Ronnie05's Blog

Should Android be tentative about wearables and vice versa?

Posted in Body Hacking & Quantified Self by Manas Ganguly on March 15, 2014

A few days back Google released an Android software developer kit for wearables in a move that should lead to smartwatch and other gear. What remains to be seen is how well Android can adapt to the small screen.

In an announcement that came at the SXSW Sundar Pichai, who heads Google Chrome and Android efforts said he wants to connect to a bevy of sensors and wearables with Android. Google’s Android is already moving into automobiles. Android has proved it can move to larger screens. From the smartphone, Android has hit tablets, TVs and even PCs. However, the small screen may be trickier—assuming some of these wearables and sensor-first devices even have screens. Here’s a look at Android’s key challenges as they relate to the wearable market:

1. Wearable computing operating systems need to be silently working in the background – effortlessly and elegantly. Android’s Achilles Heel is the working in the background bit.
2. The Wearables ecosystem is a smarter one having learnt its lessons from Smartphones. Already Intel and Samsung have upped their game and presence. OEMs this time may not want to play all of it into one corner.Android means a race to the bottom for hardware makers.
3. Its hard to be one OS for all screens – the OS must have to be lightened considerably especially for wearables. Android could simply be too bulky to be useful in wearable computing.
4. Apps for the wearables will need a serious rethink – especially in the sense that these may not be visible apps or may have to pair devices in groups for serious activity
5. There’s a bit of unease about Google and data. Android in a smartwatch seems like a no brainer since the device to date is merely an extension of the smartphone. However,users may be wary of sharing vital signs with Google and may not want ads and pitches via a wearable. Google is all about the ads and wearable computing can make pitches a bit more freaky.

Sooner than later, these challenges will be overcome by Google, but I’ve been in the tech industry long enough to know that retrofits and alternates don’t always fly. Adapting Android to wearable computing is likely to be harder than it appears on the whiteboard.

Nokia after Nokia: Rise of the phoenix!

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on November 22, 2013

Nokia’s not finished, Nokia’s device division is going out with a bang, and while most view Nokia as a device-less company once the Microsoft deal closes in Q1 2014, this post delves into the other halves of Nokia and the tricks up its sleeve.

Microsoft paid $7.2bln for the Nokia devices and services portfolio – expected to close by Q1, 2014. However the other “not so significant” parts of Nokia could provide the value up end in the next 2-5years horizon.

While Nokia hasn’t really created any splash around its Lumia range of smartphones, but it is in the process of diversifying portfolio to phablets, tablets and wearables (smartwatch). Wearables alone are expected to number 485million by 2015. However, analysts and industry mavens are betting their monies on Nokia diversifying its portfolio from phones to “any communication” device. This includes amongst others cloud operated devices, sensors and receivers powering the Internet of things.

However it is the alternate portfolio of Nokia that is particularly interesting-

1. Nokia Networks which contributes to 90% of the Nokia (minus devices and services) is a key holder of 4G patents and has been on a comeback trail with associations with Sprint, US Cellular, T Mobile working out post the Nokia takeover of the better half. Nokia Networks also has a good patent portfolio in the 5G space and is expected to be a network driver in this technology.

2. Here Maps – is possibly the unsung Hero in the Nokia portfolio. What started as acquisition of Navteq has ended up in a strong suit of solutions around Mapping- It allows Offline use, Augmented Reality wrappers and a good accuracy (compared to Apple atleast). However, it is Here Map’s telemetry portfolio that is the strongest asset – Here Maps can leverage a robust and long standing relationships with key car makers to push the solutions to driverless cars. Here maps is quite clearly a very strong alternative to Google maps.

3. Finally, Nokia has a good portfolio of patents. Nokia has allowed Samsung to continue licensing its patents for 5 years (2010-15), with a settlement amount to be determined by arbitration in 2015. Nokia will also receive additional compensation beginning in 2014. Given the number of smartphones that Samsung is selling, there is a significant windfall from this settlement that is due to Nokia. Nokia’s venture into 5G technology, self-driving cars, Graphene, and its current core holding of essential 4G patents should ensure royalty fees from many technology companies for years to come.

Bottomline – Nokia after Nokia looks to be a great series of propositions. Now then, do we expect the rise of the phoenix?

Eastern Philosophies and the Future of Wearable technology!

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems, Device Platforms by Manas Ganguly on June 3, 2013

Google Glasses superimposes a layer of information over the field of vision – popping out relevant (ad supported) tidbits of information on the Go. But is that all it is to it?
Whats more to the Apple iWatch apart from all the fancy and possibly a Nike Fuel styled Pedometer and calorie counter?

ying-yang

What we see to Google Glasses and Apple iWatch may be the beginning to something more holistic and internal to the user. Eastern cultures call it Qi/Chi (Chinese), Prana/Chit (Hindu), Lung (Tibetan Buddhism); Western cultures simply call it “Life Force”. Wearable computing in its core could be a powerful complement to this life force – whether it is Pulse/ Systole and Diastole or it is Pupillary response/Miosis and Mydriasis or the greek concept of Kairos (the qualitative aspect of time)

03062013

Reaction to external stimulus is much more sure, subtle in measurement of these body functions and thus can be the platform to much more immersive and persuasive experience and engagement. Apple is ideally positioned on the wrist to read Systolic/ Diastolic pressures and the Google Glass with a few changes can be positioned to read and record pupillary movements (or who knows- the pineal gland?). Samsung is already reading movements of the eye basis which they are powering the scrolling functions in its latest range of devices.

Juxtaposing subtle body reactions to the construct of profile, context, time, location, online habits etc – could be a very powerful business driver at a very basic level. It could open up health, wellness, diagnostics and other medical/ wellness segments.Apple and Google are racing ahead of times – to position themselves at the intersection of the external and internal worlds of users. The focus with wearable devices is to seek and study subtle reactions of the body and build the next generation of applications and businesses which is more internal to the user. The ability to create experiences based on the life force of the consumer is possibly the determinant of the future.

%d bloggers like this: