Is Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Launch A Thing to Watch?

Filed Under (Technology) by Rajesh Kumar on 08-08-2011

While the world media has devoted excessive airtime to iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab device series is the dark horse one must watch for. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab comes loaded with Android Operating system (Android 3.0, which is meant for tablets).

BTW, Samsung has announced the launch of Galaxy Tab 750 in India on 10th Aug.  Interestingly, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab has been released in two different sizes in some markets, which makes it an interesting play.

Check out the launch event on 10th August 2011 in the above window and watch this space for more.

How your mobile transformed into a smartphone over 2000-2010

Filed Under (Technology) by Rajesh Kumar on 15-04-2011

If the laptops were becoming smarter, the phones were not stagnant either. In fact, incrementally, cameras started coming fitted onto the mobiles. I recall this Gartner forecast in 2006, whose title reads :

“Gartner Says Nearly 50 Percent of Worldwide Mobile Phones Will Have a Camera in 2006 and 81 percent by 2010”

 

In fact, the camera is not the only thing that happened to your mobile phone in that decade. Lets look at how the phone has come along.

 

Evolution of Mobiles

To a person who has had a phone over the last decade and upgraded (lets say) every two years, this change came in so smoothly that chances are, nothing significantly different was felt. But, if you are a forty plus generation today, chances are that you were left out of this change completely. Today’s digital refugee uses a mobile phone for voice conversations, text messages and emails. A small percentage of them use it for Twitter and Facebook. That’s it. Are you one such digital refugee? Well, don’t blame it on your BlackBerry habit.

You perhaps never realized that today’s 60 plus generation adapted to mobile phones quite well and many of them have decided that voice (and text) are the only two uses of the phone.

Device level changes vs. Supporting Infrastructure: Somewhere in the middle of the decade, we opted to switch on the 2G data services on the phone. By now, our phone could store 500 addresses(an index of storage capacity), had a 1.3-1.5 megapixel camera, supported BlueTooth links for short distance voice and file transfer.

Initially we used it for email, either over BlackBerry devices, or over Symbian based phones that installed Gmail client and took ages to open an email, reminding of the old dial-up days of the nineties.  The new device was just waiting to be born. In the next edition, we look at the apps era.

Previous Post on this subject:

Mobiles are Altering the Computing Power Equation in Enterprises Remarkably

Mobiles are Altering the Computing Power Equation in Enterprises Remarkably

Filed Under (Technology) by Rajesh Kumar on 15-04-2011

Of late, an area that has engaged my attention is the evolution of four competing mobile platforms, namely, Android, Apple’s iOS, Blackberry and Symbian, resulting in the modern lineup of smart devices.  This post series has nothing to do with which platform is better vis-à-vis another,but only an articulation of how seemingly ordinary things in this area are not so ordinary. At least, not quite.

In case you have taken the evolution of these devices with a so-what, take a deep breath and step back in time. And before we come to the mobile part of the discussion, I urge you to take a look at the below graphic carefully.

Laptop Spec

(Picture Courtesy: www.hp.com)

The snapshot represents a specification of a laptop being published in January 2000, when mobiles were big as brick, had a pull-me-out antenna, and were still a headturner. Blackberry was quite unknown (at least I do not recall seeing it in my circle of those days) and phones did not have camera – all. Android was not even the proverbial glint in the eye of the developer.

It is important to state that I do not have reason other than availability of authentic data about the specs of a laptop circa 2000 to select the above specs, which I could find in this case. I have no way to say this was, in any way, more or less capable laptop than the ones companies issued or people bought for their homes in those days. In that sense, this is a representative example of that period.

The above laptop had a very interesting spec. It boasted of Pentium III Processor 600 MHZ, 64MB RAM, 6 GB Hard Drive capacity, CD Rom, Speaker. It weighed about 12 lbs (~5.5 kg).  Chances are that it had a dial up modem, and you could send files that were 20-100 KB heavy. Even internet connections were sold by lots of 100 hours – I had one connection that allowed 1 hour a day access. What were PCs and laptops used for in those days? To create docs, spreadsheets, slides, pretty much the same office work. Except that files sizes of 200 KB and above were stuck in the outbox for ages. Either you had a work place email account or one assigned by your ISP such as AOL and VSNL, and mind you, the ISPs used to be different from your phone company those days. Hotmail and Yahoo mail were used but very few of us had email accounts.

The idea of watching video on the computer screen mildly existed, but then there was hardly any video content those days. Even if YouTube were to exist in those days, the narrow bandwidth would not have allowed for any meaningful experience. I remember being the proud owner of a 1 megapixel Sony camera, courtesy my brother, who was in Florida those days. It was hard to digest for many of us that images could be stored on the computer and seen on the screen.

What has this got to do with mobile computing?

Mobile 1 Mobile 2 Mobile 3

(Trademarks owned by the respective companies)

Because, today many of us carry a device in our pocket that has the following specs:

- 32 GB storage (My outdated phone as only 16 GB space)

-  HD Camera (My outdated phone as 8.1 Mexapixels)

- Connected on 3G+ protocol

-  Video, Voice n Text capabilities.

- Less than 230 gms in weight

So here is a device, much more capable and with you almost all the time (even when you are out shopping), is much lighter to carry, can take still pictures and videos. What is more, it is connected on a high speed data link all the time, that makes documents, pictures and videos to be transferred to a similar user in another part of the world. And if you love video calls, you have it too.

In my next post, I would look at some more aspects of this evolution, in the hope that the trendline would show us pointers of where we are headed. I can assure you it is quite exciting to travel the journey.

Aero Modelling Event at Shaastra 2010 at IIT Madras

Filed Under (Fun, Technology) by Rajesh Kumar on 02-10-2010

This afternoon, I found myself drawn to the IIT Madras stadium, where a housefull was waiting for some classy flight performances by aeromodel enthusiasts. We were not disappointed. I quickly pulled out my camera and took some pictures, and then switched to video mode. Enjoy!

DSC03663

A model being carried to the runway by the crew as the crowd waits for the action to begin.

 

 

 

 

 

DSC03664 The aircraft is being placed on the runway as the crew prepares for take-off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC03692

This is the pre flight press conference!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The action begins with this Raptor miniature, which had a jet engine!

Then begins the action!!!

And more..

The rolls and moves executed were breathtaking. This guy flew very  fast, and even keeping him in the frame was quite a challenge. Unlike most fixed wing models that come with propellers, this one had a jet engine.

 

 

 

 

 

  

This helicopter is believed to be a scale model of a real one.

The helicopter flight was a unique experience by itself. With the smoke and fury that is. The control was amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there were the breath gasping acrobatics.

Even as the sun was hiding behind the trees, this agile beauty took to the skies and stole quite a breath. I want this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And before the event concluded, there were 3 of them in the air together, even as a Boeing passes overhead. Not part of the show so I kept my camera focus on this small beauties. I bet you’ve not seen anything like this before.

 

Honestly, the event concluded, but I felt cheated, because I wanted even more. Somehow, the human urge to fly high became quite overpowering.Hats off to the men behind the machines.

QR Codes Hold Huge Possibilities in Marketing

Filed Under (Marketing, Technology) by Rajesh Kumar on 29-09-2010

In some of the recent print ads, you may have noticed a rectangular object in the body, something like the one shown here.Chances are that you may have also noticed such undecipherable messages in posters, travel documents such as tickets, in wall banners and so on. Let’s try a closer look.

Greetings from Rajesh Kumar. Should you be in getting in touch with me(sic), please leave a comment behind.  You are right, the image retains an encoded message inside that is not intended for the human eye. In fact, these Quick Response encoded message is intended to be read by apps running on commonly available smartphones such as those running on Android, Apple, Blackberry or Symbian (Nokia) phones.

For purposes of this example, the encoded message can be seen by taking the mouse over the image.

It appears on the phone screen as shown here.

DSC03649

QR codes were invented by a Japanese Company (Denso), who hold the patent, but believed to have chosen not exercise it for common good. QR codes can be created by specialized software, which are also available as a service over the web.

What’s the big deal really?!

Because of its versatility, it has huge application potential in real life.

Hyundai i10 ad leveraging QR CodeIf you happen to see the Hyundai car ad in yesterday’s newspapers in India, chances are that you noticed this kind of graphic sitting inside the ad. In this case, the encoded message is a telephone number.  The hint to the reader is, go ahead and connect  with the advertiser on the phone number.

 

 Roger’s post talks about his discovery of a QR code in on a banner at the San Diego zoo next to a turtle enclosure.  It contains a URL to a page having more information on the exhibited species, the Galapagos tortoise. Roger has posted a nice picture of the banner he found there.

To read this code, one can install an app such as ZXing (pronounced ‘Zebra Crossing’) for Android phones available free at Android Market, or i-nigma reader (no cost),which claims to work across Blackberry, Symbian, Android and iPhone platforms. Once installed, the app uses the device on board camera to scan the graphic and decode the message, and even suggest the next course of action. Read on.

Some examples of potential applications of QR Codes in Marketing

The purpose of any ad is to get the target segment get attracted by its promise and take the next steps in the direction of purchase decision. Based on the level of involvement in different product categories, an ad may result in information requests, purchase enquiries or actual purchases. This is the ‘call-for-action’ of the ad and remains vital to the marketers. This is what arguably makes an ad successful or failure. QR codes aid the ‘call for action’ process.

Case 1: Call me

Call me - Phone Number Scanning this image by a QR capable application leads to a phone number.It not just reads the numeric value, but suggests options such as whether you would want to dial that number or add that to your contact book. Useful.

Case II: SMS me

Preformatted sms In such a case, you can make the job of a prospective customer easier by precreating a text message and enclosing the number as part of one image. Like we have done in the image here. Once scanned, the application asks for the user’s permission to send that message out. Somewhat like the message encoded on the right graphic that  says, “Hello there, can I test drive the car”. A mere concurrence will send the message out.

DSC03648

Case III: Email me: The fun gets better

Email Message Most of these smartphones have inbuilt email apps. It is possible to make the job of a prospect to get in touch with you even more easier, since people prefer to share their email ids more than their phone numbers. Once the phone acquires the data, it understands it as an email draft, and saves the prospect the task of typing out an email and the email id. An Android device, for example, could even give the sending the option of sending the email from his/her personal account or official account. Talk about choice!

In the above example, the message is :

DSC03647

Notice that a tap on send email will send this message out.

Case IV: Come to this location

Suppose you are conducting a fun event or a conference and issuing passes/tickets/invites for the event. It would be so much fun, if the participant just has to scan the image to open the map of that location so that it takes the pain of figuring out the driving directions by manually typing in the details on the browser.

CW-JLN Stadium

For example, in the image on the right, we have captured the location of Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Delhi, which would come so handy for the spectators holding the Commonwealth games tickets.

 

DSC03645

Case V: Save my card for later use

Would you like to give the contact details of a representative in an ad and let the prospect decide whether he/she would like to connect back to the advertiser – by email, phone, in person or by post? In such case a business card could come in handy. We created a business card based on the below data:

Tom Kumar

Example Inc,

Street1, Northbound Cheercity

Mod, 99112, Xanadu

1-234-567-88

Tom@example.com

www.example.com

Tom's Contact Card

This is how the phone reads the data.

    DSC03646

In our example here, the device understands that it is a business card, and offers the following choices

  • Add Contact ( To phone book)
  • Show map (of the store location, for example)
  • Dial the number right away
  • Send email on the id specified in his/her own words.

Case V: Come visit my site or my social media page

URL Imagine you want the customers to come visit a page to know more about the product, or read reviews of your restaurant in the popular restaurant review magazine for fill in a response form. Customers may feel more disposed to act  if the action required minimum effort. Embedding the URL in the image may help do the trick of getting better response rate. The image below, which if scanned using a reader, will take you to my this blog. Upon reading the URL, the device asks whether the site should be loaded on the browser. Just click yes!

Case V: This is fun!

Greetings from Rajesh Kumar The QR code adoption is rising with the increase in the number of smartphones. It might surprise you to know that it can capture over 4000 alphanumeric characters. That is more than an A4 page typed in font 10. While you may not want to use the whole 4K characters, decoding a punchline message an on a desktop gift item or a print ad can be a great fun by itself. I am concluding this post with an image for you to have a got at it!

And nothing stops you from creating a cap or a T-Shirt with a QR Code on it, just to convey that you are ahead of the curve!!

Cloudy Cloud Computing: Find it very nebulous?

Filed Under (Technology) by Rajesh Kumar on 12-05-2010

Every Tom and Jane in the business of IT talks about the cloud strategy these days. Some see it as panacea to managing a server room or a data center, others think it helps them reduce their dependence on irksome IT staff, yet others think Cloud is fashionable, and there’s need to adopt it, without thinking much about it.

I think many CIOs take this decision without a serious evaluation. The resultant consequence – often ill-thought out adoptions that do not bring in the right efficiencies.

It is a fact that there is no copybook definition of cloud computing.However, there’s clearly an infrastructure stack, and an application stack. Often, this application stack gets referred to as ‘service’ or by another much abused term ’SAAS’! Quite simply, the application uses the computing power of anonymous machines sitting in some invisible data center managed by someone else. Amazon is a typical example of this.

Coming to the applications now. Adopting organizations often get swayed by terms such as multi-tenancy of applications. Frankly, multi-tenancy comes at its own price. A multi-tenant application, mostly, cannot be tailor made to your requirements. Take it or leave it.  Think about your apartment in a skyscraper. You cannot go grossly out of line with the rest of the building. You can maybe, change the colour of the walls if you like.  It is standardized customization, if you so like.

That of course does not mean business processes cannot be in cloud. Business Process applications are rapidly maturing too. Force.com is an example of organizations that are moving forward in a rapid fashion. Zoho is yet another example.

That begs the question – should I, or, shouldn’t I. My suggestion is as follows:

- Have your own reasons for moving to cloud.

- Don’t think everyone on the cloud is on cloud nine.

- Have your own starting point.

- IT problems will remain, even after you move to the cloud – only the nature will change.

Take YOUR call!

Pranav Mistry at TEDIndia: You rock!

Filed Under (Technology) by Rajesh Kumar on 20-11-2009

Let me admit this – I never heard of Pranav Mistry before. However, the simplicity with which he presented his Sixth Sense technology at TEDIndia recently is an absolute stunner. Someone forwarded me this link and I watched this several times already. There are many people with several disruptive ideas and innovations, however, demonstrating their relevance to everyday touch-points is something to be truly seen and felt via this presentation. Due to Youtube duration limitations, the presentation is in two parts. Total duration is less than 15 minutes and you must watch this, even if you know nothing about technology.

 

The technology is called Sixth Sense, and in Pranav’s words, connects the real to the digital. It has some pretty amazing applications already.

 

Pranav, your presentation has left a promise.We wait for it to be fulfilled soon. And by the way, you rock!

Google Latitude like App has great enterprise potential

Filed Under (Technology) by Rajesh Kumar on 23-06-2009

Long back, I remember calling one of my friends around dinner time. I did remember he was out of town but wasn’t sure where he told me was going. Those were early days of the mobile phone so I thought what the heck. His number rang for a slightly longish period and then he growled – I am in Sydney and it is 1 AM. What’s it that I wanted? (Later authorities in India mandated that when in international roaming, the caller should be notified).

At workplace many times, not knowing where a colleague is. More so in a multi-time-zone company. A Google Latitude like application, implemented within a corporation could be a great help. Tracking a sales team could be quite a nightmare ( When I say tracking, I don’t mean snooping on their planned vs actual travel, but merely knowing the time-zone for a call appropriateness. It is another matter that many organizations would like to see their guys on a screen just for that, usually fruitlessly).image

Google already has this technology where your location can be shared with friends automatically depending on mobile phone connection. Large organizations buy big number phone connection from one or two vendors.

Maybe the blocks of technology of what I am proposing is already there. Imagine, on your personalized screen in the intranet/extranet, you cannot just look up a person’s contact details, but his current location. You would be wise enough to call a Tampa based colleague an hour beyond his normal time, when you know he/she is in Chicago on business.

Can I expect a reply to an urgent mail? I think that would be cool.

On the flip side, I do agree there are privacy issues. But then technology has to be used meaningfully deployed.. If an organization wants to snoop on the location of its employees, they can always do through other means. This is a cultural dimension and not a technology dimension. Imagine a positive deployment and its potential.

Blogger is Dead!

Filed Under (Technology) by Rajesh Kumar on 22-06-2009

I find it amazing that the platform that really taught everyone how to blog is stagnant so badly. I am not disappointed just like that, I just felt so after spending 2 hours trying to get even a basic theme to work. Failed and given up!

  1. Good themes are in terribly short supply
  2. Customizing a theme is quite painful.
  3. Try submitting to Google Webmasters. In the face of inexplicable xml errors, you would not know how to do your site verification.
  4. Circular loop error with Feedburner. If you redirect your feed to feedburner, you obviously cannot use the redirected feed to ping or to submit as a sitemap.

Frankly, when I was setting this up, it looked so archaic that I gave up. Not sure what the product management team of Blogger been upto. Good morning to you.

The No-Goog Experiment Outcome

Filed Under (Technology) by Rajesh Kumar on 08-06-2009

As I write this, I wonder whether I should call this as outcome or observations – it surely wouldn’t meet my wife’s scientific observation standards (But then which husband or his work has met his wife’s standards anyway?!).

I mentally had the list of Google services I was using, but when I make a list, I find it has a long tail.

  1. Google Search: Very often, several times a day.
  2. Gmail: At least two times a day, more on weekends.
  3. GApps Mail: Same as Gmail
  4. Google Calendar: That reminds me when to pay the school fee and wish non Facebook contacts birthdays, though I am still very bad at it. See the mail alert daily. It comes in the morning.
  5. Blogger: Ocassionally photoblog.
  6. Google Reader: Is usually open, esp on weekends.
  7. Google News: Several times a day.
  8. Picasa:Multiple times a week. I love playing with my camera.
  9. Feedburner: For those who follow this blog via feeds, the rendering is by Feedburner, which is now part of the great G.
  10. Webmaster tools: Ocassionally I do login to check for any indexing issues on my blog.
  11. Adsense: Never made any real money but runs on my blogs nevertheless.
  12. Google Maps: I find myself using it on my phone few times a month(mostly to boast about my phone!)
  13. Google Earth: When someone invites me to a new part of town, I surely look it up.
  14. Chrome: Tried and hated. Uninstalled.
  15. And how do I forget this – YouTube – we love tuning into Bollywood movie songs here. Couple of times a month.
I endured the two days without using Google for any of the searches. Yahoo! and Bing seem to do a good job of it. My problems started with time-zone computation. Before I made a call to London, I just typed ‘Time in London’ in Yahoo!. It gave me lot of answers, except telling the time. Would be a different response with Google.
By evening of first day, I was back to Google News. It has no alternative. Especially when you have just few seconds of time between things to catch up all things significant.
I managed to avoid Google Maps of Google Earth completely. Not even when I was about to go to a friend’s house first time. He simply smsed me lengthy directions. It worked. I would have switched on Google Maps immediately, if I had found any direction related problems.
And then there was Gmail. Because of long usage, it has just so much of information linkages in that I could do without it only for one day. Second day, I received an sms alert from my daughter’s school that effectively said please check your mail, we have sent a communication. End of the experiment.
The results were simple. My web usage mix is such that I cannot live without Google. I am highly dependent on it. Quite a bit of that dependency seems irreplaceable without some pain of going and looking for alternatives. Bing is nice, stand alone competition to Google search, but the Microsoft (or any other) web ecosystem has not yet become so mainstream and well known that we can think of them that way. Period.

About Rajesh Kumar. Rajesh is based in Chennai, where he works for Defiance Technologies in Marketing. The views on this blog are his own. Rajesh Kumar