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Mobile fast-food ..thoughts on the new mobile phone making.

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I got chance to attend a recent gathering of several OEMs shipping phones to India.
The Qualcomm Partner Summit  is an annual event by home_09Qualcomm India. Apart from the marketing buzz, it also showcases the wares from many OEMs who plan to launch mobile devices in India and a good indication of what is in store for the next year in the mobile phone landscape.

A clear phenomenon you could see is arrival of several Chinese OEMs and ODMs in that market. Their growth has been phenomenal in past few years and they are already making good inroads into the market share of market leader Nokia . Until 2010 the small time OEMs were only  competing at the feature phone space but with Android the dynamics are going to change dramatically.

Chinese OEMs Indian Distributors: The Chinese OEMs do not have a brand presence in India .Their main customers  are ‘Distributors’ .Companies that make bulk orders of these devices and sell with their own brand name.

Unlike the OEMs ,the distributors do not involve in engineering or the manufacturing , they just give the requirements and book orders and there are mobile phone shops in China that can churn out models based on your need much like ordering breakfast at a Subway joint.

Some of the prominent distributors in India are Micromax and Lawa .And this list is growing rapidly.

Welcome Android : The high end(Tier1) OEMs like Nokia and Samsung still had an edge on the software that had been tested for good  usability, and had passed several rounds of QA.
There was lot of investment on  the Software platforms that was keeping  away the small time OEMs entering the premium segment like the smartphone.

With the advent of Android this is all set to change. Google’s Android platform comes for free and OEMs could churn out  a decent smart phone will all of ‘Android goodies’.  This was pretty evident in the summit I had attended.

HTCDesire_Lookalike There was  HTC-Desire  and few feet away there is an  exact replica by another less known  OEM.  Needless to say each OEM had their own version of an iPhone clone and an iPad clone.

So with Android , the Tier2 OEMs are not just going to be in Feature phones, they are going to come into smart phones  and even some iPad clones. Although there hasn’t been initial success with the integration , they have managed to bring down the Android smart phone price drastically in India.

It may be difficult for the Tier1 OEMs in the long run. For now they are able to maintain a lead by keeping their premium segment intact and also with some exclusive partnership deals with Google and Microsoft.

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Written by sujai

May 9, 2011 at 8:34 am

Books 2010: Nine Lives

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This week, India is making its best attempt in hosting an international event.The effects have been mixed so far.
But I hope its great we came this far and hope to see good things about the CWG this week.

9lives_dalrymple I thought it would be good to share about a book I read about India this year!

Nine Lives was a surprise find of this year. I usually run away from authors like William Dalrymple thinking its for the literature buffs and not for a casual reader. But the introduction on this book was quite interesting. It is about a certain sales manager who gives up all he had, Christopher McCandless style to lead a very different life.

It took me several months to complete the book .But I was quite  impressed with the characters depicted in the book. NineLives chronicles the life of 9  religious people and how religion is still thriving in India inspire of the several changes happening in India .

A Nun’s tale‘ is a very good account about Jainism in India. It is about Prasannamati, a nun who has taken up sallekhana – ritualistic  fast until death.While the vegan food habits of Jains is well known,  the Jain nuns follow a stricter ,self effacing way of life .The author makes a good account the nun’s initiation or diksa and how the nun practices her fasting ritual every day.

The other characters in the book are fascinating too. The Singer of epics is about the Mohan Bhopha ,who is an illiterate and yet could recite the entire 4000 line verse of epic of Pabuji just from his memory .

Then there are stories about a Tibetan monk who renounces his oath to fight against the Chinese and
the  sthapati’s of TamilNadu who build statues as per ancient Hindu rituals and direct descendants of those who built famous temples of South India..

On the whole, characters depicted are very interesting and the narrative is pretty tight. Its a well researched book and some of the local knowledge which the author brings out about India will not be known to Indians themselves!

At the end, I have become a fan for William Darlymple writings. Next in my queue is his ‘In Xanadu’.

Written by sujai

October 4, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Elections 2009 : The body is willing ,but the spirit is weak.

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Today is election day in our  place.  This years election was a bit different from earlier years. The campaigning has reached a new low with people going all out with personal attacks like  ‘weak’, ‘slave’ , and swearing like ‘I will crush his head  with a road roller’ and so on.

Elections2009 In the start of this election season I had high hopes on some new faces who ‘realized that they should give  back to the society’  and got into politics.

But then came the manifestos  ,virtually every party’s manifesto was rife with freebies. All the promises look short lived.   If one is ready with a color TV,  the other party promises a Laptop’. ‘All loans will be annulled’ says one,  ‘we will send you money every month’ ,’our leader will take care of your education’, ‘don’t be afraid of job loss/recession,  our leader will create 2 million jobs every year’

Even the new ‘give back to the society’ guys were busy showing off their on-screen gimmicks  to enthusiastic
“followers” .   Another new (and bad) development this year was the money distribution that was SO rampant that the  police had to run ‘crackdown’ operations almost everyday.  Towards the end of the campaign and as the elections neared, I was totally disgusted with really no good choice.

Election day came.. democracy didn’t have anything better to offer this time.And then there was  the ‘Jagore…lets do something’ camp giving a clarion call to vote.  Yes I woke up..and I am ready to vote, but every party had nothing but populist offers in their manifesto . Voting for them would mean I support that 😦

Luckily, there was at least one party in our area which didn’t offer anything and was talking some sense. I wish all the best for this party .I am not sure if they would win the elections.

But I am happy this time my vote  would be counted as a one of those who didn’t like the free TV or the new laptop .

Written by sujai

April 16, 2009 at 4:51 pm

iPhone and the advent of the HLOS

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I was listening to a talk last week on what is happening in the mobile phone business. It was by a person closely working with higher officials of various players in this space.  Here are some excerpts from that ‘talk’.

Apple’s iPhone has truly changed the game in this industry. Though many were talking about a ‘Mobile internet’ experience on phones, no one gave that business a compelling device,and a nice browser to use. (I think our ideas were seriously crippled due to over use of windows internet explorer). With the advent of iPhone, this area has finally caught attention.

Impact on modems:
A very important component in the mobile phone is its ‘baseband’ or the ‘modem’.This component is
responsible for managing the various connectivity options in mobiles. Mobiles were advertised
for their connectivity (like 3G /GSM/GPRS etc). But the future modems would be supporting a plethora of connectivity options like GPRS/3G/HSPA/WiMax etc  and most of this would be integrated into a
single silicon. In other words connectivity cannot remain a USP for a phone. And competitors could easily bring in phones with all that you have in 6 months.

Usability ,the real USP (at least for now):
Though many were talking about Usability and user experience..it has now become THE most deciding factor. This was the example that was cited to explain how  usability matters:   Few years ago Motorola launched its RAZR a groundbreaking design and made lot of money. But other operators and OEM’s were able to quickly come up with similar hardware and better designs. So the niche was gone and RAZR was no longer unique.

It has been almost a year now and no one has been successful in getting an iPhone killer.You may have touch,you may have connectivity but there is something unique with the device that’s not easy to replicate/reproduce. There is TMobile G1 (based on Android) .But  apparently ,its finesse is not even close to version 1.0 of the iPhone software.

So,what does this mean to mobile phone business:  The market is no longer about technology. Its more of ease of use and ‘feel good’.Technically, it also means that traditional OS’s, traditional frameworks with minimal attention to Usability may go away. This market will be populated with more and more of what is called as ‘High Level OS’ or HLOS. High Level OS’s are complex operating systems ,with support for most if not all of the functionality that a desktop OS would support.

Written by sujai

October 22, 2008 at 11:52 am

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