BlackBerry finally gives an OS its users deserve

By on January 29, 2014 at 12:40 PM.

BlackBerry finally gives an OS its users deserve

BlackBerry has finally started rolling out BB OS 10.2.1 update for all of its BB10 smartphone users. In a closed door briefing yesterday, the company took us through the new features and how it listened to its customers and added features they wanted. Despite having used a BlackBerry smartphone only briefly, I found myself making mental tick marks as the BlackBerry spokesperson introduced one feature after another. Yes, these were the issues I faced on BB1o and they have been resolved. More →
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Are Chromebooks the future of personal computing?

By on January 13, 2014 at 4:24 PM.

Are Chromebooks the future of personal computing?

At a time when smartphone makers are going after the next billion users with a focus on first-time Internet users with low-cost smartphones, for some reason laptop manufacturers are going the other direction. Instead of launching affordable and usable laptops with bare-minimum hardware specifications, what we are witnessing is a quest to cram features like touchscreens and whatnot - two Windows 8 laptops I am currently testing out both cost upwards of Rs 100,000. And the cheapest MacBook one can get starts from upwards of Rs 60,000. More →
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The only tech trend to watch out for in 2014

By on January 1, 2014 at 9:43 AM.

The only tech trend to watch out for in 2014

The new year is finally upon us and the first day has to be about what to expect in the coming year - very much like the trend of doing the top things that happened in the entire year on December 31. We have covered that as well (the top five gadgets of 2013, the 13 big tech stories of 2013 and the top gadget of 2013). Peering into the proverbial crystal ball is not as big a deal as it is made out to be. The usual suspects for 2014 would be 4K UHDTV; 2K displays in smartphones; wearable tech going mainstream; every Apple product being thinner, faster and lighter than the previous generation; flexible (or at least curved) displays; 64-bit processors in smartphones and tablets; cheaper and faster data; the NSA getting better at snooping and tech companies getting better at denying any knowledge of their involvement; Indian politicians attempting to launch an even cheaper tablet; 4G LTE networks finally taking off in India... More →
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HTC’s new smartphones leave a lot to be desired

By on December 10, 2013 at 2:30 PM.

HTC’s new smartphones leave a lot to be desired

HTC today launched a trio of smartphones under its Desire series - the Desire 501, Desire 601 and Desire 700. All the three smartphones have dual-SIM card slots and solid build quality that one expects from the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer. All the smartphones feel great to hold and are the kinds I would happily like to be seen with. Yet, barring the Desire 501, which offers excellent features for its Rs 16,890 price tag, the remainder leave a lot to be desired. More →
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Moto G is a game changer but likely to be a commercial failure in India

By on November 14, 2013 at 1:56 PM.

Moto G is a game changer but likely to be a commercial failure in India

Last night Motorola took several pot shots at Samsung and Apple about how they are ignoring the mass market smartphone users by offering them obsolete tech when it came to the sub-$200 smartphone segment. It went on to claim how the Moto G would offer a similar experience as the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5S at a third of the price. Motorola CEO, Dennis Woodside, even proclaimed how the Moto G has been made for the next half-a-billion smartphone users who cannot afford an expensive smartphone but want a premium smartphone experience. But can Motorola translate all of this into commercial success? More →
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With killing spree looming, Elop’s rivals at Microsoft strike first

By on November 12, 2013 at 12:50 PM.

With killing spree looming, Elop’s rivals at Microsoft strike first

Ever since Elop left Microsoft to run Nokia, his rivals back in Redmond have been preparing for his return and likely attempt to seize control of the company. Immediately after Microsoft’s deal to acquire Nokia’s handset unit was announced, Elop became one of three leading candidates to become the next CEO. Should he succeed, his modus operandi will be similar to what he demonstrated at Nokia: Kill all major initiatives that threaten his own turf, get rid of all high-level executives who cannot be shaped into loyal allies and bring in absolutely loyal lieutenants. More →
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HTC has lost the plot

By on October 15, 2013 at 9:45 AM.

HTC has lost the plot

October 14 will be marked as the day when HTC lost its soul - the day when the One max was announced. The One max is the anti-thesis of everything that HTC stood for. Every smartphone that HTC ever launched had a reason to exist. It had a purpose and a lot of thought went into executing the design of every single product. I vividly remember Peter Chou showing off the Touch Diamond in 2008 and how easy it was to use it with a single hand. More recently, the One with its BoomSound speakers on the front and a 4.7-inch display that was just about big enough to compete with rival flagship phones without having to stretch your hand to hold it. The company took care to think of minute user experiences and unlike some other brands, it appeared that they indeed used their own product before launching it to people who'd be paying a premium to buy them. More →
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Did BlackBerry’s savior actually kill it?

By on September 21, 2013 at 3:02 PM.

Did BlackBerry’s savior actually kill it?

Last night BlackBerry announced grim news about the possibility of posting a $1 billion loss in the last quarter and plans to lay off 40 percent of its global employees. Most of the losses emerged from writing off almost $960 million worth of Z10 inventory, which incidentally was BlackBerry's first smartphone running on BB10 - the platform that was supposed to save the company from its demise. BlackBerry noted that most of the 5.9 million phones sold through to end consumers in the quarter were running on older BlackBerry OS 7 and not BB10. This does not look like a platform that would save the company. But how did it get to this? More →
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Can Xiaomi repeat its China success in India?

By on September 16, 2013 at 1:18 PM.

Can Xiaomi repeat its China success in India?

Often referred to as the Apple of the East, Xiaomi the Chinese upstart seems to have everything going for it. Its success in China has caught global players like Samsung by surprise, it now has a valuation of over $10 billion and recently snagged Google's VP for Android, Hugo Barra. Barely in its fourth year of existence, Xiaomi has twice the valuation of Nokia's handset business without having ventured out of China. That will soon change, if things go as planned, with Barra leading Xiaomi's global operations hoping to emulate the same success. But can Xiaomi do it? More →
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What on Earth will Microsoft do with 200 million feature phones a year?

By on September 3, 2013 at 6:52 PM.

What on Earth will Microsoft do with 200 million feature phones a year?

The timing of Nokia’s handset unit sale to Microsoft came as a profound shock. In the spring quarter, Nokia’s Lumia volumes grew by more than 20% over the previous quarter and over the summer, the cheapo Lumia 520 seemed to have developed real sales momentum. Nokia was cruising towards a second consecutive quarter of 20% sequential Windows phone unit growth. Why sell the handset unit just as Nokia’s smartphone growth was finally picking up steam? Well, possibly because feature phone sales may have started tanking so badly that it threatened to trigger a cash crisis in 2014. Nokia delivered a fairly disastrous, -27% volume decline in feature phones in the spring quarter. There are some signs from Africa and India that the autumn drop might be even worse. More →
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