away to competition.

In a sense, Twitter's new measures are understandable. After all, you would not expect Facebook to let competition tap their customer base, and Twitter is as much a social networking site as Facebook is. But the point is that Twitter's genesis and evolution have been very different from Facebook. Third party twitter apps like Twitterific have long been preferred by many users over the native apps developed by Twitter and may have actually stimulated usage of the service.

Blogger John Gruber at Daring Fireball notes that Twitterific was "The first great Twitter client, and the one that paved the way for many of the conventions we now take for granted in all Twitter clients. Not to mention the way it paved the way for Twitter’s own brand — when The Iconfactory created Ollie the bird to represent the Twitterrific icon and brand, Twitter itself wasn’t using a bird of any shape. It’s remarkable how much of what we now think of as “Twitter” was created by third-party developers."

Most of the changes announced by Twitter will not affect the end user and may pave the way for development of better native apps by the company. However, negative sentiment in the tech world does percolate down to users and it remains to be seen whether the bold stance taken by the company will affect their user base negatively or positively.

Sources :

Do we need separate gadgets for kids?

I have found a sure-shot way to befriend my friend's kids and keep them occupied while we catch up over dinner. I introduce myself, "Hi, I am Nisha. Would you like to play a game on my iPad/ phone?" Obviously, no kid will turn down the offer.

I am amazed by the confidence with which kids will pick up a device that is completely new to them (even an operating system that's completely new) and navigate without hesitation to the games and figure them out. It takes them no time at all to learn a new device. I know adults who own a device since some months and still can't figure out basic things. 

So, I was wondering about the spate of kid-friendly gadgets like LeapFrog's LeapPad2. While I know that durability, bright colors and kid-safe design are helpful for gadgets, I think kids would still be more excited to go after dad's cell phone and tablet. They just represent a more tempting source of fun. This is not to say that gadgets for kids are dumbed down. Just that the beauty of gadgets is their universal appeal to everyone. 

And I wonder whether you would spend USD 100 for a kids' tablet like LeapPad or just buy or pass on an old refurbished iPad in an impact resistant case. Or even your old smartphone sans SIM card.

I would be interested to know what parents think about the topic, and what they think their kids would want!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The changing core purposes of devices

When I was making a post on Windows 8 earlier today, I was thinking about the core purpose of each device that I own and use.

The core purpose of my laptop is work. If I did not need to work, my iPad and smartphone would have been more than enough. 

Four years ago, the laptop served a core purpose of 'entertainment + work'. In those days, I would play games like Solitaire, Pinball and Minesweeper which came pre-loaded with Win OS, watch movies and browse the internet. All those activities have all but stopped now. I do them on the iPad instead. The core purpose of my iPad is entertainment and browsing. It is my chosen device for these activities and I have never picked up anything else

When I tried to define the core purpose of my smartphone I was surprised to see it read like this:  'to keep constantly connected through email, phone, SMS and chat and to provide some interesting ways to pass time. Should be able to do what my PC does in an emergency"

I clearly expect the most from my phone compared to other devices, in terms of the breadth of functions I desire. And it's interesting to see that this has grown so much compared to say, 5 years ago, when all I expected from the phone was calls and SMS.

What is the core purpose of the devices that you use in your life?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Will you be more productive with a touch enabled Win 8?

Today, I read Mary Jo Foley's post which analyses a spectrum of opinions from PC users as to whether it is worthwhile to install Win 8 or no.

Windows 8 is optimised for touch enabled devices including smartphones, Windows Surface tablets and a new generation of touchscreen/ hybrid PCs.

The question is whether software which is designed for touch interfaces would function optimally on standard/ older machines.

And for me, this raised a question as to whether touch interfaces would benefit productivity at all?

Those of you who follow my blog know my opinion - touchscreens are great interfaces for browsing and running apps but when I want to type and work, I head back to my PC. In fact, touchscreen smartphones have generally reduced the amount of typing I do including the length of my SMS-es. I type slower on touch screens and I don't enjoy doing it. People who have heard my banging away furiously on my PC keyboard will testify that I type fast and well on the PC!

Equally, I enjoy browsing on touchscreen devices. So much so, that I rarely browse on the PC any more. The experience of navigating a site (or app) through touch feels so much more natural and right! It takes me much closer to the original reading experience of a book/ magazine and I guess that's why I love it.

If MS brings touch capability to Win 8 purely as an add-on experience (which seems to be the case), I am cool with it, but I don't see the benefit to me as a user. It only seems to benefit Microsoft allowing them to offer a unifying OS across devices.

I have tried some hybrid devices which combine touchscreen with QWERTY - like HTC ChaCha and the new Blackberry Bold smartphone. Such devices tend to be confusing because there is always a decison/ choice to be made - to use the touchscreen or the keyboard? While this is a split second of decision making, it still interrupts an unconscious and 'blind' usage flow where you have no decision and only one usage path.

If MS proposes to make it integral to the Windows experience (and specifically the usage of MS Office), then I am curious but also apprehensive. I don't know how it will add to my convenience or save my time. This will have to be demonstrated convincingly as my current experience does not suggest this is the case. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Targeting women internet users

Some time ago, I made this post about the emerging female internet user, noting that the extent and depth of women's usage of the net is growing and evolving differently from men.

Today, while reading up on tech news, a few diverse articles suggested some thoughts on how to target women users. Hint - they are almost all connected to food, eating or shopping as these areas are clearly interesting to women!

1) Catch them in the kitchen

This article on TUAW highlights the growing role of the smartphone in the kitchen to access and view recipes. 15% of all cooks have viewed a recipe video on their smartphone, while many have read blogs, redeemed coupons for food, or snapped and uploaded their meal to a social networking site.

2) Pinterest - the female dominated site

We know from multiple researches that Pinterest is a female dominated site. Why this is the case, is something we will learn more about with time as the phenomenon unfolds. It is still a relatively new concept and is rapidly attracting new members.

Interestingly, this article on ZDNet claims that Pinterest is mostly used for finding and sharing recipes followed by decorating and event planning. These are perfectly logical uses for a site which is like a giant collage board. 

3) Mobile shopping apps

Nielsen research indicates that not only is mobile shopping growing, but shoppers are interested to use mobile apps to enhance the retail/ in-shop experience. Women are especially find of extra sensory stimulation while shopping, so this trend should definitely appeal to them.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The future of search

Despite growing competition from Bing, specialised search engines like Wolfram Alpha and now from Apple's voice assistant Siri, Google remains the dominant player in the search space, servicing 100 billion queries per month. And this is a dominance that they will fight to retain, because it is the basis of their bread and butter business of ad serving.

In the last few  months, Google has announced several important decisions that will affect the future of search. In fact, these decisions will revolutionise and completely transform the search function as we know it today. Here's the low down;

1) Giving direct answers to mobile search

When we use our mobiles to search, we expect to speedily find information rather than have to browse many pages for it. BGR reports that Google will start giving answers to questions in mobile search  rather than providing a list of links - for example, queries about weather, traffic or flight timings can be met with direct answers, given that location specific information is collected from mobile devices. 

2) Voice based search

Inspired by Siri, yet distinct, Google's voice based Google Now search is already available on Jellybean and will soon be released as an iOS app too.

As I noted in my post on the Bright Angles website, voice recognition technology on smartphones is the most practical and exciting application of artificial intelligence that I have ever seen. Siri dazzled us with the possibilities and now Google is following suit.

Voice based search will revolutionise the way we use search on our phones. It will enable us to query in real time, get answers that are based on the context of our questions rather than a direct response to the words we use. It will also force the experts to perfect the technology of voice recognition which is still rudimentary and basic - even Siri despite her brilliance, cannot understand my Indian-accented English.

3) Knowledge Graph

Over the years, Google has collected, analysed and understood what is the information that people consider useful. Knowledge graph is Google's attempt to collate and deliver such information as part of search results. Initially this will be experimental, later it could become a dominant part of the search experience. This is a huge shift for Google and hits at the heart of its traditional business model. By delivering instant answers on the search page/ landing page, Google is taking a risk that you will not visit websites, generate more page views through browsing and generate ad revenue. Still, Google has taken the wise gamble that it is better to shift in the direction shown by Apple/ Siri rather than get left behind. And Google has a huge edge over Apple in the search game because they have access to our information across a variety of products including video, mail, search etc. 

In the future, search will be oriented towards being more mobile friendly, time saving and intuitive. It will be more like asking a friend or an expert, rather than querying a search engine. It will make our lives easier and become a more indispensable part of our activities than ever before. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Handy Guide to Microsoft - 2012 and beyond

So much is happening on the Microsoft front this year, that I thought it worthwhile to create a guide on what's happening on the PC, smartphone and tablet front. This guide does not cover Kinect/XBox but includes everything else on the hardware and software front.

1) Windows 8 for mobile and PC

The next iteration of Windows is an ambitious re-vamp of the entire operating system. It will be designed to operate on both mobile devices and conventional PCs/laptops. This is going to require some 'unlearning' on the part of regular Windows users, as it will introduce new 'gestures' and interfaces which are primarily touch driven, but will also work with newly redesigned mice and keyboards. Some of the elements of Windows as we know it will disappear from our PC/laptop screens. Notably, the 'start' menu will be replaced by a 'Metro' user interface comprising large, colorful tiles like what you see on Windows Phone. 

Windows 8 is due to launch on October 26. In India, users who buy PCs/ laptops after June 2nd 2012 will get a subsidised upgrade to Windows 8 at just Rs.699.

2) Surface Tablets in two flavors

Microsoft Surface Tablets (Surface Pro and Surface RT) hit the headlines a few weeks ago when they were announced. Is Microsoft setting itself up as a manufacturer in competition with the OEMs? Probably not, but as a concept of what Windows 8 is capable of, the Surface tablets are unique and interesting.

PC World carried a useful analysis of both tablets and their different capabilities. To put it in a nutshell, the Surface Pro is Microsoft's vision of the tablet as the new PC. It can do everything that your PC does, and will be similarly powered with Intel processors. You will be able to use Windows programs on the Surface Pro. It is what Microsoft hopes will replace the old PC and laptop, eventually.

The Surface RT represents a huge shift in Microsoft innovation as it is their first ARM powered tablet, running an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. Since Surface Pro and PCs run on Intel X-86 architeture, programs which run on these are not compatible with the Surface RT. It will instead run apps which will be available from the Windows store. However, it should be more than competent to do what tablets do today - browsing, mailing, gaming and basic work - and should be a good contender against Apple iPad and Android tablets.

In terms of pricing, Microsoft has confirmed that Surface RT will be priced competitively with existing offerings (maybe $600 + range) while Surface Pro will apparently have pricing in line with more premium PC/laptop offerings ($900 + range).

3) Windows Phone 8

Microsoft's new WP 7 mobile OS has been making little headway against Android and iOS but it's new avtaar as Windows Phone 8 (Apollo) could change everything. Mary Jo Foley reported in her 'All about Microsoft blog" that Windows Phone 8 will get a 'real' Windows NT kernel. What this basically means is that it will have a higher level of compatibility with Windows 8, definitely offering a similar look and feel. With some re-jigging, apps which run on Windows 8 will also run on Windows 8 phones. SkyDrive will allow syncing and sharing across different MS devices and so will apps. Also, we will see multicore support for phones - more powerful processors, GPUs and NFC will be enabled. WP8 will still run on ARM based processors, creating a kinship with Surface RT tablets.

The bad news? Existing Lumia handsets (610, 710 and 800) are not compatible with the new Windows OS and will not get upgraded. Instead they will receive an update to Windows 7.5 and stay there forever. On the record, I will say that I am disappointed in WP7 OS. I purchased the Lumia 710 for my mom with high hopes and we found it buggy and poorly supported with updates. I regret the purchase more now that MS has confirmed that it will not be upgraded. 

Techradar offers more dope on WP8. The platform is expected to launch in November and in addition to Nokia, Samsung, HTC, Huawei and ZTE will be hardware partners.

4) Windows Office

I am linking another post from Mary Jo Foley which is an Office FAQ. In the future, MS Office will be offered in two flavors - Office 2013 which is a traditional licensed desktop based version, and Office 365 which is a cloud-based subscription service. You can buy one or both and use them together or separately. Both offer different options for home and business users.

What is revolutionary is that MS is thinking beyond 'boxed' software which will soon die a slow death, and allowing users greater flexibility in choice and usage of what meets their needs best.  

All in all, it's exciting times ahead as the software giant slowly and finally makes radical shifts in their product and software strategy.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Why I will switch to an iPhone and an Android tab

I currently own a Galaxy Nexus and an iPad 2. Oh, and my laptop runs Windows and will continue to do so, owing to many reasons listed here. It makes sense for me to run different OS'  on my devices as no one is queuing up (yet) to loan me devices for review. Within my budget, I try to get an exposure to all the platforms out there.

To come back to the topic, this post was inspired by Fraser Speir's review of Google's newly launched Nexus 7 tablet. He makes an interesting point, which I quote. 

My general opinion of the whole market is that tablet hardware is not interesting, except insofar as it enables the user to have wonderful experiences of software...The whole point of tablet computing is that the device becomes the thing you're doing with it.

I agree entirely with him if we are talking about smartphones. I disagree, when we are talking about tablets, except when he says the hardware is not interesting. I kind of buy that.

In my personal experience with a 3G enabled iPad, I have ended up using the device primarily for browsing. And I am not alone in this - John Gruber at Daring Fireball recently referenced an interesting series of comments on a breakdown of Akamai data. In a nutshell, it shows that iOS mobile browser figures are way higher on wi-fi networks due to iPad usage - perhaps indicating that it is used extensively for browsing.

If that's all I need a tablet for, I would rather have an Android tablet, with its tight Chrome and Google integration. It would give me a way better experience than my iPad on three aspects where it does poorly - mail, browsing and access to Google products. Also according to Speir's review, Evernote is way better in its Android avtar than iOS - which I whole heartedly agree with. And I annotate a lot when I browse, so this feature makes sense for me.

On the other hand, the iPhone does have some phenomenal apps which I would like to experience - notably Instagram combined with a powerful camera, Flipboard (where I prefer the iOS experience) and many games which just run smoother on iOS. 

My logic is simple - I spend literally ALL my time in a working day browsing, irrespective of which device I am using. Google in various avtaars is part of my browsing experience - whether I am blogging, reading in Google Reader, checking GMail or simply browsing in Chrome. It makes sense that Android would integrate my browsing experience way better, and that's what I expect from a tablet.

A smartphone has more 'gadget value' which I currently derive from rooting my Android phone. But that's just a fun thing for me. My phone is where apps get serious workouts when I am on the move. And the iPhone's 'native apps' are its biggest strength. 

I am declaring this switch a little prematurely, considering that my iPad is just over one year old and my Nexus, barely 6 months! I don't expect to dish out money for new devices very soon, but the shift is definitely on my future horizon.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New age women - savvy users of tech and internet

Over the past few months, a lot of interesting facts and figures have emerged, painting a clearer picture of what women are doing with technology and on the internet. While a lot of trends are international, some of them can still apply to the Indian context. 

1) Women use social media for personal networking, men for information and business networking

Jezebel carried an interesting piece titled Men are from youtube, women are from instagram. The accompanying infographic from Life is Beautiful paints a fascination picture of gender balance on social networking sites. Women dominate Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and MySpace. While men dominate LinkedIn, Google +, YouTube, Digg, Stumbeupon, DeviantArt and Reddit. All these sites have a social element, but it appears that socialising on the net is skewed towards women while business or information networking is skewed towards men.

It's also interesting to note that the sites patronised largely by women allow a more fluid networking experience, mingling work and pleasure, friends, ex colleagues, relatives and more. The sites which are skewed to men facilitate more structured interaction for exchange of  information. Reddit, Google +, Digg and Stumbleupon are used more by the techie community and are based on sharing and discovery of information. It seems that men's social networking is more purposive than women's.

It is just possible (though I don't have data to support it) that women's usage of social media is more extensive and deeper than men's. This infographic on WATBlog reveals that more women update their FB status/ pictures daily compared to men, and they are more likely to log in daily and comment. Also women make far more daily visits to social media sites than men.

2) Women gamers are growing in number

The traditionally male bastion of gaming is being infiltrated with women users. This seems to be driven by the shift from traditional PC and console based gaming. Gaming on mobile devices is booming and women are avid gamers. In this intriguing analysis of top grossing iPad apps, BGR points out that among the top-grossing (ie. paid) iPad apps, female oriented apps lead male oriented ones by  ratio of 3:1 in the top 5. The article classifies the women-oriented apps like Dragonvale and Mystery Manor, as those which are not combat-based or adrenalin pumping. While this is contentious (do all men play only violent or competitive games?), the 'feminine values' in these apps certainly dominate the male ones.

The article also makes another interesting point - women represent the elusive and desirable target market of people who pay for apps, making them an attractive audience for developers. We are therefore likely to see more and more 'female-oriented' apps being developed.

The Zynga-Facebook combine (remember Farmville? Word with friends?) is also contributing to the growing legion of women gamers.

BGR quotes another study published by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) which estimates that 47% of gamers are female. 

3) Women's usage of technology devices is rising

In the same article I linked above, BGR notes that an eMarketer survey shows growing that iPad ownership among women has overtaken male ownership. I know at least 5 women over 50 (one is my mom!) who prefer the iPad to their smartphone screen or the PC for browsing. Women may not always have the time or patience in their multi-tasking lives to fire up a PC or laptop. My mom, while sitting in front of the TV, often asks for my iPad to Google something that caught her attention while watching a program. The convenience and intuitiveness of the tablet interface could easily trigger usage among an entirely new segment of women users. Definitely, the consumption of internet by this segment will increase.

In India, the last figures we saw suggested 20% of  females  use the internet. The numbers will grow with the penetration of mobile devices like smartphones and budget tabs, on the wave of mobile internet. 

Clearly there is a case for a differentiated strategy tackling the female internet/ mobile device user.