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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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China tips it in TDD LTE’s favour

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on February 17, 2014

China recently allocated TD LTE licenses to its carriers on the 2300MHz band. This is a significant event in the technology life cycle of LTE as TD LTE develops as mainstream standard and is set to massify on the global scale. The debate between TD and FD LTE has hovered around the lines of GSM versus CDMA and the emergence of one technology as the dominant standard. However, with technology and eco-system maturities, TD LTE emergence alongside FD LTE is now seen as a complementing effort and effect. This would create technology inter-operability between TD and FD LTE.

Why is the China LTE launch key to LTE eco-system world over?

China LTE implementation is all about scale – China Mobile for instance has deployed 200K BTSs for the LTE pilot covering 500 million people initially. That’s the size of the whole of Europe put together. The number of 4G base stations is expected to increase to 500K by the end of 2014. In addition, China Mobile is set to offer more than 200 different 4G-compatible handsets this year, including a handset priced at CNY 1,000 ($165) and a number of self-branded 4G devices. Apple’s iPhone portfolio has also recently been made available to China Mobile customers. Similarly, China Telecom plans to launch entry-level 4G smartphones at similar prices to its rival in the first half of the year before introducing mid-range and high-end models before year-end. By this time it expects to have 60,000 4G base stations. In contrast, China Unicom confirmed in December 2013 that although it has been issued a licence for TD-LTE (like its rivals), but it remains focused on running the majority of its 4G network via FDD-LTE – for which it is yet to receive a license. It is likely we will see a rather slower start to the 4G era for China Unicom.

China mobile connections by technology generation, 2000–2020

China mobile connections by technology generation, 2000–2020

With such large-scale rollouts underway, China Mobile and China Telecom will have the fastest initial 4G migration rates seen outside of South Korea, with close to 10% of their combined total connections migrating to 4G by the end of this year. According to new GSMA Intelligence, take-up of 4G-LTE in China will happen twice as fast as the earlier move to 3G HSPA networks. By contrast, it took twice as long for China Mobile and China Telecom to migrate their 2G customers (on GSM and CDMA2000 1x networks, respectively) on their 3G networks (TD-SCDMA and CDMA2000 EV-DO) following launch. For example, it took China Mobile 14 quarters to migrate 10% of its 2G connections base to 3G, but it will take approximately half that time to reach the same milestone in the move from 3G to 4G. Subscribers are estimated at 900 million 4G connections in the China by the end of 2020, up from around 100 million this year.

It is important to note that FDD and TDD LTE are two flavours of what is essentially the same standard, marking a different situation to when two technology standards (GSM/HSPA and CDMA) were competing for 2G and 3G hegemony. The availability of dual-mode FDD-TDD chipsets help mobile operators running either LTE variant to offer a wider choice of attractive 4G devices. Device manufacturers can therefore generate greater economies of scale given that dual-mode FDD-TDD chipsets remove the need to create multiple variants, serving to lower costs. Currently TD LTE accounts just over one in 40 LTE connections globally. However, China Mobile, China Telecom, Reliance Jio and Airtel could alter these TD LTE subscriber numbers by a wide margin. Even though there could be more instances of FD LTE launches by operators, number of subs on TD LTE networks could outweigh those on FD networks.

Of body hacking and quantified self

Posted in Body Hacking & Quantified Self, New Technologies by Manas Ganguly on February 9, 2014

Body hacking conjures up images of horror slasher movies (Jason, Freddy) with gruesome and grizzly murders every alternate minute. However body hacking today is a far more engaging activity with more salutary and healthy living effects.

With the advent of the smartphone, many Americans have grown used to the idea of having a computer on their person at all times. Wearable technologies like Google’s Project Glass are narrowing the boundary between us and our devices even further by attaching a computer to a person’s face and integrating the software directly into a user’s field of vision. The paradigm shift is reflected in the names of our dominant operating systems. Gone are Microsoft’s Windows into the digital world, replaced by a union of man and machine: the iPhone or Android.

Body Hacking thus is the union of machines and body – machines as a part & extension of the body and its features, organs that help humans do more efficient or target oriented tasks than was “humanly” possible. Now then, there are different levels of body hacking and this blpog will refer to the casual level of body hacking where in this pursuit is more of a fitness frame than others. Thus Body hacking is about putting a number to everything that is being done.

This includes how much energy is burnt per activity, intensity of workout, how much we eat, depth and patterns in sleep, steps we take, fitness milestones and more. Most of these things can be charted, compared and recorded, shared, challenged, co-worked post quantification. This can be a true motivator to develop new habits and break away from old ones – a tool to re-invent oneself.

Presenting a few relevant options and devices of body hacking relevant and available currently:

Body Hacking and Quantified Self

Mr. Nadella: can you define that ONE BIG THING for Microsoft? (please)

Posted in Uncategorized by Manas Ganguly on February 7, 2014
Nadella needs to define Microsoft's core in a rapidly changing and altering technology landscape.

Nadella needs to define Microsoft’s core in a rapidly changing and altering technology landscape.

At a time when Google steps out of the hardware business, Microsoft steps in. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s incoming chief executive, faces some urgent questions: Does the Nokia deal still make sense? And how does Microsoft expect to survive, let alone prosper, in a cut throat hardware market where Google is giving up?

Windows and Nokia marriage makes sense in combining hardware, software and appware – but Nadella and Microsoft are 4 years too late. In an email to Microsoft employees on February 4, his first day as chief executive, Nadella said, “Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.” It’s hard to imagine how Microsoft could be “mobile and cloud-first” without mobile. Does mobile necessarily have to be owning a mobile company?

The basic problem with Microsoft is not technology – but choice and the effects of scale. Android had an opportune entry when Smartphones were gathering momentum and Android took the game away from every one – Symbian, Apple, Blackberry and Microsoft. Now with the effects of scale – Android is the best suited for low end smartphones where as others are still planning forays into $50 smartphones. The basic problem for Microsoft is that Android has won the smartphone war. Not withstanding the din of the third eco-system, Android has taken it away. Today Messrs Brin and page are not worried about Android on smartphones, that is a default arrangment – they are looking at Android in Cars, Android in Glasses, Android in the toaster, fridge – Android as the enabler to Internet of things.

That in sense and effect is the crux of Microspoft’s problem – in a post PC world, where devices are increasingly non- enterprise – they have lost their raison d’etre. Google has successfully migrated itself from Search to the OS synonymous with all things internet. Apple is very clearly the best in terms of combining hardware, OS-ware and App-ware. Come to think of it Microsoft is missing a very clear proposition like Google or Apple. It has enterprise, it has cloud, it has search, it has some gaming, it has a mobile OS, it has a hardware company, it has many things – but it doesnt have the ONE BIG THING. The one big thing from which the future roadmap follows – it is key that Mr. Nadella defines that ONE BIG THING – and creates that. So long, Microsoft continues to be a relic of the past – a jack of many spaces, and the master on none.

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OTT versus Operator: Collaborate or Compete or …?

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on February 4, 2014
OTT versus Operator from Manas Ganguly

The fight between the OTT and the operator is all set for the operator to loose. As the Vibers of the world eat into voice revenue and the WhatsApps of the world eat into messaging pie, there is little that the operator can do in the short and medium term to turn the tides. The OTT operators as well have the classic monetization problem – Monetizing an OTT service is easier said than done.

But from the operator perspective, Rich Content suit of solutions is the key – that bridges media, messaging, voice and content – but building this up is a time consuming activity and will require operators to fundamentally redefine the business models for the telecom operators.

One way or the other – short term, medium term and long term- the operators will blled revenues before being able to re-capitulate on their suite of solutions.

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2013: India Smartphone Markets

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on February 1, 2014

Narrowing differences in the price bands of smartphones and feature phones, and consumer shift to larger screen devices is leading to massive increase in smartphone shipments in Indian context.

IDC
While, overall mobile phone shipments rose 18% to ~ 257 million units in 2013 from 218 million units in the 2012
The growth was powered by smartphones tearing down at 229% growth with a 44million CY 2013 shipment number
20% of these smartphones were the 5” phablet form factor
The 2nd half of the year saw a 60% groundswell in terms of smartphone shipment numbers
The roll of honour/market shares:
IDC

CMR
Overall mobile phone shipments reported at a minor deviation from IDC and reported at 247.2 million units as against 219 million in 2012
Smartphones contribution to 41.1 million units with 65.8% smartphones being 3G enabled
Overall contribution of smartphones to mobile phone volumes is 16.6%
What CMR also states is that 2013 is the foirst year when feature phone shipments shrunk by -.2% indicating the slow slide of the category – with growth being anchored by smartphones
The roll of honour/market shares
CMR

Network Scalability: The challenges from an Indian perspective

Posted in Business Cases, Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on January 31, 2014

This was presented by me to Accenture on 31st January 2014 and defines the challenges in terms of technologies, standards, networks and the investments and costings underneath.

Network scalability – The Indian perspective from Manas Ganguly

The pace of innovation is outstripping the RoI recovery cycles for Telcos worldwide and then again, there is no single standard and one unified eco-system. Betting and hedging on future is a difficult task for even the most seasoned Telcos.

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.

apple-ads-mood-patent-filing_441x406

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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