Ronnie05's Blog

Is Google ace’ing Apple in the race for tomorrow’s Technology leadership?

Posted in Uncategorized by Manas Ganguly on January 28, 2013

If you are not doing something crazy, you are doing the wrong things
Google CEO Larry Page

However what is so interesting in the convergence space is the approach that the two giants – Apple and Google are taking to the leadership of the technology slugfest. While Apple fiddles with its 7 year old Apple TV inching it to perfection and there is some news about Apple delivering an iWatch towards wearable computing – Google seems to be focussing on Project Glass and its Driverless Cars as the prime future projects. From the current state of affairs – it looks like while Apple fiddles over TV and iWatch – Driverless Cars and Project Glass might be the key for Google to Vault and Ace Apple.

Whats emminent in the next 3-5 year horizon is the paassng over of the Smartphone age substituted by more Always on, Real time Computing.

Apple moves in with Qualcomm for Chipsets for A5 processors!

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on January 15, 2011

We have all heard about Verizon iPhone 4 launch this February. What this does to competition is a point in debate. I had stated that the Verizon deal will leap frog Apple over the Android-RIM lead positions. Canalys on the other hand predicts that iPhone Verizon will not really derail the Android Juggernaut.

Verizon iPhone 4 will be using a Qualcomm chipset for its CDMA radio (with no GSM capabilities) as opposed to the Infineon versions seen in the GSM iPhone 4. This isn’t much of a surprise by itself, but it paves the way for a major shift from Apple.

Come April and we will see the thinner, sleeker tablet will sport a new screen technology that is akin to (though not the same as) the iPhone 4’s Retina Display and will be “super high resolution”. The device will remain at 10 inches but will now feature both front and rear cameras (not a huge surprise), and… there’s an SD slot.

However, whats more interesting is the stuff under the hood. The new iPad will feature a dual GSM / CDMA chipset produced by Qualcomm and will mark Apple’s shift away from Infineon as its chipset maker to Qualcomm for all of its mobile devices. It’s not clear if the chipset being used will be based on the company’s EV-DO / HSPA Gobi variety or an entirely new design. Presumably, the strength of the new dual-mode chipset is that it will allow both Verizon and AT&T to offer the iPad simultaneously. Come mid 2011,and the iPhone 5 will feature a Qualcomm chipset that does triple duty as the CDMA / GSM / UMTS baseband processor. Apple is also at work on the second generation of its redesigned Apple TV, which will include that new A5 processor. It’s likely that the A5 will make it into the iPad 2 as well.

This then is complete move away from Infineon to Qualcomm that’s truly notable — marking one of the biggest shifts in suppliers and technology since the advent of the original iPhone.

Microsoft attempts to enter living room space with Windows Set-top box

Posted in TV and Digital Entertainment by Manas Ganguly on January 5, 2011

Not so long ago, practically all of Microsoft’s profits came from selling Windows and Office. Everything else, including Zune, Xbox and all that it does online, barely was break even for MS. However, with new age computing taking over (tablets and smartphones), Microsoft has not been able to hold the sway and its cash streams are challenged. That is where Microsoft needs to look at domains beyond computing to make money.

2011 could be the most significant year in Microsoft’s history. Sample this:
A year and a half after launch, Bing has started giving Google some serious competition in Search
WinMo resuscitates itself and impresses to gain ground on the iPhone and Android
• This CES, Microsoft will make its first serious move into the connected TV space
• Windows 7 moves into the tablet space.
• Then there is Kinect, which is pretty amazing, going way past the cool intuitive approach of the Nintendo Wii with the simple controller by getting rid of the controller entirely.
• There are those who are betting in favour of Windows 8 action and perhaps an early look at wave 5 for Windows Live, but that is slightly overenthusiastic.

Action for MS starts at CES today. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has been a big hit for entertainment and online video, and Microsoft has been trying to court more media companies to the Xbox. However in CES, MS is going to unveil operating system for connected TVs and set-top boxes. This appears to be the company’s response to Apple TV and Google TV. Microsoft has for long cherished the ambition of being able to enter the living room space and its earlier attempts haven’t been so successful. MS’s list of failures in the living room domain includes Web TV, Microsoft TV, Media Room, Ultimate TV and more.

What is expected at CES is that MS would showcase a stripped down version of its embedded device software, overlaid with the Windows Media Center interface, with media streaming and remote-control capabilities.

While the $200 price is a little steep for a Windows set top box, the tag finds comfort in the fact that Windows has some experience in polished and familiar TV-program guide that makes it easy to blend and navigate both online and broadcast content

Microsoft will also be spending a lot of money advertising itself as a powerful player in the consumer space this year, but will those ad dollars gain Microsoft some traction as a “cool” company? So far the “cool” still belongs to Apple and Google, but with the right new products (and those ad dollars) we could begin to see a shift in perception for Microsoft as a consumer company.

Apple versus the Collective Enterprise a.k.a The Open Source

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on October 23, 2010

In the early 1980s, the Macintosh faced an onslaught of competition from an army of PC makers whose products ran Microsoft software. The fight did not end well for Apple. In a few years, Microsoft all but sidelined Apple, and the company almost went out of business. Can Apple, which insists on tight control of its devices, win in an intensely competitive market against rivals that are openly licensing their software to scores of companies? It faces that challenge not only in phones, but also in the market for tablet computers, where the iPad is about to take on a similar set of rivals.

For Apple which has lived the part of the bitter PC history, the stakes are huge, as the mobile computing market could prove to be larger than the PC market ever was. Having a tightly controlled ecosystem, which is what Apple has, is a large short-term advantage and a large long-term disadvantage. The competition this time is more formidable: Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry and (even) Nokia. For now, the smart phone market is growing so rapidly that the rise of Android has not necessarily been at the expense of the iPhone. That will change as the market matures.

Apple’s stock has soared nearly 50 percent this year, and touched all-time high of $314.74. But the rise of Android has been both sudden and unexpected, and its ascent highlights some of the advantages of an open approach. There is much more rapid innovation taking place in an open environment. For every new version of the iPhone, Android has 20 odd smartphones ready to challenge Apple’s leadership mantle. That leaves little room for error at Apple. The company must continue to create hit products, as a single misstep could give Android and other rivals an opportunity to make inroads and steal market share.

Also, as the number of people with Android phones grows, Android will grow more attractive for app developers. For now, Apple’s App Store, with more than 250,000 applications, enjoys a large advantage over the Android Market, which has about 80,000. And those numbers don’t tell the whole story. Apps made for the iPhone tend to be of better quality, are more frequently downloaded and on average are more profitable for developers. But that edge may not last, especially as many developers fret about Apple’s tight control over the App Store.

While the naysayers stack up, the view isn’t as dooming as it seems for Apple. For starters, Apple is the richest company in the technology industry. With $45.8 billion in cash, it can afford to invest heavily in research and development. Apple’s large early lead in devices and developers puts it in a much stronger position than it ever had in the PC market. And because it is one of the largest purchasers of Flash memory, which is one of the most expensive components of a smart phone, it has enormous economies of scale,

What’s more, the iPhone isn’t really fighting alone. The two other devices that run Apple’s iOS mobile software, the iPad and the iPod Touch, further strengthen the iPhone, because consumers like being able to access the content and applications they bought on iTunes and the App Store on multiple devices. Apple has sold more than 120 million iOS devices.

And while Apple’s personal computers were by and large technically superior to Microsoft-based PCs, they were also far more expensive. In the smart phone market, carriers, who play a vital role in distribution, have been willing to subsidize the iPhone so that its cost to consumers is roughly the same as that of comparable Android phones.

Bottomline: Apple may lose its overall leadership, but maintain a share of the market that could easily be in the 25 percent to 30 percent range at a very profitable level. Even that is enough to sustain a very large and very profitable business.

Apple and the Superman act!

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on October 21, 2010

Apple reported a profit jump of 70% from last year, driven by strong sales of Macintosh computers, iPhones and iPad multimedia devices. This has taken the analysts by surprise who had underpitched on the numbers. The reported net income for the fourth quarter of $4.31 billion or $4.64 per share, compared to $2.53 billion or $2.77 per share for the year-ago quarter. Gross margin for the fourth quarter fell to 36.9% from 41.8% in the prior year quarter, while operating margin for the quarter decreased to 26.8% from 30.1% a year earlier.Net sales for the quarter rose 67% to a record $20.34 billion from $12.21 billion in the same quarter last year. International sales accounted for 57% of the quarter’s revenue. iPhone sales of 14.1 million were up 91 percent year-over-year, handily beating the 12.1 million phones RIM sold in their most recent quarter. Apple sold 3.89 million Macintosh computers during the fourth quarter, up 27% from the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 4.19 million iPads during the fourth quarter, which however, trailed estimates of some analysts who were expecting the company to sell about 4.8 million iPads during the quarter.

The striking thing about Apple’s numbers are that they are consistent northbound. This is perhaps also mirrored by the share prices. Analysts feel that Apple is not out of steam yet and the rise will continue through a good part of 2011. The factors that would aid the growth of Apple in the future 1 year horizon are the following:

1. Apple is looking to increase its distribution and tieing up with operators such as Verizon will only increase momentum of its iPhone sales. Already the iPhone is eating into a disproportionate share of the global smartphone profits.
2. Apple is building huge economies of scale across its iPhone, iPad and iPod and this helps keeping its costs low.
3. Apple is also able to drive consumer usage across various products. However they have kept the platform constant and its 120 million iOS users are a definite lot who keep coming back for more.
4. iPhone drives data traffic and that is sweet music to carriers who are willing to subsidize Apple products so that the user cost is roughly comparable to Android devices.
5. While Apple TV is taking its first steps, the Apple TV along with the iPhone (for smart computing), iPad (The cross between Laptops and Smartphones),iTunes, Music Streaming, Application Store, iOS, iPods (Multimedia devices), Mac Computers are beginning to forge a media network eco-system which fortifies the Apple Media, Web and Mobile proposition in a unique manner. Come to think of it no other competitor comes close to matching Apple’s scale across these range of devices and solutions.

However the question that nags is while the “Walled garden” approach has yielded great results for Apple, will it be enough to fight the “Open Source” juggernaut. Will Individual brilliance continue to overshine the Collective Enterprise-Open Source (Read Google). Sooner or later Apple will be at crossroads to question its Strategic imperatives and Organization philosophy.

The Google-Apple Face-off (Part II): TVs, Music, Social Networks and more

Posted in New Technologies, The Technology Ecosystem by Manas Ganguly on September 13, 2010

Google and Apple have increasingly faced off in consumer electronics and software programs of all stripes. For one thing, there was the surprise revelation of Apple’s Ping last week, a social network all about music that’s integrated with the latest version of iTunes. Google’s plans for a social network of its own are still unclear, though rumors of a “Google Me” service have been around for some months.

There are reports by Reuters that Google is in talks with music labels for a music download store and a digital song locker — space that Apple clearly has a vested interest in.Google has acknowledged that the company did have plans to expand into music but again, the details are not clear.

The only missing piece of the television puzzle is the stuff consumers are most interested in — mainstream content. During the unveiling of the new Apple TV, Steve Jobs said consumers would be able to rent first-run movies for $4.99 or high-definition TV shows for just $0.99, initially just from ABC and Fox.”We think the rest of the studios will see the light and get on board with us pretty soon,” Jobs said. Google has yet to announce content partners, stressing instead the world of free online videos.

Schmidt also said Google would announce partnerships later this year with makers of tablet computers that would use Google’s new Chrome operating system, due to be launched soon, rather than its Android phone software that has been used for mobile devices until now.Google plans to make its Chrome browser, which competes with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox, the center of an operating system that would offer an alternative to Microsoft Windows.

The Google Apple Face-off (Part I): Taking the Web to TVs

Posted in New Technologies, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on September 10, 2010

It’s Apple versus Google in a growing battle for the living room with potential benefits and innovative content for consumers.

Steve Jobs unveiled the revamped Apple TV on September 1st. The move aims to cross the divide between the TV and the PC. Less than a week after Apple’s announcement, Google CEO Eric Schmidt demonstrated a new service designed to do more or less exactly the same thing — and set to hit U.S. living rooms and TV screens this fall. Google’s free service would allow full Internet browsing via the television. Schmidt also declared that Google would work with a variety of programmers and electronics manufacturers to bring this service to consumers. Google also hinted that it would collaborate with content providers but it is very unlikely to venture into actual content production.Manufacturers such as Logitech, Sony and Samsung have already announced that they are looking into or working with the company to develop hardware in time for Google TV.

The competing products from Google and Apple heats up the battle for television advertising, which market analysts that say could be $180 billion globally. Apple’s latest device, a compact box that hooks into TVs and will cost just $99, allows viewers to stream shows and movies that they have rented or downloaded from iTunes. It can access YouTube,Flickr and other sites as well. Google TV will allow viewers to search and watch programs from the Internet and their DVR recordings. Sony TVs and blu-ray players, as well as Logitech TVs, will come with Google TV installed, though a separate stand-alone device will also be available.

Google versus Apple apart, these emerging devices could transform the way users find and watch videos.
Which device will win? It’s anyone’s guess at this point, though the two devices seem to have slightly different slants. If Apple pursues a strategy similar to that behind the iTunes music store, it will partner with all major television providers and bring cheap uniformity — something consumers will love. Google appears to be opting for ubiquity, allowing open access to all Internet content. it’s the same division seen in smartphone platforms from the two companies — and the Android platform has proved wildly popular lately.

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Apple TV:Did it miss a few points?

Posted in New Technologies, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on September 6, 2010

Since its launch in 2006, Apple TV which was the centre of Apple’s living room strategy hasn’t quite been as luminous as some of other Apple products: iPhone, iPod and iPad. Thus, there was a lot expected when Steve Jobs did announcements for Apple TV on 1st September 2010. Strangely and unprecedentedly for his record, Jobs seems to have missed the bus. Putting it a little more positively, the Apple TV unveiled is possibly just the first step and there are some miles for Apple to cover before getting the Apple TV proposition perfect.

The revamped Apple TV is 75% slimmer, higher on features and at a great price point of $99 for a start. It plays Music, Movies, Videos, TV and more through a set top box that is attached to the TV. The thought here was to extend the proposition of the Apple TV on the lines of iTunes and provide Digital Music, Digital Movies, Digital videos on rent basis. The business model contrasts with Purchase basis of the iTunes store. So while the iTunes store is from a audio perspective, the Apple TV would be the complete AV experience.

The Set Top Box connects to the TV through a HDMI and to the Music Device through a Optical Audio and to the Internet through Ethernet Cable, WiFi or Internet Router.

Heres analyzing the Pros and Cons of the Apple TV:

The Bottomline thus is that Apple TV is just about an OK start which is a departure from Apple’s Great products and bumper starts that we are used to. The Journey and Competition is made harder by the Android which also has an enviable record of innovation and consumer centricity. Together Apple and Google now face-off in the space, which would potentially stretch the definition of home definition out of current limits.

The prize at stake: $180 billion TV advertisements space.

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