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Smartphone Application Processors Update: Strategy Analytics

Posted in Device Platforms by Manas Ganguly on October 18, 2013

The global smartphone applications processor market continued to show strength and grew 44 percent year-on-year to reach $4.4 billion in Q2 2013, according to the Strategy Analytics. Qualcomm, Apple, MediaTek, Samsung and Spreadtrum captured the top-five revenue share spots in the smartphone processor market in Q2 2013. Qualcomm maintained its dominance in the smartphone applications processor market with 53 percent revenue share followed by Apple with 15 percent share and MediaTek with 11 percent share in Q2 2013.

Multi-core processors accounted for around 66 percent of all smartphone apps processor shipments in 1H 2013, up from 40 percent in 1H 2012. Quad-core smartphone applications processor shipments registered five-fold growth in 1H 2013 compared to 1H 2012, while single-core smartphone applications processor shipments declined by 14 percent in the same period. Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung, MediaTek and ST-Ericsson captured top-five volume share spots in the smartphone multi-core applications processor market in 1H 2013.

Low-cost suppliers MediaTek and Spreadtrum together captured over one-third volume share in the smartphone applications processor market in Q2 2013, thanks to the smartphone boom in emerging markets. MediaTek and Spreadtrum’s improving global footprint coupled with their maturing product portfolio could spell a threat to global players such as Qualcomm, Broadcom, NVIDIA and Intel.

Qualcomm maintained its dominance in the smartphone applications processor market helped by its LTE leadership. After a successful run with its Snapdragon 600 family of chips in the first half of 2013, Qualcomm is well-positioned to repeat it in the second half with its flagship Snapdragon 800 family of chips

Google crosses the chasm from Desktop to Mobile! (And continues to rake the moolah)

Posted in Internet and Search, Mobile Computing by Manas Ganguly on October 18, 2013
Google Stock Price Since Debut

Google Stock Price Since Debut

Google shares jumped past $1000 mark, as its results convinced the markets that it had finally crossed the chasm between Desktop advertising to Mobile advertising. The rise of mobile devices had raised fundamental questions for the company: Would users conduct as many searches as on PCs? Would they click on as many ads? Would advertisers pay as much for a fingernail-sized spot on a phone as they do on a PC? The numbers Google disclosed undercut those fears. The number of “paid clicks”—the times a user clicks on an advertiser’s link during a search—surged 26%, the highest growth rate in a year.

As has been the case recently, the amount paid per click declined, this time by 8%. But the total volume of searches, driven by the rise of mobile devices, far outweighed the falling per-click rates. Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, estimates the total number of paid searches will reach nearly 125 billion in 2013, up 24% from the prior year and nearly triple the figure of five years ago. That is the rough equivalent of 36 clicks on Google ads this year from each of the world’s approximately 3.4 billion PCs, smartphones and tablets. Steadily increasing sales of mobile devices could help Google for a long time. “What all this leads up to is that investors just feel this is a longer-term story.

The spurt made Google the third most-valuable U.S. company by market capitalization, with a value of $338 billion, behind only Apple and Exxon Mobil Corp. What also interesting is that the Google results have also given a spurt to the prices of Twitter, Facebook, Pandora, Yahoo! and other online companies which are contingent on ads.

Mediatek continues to disrupt the Tablet markets: Strategic Analytics

Posted in Device Platforms, Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on October 17, 2013

4 months back i had blogged about How Mediatek (MTK) would disrupt tablet markets in SouthEast Asian Markets. According to the latest tablet CPU share report from Strategy Analytics, MediaTek is on a roll in the tablet space, now practically tied with Samsung as the second biggest supplier of tablet chipsets.

MTK

The global tablet processor market registered 46 percent year-on-year growth to reach USD 759 million in the second quarter. Apple still dominates the market with its A5 and A6X processors and it enjoyed a 34% revenue share in the second quarter. Samsung and MediaTek had about 10% each, although Samsung was in a slim lead. Marvell and Qualcomm also made some progress in Q2, while Intel and Nvidia are expected to gain share in the second half of the year.

MediaTek scored significant design-wins with Acer, Asus and Lenovo. MediaTek’s tactics of releasing stand-alone applications processors for the tablet market coupled with its reference design know-how have propelled its share to double-digits in the tablet applications processor market.

During Q2 2013, Marvell and Qualcomm also made good progress, thanks to their high-profile tablet design-wins. Strategy Analytics believes that Intel with its Bay Trail chip and NVIDIA with its Tegra 4 chip are also poised for tablet applications processor market share growth in the second half of 2013.

China’s new Eco-Drive to Clean Energy, Sustainable Environment transport solutions

Posted in The Cars of the Future by Manas Ganguly on October 16, 2013

Urban growth with special attention to sustainable development and multi modal transportation is the next big opportunity in transportation systems. Electric vehicles with disruptive quick battery exchange technologies are the key to the future. Tesla is one of the most important examples in the this space. But, the real sustainable and price sensitive solutions could be from China.

The PRC has been undergoing a significant transitional phase with special economic zones opening foreign trade to many cities including Shenzhen, Tianjin, Hainan Island and most recently the Waigaoqiao free trade zone in western Shanghai. This change in economic structure has sparked massive development and urbanization of Chinese cities. It is expected that over 70% of the population in China will live in major cities by the year 2035, compared to about 25% in 1990. This rapid urban development has been followed by a list of social and environmental issues.Most cities have been formed around the development of massive automobile infrastructure which puts heavy demand on scarce petroleum resources, creates congestion issues, and results in severe degradation of environmental air quality. In order to prepare for continued growth and work toward the resolution of some of these emerging issues, government policies and business models are taking aim at creating sustainable vehicle transport models that utilize existing infrastructure.

With that back ground, Electric vehicle manufacturer in China, Kandi, is developing an electric vehicle sharing and leasing model to help four primary environmental crises; fossil fuel energy demand, pollution, traffic congestion and parking.While this business model will not completely solve these issues but has the opportunity to incrementally contribute to their resolution over time. Kandi has also readied a couple of cars working on electric energy – Kandi’s “low end” JN6290EV model from scrap metal and “mid end” JL7001BEV Panda. The compact size, easy maneuverability, quick acceleration and lower operational cost of running make these cars a commuter’s dream.

But what is novel to Kandi’s business model is that Car share program from Kandi. Once a customer buys a car from Kandi – he would be entitled to a unique car sharing program. He could just drive into any of Kandi’s Car share garages exchange his car for another car and drive off. The cars deposited by the users are automatically charged while idle in their slot. One also has the option of getting a battery swap done without changing the car. Kandi’s management is in the process of making many such garages to support its customers.

Kandi EVs

What also works to the benefit of a company like Kandi is the sponsorship from the administration. The government recognizes the need to implement sustainable energy strategies and modify the existing paradigm of energy and transportation throughout China. State Council policy supports the EV business model by offering up to a revised 60% subsidy on purely electric vehicles. The subsidy policy requires a 30% market share for companies that come from other provinces. This market sharing policy should allow Kandi to gain footing in other major cities. This combination of demand and supply side management policies are a major step in the right direction for transportation in China. The car share model is funded in such a way that it can also operate without a subsidy package and depends mainly on land availability.

Kandi 3

Beijing is on record as one of the most polluted cities in the world and Kandi’s EVs will not help better this status substantially in the next few months – however, it does promise to take off some load from the conventional energy driven options in the next few years to come. WHile the operations at Kandi are at a pilot stage, scaling up is a challenge and if addressed correctly, individual vehicle demands will be encouraged to slow down significantly.

What makes an Application disproportionately (Wildly) successful than most others?

Posted in Applications and User Interfaces by Manas Ganguly on October 13, 2013

700K Apps and there-abouts on Android and Apple and yet the Pareto principle is more disproportionately applicable to the commercial smartphone apps than most of the other instances of Pareto. So, why do apps and services like Instagram, Twitter, Gilt, Tinder and Airbnb rise above the rest? What keeps users coming back to them?

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Any casual reflection on the nature of most popular applications will through up the most obvious results-

There had to be a key Proposition buttressed by Design and Usability/ User Experience. Airbnb for instance is one of the best propositions for travel freaks. A clean, clutter free design and a smooth and free flowing intuitive user experience makes the application easy to use. The way i see it Applications on the cloud or Hybrid Applications which have limited footprint/ light weight device will be key to the user experience. Currently Cross Platform presence is a given, but what would truely be a wow would be cross platform integration – i.e the App on iPhone learns what you last did on your Android Tablet last. Currently this may not be a very easily comprehended scenario – but Apps would need to share intelligence across platforms to create a relevance in user experience. The main intent is to drive Scale.

All app developers aspire to higher degrees of social transmission a.k.a Word of mouth. Breaking this code – The willingness of people to spread your message and to reach and influence customers has an inherent DNA and a marketing strategy/structure which app makers need to take cognizance. Jonah Berger, associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania provides a construct to understand profusion and/or lack of it which can be applied to understand the exceptional flight of some apps amongst others which dont get downloaded. According to Berger, there are 6 key drivers to virality – which applies to Apps as well.

1. The ability of an App to make the user smarter and look better in his social circles is key to the App being recommended around social spheres of influence and affiliation.
Social currency is the idea that people are more likely to talk about something the better and smarter it makes them look, and the more special it makes them feel.

2. WhatsApp is to Messaging what Skype/Viber are to Video Conferencing – These are very powerful associations that drive the penetration of Applications in users.Very strong cases of positioning and occupation of the mind space.
Triggers —linking products and ideas to cues in the environment increases word of mouth.

3. Engagement and Involvement are key to building a relationship with the App. If there are any doubts, one has to reference the rise of Arab Spring – the critical role of Facebook and Twitter as beacons of people’s movements.
The more you can get people fired up, excited, or even feeling negative about something, the more likely they’ll be to pass it on: That’s emotion.

4. One has to only look at the multitude of ordinary no-ones who have now a voice on twitter or a channel on YouTube with followers. Applications with high “showcase” quotient of showcase have a high stickiness and re-use quotient with users.
Public refers to the idea that by making behavior more observable, so that it can be imitated, you make it more likely that your idea will catch on.

5. The oldest lesson in marketing is Proposition and a strong proposition is clearly the key value driver for the application. Without a strong proposition, the App doesnot stand any chance even if its great on design or interface.
When something has practical value—when it is useful—people share it with others to help them.

6. While this hasn’t exactly flown yet, a critical decider to success of apps is the real world integrations. I can think of Layar enabled apps that integrate the mobile with real world. The ability to wrap service layers around the app is intrinsic to creating great stories around the applications
And finally, stories enable you to wrap your product or idea in a narrative that carries your brand along for the ride.

These then are the 6 key factors driving application penetration and social transmission, thus the critical points distinguishing apps from blockbusters to one in the long tail.

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The age of the digital natives

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on October 10, 2013

As internet pervades every aspect of the individual and the society, the new breed of information and connection friendly emerges – Call them the Digital natives. Here’s an interesting graphic that deatils the rise of the digital native.

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Source: Economic Times, 10th october 2013

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Its time for the Smart Connected Home – Presenting Staples Connect

Posted in Smart Home by Manas Ganguly on October 1, 2013

Staples

Staples connect would possibly the inflection point for smart homes out of concepts and scattered executions to possibly the first integrated solution for making the smarthome. Staples is the 2nd largest online retailer after Amazon with 1550 outlets in US and $5.3bln sales in last quarter. Staples has tied up with Zonoff to provide a smart home platform ready for a commercial launch. Staples Connect is the second major home automation push from a major U.S. retailer in the past year, following the rollout of a simplified home monitoring service from Lowe’s called Iris in July 2012.

staplesconnectapp-100055536-medium

At the heart of all this a Linksys Smartphone hub which hosts the Zonoff Smarthome platform. Staples has gone ahead and sealed alliances with Honeywell(Smart Thermostats), Phillips (SmartBulbs), Ecolink, Doorbot (Smart Doorbell), Ivee (Voice Assistant), GE, Aeotec, Olutron, First Alert to provide wireless access to these devices through the Zonoff platform.

Staples will split its Staples Connect platform into three main product groups — “lighting,” “environmental control,” and “security and monitoring” — each of which will offer customers a different so-called “entry point” into the smart home ecosystem. Staples Connect starts with the Universal Hub, a $99 Linksys box that sits in the home and connects to all the smart devices in the house through a home network either via Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Home devices are then controlled via the Hub, which you communicate with remotely via the Staples Connect mobile app for Android and iOS.

Staples Connect From the Staples website

Staples Connect
From the Staples website

While solutions in terms of automating/ remote controlling devices has been available for long – it hasnt just cut the ice. The problem is that because each device has its own app, and sometimes even its own wireless hub, each new smart device also introduces more control complexity for the consumer. The promise of a platform from Zonoff and a product like Staples Connect is that it eliminates that complexity by funneling those devices through a single, broadly compatible wireless hub and into a centralizing mobile control app. Instead of the user installing multiple hubs and adjusting device settings among four or five different apps, Staples Connect will consolidate everything into one app, and one hardware hub.

People will only start caring about this when we start giving them scenarios in which the technology is going to make their lives easier. We have to move it away from a novelty and closer to utility.At the same time,fueling consumers’ smart device addiction is only useful to Staples if it can ensure that its connected lights, locks, and outlets talk to each other — and that’s exactly what its partnership with Zonoff allows it to do.

If Staples is successful, other retailers with a bigger hand in home appliances such as Best Buy, Home Depot, or Sears could follow suit with competing platforms. That’s a big “if,”however, as technology and home appliance companies have spent years touting the wonders of home automation to no avail. Despite the attraction of Nest thermostats and blinds that can slide open when you’re 10 miles from home, consumers have generally stuck with traditional home devices and appliances, excluding the odd programmable coffee maker or air conditioner timer.
That reluctance to wire up the home could finally change in the coming years as connected home equipment becomes more commonplace and solutions such as Staples Connect become more prevalent.

The complexity of the use cases is only going to grow, and the interoperability between brands is really what’s going to build this out over time. The eco-system has its own benefits in terms of innovation. If the platform is mature enough to underwrite innovation in years to come, the platform will be huge. At a time when the Internet of Things looks more like a while bunch of Intranets of Things, Staples Connect is exactly the sort of push the smart home industry needs right now.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, smart home appliances were all the rage and CES 2014 may offer more of the same—Zonoff plans to show off its connected home vision during the show. Who knows? If a home automation craze actually takes off, Google may even dust off its old Android@Home program and turn it into an actual product.ISPs such as Verizon and Comcast also offer home automation products. This could be the tipping point for Smart Home.

What’s key is just knowing what’s even possible” – Michael Harris, CEO Zonoff – hit the nail bang on.

References:
Staples Connect Bridges all your “Internet of things” into one managing App
Staples Connect Makes Having a “Connected” Home or Small Business Easy
Move over Best Buy: Staples wants to be your shop for the connected home

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