Ronnie05's Blog

Nokia’s second coming – The Lumia!

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on September 6, 2012

Too often technology is being used to protect old business models rather than unlock new ones. Fortunately for Nokia, it seems to have broken this paradigm as it embarks on a slow climb upward from it Symbian to Microsoft Windows 8 OS. O 5th Septmebre 2012, Nokia went to show the first Windows 8 devices for the record. The event tagline – SwitchtoLumia is very apt, timely and relevant as RIM & some Android users are looking for something different. Unboutedly, iPhone5 will pick up many of the BB/Android dissenters, but the latest Lumia launches by Nokia, gives it a chance – its real one in over 3-4 years.

The success story has rolled over from devices to platform and now on to eco-systems. Devices and apps are only a part of the story. Nokia’s latest efforts with Lumia has shown that it is focusing on the right thing: owning up eco-system and improving service delivery user-experience. Apple still has the big marketing edge as long as it’s the only company to consistently do this and owns end to end delivering the experience – it’s what happens when you control the end to end experience… it does matter. But the good part for Nokia and Microsoft is that they have made a start. Unlike iPhone and iPad, no single product shall define this approach for Nokia/Microsoft –

The good thing for the Nokia- Microsoft duo is that no one will ever confuse Windows Phone with Android or iOS. The challenge is can Nokia and Microsoft explain how different is better. Nokia’s second challenge is to differentiate Nokia devices from other Windows Phones. Samsung has already tried one-upp’ing Nokia by pre-announcing the ACTIV S 5 days before Nokia announced the Lumias.

Nokia has clearly raised the bar in terms of core hardware features. Visible differentiation is there in terms of the device look, finish and feel. On the positioning front, Nokia is betting big on Imaging,Music and Location as core differentiators that can drive adoption. WP8 is the enabler but getting the eco-system to ride on the top and provide key differentials is what’s going to differentiate these devices versus the Android Army. Thats a hell of a ask, with the number of partners involved and the fact that everyone needs to be in sync.

Lumia – the proposition list

Q2, 2012 Tablet Market shares – Strategy Analytics

Posted in Industry updates, Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on July 26, 2012

Strategy Analytics – Global tablet shipments reached 24.9 million units in the second quarter of 2012 up by 67% from 14.9 million in Q2 2011.. Apple rose to 68 percent global market share, having shipped a robust 17.0 million iPads worldwide, its highest level for almost two years.

Apple continued to shrug off the much-hyped threat from Android and the iPad’s global tablet share is at its highest level since Q3 2010.

Android captured 29 percent share of global tablet shipments in Q2 2012, remaining static from 29 percent a year earlier. Global Android tablet shipments grew by more than half to 7.3 million units. Despite high expectations for companies like Amazon, Samsung, Acer and Asus, the Android community has yet to make a serious dent in Apple’s dominance of the tablet market. Unspectacular hardware designs, limited uptake of cellular models and a modest number of tablet-optimized services have been among some of the main reasons for Android’s mixed performance so far.

Microsoft tablets remain niche, but attention is turning to the upcoming Windows 8 launches.

Others such as Blackberry and WebOS seemed to have been consigned to history as the race for Technology leadership narrows down to the triumverate.

 

Microsoft’s platform fragmentation: The impact of V.2

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on July 19, 2012

A difference in V.2 gives insight into the (non) user-centricness of Microsoft

June 20th 2012: Microsoft unveils the Windows 8!

October 26th 2012: Reported Windows 8 commercial launch!

Kudos has to be given for the Windows Phone feature designers and engineers. They created a phone that makes you feel more connected to your friends and family. The Live Tile updates are a small thing but make a huge difference for gleaning information. All that work has been undone by the way Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8.

According to estimates by Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft 7 sold 3.5 million units. And all these 3.5 million users dont get any shot to Windows 8. These 3.5 million users are the real Windows Mavens – a readily available bank of users who had moved to Microsoft 7 inspite of options such as Android and Apple. There are reasons for these 3.5 million to be bitterly dissapointed. There is a reason to think that the choice in purchasing a Windows 7 was in vain.  All they get is a shot at 7.8. The difference of V.2 here is more than just a number – it is an experiential change. It also shows that Microsoft still is all about technology and less considerate of the users and user loyalty.

As defined by Microsoft, Windows Phone 8 encompasses improvements that require better hardware, so old devices will not receive Windows Phone 8. Instead they will get the features compatible with their device and it will be called Windows Phone 7.8. 7.8 is not equal to 8. An engineer would appreciate the transparency. A general consumer will be disappointed. His trust is compromised. Would that be an improvement or platform fragmentation.

It shows that while Microsoft is thinking from a product perspective – putting out an outstanding product in the market, it really understands less of the 3.5 million users who are left out in the cold with only a minor improvisation in Windows 8.

Compare that to Apple, which establishes a general compatibility between its successive versions. What many dont know is while, not every feature in iOSx runs on the older devices, but Apple still calls it iOSx and users are happy that their device is running the latest OS.That is a significant gap illustrating how Apple knows how to present itself to the consumer compared to Microsoft.

So what is the difference between V0.2? Alienating the supporters of Windows  phone 7 instead of cementing their loyalty for Windows Phone 8.

Windows 8: Microsoft’s bet into the computing future

Posted in Mobile Computing, Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on August 30, 2011

What do we make about Windows 8, Microsoft’s biggest Windows refresh since Windows 95. Back then Computers cost a fortune and now… Now, Microsoft wants to update Windows for a consumer technology world that is obsessed with online services and touch-centric devices such as the iPad and Android smartphones.

Here are the 9 features that define the Windows 8 OS, Windows’ bet into the future of computing: Tablets and Smartphones-

• Windows 8 is designed with smartphones and tablets in mind and would run on ARM as well as Intel processors

• It is expected to be designed ground up for the touch interface. Windows 8’s new start screen has large panels that are ideal for touch-screens, but that also can be manipulated by a mouse

• Windows 8 will also have an Apple styled App store

• Windows 8 is expected to drive higher level of service integration between the desktop (Tablet or the smartphone) and Windows online services such as Skydrive, Office 365 and free Office Web Apps

• Expected to support USB 3.0. The USB 3.0 helps with data transfer speeds that are up to 10 times faster than the current USB 2.0 standard, and USB 3.0 also uses less power than its predecessor

• Sports a richer experience Internet Explorer

• HTML and JavaScript will be the primary development language for new Windows 8 apps.

• File management basics such as copy, move, rename, and delete functions, which make up 50 percent of Explorer’s usage in Windows. puts all your basic file management functions into one window instead of having separate windows for each function. This will make it easier and more efficient to handle moving around several large files at once, such as photos and videos.

• Finally from the user perspective, Windows 8 has clubbed the oft repeated actions in file management into intuitive tabs: Home, Share and Views which contextually club actions in and around the browser for more efficient file management, ease of use and intuitive interface usage.

Windows is Dead. Long Live Windows 8!

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems by Manas Ganguly on June 4, 2011

Apart from Kinect there has hardly been a Microsoft product which is as deeply intriguing, scope changing and an indicator of a breakthrough strategy, a shift from the roots approach as the recently announced Windows 8! I had blogged earlier about how it would be a mistake to write off Microsoft. It is clever business strategy to make oneself obsolete by one’s own new products than being forced into obsolescence by competition.(One of Microsoft’s closest friends is facing forced obsolescence, remember?)

Here’s how Windows 8 is a major departure from everything that smelled of Microsoft Legacy:

1. Whether or not Windows 8 is a financial success for Microsoft, we’ve now crossed a critical threshold. The old Windows of mice and icons is officially obsolete. That resets the playing field for everybody in computing.

2. Windows 8 has been announced early and This may be to stem the Microsoft disadvantage and loss of mindshare against competitor OS announcements recently.This may adversely impact sale of Windows products in the near term, but Windows 8 refreshes/resets the Microsoft approach to computing wholly and 8 is the first sensible response by Microsoft to the strategic challenge it faces from the web. It apparently introduces not just a new user interface, but also a new programming model that embraces web technologies and integrates them with Windows resources and APIs.

3. Microsoft has an awful lot to manage and answer for in terms of how it migrates its legacy baggages, but then the good things about Windows 8 is the fact that Microsoft is beginning to re-think. The alternative was to cling to the past and be a stationary target, gradually eaten away by the iPad and Android and Chrome and smartphones and whatever else the web world cooked up.

4. The downside here for Microsoft is that by embracing the next generation of computing, Microsoft is obsoleting its current products. So unless Windows 8 finally gets all the traction, Windows 7 which is the last generation of Old Windows will not fly of the shelves and keep loosing out in terms of consumer focus. That could help Google and Apple products, which is a tactical quagmire for Microsoft. Change and you loose in short term, Dont change and you are obsolete in the long term. So there is a risk and a likelihood that Microsoft will stall its own revenue this year.

5. Microsoft’s biggest strength is now its Achilles heal. Backward compatibility (with legacy apps, even in the video, looks so so antiquated). Microsoft really needs to walks the path; Cleaner Design versus Backward Compatibility very very subtly and deftly. A old world dino in a swanky new world could spoil the views (and the experience).

6. The other flaw in Windows and its announcement of Windows 8 is that it has come in early… 18 months early. That means Microsoft will feed us 18 months of vapour-ware. Thats way too long and will allow iOS, Chrome and others to come better than Microsoft at a constantly evolving game. If Microsoft has to create an impact it should release Windows 8 by Q1,2011. Sales and Interest in the product tends to suffer over longer periods!

7. Platform transitions are huge opportunities for developers/ dessigners/ OEMs. They reset the playing field for apps and devices. Windows 8 has not hinted anything about Apps, hardware, docking, compatibility and hopefully within the 18 months leeway, and the eco-system players will get to know more of what to expect when WIndows8 finally does hit them.

A reading in history reminds us about the fall of incumbents in the era of evolving technology. The leaders in DOS applications (Lotus, Word Perfect, etc) were second rate in GUI software. The leaders in GUI apps (Adobe, Microsoft, etc) were not dominant in the web. It’s actually very rare for a software company that was successful in the old paradigm to transfer that success to the new one. Microsoft by positioning itself as a key competitor to itself, now has a better chance to ride into the web dominated space than it had holding on to the Windows of yesteryears.

The battle between Old Windows and New Windows will challenge Microsoft fundamentally. This could be the largest challenge for Microsoft in its history. After, all its used to being a dominator in the market as against being a challenger, which is what Google, Apple, WebOS and other web technologies have forced it to become.

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Apollo to rejuvenate Windows 8

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems by Manas Ganguly on April 11, 2011

Microsoft’s awkwardness with the new age computing paradigm and touch based devices: Smartphones and Tablets, will possibly be history sooner as the software giant is betting all its abilities to churn out more swanky OSs and UIs. Windows 7 was appreciated for having cut the umbilical chord in designing the WP 7 from ground up without any legacy hangovers.

Enter the next version, Windows Phone 8 codenamed Apollo. Cross-platform operating systems seem to be the name of the coming game. And all indications seem to be that Microsoft is readying its own response.

Various features of the early build of Windows 8 includes an Office-style ribbon integrated into Windows Explorer, complete with tools for viewing libraries, manipulating images and managing drive assets; an unlock screen that changes to the “Metro” design style already present in Windows Phone 7; an “immersive” user interface and a built-in PDF reader called “Modern Reader.” Apollo also features the Appx. AppX is a new type of packaged application model in Windows 8, and it very closely resembles Windows Phone 7 application packages. Windows Phone 7 aggregates applications and Web content into a set of subject-specific Hubs, differentiating itself from the grid-like screens of individual apps prevalent in iPhone and Android. Apps would be common to both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 providing developers with a way to write applications that target and can transition between a variety of devices, including traditional PCs, tablets, and phones. Thus, Windows Phone would closely intermesh with the mother-ship Windows franchise.

The next version of the operating system to support SoC (system-on-a-chip) architecture, in particular ARM-based systems from partners such as Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments. In turn, that would give Microsoft increased leverage for porting Windows onto tablets and more mobile form-factors, currently the prime market for ARM offerings

Microsoft’s tie up with Nokia is also being seen as a multiplier for Windows even though not many are convinced that the WP solution for Nokia is the most ideal solution for Nokia. The early pointers to the multiplier effects for WP from the Nokia deal are already visible as Gartner has announced that WP will become the no.2 OS by 2015-16 time frame. I suppose these are all indicators to the fact that WP is finally out of the woods…

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