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Showing posts from July, 2014

Do Facebook Likes still mean anything?

Everyone is human and everyone loves to be liked. Even in social media, whether we admit it or not, we enjoy it when people like our posts. At the highest level, we equate it with being liked or popular in real life. At the most basic level it seems to show that people appreciate what we write or share. Some of us keep a count, some of us seem to be naturally more likeable and we classify some people as being all out to get likes. 
Since the early days of social media, the number of likes has also been the Holy Grail for brands and companies looking to build a fan following on Facebook. A power brand has to have millions of fans, and if it sees fit, it even spends to woo or buy them.
But is it really a big deal whether you have a ton of likes? Has the meaning of a Facebook like gotten devalued over time? I have been pondering these questions from my personal experience as a Facebook user and a Page Manager for five very diverse pages. And I think that perhaps likes mean less than we lik…

The Internet of the here and now

There is a new trend that's growing in the digital world. I like to call it 'the internet of the here and now'. It's not a new concept. The philosophy of 'carpe diem' (Seize the day) dates back to pre-Christian times in the Western world, and is equally well accepted in the Eastern philosophical systems. To cast off the past and stop worrying about the future, because only the present minute is given to us. Different ways to say the same thing. Live in the here and the now
Yet, as the internet grows, it has become a repository of things from our past. We are constantly adding our personal scrapbooks of memories, ideas and opinions to blogs, social networks and forums, stuff from the past is getting digitized, and the sheer amount of data we generate is growing at an unimaginable pace. Coming from a legacy of PCs and hard drives, we are concerned about how much we can store, in the cloud, in our accounts, in digital lockers like Dropbox and Google Drive. We still…

Re-writing the rules of the game - making low cost handsets exclusive

The paradigm of 'low cost' smartphones is quietly being re-written, with the recent online launches of the Moto E and Xiaomi M3 exclusively through Indian e-tailer Flipkart. Low cost handsets with decent specs have been around for sometime but have never enjoyed a great brand image or buzz. This is even truer of the many Chinese brands that have flooded the Indian market in the last two years. Many people on a low budget play safe and buy established brands like Samsung and Nokia. Micromax broke the paradigm of cheap Indian phones when they launched the Canvas range in India - decently powered phones with a flagship that has always delivered specs equivalent to Rs.30,000+ handsets at sub Rs.20,000 prices. Combined with their foray into international markets, and their use of Hugh Jackman as brand ambassador, Micromax spiffed up their brand image and garnered serious interest from mid-range smartphone buyers. Earlier known for offering entry level handsets for the masses, it w…

Online resources for women who work out

If you asked me to choose between 'dieting' and working out, as a means of weight management, I would choose working out, every time. By the way, when I say working out, I do not mean pure cardio. I mean proper workouts that involve strength training - lifting weights, doing pushups, lunges, deadlifts - all the stuff that guys do at the gym. Working out has given me multiple benefits beyond just losing weight or fat - it has regularised my life, brought in energy, happiness and youthful skin. Above all, it has liberated me from the tyranny of irrational diets which involve consuming unpalatable foods, and promise to melt your 'stubborn fat' forever, in 6 weeks. 
Working out is simple, scientific, yet shrouded with irrational beliefs, myths and a lot of marketing-led hype around the role of products. 

There are lots of online resources for men, but not nearly enough for women. Women who work out have certain concerns that men (mostly) do not seem to have. 

Women care much …

Who needs tablets, we have phablets now!

The latest global and Asia market analyst reports tell an interesting story - PCs are making a comeback (especially business and budget PCs) and tablet sales are slowing down (the premium tablets are most affected). This is not entirely a surprise. In India, phablets (smartphones with 5 inch plus screens) constitute upto 30% of smartphone shipments, and the supersized phones have been a hit across Asia. It is entirely possible to get a tablet experience on such phones. Why would the canny Asian consumer buy two separate devices when one can serve the purpose?
In my personal experience, the tablet has been really convenient - especially when I am lounging on the sofa. I carry it for meetings and use it instead of a notebook. I preferentially pick it up to play games.  And there are many days when I do not switch on my PC at all but stay connected on the tablet. But when I want to do serious work, its still my trustworthy and battered Dell Vostro that I reach for. Serious work includes p…

Top 5 budget phones for 2014 (under Rs. 10,000)

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A lot of people still ask me to recommend  the best budget handset. Rs. 8000- Rs. 10,000 seems to be the sweet spot. People do recognise that cheaper phones compromise on the user experience and build quality and do not want a bargain basement brand. Yet they are reluctant to spend more than 10k on a phone for a variety of reasons. The most common one is the shortening life span of smartphones - chances are, you will end up replacing your phone anyway within 1-2 years. 
Makes me wonder how much of traction there is in the Rs.10,000-Rs.20,000 segment. Most people I know either want a budget phone or they are ready to spend on one of the more expensive flagships. 
So here is my updated list of budget phones under Rs.10000:

1) Nokia Lumia 520 (Rs.9,400)


Budget phones are often plagued with slow processing power leading to a painful user experience, where freezing of screens and re-booting become a part of life. The Lumia range was custom built for WinMobile OS, similar to the way Apple build…