Archive for September, 2009

Tata’s in India take Government Route

Tata Teleservices in India has take government route by signing up deal with BSNL for 15 years infrastructure
Sharing. This is the best move, I would say, an operator can make for spreading India wide in all circles.
BSNL is known to have penetrations in places where no other operator has. Thus, using their infrastructure would mean…
penetration to the highest levels. This, at a time when Tata’s are starting their GSM service Tata Docomo with pay per second
facility, would benefit them immensely. Users in East India are already apreciating their “pay for use on per secod basis” facility…

September 30th, 2009

Bharti-MTN deal called off

Much awaited deal between India’s Bharti and MTN has failed. It would have provided a golden opportunity for Indian telecom company in going global with such a big deal.

September 30th, 2009

Mobile Cloud Computing (MCC)

Cloud Computing is the latest super-hyped concept in IT as per reports by Gartner’s and McKinsey’s. Technologies at the peak of hype in 2009 are cloud computing, e-books, and Internet TV. While cloud computing is optimal for small and medium-sized businesses, large companies will spend less if using traditional data centers. Virtualization is the the optimal way to go, and by implementing virtualization in-house, companies can reduce costs when calculating depreciation and tax write-offs.

Mobile cloud computing aims to deliver just such a promise. Mobile access to popular web-based services such as Facebook and Gmail, combined with next-generation smartphones like the iPhone, Palm Pre and Android devices, is driving broad adoption of mobile data. It’s likely that the mobile, IT and MCC sectors will continue their current marriage of convenience to attack a rare convergence of both short-term and longer term opportunity. However, in the process of adapting to an Internet that’s becoming more global, mobile and web-based by the day, the mobile and IT industries will be forced into new ways of doing business.

Line separating fixed and wireless broadband have gradually become hazy and this has accellerated strongly across continents. Some American reports in July’09 point out that about 56% US population accessed internet wirelessly out of which close to 32% accessed it wirelessly through devices like palm, kindle, iPod, phone etc. While in India too, as per our currently running “CellStrat Annual India Gen-Y Mobile Media Survey – 2009“, about 43% youth access internet wirelessly through their mobile phones. Full report post survey is expected to be out by year end. It will give comprehensive analysis on what Indian consumers need and want from wireless providers in India both carriers and third party service providers. All these numbers are encouraging for mobile internet and thus in future for Mobile Cloud Computing (MCC). These services are heavy consumers of storage, processing and content distribution resources.

Most consumers who access internet on mobile tend to take heavy usage plans and thus volume of data takes back seat  while value of the sevices being accessed becomes fundamental.

MCC in India and other BRIC countries is a promising and high growth potential idea. For making MCC a reality, the IT industry should try to secularly shift mass markets to employ the web rather than a PC as web is the main platform that will be used by all to access applications, content and services. When this happens, mobile web users will automatically increase and thus the usage of these service and thus MCC.

Some basic examples of using MCC can be accessing youtube or some social network or a search engine through mobile internet. MCC services are paid for in three ways i.e. by and end user, by an advertiser or sponsor or by an organization or an enterprise offering authorized users a mobile application or service (E.g. top executives in most Indian companies are provided by BlackBerry phones for accessing all sorts of enterprise applications). In all 3 cases, money collected by MCC provider (mostly the mobile carrier) need to be shared across numerous partners in the value chain. In a perfect cloud computing world, one only pays for what he uses

Cloud Computing, Mobile or otherwise has become mainstream topic only in last 3 years since Amazon started it’s S3 storage service. Last year, IDC forecast that worldwide cloud computing services spending would reach $42 billion by 2012 while storage services are expected to grow to 13% of the cloud services up from 5% in 2008. Thus, it can be said that cloud computing will govern the future…

There can be four kinds of cloud services:

  • Public Cloud: This is a cloud service available to clients from a third party service provider via the internet.
  • Private Cloud: This is a cloud service existing behind an organizational and technical firewall. Here users and uses are giverned by the organizational rules.
  • Community Cloud: This service is used and controlled by a group of organisations that have shared interests and common mission. E.g. Facebook community.
  • Hybrid cloud: This is where public and private clouds interoperate. Users typically outsource non-business critical information and processing to the public cloud, while keeping mission-critical services and data under their control.

(Source: GigaOm, SiliconIndia, CellStrat Survey, Gartner, McKinsey)

September 29th, 2009

Print Media on Mobile!!!

Free not paid…the Key to Success for Print Publishers going Mobile…this was the head line for Gigaom’s mobile blog post. But, I feel this also holds true only for USA, Europe or any other developed country, not for developing countries like India where even most print media is still in print format only and has not even gone online.

According to a recently concluded CellStrat survey titled “CellStrat Annual India Mobile Media Survey-2009,” where survey participants (mostly top management of 100 odd top companies from 10 different sectors) were asked about their opinion on possibility of print material becoming popular on mobile in India. All survey participants gave the answer as “No, it can never happen in India.”

2 comments September 27th, 2009

Mobile Enabled, Solar Powered Lanterns

Are there any around the world???

Yesterday I was forced to drive in the night on highway. I don’t like it at all as on Indian roads almost all people always drive with full beams on lights which almost blinds the person coming from opposite side. Since, I work a lot on computers, my eyes have grown weeker year by year. The misery of driving on Indian roads increases when one passes through villages which don’t have electricity all through them but has all sorts of pot-holes and speed breakers…Thus, I was forced to think that all kind of developments take place in urban areas, but villagers and villages both almost always remain untouched be it in terms of electricity or in terms of quality of life in any otherway.

I have read that Germany has lot of innovations in terms of mobile enabled lighting available for use by it’s population. But I am not sure if they have same lights which can also be powered by solar energy.

I know a company in India that develops economical solar powered lanterns or high-power torches. I also know another company which makes mobile enabled switches. But, I strongly feel that while wireless enabled switch company may be ready to integrate their solution with others, the solar powered device maker will not agree for integration. Thus, I would like to ask all our blog readers…if there are any companies in India which can provide economical solar powered lanterns which can be mounted on poles in villages and can be controlled by mobile for switching on and off…

September 25th, 2009

Panini Virtual Keyboard from an Indian Start-up

An Indian start-up Luna Ergonomics Pvt. Ltd. was gived Judges Choice Award at the NOKIA INNOVATIONS 2009 contest for being amongst the top 10 mobile innovations in the category of Emerging Markets and Mobile Necessities. The startup is founded by Major Abhijit Bhattacharjee, an electronics engineer and a keen technologist, a former Signaller from the Indian Army. They have created a vitual keyboard for use in all Nokia Java enabled phones in India (as Nokia devices are some of the largest used devices in India) and around the world. Once loaded on the phone, it can be used to type in any major Indian regional language like Hindi, Malyali, Oriya, Bengali, Gujarati and seven other languages.

The company is targeting device manufacturers to bundle the same in mobile softwares and also operators who can benefit largely by vas revenues generated out of the usage of same by regional users too who currently are not comfortable with English. Interestingly company is providing the licence for just Rs. 399 (approx. $8.00) on a single time payment for use for entire life. One can change the handsets and the same licence will work on the new handset too as it’s tied to a number and not the device.

I personally feel that if promoted correctly and adopted fast it can give a major boost to mobile usage by rural people of India…

September 23rd, 2009

china crosses 500million mark

China becomes the first country to cross half a billion mark in mobile subscriptions.

September 21st, 2009

Apple rejects Google’s Latitude & Voice App

Apple did reject Google Voice and Google Latitude, a location-aware application, mostly because they were better than, or performed the same functions as, the iPhone maker’s pre-loaded software. In its filing, From the letter:

While this is a bum deal for Google (although the subsequent publicity around Apple saying one thing to the FCC and telling Google something else may benefit the search firm), Apple doesn’t have to let others play in its playground, and I’m unclear as to what the FCC can do even if it wants to force the company to open up its device. Om has argued that this fight shows how Google and Apple are increasingly encroaching on each other’s turf, especially when it comes to delivering a mobile web experience. And when giants fight, it’s the little people who get crushed.

(Source: Gigaom)

September 21st, 2009

What Nokia Should Do…

Nokia is the world leader in mobile phones. Nokia has about 44% market share selling over 400 million cell phones each year out of a billion unit market. This results in Nokia being one of the most respected brands in the world. In India mostly, when anybody first buys a mobile phone…it’s none other then Nokia. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that due to tremendous competition, Nokia is expected by Frost & Sullivan to see their global market share continue to decline from 44% today to around 36% in 2014 (for more information reference Frost & Sullivan recently released Market Insight 2009 North American Smartphones). And, when you consider just the SmartPhone segment, others like Apple, RIM and Google’s Android (& their OHA partners) may assume global leadership in SmartPhone market share.

In North America, Nokia is in a difficult position with just 5% market share. How in the world does such a great company have such poor results in such an important mobile market as North America? Some of the answers may surprise you.

Nokia has a particular way of developing and marketing their mobile phones. It must be working OK to have been able to lead the world in production year after year. But, the way they design their phones – down to the way in which keys are designed in their keyboards – is very ‘European’ that resonates well outside North America but does not resonate well with consumers in the North America.

Mr.Gerry Purdy of Frost & Sullivan blame much of the poor performance in the US market on design principles. If one looks carefully at Nokia phones against American phones, they have the following characteristics:

1) All use the same font on the display – the same unattractive font used in marketing literature. No one knows why but the font is not attractive to many people in the US (from talking with lots of users and other analysts).

2) The keys in Nokia’s phones (both 10-key numeric in feature phones and alphanumeric in SmartPhones) have a square shape and no raised domes. All SmartPhone in the US by other manufacturers have rounded keys with domes & inter-key spacing which gives the fingers a more positive feedback.

3) The Symbian OS, while very good technically, has a user interface style that seems foreign to those in the US.

4) Symbian is currently Nokia’s core OS for S60 phones. Symbian is a very solid OS technically and works well with GPS and other device enhancements. But, the core design principles have a look and feel that is different from the iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm WebOS and Android environments work. Symbian phones can do the same things but the orientation and presentation to the user is ‘different’ and doesn’t seem intuitive.

So, what should Nokia do? Here are some of the things that Mr.Purdy feels that Nokia should do in order to become more successful in the US market:

  • Change the Identity – Use a more friendly font and have screens and keyboard designed to work in the US environment. The E71x that was designed in the US still confirmed to the Nokia European identity and style. Keys have to be rounded with domes and small separation from other keys. The entire look and feel needs to migrate into a set of design principles that are US centric.
  • Reorient the Ovi App Store – Migrate Ovi to be positioned as an on-device app store supported by a web portal instead of the other way around.
  • Use a Different Product Segmentation – Segment the market around user’s needs and price points instead of specific technical feature sets. Music should be on all phones with richer capabilities like stereo audio on higher end units. Video should be on all phones with more features on higher end models.
  • Develop a Maemo Line for the North American Market – Nokia could take their new multi-tasking Linux-based OS and design a line of handsets that would be well-received in the US market but it would have to make sure the design principles focus on US needs not European. They could integrate features and services that would make it differentiated in the US market.

Nokia just announced a Windows based Netbook under the brand Nokia Booklet 3G. It has 3G wireless built in with a swappable SIM card as well as Wi-Fi. It will launch in October with Windows 7 with Ovi Suite and Social Hub that will assist users with social networking. The hardware specs include a 10.1”, 1280×720 display, Atom Z530 & 1.6 GHz processor, 1GB memory and 120GB 1.8” HDD. They will likely realize reasonable success with their new Netbook entry if they can get the price under $500.

Nokia is doing well in the low end of the market. Nokia will likely continue to maintain worldwide dominance in low cost feature phones on a global basis. No changes are needed there.

But, in the higher end of the market – characterized as SmartPhones with a rich mobile, keyboards and app stores – Nokia needs to make a new concerted effort. Nokia will get significant market pressure from Samsung, Motorola, LG, Apple, Palm, RIM and HTC. The race for market leadership in the SmartPhone sector five years from now is completely up for grabs.

(Source: Frost & Sullivan)

September 19th, 2009

US residents can now call out of Twitter for free…

Courtsey Jajah…Jajah is privately launching in beta today a voice-over-IP solution that lets people make calls for free via Twitter and other Twitter-related desktop and mobile apps. This is another effort by Jajah to get its VoIP service onto a popular application; last year, the company forged a partnership with Yahoo to offer its voice services to Yahoo IM users.

When 140 characters isn’t cutting it, simply send a tweet to the person you want to talk to using the format “@call @username.” Jajah will then call your phone and once you pick up, will connect you to your friend. To use Jajah’s @Call service, however, both you and your friend must be registered in the company’s beta group and the person you’re calling must follow you on Twitter. For now, calls can only be two minutes long and only U.S. numbers are supported. Jajah keeps users’ phone numbers private, so you don’t have to worry about anyone getting their hands on personal contact information.

(Excerpts from Gigaom pro)

September 18th, 2009

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