Microsoft's acquisition of Skype, an Analyst's puzzle

Merger economics teaches us that the fair value of a target firm is its market value plus "Synergy".  Last September when eBay sold 65% of its stake in Skype, the internet communication company was valued at $2.75 billion. Adding an additional $1 billion that Skype was planning to raise through an IPO, Skype should have been a $4 billion acquisition. Then why did Microsoft pay $8.5 billion? Is the post-acquisition synergy worth $4.5 billlion!

What's even more bewildering is the fact that last year Skype made a nett loss of $7 million on a total revenue of $860 million.  In Microsoft's defence, Skype is a great company to own. Its user base grew 40% last year and the brand is now synonymous to internet telephony. Microsoft instantly gets access to a web property that's as popular as Google, twitter and Facebook. Integrating Skype into both its consumer and enterprise products should create synergy enhancing online collaboration. Along with its Enterprise communication suite Lync, Skype should also work well with their Xbox and Windows Phone platforms.

From a cashflow perspective, Microsoft has over $50 billion oversees, bringing it back would entail US taxes. And historically Microsoft's reinvestment in internal R&D hasn't had great returns. Thus investing in the Luxembourg based Skype is a smart move. But, only if the price was right.

Whatever be the reasons, a $8.5 billion for Skype still does not make sense. One wonders if Balmer got carried away with his vendetta over Google and their initial bid for Skype.What do you think. Do leave your comments.

How smartphones can help you Lose weight and Stay healthy

I have never needed to go on a diet, till now. It all started two weeks back when I stepped onto the new digital weighing machine placed near my squash court. My body weight has always hovered around the 75-77 kg mark, so I expected no different. Thus I was completely caught off-guard when it showed 82.5 kgs. I checked again for zero error, but that was the fact.

I have a desk job which requires me to stare at the monitor for 10 hours. The only exercise I get is some weekend sessions of badminton and squash, which gets cancelled more often these days since my mates are either too sleepy or have more social things to do.

I realized it was time to press the panic button and take action. Logically, all I had to do was eat healthy and work those extra calories out. Which meant occasional jogs and trips to the gym. Now like a lot of you people, I am lazy and single. Thus inherently there is no motivation to sustain any such routine to look good and charm the opposite sex. I had rather sleep an hour longer in the morning than go for a jog.

Now If you are in similar situation, where you want to lose weight and get fit, but are too lazy to chalk your own routine, I have the perfect solution for you. This involves getting a free account in a food and fitness tracking website, (myfitnesspal), a Smartphone (iPhone or any web-enabled device) and a spirit for adventure to try something new for no apparent reason. So let's start our journey to fitness.

First, I downloaded the myfitnesspal app from the iPhone app store. For non-iphone users, you can use your browser to visit myfitnesspal. There, I entered my current weight and height, work profile, target weight state and no. of weeks to achieve it. The app then suggested a daily diet plan with a fixed amount of daily calorie allowance and the fat, vitamins and protein. And thus my routine began trying to eat within the allocated calorie budget. Now interestingly, if you want to eat more, all you need is to exercise and increase your allowance.

Smart, right. For instance, a 30 mins of jog burns around 200cal, would entitle you few more of those delicious cheese fries. Luckily there are some really nice apps for iphone like runtastic and runkeeper which let your track your daily exercise. I bet you can find similar apps for other platforms.

Success of this entire process depends on how diligently you follow your diet plan. To help you further, you can search and add the food you take from their comprehensive over 160,000+ food database.
I was really impressed by the food list since it covered not only popular instant food brands but also local (indian, chinese and thai) cooked food. Again, calorie count depends on the way a particular food was cooked but this gives a roughly right composition.

A lot of skeptics might turn this down, saying it isn't rational or scientific but if you delve deeper it is plain common sense. If you calculate your Body Metabolism Rate (BMR), which is amount of calories your body burns just to stay alive. For me it's around 1,394/day. This means, as long as I eat less than this, I should progressively see a reduction in my weight. The real challenge is to have a healthy and balanced diet given this upper calorie limit. So no more fast food, more fruits and green vegetables.

So does it work? I managed to shed 3 kgs in 2 weeks. Now I weigh a good 79.5 kgs.
To sum up, losing weight is easy. Eat healthy but less than your BMR requirement and exercise more. You have all the tools in your arsenal. Stay motivated and be happy :)

Apple's new iPad: A logical evolution or a marketing dud

Apple finally unveiled its new tablet, the iPad, after months of feverish speculation and hype online, and as usual, without any official indication by Apple that the product even existed.
In the same typical style and exuberance, Mr Jobbs' unveiled the "next big thing" in consumer lifestyle computing but the initial response from Press and the tech community hasn't been as welcoming.

Unlike a lot of their earlier successes, Apple couldn't wow or amaze the audience. The iPad was exactly as everyone predicted with no surprises, never before seen features or a radical change in end-user consumer computing. For years, I have personally bashed the Mac for all it's glitter and no purpose, but the iPhone changed my perception. Undoubtedly, It is the most practical and purposeful phone till date. It has replaced my laptop for almost everything, keeps me organized, syncs my calendars and gives the best browsing experience through Safari, which is still the best out there. For more than 3 years, competitors have tried but failed miserably trying to emulate the user experience and the rich application store that the iPhone offers. And the new iPad is no different.

The iPad is definitely a logical progression from the iPhone. It is simply a bigger looking iPhone with which Apple plans to capture the e-book reader segment (with the likes of Kindle and Sony readers), the gamers, the designers (the wacom space) and the fast paced business executives who want to show off the latest sales figures and marketing presentations to clients on the move.

For those who currently use the iPhone to read books, watch movies, surf the net or to simply blog, will appreciate the generous 9.7" multi-touch screen and a quoted 10 hour battery life. The best part is, that it can run almost all the existing 140,000 App Store apps, making it easier for developers to port their applications to a new device painlessly. Given the feature set, the first iteration of the device looks highly promising. There are already talks of major newspaper and magazine publishers lining to get their content published over iTunes. Will this be the end of the print era? I hope it is. Trees all over the world rejoice, your savior is here :)

But obviously, I have the same complaints as the rest of the community. Firstly, who in marketing thought of naming the device "iPad". iSlate or iTab would have sounded fab. It could be that Apple was a bit late in acquiring the copyrights to these names but still, "iPad" is a strict no.

Though the native Apple built-in Apps support it, I still miss multi-tasking on my iPhone, and Apple had no reason of overlooking it in the iPad. It's definitely not an architectural challenge but could be a huge battery drain on these devices but the choice should be left to the end-user. I still believe the new iPhone 4.0 and later versions of the iPad OS would some day support multi-tasking.

This one is a no-brainer. How hard is it to include a file manager and a USB support to a full blown tablet. If the device has a fully functional OS and if the target consumer is a tech-savvy net junkie, who loves his photos and movies, then why skip a built-in USB port to import and export content from 3rd party devices. Apple's decision to have a closed ecosystem of their devices accessible only via iTunes doesn't really make sense. This will only encourage jailbreaks and hacks in the future. Even the cheapest netbook has a couple of USB ports and a linux/windows filesystem manager.

To end this long discussion, the iPad isn't revolutionary, it won't blow your minds off, it may not force you to queue up for long hours. But it is the most logical follow-up to the iPhone. Apple may have guaged the response after the keynote and sure enough there may be some last minute changes before it's official launch. For now, I guess I will have to wait for another year to replace my aging laptop, hoping Apple listens and gets their act together for the next generation iPad2.

10 Great things to do, when you are on a Firewalled night shift

Imagine you are stranded all night in Office, waiting for something bad to happen, and stuck with a Vista Machine with restricted access and a crippled network. How do you manage the next 12 hours. Here are 10 ways to survive a Firewalled night shift.

10.Blog offline
Blogger, Wordpress etc. are all blocked at work. Type your posts in good 'ol html/text, and either mail it directly to Blogger, or go home, and use your own trusty internet connection, 14 hours later and publish it to the world.

9. Twitter through the night
I tried this but failed miserably. Twitter is generally blocked at work, but you can either post your tweets via twittermail or via your im (look at 6)

8. Watch videos for strictly non-entertainment purpose
Sticking to the office decorum, my favorite source of vidoes are - revision3, cnet and WSJ Online
Please no youtube or Saturday Night Live at work.

7. Listen to music
If you forgot your iPod, the thing I did, you have tonnes of online sources. My top picks - youtube (yeah for music, and it works in my office), seeqpod and Grooveshark

6.Chat with friends and strangers
This one is such a big time waster :) but that's exactly what you want now, right
Most of the offices block instant messengers. Here is a really cool site that lets you do it on port 80. Gtalk javascript clone.
This has a really strange bug. It auto accepts all invites, including what google suggests from your blogger comment contacts, and you end up taking to people you hardly know. But it's still cool.

5.Code something fun
Well this one's for the real geeky ones.When you have restricted access, nothing beats the simplicity and ease of Excel VBA macros. No admin rights needed. Code your way through the night. How about a pacman in excel?

4. Read a Book
Read something that will keep you awake. I prefer some good ol' science fiction - Asimov's, Arthur Clarke's and Stephen Baxters.

3. Talk to real people
Come out of the virtual world mate, no facebook, no twitter.. I am referring to good ol' people in flesh n blood. You are never in it alone.. just look around for folks in similar "What should i do now" mode.

2. Do some real work!
Oh c'mon, the work that you are intended to do, staying late.. in the first place.

1. Think of the 10 best ways to survive a firewalled night shift
And, be prepared for the comments that would follow when it reaches the world.

Have a great week folks! And enjoy your night shifts.

Cloud Computing: What it means for Enterprises?

Data is the single most important asset for any modern enterprise. Transaction histories, customer records, asset inventory lists, intellectual property, etc. Even the modern currency is just bits of 1s and 0s flowing through secure networks.

Data centers are the lifelines of such enterprises and companies spend millions, and sometimes billions to manage and run such data processing centers. Lately, due to rising costs in terms of maintenance, capital expenditures, enterprise licenses, power etc, companies are looking for cost effective alternatives. Analysts predict, by 2012 the power costs for running data centers will jump 13 folds. 60% of power consumed for cooling these centers is wasted due to inefficiency and there is a huge impetus to go green and be more power efficient in the long run.

A common technique followed by modern organizations to control rising costs is to consolidate a large number of scattered server farms, network rooms, communication centers and data centers around regions to smaller and centralized data centers. Also known as data center consolidation, this is a key driver behind reducing costs and optimizing existing resource by improving the utilization rates. Virtualization solutions like Vmware have also enabled better utilization rates by running multiple Os' and applications on a single server.

Cloud Computing views technology resources and infrastructure as "always on" services, where customers can tap into this vast pool to run their own applications and services. From the customer/end-user’s perspective, they only need to care about the subscription fees charged by the service provider. The Service Level Agreements (SLAs) ensure a minimum level of service quality and support.

Companies like IBM, Google, Amazon and Yahoo are the early promoters of this new phase in computing. Google which invested more than a billion USDs in Capital expenditure last year offers the Google App Engine service whereas Amazons S3 is quite popular among startups and SMEs who can’t afford to run and manage their own data centers.

Cloud computing in some sense, is a mirror of data center consolidation initiatives. Using Economies of Scale, by hosting applications from thousands of customers in centralized data centers, hosts increase the utilization rates of their existing systems, can negotiate with vendors for larger discounts, forecast energy requirements and can have a small set of on-site trained workforce along with a cheap outsourced support staff.

An important question that arises now is what keeps a modern day enterprise to shy away from cloud computing? In fact, isn’t reducing costs the prime focus of companies in such times of recession and economic slowdown?

Well, the answer is that it’s not that straight forward as it seems. Firstly, is it safe to trust a 3rd party to take care of your sensitive business data? Will your customers agree with it? What about regulatory requirements? Countries like Japan and Korea discourage the practice of storing local production data on international servers.

Moreover, some critical business applications can suffer from unacceptable latency issues due to the proximity and bandwidth connecting to the "cloud" network. In such cases, you have to fallback to your existing infrastructure resource or search for other "clouds" that would satisfy your latency requirements.

To sum up, Cloud computing seems like the right way forward. It's takes away the pain that comes with managing your own infrastructure. Along with the major technology breakthroughs, legal processes and controls are also needed in place before it can be accepted into mainstream. Service providers will have to work harder to build the trust amongst customers and guarantee a resilient, secure and stable infrastructure solution.

A lot of work is still needed but at least we are headed in the right direction. 2012 – Era of cloud Computing? Only Time will tell…

iminta: So what are you inta today?

So you have friends in various networks - digg, twitter, flickr etc, and you find it real hard to keep track of what they are doing. Enter Iminta, (pronounced as - I am in to), which simply aggregates all your public profiles from various networks for your friends in various groups to access and keep track.
It reminds me of the "My Web Profiles" facebook app, that keeps track of all your public profiles on the net. What Iminta does more is create customised RSS feed of your friend's statuses according to various group policies or filters. Overall a nice clear interface and useful if you really have lots of friends in all the networks iminta currently supports.
I am not sure how much I'll be using it as you'll have to invite all your friends from other networks to start using yet another service.

Anyways, I'll give it a try again, once it starts supporting facebook and mySpace friend feeds in future. That wouldn't be tough I guess. All they would need is a facebook app that connects and retrieves profile info from your account.
If anyone wants to give it a try, buzz me for an invite.

Updates, updates and more updates: Gmail

Just when you thought that Gmail was so awesome that it could never get better, think again. Google has been silently rolling out new features. Some are just eye candy but others are huge productivity boosts. In the post let me give you a glimpse of these new improvements...

1. Gtalk integration with AIM

Now you can talk to your AIM® friends using an integrated chat list right inside Gmail. Learn more ».

2. Colored labels

Better organize your email with new colored labels. Just click the color swatch next to each label to assign a color. Learn more »

3. Group chat and new emoticons

Group chat
Chat with multiple people without multiple windows. Invite your friends to a group discussion. To start a group chat, click 'Group chat' from the 'Options' menu when chatting.
Learn more »

New emoticons
Go from :) to and start sending richer expressions to your friends.
Learn more »

4 . Free IMAP

Sync your inbox across devices instantly and automatically. Whether you read or write your email on your phone or on your desktop, changes you make to Gmail will be seen from anywhere you access your inbox.

How it works on the iPhone

Set up device for IMAP (watch video)

Read and sort mail on your device

See changes instantly reflected in Gmail

Another way to use Gmail on your iPhone is through the browser. By going to you get the full Gmail experience including conversation view, search, and more.

Learn how to set up IMAP on other devices

5. View as slideshow

With google launch of their new presentation tool, you can preview your ppts right from your gmail. Just click "View as slideshow" next to the .ppt attachment you want to preview. Since you can open .doc and .xls attachments with Google Docs and Spreadsheets too, there's no need to leave your web browser to check out your Gmail attachments. Learn More.

6. Increased attachment size - 20 MB

Now you can start sharing more of those home videos, large presentations and files you just can't seem to get smaller. We have doubled the allowable attachment size to 20 MB to make your Gmail space even more useful. Learn More

Did I miss any? Do leave your comments behind.

Amazon Kindle available now on Amazon -- free EVDO!

By Thomas Ricker on kindle

It's here and looking just as busted as it did when we broke the Amazon Kindle eBook reader for you last year. $399 (and free 2 day shipping) with access to 88,000 books including 100 of the 112 New York Times best sellers. No WiFi here, Amazon's Whispernet service is FREE and based on Sprint's EVDO: "Amazon pays for Kindle's wireless connectivity so you will never see a monthly wireless bill for shopping the Kindle Store." Whispernet allows Kindle owners to wirelessly shop the Kindle Store, dowload and receive content -- and it works out the box, no setup required. All new release books cost $9.99 as do books found on the NYT best sellers list. Newspaper subscriptions cost $5.99 to $14.99 per month and Kindle Magazines cost between $1.25 and $3.49 per month -- each is available for a free 2 week trial. Oddly, blogs will cost you $0.99 per month to subscribe. All purchased content is stored as a backup on Amazon's site. Running down the specs again: internal storage for 200 titles (more via SD expansion), battery that lasts for days (2 hour recharge), 10.3 ounces, built-in dictionary and Wikipedia, and plenty more. While the reader itself could be mistaken for a Handspring device from the 90s, the service itself certainly makes for a compelling proposition.

Read -- Kindle Store
Read -- Kindle device
Read -- Video demonstration

Amazon Kindle Official Details: the "iPod of Reading" [Official]

By Matt Buchanan on Wireless (Source: Gizomodo)

amazon_kindle_1118.jpgThere's a lot to digest in Newsweek's seven-page all-out feature. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sums it up: "This isn't a device, it's a service." Kindle starts shipping tomorrow for $399 and is "a perpetually connected Internet device" running off of EV-DO—it calls the service "Whispernet." It's totally computer independent: You browse for books (88,000 at launch) and buy them in a "one-touch process," it comes with a personal Kindle email address and it can browse the regular internet—keyboard sounds useful now, doesn't it?

New York Times bestsellers and hardback new releases will go for $9.99, with classics going as low as $1.99. Through the service, which is an extension of the Amazon store, you also can subscribe to newspapers (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post) and magazines, which are automatically sent to Kindle when they drop on the wire.

Talking about the hardware itself, it'll hold 200 books on board, though you can supplement with unspecified memory cards. It'll get up to 30 hours of reading per charge and weighs 10.3 ounces. So, why does such a potentially disruptive device look so very plain? They wanted it to look like "an austere vessel of culture." The moniker Kindle is from the same line of thinking, " the crackling ignition of knowledge." But, thankfully, it doesn't get warm itself.

Some obvious questions are left though, mostly about the "always-on" connection—is the EV-DO-based Whispernet service included in the $399? If not, what's the pricing on that? And what are its limits, since you can go out onto the real web? Odds are, Bezos himself will reveal the answers tomorrow.

The goals here are pretty lofty: "Amazon believes it has created the iPod of reading." We really, really dig Jeff's vision, "that you should be able to get any book—not just any book in print, but any book that's ever been in print—on this device in less than a minute," so we hope about as much as he does that this little beige slab lives up to all the wonderful that they're promising. [Newsweek]

Source: Gizmodo

Official Nokia N82 press shots!

Straight from the source and about 21 hours early, Engadget's got the 5 megapixel Nokia N82 press shots. No detailed press release but really, what more do you need to know that you don't know already? Ah hell, we'll run down the rumored specs for you one more time: quad-band GSM, 2100MHz HSDPA for Europe, WiFi, GPS, FM Tuner, Bluetooth, 3.5-mm headphone jack, Carl Zeiss lens with Xenon flash, automatic rotating 2.4-inch QVGA display, and microSD expansion.

[source: Engadget ]

Site of the Week: Pageflakes

Pageflakes is a NetVibes and iGoogle like personal news and rss aggregator where you can add nifty little widgets, rss feeds and stuff and have all your favorite websites and feeds in 1 page. Here we look at the great things Pageflakes has to offer to increase our productivity.. and hey a gentle warning, it is highly addictive too.

Some cool and useful flakes (widgets) are the gmail mail checker, bookmarkers, rss feed readers etc. Pagelakes allows you to customize the layout, themes etc. You can add more pages, each with different elements say for Biz news, emails, technology news etc.

Pageflakes has tonnes of great features. It has a reader tool similar to google reader/bloglines and all the rss feeds added to your pages are automatically available via it.

Another highly useful feature in Pageflakes is PageCasting, which allows you to share your page with other users. There is a cool flake which allows users to create a community board to share stuffs and collaborate.

You can also chose to add an entire page from other users by copying it or linking(watch) to it allowing you to use completely designed pages in your view, which is highly useful as the community already has some greate pagecasts covering a wide array of services and news.

Overall, a great, attractive and useful tool for people who spend lots of time reading and browsing through blogs and webpages and can access all the information from one page.

PC Magazine 'Leopard is “by far the best operating system ever written'

In his 4.5-star (out of 5) review of Leopard, Edward Mendelson ( maintains that Leopard is “by far the best operating system ever written for the vast majority of consumers, with dozens of new features that have real practical value.” Mendelson “found Leopard to be startlingly fast, brilliantly streamlined, and packed with conveniences

read more | digg story

Zune 2 - Can Microsoft be second time lucky ?

Microsoft is surely making news this month. They finally unveiled the 2nd generation line of Zunes and we are as excited as we were, the first time around.
Zune 80 with 80GB of storage and Zune 8 and Zune 4 with 8 and 4GB flash respectively. Priced similar to the comparable range of new iPods (nothing to compete against the iPod touch though), Microsoft is trying its luck again to dethrone Apple in the PMP market.

The earlier Zune had lots going in its favor, nice interface, wireless connectivity etc. But there were so many flaws that it faded off inspite of Microsoft's aggressive promotion and marketing efforts.

Our initial impression of Zune 2, clearly indicates that microsoft has tried hard to sieve out all the loose ends and added some minor improvements but then, its still too soon to say how good they would work.

One cool feature that everyone around is buzzing about is the firmware upgrade. The unfortunate and handful of early buyers of the Zune 1, will enjoy all the Zune 2 feature upgrades by just upgrading the firmware. This probably is the first instance ever, when a firm hasn't forced their customers to upgrade to a better model (like what Apple does, each time) for the cool feature upgrades.

It's strange though, that in a year of research and planning, after Zune 1 failure, we only see a thinner, higher capacity Zunes. No specifications or harware changes.All other improvements are just software based...

Things that interests me are

1. Hopefully could challenge the iPod monopoly
2. syncing of files over Wifi
3. Support for DRM-Free music formats (finally !)
4. Media Center sync
5. Sharing music with friends over wifi
6. All new Zune MarketPlace (similar to Xbox lives) with DRM free songs

Potential glaring pitfalls

1. Only windows supported - No Mac or Linux
2. DRM songs shared can be played max 3 times on other clients
3. Smaller screen size compared to comparable iPods
4. No comments yet on battery life
5. Microsoft Live update (never been a fan of M$ on this)

So will the Zune succeed?
Well only time will tell. In our case November 13. Till then please hold your pending ipod purchase and don't be tempted to pre-order a Zune. Hoping for a closer finish, this time...c'mon M$.. we don't hate you that much...and we don't love you that much both the cases hope consumers win...

iPhone is here....

The wait for the miracle device is almost over. At 6 PM 29th June, which is just a day away from now , AT & T stores worldwide will open the iPhone to the world.
The handful of lucky souls who managed to get their hands on the exclusive wonder child of Steve jobs, had pretty nice things to say about it. Be it design, ease of use, features, style,... the iPhone has almost everything great going for it.

Recently Apple announced iPhone's capability of reading Office documents and hinted the possibility of accessing exchange mails on the device. Support of iTunes ringtones, and the inclusion of glass screen over the normal plastic LCDs, make it more desirable (less scratches and amazing ringtones)

So, is the iPhone infallible?
Is it the most perfect phone ever?
Should the likes of Nokia and Motorola feel intimaded and run for covers?

Well, to start off, it seems to be way cellphones were always meant to be.
For people in the US, going for AT & T could be only deterrent as far as I can think of. The lack of 3G could be a major drawback, but support for Wifi and the spawn of thousands of Wifi hotspots which are coming up in major cities all over the world, should be enough to satisfy the needs of users for the time being . Who knows, iPhone might accelerate this Wifing proccess further.

It's very clear that iPhone is targeted at a much wider user base, one of the reasons which Apple PR states in support of its lack of 3G module. Places like India and China could prove to be the biggest markets for Apple.

And for Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericssons.., they now have a tough task on their hands, and they better put on their thinking hats, and come up with something, or else like the iPods, the iPhone is here to rule for years to come.

More news tomorrow when the iPhone comes out. Till then keep your fingers crossed . You might just get your hands on one of these if you are in luck, so start queuing outside your nearest AT & T store before its too late ..;)

CTIA 2007

CTIA 2007 is currently going on in Orlando, USA. The biggest and the most amazing canvas of the latest and greatest in wireless and mobile technologies.
So what's so interesting about it ?

CTIA showcases an extravagant display of the latest and the coolest cellphones and mobile devices. Nokia unvieled their new N series offerings - N75, N76, N93i. The E series - E65i and the new Nokia Communicator.
Nokia has always been criticised for their heavily beefed up models. They have been losing out in the design and style segment over the years but they seem to have made up for the losses thanks to the loads of business consumers, who like the sturdy,smart, serious and feature rich Nokia phones.

There were other impressive displays by Samsung, LG and Kyocera but my favorite phone was the new Sony Ericsson W580. First glance, and you can deduce it as the successor to the hugely popular W850 slider phones.Inside you'll find stereo Bluetooth, a memory stick micro slot, a 2-megapixel camera, song ID capability for identifying unfamiliar music tracks, quadband world phone support, and an FM radio.

Not many people will dispute that SE has the best designers in today's market. They have joined the others in the slim-thin phones segment, once pioneered by moto RAZR, with some amazing phones. Carefully crafted and with oozing sex appeal, SE phones are here to stay.
I just wish Nokia could have come up with something new, fresh and different than coming up with the N75 which looks like another RAZR clone.

My only qualm is the lack of wifi and till then I'll be waiting with my almost dysfunctional SE K500.

Phone Buying Woes

I have been waiting for over an year now, to get the ideal next gen phone, loaded with killer features but easy on pocket.

My current SE K500 is too old fashioned and barely can make calls, thanks to the frequent hammering and battering, by it's carefree and careless owner.

Manufacturers like Nokia are pushing the technology to the edge, with packing almost everything into a nifty package. The N series line up boasts of phones with amazing capabilities.

Here I'll discuss the bare minimum features I am looking for a phone, and a list of impressive candidates to chose from.

Features I am looking for, in Descending order of priority

  • Wifi + VoIp support
  • Smartphone with atleast Symbian
  • 2MP + Cam
  • Edge, 3G or similar
  • Bluetooth
  • Java or Flash Preinstalled games
  • And of course decent voice clarity
  • Budget : 400 - 700 USD

Places like Singapore and many US states already have free broadband Wifi, and with support for VoIP, one can expect cheap internet and mobile connectivity.

I've been going around in a frantic search of phones that offer all the listed features, but till now the list is not that impressive. As Wifi becomes more prominent and widespread, we can expect to see more carriers and manufacturers shifting to the Wifi and WiMax bandwagon.

  • Nokia N75
  • Nokia N93i
  • Nokia E65
  • Nokia N80
  • Apple iPhone
  • More to be added soon

iPhone: Is it Really Worth it ?

iPhone = iPod + phone + internet + Revolutionary technology ;)

Finally, after years of refusing rumours, Jobs unveiled the new iPhone (I hope that's what it will be called, if they win the lawsuit raised against them by CISCO) in the recent highly anticipated and eagerly awaited MacWorld Conference. Jobs and his team concealed and hid the product so well that even insiders in Apple didn't know about the product till it was shown in the conference.

iPhone is releasing only in June/July in US, so its too early to comment on its current specs. But from the keynote and the website we can infer the following -

(+) - Video iPod
(+) - Wifi, bluetooth and other connectivity options
(+) - A rich text Safari browser
(+) - Too Sleek and Sexy for a smartphone
(+) - Intuitive Interface
(+) - Accelerometer (cool)
(+) - Multitasking OS (MacOSX)

(-) - Keyboard
(-) - Dev. platform not open for 3rd party developers
(-) - Bundled apps
(-) - Broadband Wifi still expensive
(-) - Expensive

So how much do you pay for it. 499$ and 599$ for the 4 GB and 8 GB editions with an AT & T (formerly Cingular) carrier

My take: The touch sensitive screen could work both ways as we aren't sure if it's scratch and smudge resistant. It did look pretty responsive but I am still not satisfied by the screen keyboard. SMSs and typing word docs could be hell of a task.

Moreover, Jobs said he does not want to open the platform for 3rd party dev. as a single bad app could bring down the entire service network. Well, I don't suppose Cingular's network is so bad that it can be brought down by one malfunctioning app. It seems likely that Jobs is trying to close the platform for certified MacOS dev. only.

The current apps bundled are all internet intensive apps. Google Maps, widgets etc, which need a reliable wifi service. For people living in other countries, it could be difficult to get one cheaply.
Also, Steve didn't mention a single office app, which means will have to buy it seperately from Apple, adding to the existing cost.

It is too early to comment on the success/failure of the product, but one thing is clear, it sure packs a punch, seamlessly integrating the internet with the mobile platform and is surely going to sell a million units in first few days. If it will be as successful as the iPod, only time will tell if it's really worth it.

Year 2006 : My list of top 10 tech events of the year

My list of exciting tech events in 2006 pertaining to Gaming, Linux, technology and Web 2.0 listed in random order.

  • Google's takeover of youtube
  • Launch of PS3 and Nintendo Wii vs X360
  • Gears of War, paving way to exciting hidef games in future
  • ie7 vs firefox 2.0
  • Intel Macs
  • Microsoft and Novell's controversial alliance
  • Microsoft Zune Vs ipod nano
  • Microsoft Vista finally released
  • Year of Linux as many govt. bodies like in Venezuela,Chicago,Munich and kerala ditch MS for Linux
  • I started my first blog ;)