Ronnie05's Blog

The Jesus moment of Wearables (Apple Watch) passes with a mere whimper

Posted in Body Hacking & Quantified Self, Device Platforms, New Technologies by Manas Ganguly on September 10, 2014

The Apple Watch is a great accessory- but if you expected Apple to break new ground in wearables, you would be left disappointed. Is this the pass-over of Apple to the banal.

The Apple watch has been around in discussions and blogs for a while. Coming after a slew of Android wearables,the Apple watch was supposed to be what the iPhone was to smartphones: Jesus. The announcement came yesterday night and oh Jesus! My only reaction to the Apple watch is that Apple is blowing it away. Every single point of advantage painstaking built by Steve Jobs is being undone. 

We didnot want a iPhone mini – we wanted a wearable – Apple read it wrong- and created a iPhone mini with a few modifications here, there and everywhere.

Any new category needs one “hero” thing it needs to do – in the case of wearables – create alternate health as a business. Apple Watch just created a lot of apps- that can open hotel doors and do other random things. But it didnot do – what it ought to have done – layout an eco-system roadmap that combined technology, body hacking and the health eco-system in one neat package.

I didnot assume Android would do it – but i thought Apple with its consistently disrupting innovations would lay the roadmap to fulfilling this eco-system. The answer to which is – in the current settings – Apple seems to have not done that.

The good thing is that the Apple Watch with its array of sensors has the doorways in place – and possibly Appsters will pick up – but i had expected Apple to come up neat on Health integrations. Mr. Cook didnot get his balance right- and that’s why my expectations from Apple watch remain unfulfilled.  

Apple has leveraged its App eco-system to merely create interfaces that complement the iPhone features and functionalities. I expected a novel new device – not an extension of the smartphone.May be Apple is loosing its edge – may be its time for others to push over with disruptions! 

Leave your comments on Apple Watch?

 

(Back Blogging after a month of travel. Besides the habit of blogging seems to be missing out – hopefully, will be more regular)

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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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IDC : The end of the PC era

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

1. 2013 saw PC shipments contract by 9.8%, the severest on record.

PC Shipments 1

2. The bad news is not over as the category is expected to see another drop of 6.1% in 2014 basis lackluster demand from in developing markets
3. The weak economic environments in emerging markets coupled with significant shifts in device priorities is causing the decline in PC category.

PC Shipments 2

4. Long-term growth in PC shipments is expected to remain just below zero, with shipments in 2018 expected to decline 0.2 percent

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Mood sensing Ads on Apple’s mind (We always knew that, didn’t we??)

Posted in Applications and User Interfaces, Device Platforms, New Technologies by Manas Ganguly on January 25, 2014

I fell out of love with Apple when they launched iPhone5S. I fell in love back again when i read their iWatch concept.

iWatch

In an earlier post, i had written about iWatch and the path breaking dimensions it was adding to the whole technology domain by being able to monitor (and possibly measure) the state of being. The state of inner being is key to Apple’s ambitions.

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By being able to infer a person’s inner state of being, inferred by changes in Systolic, Diastolic pressures, pulse rates, Apple has an algorithm that estimates the person’s mood and serves him with suitable triggers based upon a variety of other external coordinates such as time, location,visit frequencies, past behavior. Apple has filed a patent application that describes a system that would try to gauge some of the user’s physical and behavioral facets to serve up ads that may better appeal and contextually relevant.

The ad delivery system would start by compiling a “baseline mood profile” against which it can compare your future moods. Information that might be captured would include your heart rate, blood pressure, adrenaline level, perspiration rate, body temperature, vocal expression, and even your facial expression. The time of day and your current location may also be incorporated to associate those factors with your various moods.The system would then select a specific type of ad based on your current mood and other criteria. As one example listed in the patent application, certain ads might be sent to someone with the following characteristics: gender, male; age, 19-24; location, Northern California or New York City; mood, happy.

Apple's filing describes the system as

It may not be exactly music to advocates of privacy – who could be considered to getting creep-ed out, but this is one exiting dimension which could do a new tthing to the world of ads…

The Mac turns 30. And here’s what the history is like.

Posted in Device Platforms by Manas Ganguly on January 25, 2014

The Macintosh is credited as the machine which transformed home computing and was at the core of the rivalry between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. However the softer aspect that is often lost in translation is the impact that Mac as a design concept had on Apple’s devices, designs and interfaces – it set the gold standard in design expression. Accompanying the launch, was the hugely famous big-budget Ridley Scott-directed commercial called 1984 – named so because of its depiction of a grey, soulless, totalitarian computing environment where one woman dares to break the mould – it promised to change the world forever.

This weekend, the iconic Mac will celebrate its 30th birthday. A quick Look back at the Mac and its Impact on History.

Macintosh 128K

Macintosh 128K

Simply as the Apple Macintosh but has since come to be remembered as the Macintosh 128K. The Macintosh 128K might not have been a perfect machine but its importance as the first computer to offer normal people an acceptable and affordable graphics experience is utterly undeniable, along with its status as the first in a line that’s still with us today.

Macintosh II

Macintosh II (1987)

The Macintosh II was a series of computers that represented the very best in what Apple could make in its first golden age. Unlike the 128K, the 512K and the hugely popular Macintosh SE/30, the Mac IIs were modular machines in the true desktop computer sense. Unlike the previous all-in-one devices, you had to buy a monitor separately and you were welcome to expand and add on hardware as you pleased.

They were the first Macs to support colour screens and the first to cope with high resolutions, meaning that you could really see the effects of all that superior graphics processing with which the Apple Macintosh had made its name.

These bumpy beige boxes might not be much of a looker to our modern eyes but they were some of the most powerful personal computers of their day. In processing terms, they had the grand elegance of what the 128K had always been born to have.

Powerbook 100

PowerBook 100 (1991)

In May 1990, Microsoft released Windows 3.0 to the world. It was the first of the company’s operating systems to be graphically based. It was the same black and white command line system of DOS but dressed up and represented in a pictorial way that made sense to normal people for the very first time. What’s more, it came on IBM and other Intel-based machines that were far cheaper to own than the Apple Macs.

Apple was forced to diversify to survive and its greatest achievement in that period of its history has to be the PowerBooks: miniaturised and actually portable Macintosh computers. The company had a crack at the idea with the Macintosh Portable in 1989, but it was the PowerBook 100 that got it right. It was the first true Macintosh laptop.

The PowerBook 100 came with a built-in trackball and space on the chassis for users to rest their palms – two areas that any portable PCs at the time had entirely missed. By the second generation there were even stereo speakers, colour screens and Ethernet sockets too.

Running all the way from 1991 until 2006, it remains one of the longest-serving lines of Macintosh computers and, in all likelihood, an important the precursor to a laptop you own today.

Power Macintosh 6100

Power Macintosh 6100 (1994)

Another success story in what were the darker days for Apple was the Power Macintosh. In 1993, Intel introduced the Pentium processor as the successor for the 486 CPU for Windows PCs, and the advantage that it gave over the old Motorola chips at the heart of the Macintosh threatened to flatten Apple.

After rejecting Intel’s advances, Apple funded and designed its own microprocessor known as the PowerPC. It brought the computers coming out of Cupertino (home to Apple’s HQ, in California) back up to speed with the competition and it was the Power Macintosh 6100, with its affectionately dubbed ‘pizza box’ design, that was the first machine to hold one at its core. It was fast, upgradeable and it allowed users to run all kinds of software the like of which they’d never dreamed before. It might not have changed the game, but it certainly kept Apple in it.

Macintosh Tam

Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (1997)

To celebrate the 20th birthday of the company, Apple came up with the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh in 1997. Known to those who owned one as the Tam, it was something of a disaster.

It featured a 12.1-inch LCD screen, a 2GB hard drive and a custom-made Bose 2.1 sound system with satellite speakers and a sub-woofer built in. The trouble is that it was something of a design mess and absurdly expensive given that the Power Macintosh 6500 had similar specs but was $6,000 less expensive.

At the beginning of its year-long life-cycle, the Tam retailed for $9,000. By the end, it had been cut to just $1,995. So, why was this an important Macintosh? Well, because it just might have been the moment that someone on the board decided to give Steve Jobs a call and tell him it was time to come home.

iMac G3

iMac G3 (1998)

In 1997 Steve Jobs returned to Apple and with the British industrial designer Jonathan Ive in charge of the look and feel of its machines, Apple’s dream team was finally in place. Their first project was the Apple iMac G3. It was an all-in-one machine, just like the original Macintosh 128K, and is probably the most important Apple computer of all time.

Up until the G3, all computers were ugly. No one expected anything different. The brightly coloured, translucent plastics that came in a choice of 13 designs, most famously Bondi Blue, was so beyond what everyone else was creating in the computing world at the time that it’s one of the real occasions that can truly be described as a paradigm shift.

With the iMac G3 came the first of those white-background Apple adverts that are still part of the company’s sales patter today. This wasn’t just a Macintosh, nor simply the turning point. It was the moment that Apple became cool.

iBook G3 Snow

iBook G3 “Snow” (2001)

While the PowerBook series was seminal to Macintosh laptop history, they still look rather ludicrous in comparison to what we’d carry around today. It required the iBook line to turn up for us to get an idea of the Apple-filled future that lay ahead.

Arriving in 1999 with the rather bizarre clamshell iBook G3 – it was essentially the Bondi Blue iMac G3 squashed flat – the idea was to create a range of laptop computers for the entry-level and consumer markets; laptops for real people.

It took until the 2001 Snow edition for Apple to ditch the bulky build and extraneous carry handle and come up with recognisably portable solution that was now 30% lighter and took up half the volume of the previous model.

With more USBs and connectors than ever before, this was pure Macintosh convenience of the type we all expect modern laptops to be. It was a true answer to a genuine computing need. It was a laptop at which no one would snigger.

iMac 65

iMac G5

The iMac G3 was important. It was. It was the turning point, it was colourful, it was cool. But if you really want Apple style on a plate, if you want a piece of industrial design so very rooted at the heart of what this company is all about, then you need look no further than the Apple iMac G5.

It was this machine that ditched the idea of a computer altogether and it’s so very bang-on a piece of industrial design that it’s still the basic face of iMacs 10 years on. The G5 got rid of the desktop box and hid everything into the screen. For the first time, all your needed was your monitor and a keyboard and mouse to go with it.

It became the gold standard of desktop PCs and every other company wanted to make something like it. They still do.

Macbook Pro

MacBook Pro (2006)

There are a lot of reasons that make the MacBook Pro both classic and important. It remains very much the laptop of choice for those that can afford it. From its beginnings in 2006 to its Retina Display present, it has provided a compelling combination of processing power, portability and stylish good looks.

Whether you work in technology, the movie industry or you just fancy sitting in Starbucks and looking at Facebook, the MacBook Pro is that one that lets you do it all. From video editing to sending emails, with this machine you’ve got it all covered.

The reason it makes it into our list, however, is because it was the first Macintosh computer to run an Intel chip. Sure, the PowerPC plugged the gaps but teaming up with the king company of microprocessors is what cemented the Mac’s unbeatable status in the modern era. It represented a great unification – great for the two companies and great for the consumer.

MacBook Air

MacBook Air (2008)

It took years for the Windows-based PC world to come up with anything to compete with the MacBook Air. Apple proclaimed it to be the thinnest in the world when it was first held aloft in 2008 and, even though its tapering design caused some disputes on that fact, what nobody can deny is that it heralded the dawn of yet another era in computing – the ultraportables.

Having decided that tiny netbooks were not actually what people wanted to use for their computing needs while on the move, Jobs and his pals were able to keep that full keyboard size and ease of use by creating something that was convenient to carry around thanks to its relatively small weight and super-slim lines. What they came up with was the 13-inch MacBook Air – the beginnings of a Macintosh line that still exists today.

Six years on and you can pick up thinner and lighter Windows-running Ultrabook laptops for a fraction of the cost and, indeed, the MacBook Pro line has become so small itself that we might see the end of the Airs in the next year or two. Nonetheless, the MacBook Air will be remembered as the one that was bold enough to rid itself of an optical disc drive and slim enough to fit into a Manila envelope.

MacBook Pro 2013

Mac Pro (2013)

With both the iMac and MacBook lines all but perfected, there had been little going on in the way of obvious innovation with regard to Cupertino hardware for a few years. Perhaps it had something to do with getting over the sad passing of Steve Jobs 2011 but it went against the grain for a company like Apple. Sure, we saw some Retina Displays and a change from white polycarbonate to a unibody aluminium but the core of the older designs had yet to move on.

It took the arrival of the Mac Pro desktop computer in 2013 for things to get exciting again. It’s hard to know quite how significant this Macintosh will be, given that it’s only just gone on sale, but the look and the features have all the hallmarks of a classic.

The 2013 model shifts things from a desk-hogging tower to a sleek cylinder the size of a cocktail ice bucket. There are enough ports to power as many 4K TVs and displays as you can find and more dual graphics card, quad-core CPUs and insane additional amounts of RAM to keep it relevant for many years to come.

What’s more, the whole design is set around a unified thermal core that draws cool air up through the bottom of the Pro with a single fan of such efficient performance that you’ll barely hear it at all.

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The dawn of post PC!

Posted in Device Platforms by Manas Ganguly on January 10, 2014

The PC is dead and this year’s CES proves it- BBC’s Timothy Lee.

Going by the product roadmap declarations from Intel, the surprising popularity of Chromebooks, the visions of augmented reality and touch based future interfaces and (the old news) Google Glass – computing is evolving and the PC is a dead generation.

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The general-purpose PC became the dominant computing paradigm of the late 20th Century because computing hardware was too expensive and cumbersome for most families to own more than one or two of them. But processing power is getting smaller and cheaper, while display technologies with flexible and durable screens are getting more flexible and powerful. The PC was the jack of all trades, but master of none. In contrast, special-purpose designs can be tailor-made for a specific application. As those devices become smaller, cheaper, and more versatile, the cost, size, and complexity of conventional PCs will be more of a turnoff for ordinary users. Right now, no one is clambering for computers in their wristwatches or tables. But the combination of tiny, cheap computer chips and increasingly strong and flexible displays will eventually mean powerful computational capabilities being integrated into a wide variety of household objects.

Obviously, PCs won’t go away completely. After all, IBM still has a thriving business selling mainframes.Also, if you want to do serious spreadsheet wrangling, photo editing, or software development, a Chromebook or a Tablet probably won’t cut it. But most people have no interest in doing those things outside the office. If, like millions of people, you mostly want to check Facebook, read your email, and watch YouTube videos, then a ChromeBook works just fine. And ChromeBooks aren’t only cheaper, they also avoid many of the hassles and pitfalls—software updates, malware, baffling error messages—of Windows PCs. Most users don’t actually need all the features of a standard PC, and for them the extra complexity just means more headaches. Hard-core gamers have long been a key market for PCs. Gaming consoles aren’t new, of course, but the most sophisticated and powerful games have always relied on the superior horsepower of a full-scale PC. However PC Gaming gaint Valve, unveiled a line of special-purpose gaming devices designed to entice PC gamers into the living room. These machines should have enough computing power to satisfy even the most demanding gamers.

The key concern here for PC is that most of the vertical innovation is happening out of PC. This then is the era when the Consumer innovation on PC as a major platform is over.

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The market for plain-vanilla cameras is over

Posted in Device Platforms by Manas Ganguly on January 2, 2014

If you thought, it is the feature phone segment that is loosingheavily to Smartphones, you should sample the Click and Shoot sub Rs.10K compact cameras. I had earlier covered fall in worldwide sales numbers of Point & Shoot Cameras 6 months back.

Even big guns (Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, Priyanka Chopra) and high budget, high decibel TV advertisements have been able to turn the tide for the Sub 10K Compact camera (also known as Point & Shoot Cameras) Category. Reeling under the relentless onslaught of Smartphones, the demand for the category is drying up and how.

Camera vs Smartphones

Smartphones trounce the need for Point & Shoot Cameras on 2 fronts
1. Very Elaborate proce options
2. Instant connectivity and social sharing

Pic Courtesy: Economic Times

Pic Courtesy: Economic Times

Digital SLRs in the same space have grown by 30% in 2013. What is interestingto note is the sudden death in the numbers in the category across all major players.

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Driven by a narrowing price gap, Smartphones begin to penetrate deep into Indian markets

Posted in Device Platforms, Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on December 29, 2013
India: Smartphone contribution to Mobile phones sales and %age

India: Smartphone contribution to Mobile phones sales and %age

1. Smartphone shipments to India exceeded 10 million units mark for the first time in Q3, 2013. For Q3, 2013, the numbers stood at 11.10mln mark.
2. The import numbers of smartphones to India have increased by 192% (Q3 2013 versus Q3 2012)
3. Coupled with the fall of volumes in featurephone shipments by a factor 25.5% (QoQ 2013 versus 2012), Smartphones now contribute 21% of the total mobile shipments in the country
4. Mobile phone markets in India have moved past the historic highs of 58-59 mln units/quater(Q3/Q4 2012).

Smartphones have now acquired the critical mass and threshold pricing (~Rs.3500-5000) to capture mass markets in India substituting the feature phone. The change agents for this rapid shift of consumer preference towards Smartphones have been the narrowing price gap between feature phones and smartphones.

Correspondingly, the number of internet users on handhelds (Smartphones) is expected to grow exponentially as per a recent IAMAI report which pegs a 20-30 million increase in internet mobile user base every quarter.

Indians on Internet

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64 Bit Chips: How Apple out-smarted Qualcomm and Samsung!

Posted in Device Platforms, New Technologies by Manas Ganguly on December 17, 2013

Innovation is the name of the game and none understands this better than Apple. So just when their device and design innovation was hitting the plateau – they got the other enablers firing. The one being discussed here is Apple’s 64 bit A7 micro-processor.

The industry standard in micro-processor is a 32 Bit thingie – which plays in all smartphones. A 64-bit processor handles data in bigger chunks than 32-bit processors, so it can get jobs done faster. PCs have had 64-bit chips for a while, but until Apple introduced the iPhone 5s in September, nobody had put one in a smartphone.

While both Samsung and Qualcomm, both key players in the Android eco-system have the 64 Bit micro-processor in their roadmaps with a Q1 2014 and Q2 2014 time frame of launch – Apple’s Q3 launch of the A7 – puts Apple ahead of its rivals – in terms of perfecting the chip and rubbing off the rough edges. In the past, the iPhone was zippy not because it boasted a super-powerful processor, but because of the way Apple integrated the whole system — hardware and software — and the fact that Apple could tightly control how developers wrote code for the iPhone. An analogy would be a sports car that manages to be fast with a small engine because it is light, well-engineered, and has a great suspension. But now Apple can also claim an advantage in raw horsepower. The new 64-bit A7 chip is the smartphone equivalent of a big V12 engine.

Many in the industry do not still behold the importance of 64bit microprocessor. If the convergence industry is venturing into uncharted lands such as wearables – with different other functions such as Body monitoring or Augmented Reality applications, a higher order chipset will then become the next essential. Apple with its iWatch sees this as the promised land and the 64bit chip as the deliverance and has made the jump. It would have a 1 yr experential advantage with this 64 Bit chip when compared to others. Deep down, I am sure that a 128 Bit Chip could also be in the Horizon.

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

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