Apple’s iPhone worries

October 3, 2007 at 3:22 am

A price reduction of $200 (approx Rs. 8000/-) by Apple on their 8GB iPhone (Price after reduction: $399), would have been such happy news if considered in isolation. But when you consider that they did that within two months of launching the phone and also stopped production of the 4GB model (priced at $499 at launch), it should rank among the worst-ever strategies to have been undertaken.

There is a probability that Apple would have gotten away with this if they had done this in India considering the ancient laws we have protecting the consumer. But in America, I believe you have a possibility of making $1 Million if a company does such a thing as Apple has done. Check it out. A customer who had bought a 4GB iPhone for $499 has sued Apple for $1 Million.

We, in India, need a system in place to atleast to help keep the consumers aware of their rights.

I, for one, am pretty miffed with Nokia for announcing that the price of its latest phone Nokia N72 is Rs. 9399/-. I paid Rs. 9696/- for it! :( Let me look up my consumer rights booklet immediately and keep my resignation ready.

Thinking in the background: $1 million means Rs. 4 crores. 1 Mercedes Benz (Rs. 60 Lakhs), 1 flat and 1 farmhouse in Mysore (Rs. 40 Lakhs)… anyone wants a loan?! :D

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder?

September 7, 2007 at 1:36 am

I have been looking at upgrading my mobile to something that works! Do you remember the 6610i phone? I use that as of now. I went into UniverCell to find out how much discount I would get if I offered my cellphone in exchange for a new one (N72 I am looking at). The sales guy tried really hard to supress a smile on seeing the phone in my hand. He said, “Rs. 1100/- saar”. I was crestfallen. I am transmorgified into the past (the C&H cartoon strip effect). It was my dream phone three years back. I had paid a fortune (around Rs. 6,000/-) to get it then. And today I hear in the background (foreground main dream chal raha hai na yar!), “Outdated. Camera is not at all useful. Nokia has stopped production. No Bluetooth also”

My primary reason of buying this phone was that. I just needed a device to make and answer phone calls and listen to FM Radio while driving (You get to watch movies if you do this). It was the need to be connected that drew me to it. Infact my first preference was a plain vanilla 6610 – the one without the camera. But by the time I could buy it, Nokia had stopped production of that one. And by the way, I am one of those who buys only Nokia mobile phones, Sony Walkmans and Apple iPods. So 6610i it would be.

The $100 laptop, finally!

April 18, 2007 at 12:47 am

I had written about this laptop here, here and here. There were a host of issues that I thought were potentially unpenetrable forget solving. But these guys have done it!

And also read this first-hand experience. I think this is great and these are the kind of developments that will make technology meaningful.

PS: Any gyaan on how to embed Youtube videos into the blog? (and this is how technology can get meaningless)

UPDATE: Found useful tips here and hence the video is up!

Beginning of the end?

March 26, 2007 at 2:14 am

[via Vatsan

Read this.

Thought this would happen sooner than later. But didn’t expect it to happen so early.

Mysore will also be a Silicon Valley

December 21, 2006 at 3:50 am

Mysore will be another Silicon Valley of India as a number of IT firms have evinced interest in setting up shop here, Karnataka industries minister Katta Subramanya Naidu said in Mysore. 
Speaking to Business Standard, he said Infosys, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services and a couple of other companies were coming to Mysore. 
Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and Shapurji had sought 100 acres of land each. A few other Fortune 500 companies are also holding talks with the government for locating their projects here, the minister said. 
As the availability of land for new industries had become scarce, the government proposed to acquire 4,000 acres of non-agricultural land. The formalities will be completed shortly. 
However, care will be taken to discourage chemical and pharmaceutical industries which may damage environment. 
As regard the much-delayed airport, Naidu said that the High Court was yet to deliver its judgement over the disputes land. In the meantime, the Airports Authority of India had sought an additional 67 acres and acquitions process had been initiated. 
All these investments will give a tremendous boost to Mysore and it will grow as an IT hub, the minister said. 
During the last six months, Naidu said, the Karnataka government had cleared investments amounting to Rs. 90,000 crore in the state. At least 70-80 per cent of investments may come through in about two-and-a-half years. 
The government will give a thrust to development of tier II and tier III cities. It is releasing another Rs 100 crore, the subsidy amount due to industries.

I hope Mysore retains its identity and not become another “silicon valley”. Development should not be at the cost of the positives it has to offer today. Long live Mysore! 

Article courtesy: Business-Standard

$100 Laptop | Rubbished by HRD

July 29, 2006 at 9:23 am

Quoting an article from the ToI dated 25 July 2006:

“…According to the project plan, the Central government is supposed to foot the entire bill, which is $100 per laptop for one million pieces. The project was floated by MIT.

Complete with technical problems pointed out by IIT, Madras, pedagogical suspicions raised by NCERT and first-hand experience of a senior HRD official who found that the laptops have not even crossed the prototype stage, Banerjee had said that OLPC “may actually be detrimental to the growth of creative and analytical abilities of the child”….”

They are talking about the Nicholas Negroponte’s $100 Laptop. Probably he hasn’t done whatever is required by the Government. Otherwise, would Rs. 450 crore ever be wasted by getting into newsprint?

Another interesting part of the article is the last paragraph which says:

“…The HRD official also said that an OLPC-like project has already been started by an Indian company which has supplied 50,000 laptops to South Africa at a price of $200. “Indian companies are not lagging behind. They may need more encouragement,” he said.”

This Indian company must be either Novatium or Encore Software. Whoever it is, if the HRD official is truthful then let’s hope this is the first success for Indian Hardware Industry. Beating Negroponte’s well-publicised (probably over-hyped too!) $100 Laptop venture is not easy.

Worldspace | There is so much to hear

July 12, 2006 at 2:56 pm

40+ Channels of pure music. No advertisements and other useless stuff. And to top it all, they have my favourite person as their brand ambassador!

Intel’s 10K PC

January 12, 2006 at 2:23 pm

An article in the Economic Times talks about a 10k PC that Intel will launch sometime later this year.

Traditionally, low-priced PCs have not succeeded in India, as the cost of distribution and promotion doesn’t leave enough for the distributors who control the trade. Indian PC makers who launched sub-Rs 10,000 PCs with much media fanfare have stopped promoting or even supplying them to their distributors. The margins on these PCs are too small to receive adequate attention from PC makers or their distributors, and volumes are not high due to a lack of promotion

It’s Intel’s turn now! Get into low cost computers, increase volumes, achieve economies of scale, lower costs, higher profits. Rural Markets, ha!

Laptop That Will Save the World

December 19, 2005 at 12:50 pm

Here is the other view I was talking about. The $100 laptop will save the world! An excerpt from the article: [You need to register to read the full article. Registration is free btw]

So how can any worthwhile computer cost less than a pair of good headphones? Through a series of cost-cutting tricks. The laptops will run on free “open source” software, use cheaper “flash” memory instead of a hard disk and most likely employ new LCD technology to drop the monitor’s cost to just $35. Each laptop will also come with a hand crank, making it usable even in electricity-free rural areas.

The monitor seems to be the crucial link in the whole scheme of things. If they can create a breakthrough on that, then they are almost there. After that, it will be a series of small issues. The critical issue, as far as I know, will be the monitor. They get that down to below $40 in the LCD form, then they are through!

All the best Mr. Negroponte.

The MIT $100 Laptop

December 19, 2005 at 10:17 am

An article on rubbishes the claims of Negroponte’s well publicised venture of the $100 laptop. Wherever I go I am asked, “How will your product stand if that $100 laptop comes into the market?”. Well, the answer is in the article here.

Celebrity inventor Trevor Baylis has said he is “not convinced” that Nicholas Negroponte has got very far with the $100 laptop he is developing for the Third World.

Baylis, who invented the clockwork wireless radio, was recently invited to MIT Media Lab to meet Negroponte and see the prototype, but said that it “could have put together with a Lego kit”.

“Nothing worked. I was expecting him to show me the screen in action or the wind-up feature, but I saw nothing but a basic prototype,” he said.

“If Negroponte has done it, full marks to the guy, but I am not 100 per cent convinced. It was all something of a PR stunt.”

Baylis clearly has a lot to contribute to the project as he invented a wind-up radio that is now used widely in the Third World. He also lays claim to demonstrating the world’s first wind-up computer.

“A few years ago I was in Botswana seeing the radio in use and people from Apple were there,” he explained. “So for fun we hooked up my wind-up system to their eMate. We managed to get the screen to activate for a few seconds which amazed everyone.”

Baylis believes he could develop wind-up technology for the MIT laptop but questioned whether such technology is currently available.

“The hard part is not developing the wind-up technology but finding a low-power screen,” he said. “I would love to be involved in something like this. I have seen what an impact on lives my radio has had. This could be the same.”

But Baylis said he came away from Boston feeling non-plussed. “Negroponte did not ask me to provide the technology,” he complained. “He was more interested in looking at my wind-up torch, which I didn’t develop anyway. I bought it in China for £3.”

Baylis is keen for a UK initiative to make an attempt at a similar device. “HP has told me that the screen can’t be made yet, but you never know,” he explained. “Perhaps we can all get together and make it happen.”

Lee Felsenstein, designer of the Osbourne computer, is working on a similar wind-up computer project. The details are on his blog here.

Meanwhile the US National Science Foundation is funding the Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions project at the University of California, Berkeley.

Michael Robertson, chief executive at open source firm Linspire, said that his company has researched the viability of the project and has deemed it inadequate.