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Apple’s social layer: Come alive in iOS5?

Ping was Apple’s first effort at get a Facebook like network of users going for itself and it depended on its Music streaming services from the cloud, which was led by its acquisition of Lala. However Ping hasn’t really taken off inspite of the success of the iPad, iPhone and now the Apple TV. So, this time around Apple reloads its effort at Social Networking and in full measure. By full measure, I only mean that Apple is not just depending on Music streaming services from the cloud, it is putting a social layer in iOS 5.0. Expect a few vestiges of this service to surface in iOS 4.3 which should be round the corner. Essentially the dots that Apple would be joining to showcase this layer is as follows:

1. “Find my Friends” service which should be an integration of the phonebook and maps. Apple also has a patent on something called the iGroups, which should in a lot of measures be close to Facebook
2. The iOS 4.3 Beta release showcases the Media Stream service which in its present version is limited to Photo Streams only! Knowing Apple iOS 5.0 would integrate Video Streaming/ Sharing and Music Sharing/Streaming. Out here, Apple has Lala’s expertise for the Music bit.
3. Thirdly, it is expected that all or a significant bit of Apple’s social services will be cloud based. Thus the experience is customized for the user. Apple calls this the MobileMe- a users personalized experiences hosted and streamed from the crowd across all Apple devices.

Putting all these services in a single Interface is where Apple’s legendary prowess with interfaces could really make the experience out of this world. Apple has a reference from the Kin Studio which does all the above listed and More. Microsoft may have dropped Kin, but Apple could take a leaf from Kin’s book to deliver outstanding social networking experience across devices and services. Lets hope to see the Apple magic soon.

Will Android 3.0/Honeycomb beat the Apple/iOS?

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems, Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on January 7, 2011

This is a mundane question, but its one question that will be asked aplenty after the Honeycomb made its appearance at CES 2011.

My answer is No.

Android is increasingly disposed towards scale. The Honeycomb Android 3.0 version is a great alternative to iOS/iPad, but in terms of serving a “connected” experience across a range of devices, the Androids are behind. iOS allows you to seamless connect thru and across your devices. The Android’s with their lack of standardization and fragmentation across different versions will not be able to produce an “integrated experience”. Somewhere, the strategic teams at Google would also realize that expostulating the virtues of “openness” has cost them in terms of common experience across. (That was what the Nexus was designed… for the pristine device experience). Sample this:

1.Google has been ill-able to integrate experiences across the smartphone category with multiple versions of its Android.
2.Android 3.0/Gingerbread will have “difficulty” talking to smartphones unless dual core processor smartphones hit mainstream. (Expect that to happen by end of 2011, at the earliest)
3.Google has not been able to perfect its Google TV experience, and are back at the drawing boards redefining TV strategy.

Given that its free to all OEMs, Androids will achieve numbers, but they will lack the finesse of the iOS across the domain of “connected home appliances”.

Net, Apple still has stronger fundamentals and should do better in terms of making money.

User Loyalty for Operating Systems: Advantage iOS

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems by Manas Ganguly on November 29, 2010

Loyalty in the smartphone market is a hard thing to command and come by for handset manufacturers unless you are a certain somebody called Apple. Apple iPhone commands more than twice the fidelity of Android devices or smartphones in general. 59% of iPhone users would like to stay loyal to the iOS as against 25% of other smartphone users with their respective Operating systems.Apple 59% stacks up very favourably against 35% for RIM Blackberry, 28% for Android, 24% for Symbian and 21% for WinMo. The WinMo figure at 21% is a reflection of the WinMo 6.x operating system and as and when WinMo 7.0 gains steam, the loyalty numbers is expected to head northwards.

As smartphone manufacturers scramble to innovate their handsets, offering the best high-resolution cameras, super clear displays and support for the next generation mobile networks, smartphone owners are leaving their options open, especially now that manufacturers are moving towards open-sourced operating systems like Google’s Android software. The differentiator is now starting to move beyond just the OS and the hardware to a host of eco-system factors such as Applications, Developers and Ecosystem, Extendibility across multiple home devices. Finally, the Operating expenses in terms of data plans and data is also a large determining factor for user stickiness around the devices

iOS versus Android: All in way of massifying Mobile Internet!

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on September 8, 2010

The Inevitable has started to happen, or so it seems if Quantcast is to be believed. Quantcast, a web metrics firm has in its August data laid bare the fact that while Apple’s iOS remains the leading mobile operating system in the United States for accessing the web, but Google’s Android OS is catching up fast.As of the end of August, iOS, which powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, accounted for 56% of mobile web activity, while Android phones accounted for 26% and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry OS was a distant third and accounted for 9%.

Apple’s iPhone has seen a solid reversal of its downward trend since the introduction of the iPhone 4, however, this is offset for iOS share by the decline of the iPod Touch. The latest Android smartphones are hot – three models, the HTC Incredible, Sprint Evo 4G (also by HTC) and most recently the Motorola Droid X have all gained rapid adoption. The chart below summarizes these recent models along with the benchmark for Android handsets, the original Motorola Droid.


Whats moving up as a trend is that the iOS has been losing ground to Android steadily over the last year.Over the last year, iOS use for accessing the web has fallen 11%, while Android has risen 17%. RIM’s BlackBerry OS saw a 10% drop.

Another report by Nielsen estimates that Smartphone use was up 23% from the first quarter of 2010, to 25% of the U.S. mobile phone population. This is compared with 16% penetration in the second quarter of 2009 and by the end of 2011, the firm is projecting, smartphones will overtake feature phones. Mobile internet usage will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.7%, much faster than the CAGR of 2.1% expected in mobile subscribers over the same period

The numbers are important because as more mobile phone users head to the web, so will the opportunity for advertisers. In addition, retailers and other businesses will benefit in being able to offer services based on the location of the mobile phone users. An increasing number of mobile phones are shipping with GPS capabilities, leading the way to a proliferation in location-based services.

Froyo seeks to level ground with iOS: Here’s how

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems by Manas Ganguly on July 17, 2010

Antennagate: Thats what the folks at Apple termed the failure Antenna glitch in their iPhone 4G which is now assuming the status of a colossal mistake. Steve Jobs and his team have come clean on the mistake and are working double time to provide solutions to the Antennagate. A few analysts are of the view that Apple should pull the plugs on iPhone 4G, which to me looks to be an over reaction and a less prudent move.However it does put a half stop to the Apple Juggernaut which was rolling full steam. That to me is not the biggest of Apple’s worries.

To me its the rapidly maturing Android platform, that has the greatest potential to give Apple and Steve Jobs a headache. While Android is still a few blocks behind iOS4, Google has been accelerating fast and sure to catch up with the iPhone OS. The Android 2.2 Froyo will almost level the playing filed with iOS4 on the smartphone space. The Gingerbread edition of Android is expected to level the differences with iOS on the Tablet space.

On the Froyo versus iOS4 bit, Froyo would be coming good over the iOS4 lead on the following accounts:
1. Faster Speed with the native apps. Closes space with iOS4
2. Ability to run Flash. Complete Differentiator
3. Support for Microsoft Exchange. Closes space with iOS4
4. Better Service rates through the Tethering feature. Cost differentiation for high speed internet tariffs.
5. An Android market which keeps getting better. Closing the gap with iOS4.
6. Getting better on the browser and leaving iOS behind.
7. The sheer numbers of OEMs supporting the platform
8. Pitching for the Enterprise bit

Detailing the Froyo versus iOS further:

It is time for Apple to be concerned about Android, its chief competitor. The Froyo release will be the most significant Android release as it delivers functionality which could rival Apple’s iOS4. The real battle between Android and iOS has now begun and the Antenagate has already ruined iPhone 4’s debut.

Gartner: 2013 Tablet Sales & Market shares

Posted in Device Platforms by Manas Ganguly on March 4, 2014

Tablets 2013

Highlights from the Gartner Report

1. The worldwide sales of tablets to end users reached 195.4 million units in 2013, a 68 percent increase on 2012
2. This is fuelled by an improved quality of smaller low-cost tablets from branded vendors and white-box products continued to grow in emerging markets
3. The emerging markets recorded growth of 145 percent in 2013, while mature markets grew 31 percent.
4. Around 121 million Android tablets were sold worldwide in 2013, up from 53 million in 2012.
5. Android surpasses Apple iOS in tablet market. Android now holds 62 percent marketshare.
6. Despite Microsoft now acting more rapidly to evolve Windows 8.1, its ecosystem still failed to capture major consumers’ interest on tablets.
7. To compete, Microsoft needs to create compelling ecosystem proposition for consumers and developers across all mobile devices, as tablets and smartphones become key devices for delivering applications and services to users beyond the PC

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Connected Devices and Android’s 1 billion – Gartner

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on January 7, 2014

Gartner forecasts that Android is poised to surpass 1.1 billion users across all devices in 2014 even as Worldwide combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) are projected to reach 2.5 billion units in 2014. This represents a 7.6% increase in volumes for connected devices from 2013. In terms of Android, the figures represent a 26% increase in volumes compared to 2013. 75% of the Android activations will happen in emerging markets – which by extension means that the Android story is not slowing down any time soon.

Connected Devices - Gartner

1. Smartphones will be the key to the new connected devices paradigm contributing 75% of the total volumes in connected devices. Smart phones will continue to grow but at a slower pace, with opportunities moving away from the top-end premium devices to mid-end basic products
2. PC’s will drop in volumes by 8% per year and will loose almost a fourth on volumes. The evolution to ultra slim and light form factors would be key to the existence of the laptop category – since laptop users find tablets to have limited usability
3. Tablets will be one of the highest growth categories over the next 3 years though tablets will gravitate to the 5”/6” phablet form factor with usage which is more akin to smartphones.
4. However, the interesting category to watch out for are Ultra Mobiles – essential form factors such as hybrids, clamshells, watches, consoles or Google Glass which has a significant growth potential through the next 3 years horizon.

On the popularity of Android as a platform, there is a volume versus value equation, with Android users also purchasing lower-cost devices compared to Apple users. Android holds the largest number of installed-base devices, with 1.9 billion in use in 2014, compared with 682 million iOS/Mac OS installed-base devices. In terms of OSs, Gartner predicts Windows to have the toughest fight from iOS in CY 2014, post which Windows would gain on iOS basis its growing presence in the smartphone segment.

The Mobile Economy in India

Posted in Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on December 19, 2013

Mobiles and Mobility in India is a empowering industry which is expected to grow 408% with 2012-20 @ 19% CAGR
This adds atleast 1.3 million jobs between 2012-2020 and…
.. contributes to 375% increase in public funding
This also means a 409% increase to infrastructure investments

India’s citizens rely on mobile technology and mobile-enabled services to a degree that few would have predicted only a few years ago. With nearly 900 million mobile connections across the country, India represents a quarter of all mobile connections in Asia Pacific, and this figure is expected to rise to 1.16 billion by 2017. With improved
spectrum pricing and management, growth of mobile broadband service is expected to continue, with 3G and 4G adoption projected to increase by 31% between 2013 and 2017.

Nevertheless, India still lags behind the world’s major economies in mobile maturity and penetration. Network investment by mobile operators is held back by low tariffs due to the market conditions, an unusually high level of competition, and the financial burden caused by government policies that channel funds away from the sector, such as the high cost of access to spectrum. Indian operators are amongst countries that have the highest debt and lowest profitability ratios in the Asia Pacific region. This affects their ability to upgrade consumer services, meet demand in highly populated urban areas and expand networks to provide coverage to people living in rural areas.

India is lacking a regulatory environment that allows the sector to surge ahead and deliver the full, transformative
power of mobile to all. To do this, the government must design policies and regulations — working with the mobile
industry — that maximise long-term private sector investment. In order to invest, the industry needs clarity on the direction and the overall economic and regulatory environment that will be put in place to support this path. Only with a sustainable mobile industry will India be able to achieve the vision described in the country’s National
Telecommunications Plan — “to provide secure, reliable, affordable and high-quality converged telecommunication services anytime and anywhere for accelerated, inclusive socio-economic development.”

Increased penetration of mobile technology in India will bring with it many socio-economic benefits. In Agriculture, mobile solutions improve yields and provide greater access to markets. Greater access to healthcare and reduced mortality are facilitated by mobile solutions, while mobile technology brings financial services to rural and underprivileged communities. With mobile solutions, education for all is a goal that is increasingly within reach. Government and Administration has an important role to play in all of these areas by removing barriers to the integration of mobile solutions in an increasingly connected world.

Excerpts from the GSMA BCG study on Mobile Industry in India

Gartner: Q3, 2013 Mobile Phone and Smartphone Market Shares

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on November 17, 2013

Highlights

1. 1 billion smartphones per year! Latest smartphone numbers from Gartner round Smartphones at 250M a quarter. As low end smartphones penetrate the feature phone price points, Smartphones are beginning to look past the 1 billion mark.
2. With 82% market share Android is unrivalled emperor of the smartphone kingdom feebly contested by Apple iOS. Google’s conquest of the internet space at least on mobiles is near complete even while problem around gray Androids and Platform fragmentation remain.

Q3 2013 Gartner

3. Samsung remains the No.1 in smartphone device space – the fabled fifth horseman of the technology space – but this is more due to the momentum effect than anything really outstanding.
4. As the china smartphone markets swell, there will be more of Lenovos, Huaweis, ZTEs, Alcatels and Coolpads who would enter in the top 10 and start eating into Samsung’s 32%.
5. By the same logic – with the growing Indian smartphone volumes, i am hopeful of Micromax breaking into top 10 in a quarter or two – if it hasn’t already.
5. Android, Microsoft and Apple – are the last men standing as Blackberry, Bada, Symbian and all others fade out from the three horse OS race
6. Would Nokia break back into top 5 with its Lumia range? We would watch this.

References
Gartner: Q2 2013 Smartphone and Mobile Phone Market Shares
Gartner: Q1, 2013 Mobile Phone and Smartphone Market shares
Gartner: Q4, 2012 Mobile Phone and Smartphone Market shares

Setting up mobile for the next thunderstorm!

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on November 16, 2013

If there is anything static about the evolving technology paradigm today, it is the regularity of disruptions.Nicholas Taleb christened such disruptions as Black swans – We could look at naming it Thunderstorms.Technology disruption trends are driven by ‘thunderstorms’. Everything seemed calm and static, then suddenly the Web comes and changes the rules. The cellphone business appeared static and then the iPhone changed the dynamics.

The perfect thuderstorm

Some trends are predictable: like the power of processors doubles every 18 months or storage capacity doubles every 12 months. Some are unpredictable: like growth of mobility and Web.For example, we had smartphones long before iPhone. But they were difficult to use devices and not accepted until Steve Jobs made an easy-to-use device in 2007.Today, the mobile handset is in flux. Microsoft has bought Nokia. Earlier, Google bought Motorola. Huawei and lenovo almost bought over Blackberry. The key here is that convergence of solutions, internet and mobile is driving the Applications based internet as the next thunderstorm.

Web is dying. It’s like AM radio of the digital era. Web will be here, but that’s not where major commerce will happen. Smartphones are becoming so powerful that to use them as just file viewers makes no sense. The future architecture will be one where there are very powerful apps, connected to resources in the cloud, and this connection is the future architecture.

The dominant players in the tech industry will have an app Internet ecosystem — a phone, tablet, PC, app architecture and a group of partners. Now, who will dominate it? One is obviously Apple, which has 30 billion app downloads; Android has 27 billion downloads, but 80% money is made on iOS.

It wasn’t a surprise when Google bought Motorola, or when Microsoft bought Nokia, as they needed a phone to complete the ecosystem. Amazon could well be a very important app Internet ecosystem player. There are feelers that within 12 months, maybe six months, Amazon will have a phone. They already have a tablet, an operating system called Silk, and they might have a PC as well. Amazon buying Dell is an interesting possibility. As a trends, every 10 years in the tech industry, one big player, who looks like dying, comes back. In the 1980s, it was Intel. In the 1990s, it was IBM. In the 2000s, it was Apple and now it could be Amazon. Having said that Apple, Android and Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook are possibilities in phone business – making the mobile scene shift extremely.

Two of those five — Apple and Amazon — have a big advantage. They have customer credit card details. Apple has 450 million credit cards, Amazon has 220 million, Microsoft has 50 million via Xbox. Google and Facebook have zero. That’s the thunderstorm — in terms of a loyal user base — one can expect here. Every company in the world, selling insurance, tyres, banking will have to be a software company, via apps.

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