Sunday, July 27

Virgin's WhiteKnight II

Mother of all Airships

The Original Maverick, Ricard Branson does it again. As his newest dream of commercial space travel takes fruit with the maiden flight tests of White Knight II being scheduled for soon.

As a kid, I first came to know about Branson and his Virgin Group when he came to India, promoting his Airline, Virgin Atlantic, driving around Delhi in a red Auto Rickshaw. Then came his Mobile Store and Virgin Mobile that offers the user cash on incoming calls!.

Richard's vision for space travel was revealed way back in 2000 when he said he will be investing substantially in developing a reusable interplanetary transport vehicle and teamed up with Burt Rutan of Mojave space Ventures & Scaled Composites.

Burt Rutan is known as the most influential airline designer and scientist in this era. Scaled Composites, based in Mojave Space port, reveled that the first commercial operations of its space crafts, referred to as White
Knight, will begin by end of 2009. They did have a setback earlier with a major accident last year while testing.

Virgin Galatic's space launch system comprises of a Mother Ship - White Knight that takes the space ship to the upper atmosphere, from where, the rocket propelled space ship will disengage from the mother ship and accelerate to mach 4 speeds to attain the desired orbit. It later glides using its "using its wings" and re enters earth's atmosphere using a path similar to the one used by NASA spaceships.

As White Knight II readies for its test flights, its good to see that his investments will actually be beneficial to the whole of Mankind and not a select few richies. The White Knight research lead to the development of a highly fuel efficient carrier which is also the most advanced payload carrier now and is built entirely of carbon fiber.

White knight II, with its fuel efficency and payload capacity, would be contributing towards cheaper airtravel and faster disaster relief works, probably, even before it makes its maiden commerical flight to the Space.

Space travel now seems very close to reality.

Wednesday, July 23

SE's upcoming W series models

SE's upcoming models in the most successful of their range, the Walkman series. The W 902 along with two lesser cousins in w5 and w3 series.

The W 902 boasts a quicker hardware + a 5 MP cam + an 8 GB flash card memory. It looks promising and builds on the key characteristics of SE design. SE continues its obsession with its compact candy bar form factor. SE engineers should have done improvements on the camera, earlier 5 MP k850i had pathetic and unpredictable camera.

I always wished the new w 902 to come with a little larger screen, at least 2.4 inch. The current screens are too small for viewing media or taking full advantage of mobile internet in 3g networks.I believe, the premium market that SE is trying to tap via the W 9 series expects the device to be good in both creating and viewing content, be it audio, video or text. Especially after using Apple i Phone, I feel SE screens are too small for viewing photos and video. No matter how good the cam is, viewing the just clicked photo is a integral part of the actual experience. SE lags behind even Nokia here.

Hope Sony Ericsson gets this one right in all aspects, else they are getting deeper into trouble. Already most of 'SE's 08 launches were disasters and profit guidance are going the way down. If this one doesn't come up well, it is gonna loose all the market share and fan following it gained over the period of successful models from w 800 to k810.

Former SE fan
News,Image courtesy: SE

Saturday, July 12

Cashing on the buzz around iPhone in India

Cash in on da buzz!!!

With all the buzz around Apple iPhone and the impending launch in India, rumor mills are churning out stories in dozens. The television news media has latched on to this, trying to get some TRP out of it. Poor journalist, with an over capacity of Hindi and regional news channels, there isn't enough news to be covered. So then Create news, news that catches the general audience's attraction. The case is the same, be it IBN or StarNews or AajTak. As far as India TV and rest of the gang, we anyways do not have any expectations.

For long, it have been Bollywood romance and ghost stories that were shown again and again to fill in the 24hrs channel time slots. At least for some, 24 hours looks like a long time. Then came dramatized crime scene investigations and intrusion to individual's privacy in the name of scandal and moral grounds. Practically peeped into cozy time that couples rarely get in the crowded cities of India, only too feed the voyeuristic eyes of an average Indian regional language news viewer.

But Now, all of a sudden, iPhone has caught their attention. If you want to be on tv, its easy, just call them up, they will come home and record your view on iPhone launch date and whatever you believe the price will be in India, and have it on "News" channel, aired as if you were a Apple or Vodafone Insider with credible information. Probably even NDTV and IBN live are forced to play themarket, they have to show what its audience like to see.

Just plain market dynamics.

But the height of both oppurtunism and being a fool and idiot together is happening in Kerala. I know people who have paid Rs 2500 to Rs 5000 as pre-order booking fees to a "Airtel Store representative" in return of being promised a phone on the launch day itself.

On checking with Apple, Airtel and Vodafone, both denied taking any advance and that, by registering at their site or by SMS, you will be just intimated prior to launch, but doesn't in anyway guaranty an iphone on launch day. It seems Airtel and Vodafone franchises in Kerala are making the most out of this hype. Those guys however claim that they are authentic and its a company scheme itself.

Its an irony that, people in Kerala which has a 100% literacy and social and demographic figures matching the West, has fallen for such tricks.

A Mallu iPhone fan

*image courtesy: Apple

The buzz around iPhone in india

The buzz

I was just wandering through the hot topics and tags on internet related to India and reached this blog called
Livemint which had an article on Apple iPhone expected to be the costliest in India. I just thought of putting a small comment to the author, agreeing to his view point.

But that small comment became a long essay, by the time I stopped. So thought of having it here too. In response to Sidin's article on LIVEmint(check the link to view the original article)

"At last, i find someone who shares my thoughts, that the Apple iPhone wont come for an equivalent of $199 in India. Contracts have never been successful in India, even though India boost the fastest growing market, per customer returns or billing isn't high here. Hence Vodafone and Airtel are gonna charge hefty. More over, now that, everywhere else too, iPhone comes with contract period or at above $500 (without contract),Grey market wont be cheap enough. Add to that, if one buys from Grey, he will miss out on the possible unlimited data plans that will come with the iPhone. Without Edge, let alone 3G, iPhone will be more of a dumb phone with a large screen. And GPRS in India is costly.

I have been using the Apple iPhone since, Aug 2007, and i have consistently exceeded 1500 rs just on GPRS (500 rs for 500mb + 5paise per additional 10kb plan) with Vodafone. If iPhone 2.0 comes with a unlimited GPRS plan, I' ll definitely switch over.

However, I wonder whether mass market India accept iPhone?

One cant put music or any media on to it without i tunes and a pc. Even to send from it, you need to be either tech savvy and jail break the phone. One cant import or export contacts or forward an SMS. There are no loud ring tones or do it have vdo recording (we Indians are very particular about wanting video recording. try a Google search for MMS desi India :))))

Nokia did well by being loud in all sense. Its remarkably loud (irritating to me) speaker volume and no restrictions in sending and receiving songs and other media (they don't bother about piracy) coupled with relatively cheap pricing worked.

Are we , majority of Indians who don't have a personal computer going to queue up at the nearby vodafone or apple store, to pay and download music and pics?

Well, the other side of this argument is that, the target customer group for iphone (spending beyond 15k) should be having access to PC.

But in India, I think, there isn't much correlation between personal income and spending on mobile phones. We give more importance to show off, we spend way beyond our means when it comes to mobile phones. You can spot most of the called lower middle class in India sporting premium cell phones and keep changing them too. I believe, I too belong to that group!.

Whether it succeeds or not doesn't matter to me. Its been the best device I have used and I am sure, Nokia and SE will take years to catch up with iPhone's user interface. I am so impressed and thankful to Apple, for not resorting to serial hardware changes, have continuously given software updates, making your device feel new even now. In fact I will be going in for a v 2.0 software upgrade once Zibri comes up with a unlock and jailbreak for the same. As India wont see 3G soon, I would be happy using my V1.0 with V2.0 firmware.

SE have fooled me by bringing K810 just after k800 and then again k850. K850 being the pathetic of the lot. I ceased becoming a SE fan, disappointed after getting a k850. Since sept 07, I haven't thought of switching to any new handset, just because nothing better came , and nothing better is expected soon. Something that could close was SE Experia, but SE has now differed the release, thank god, they realized the folly of launching K850 without a proper firmware.

Any ways, I have been happy with this device and is still fascinated and excited about it, as I was in Aug 07, when I got hold of it. Shelled out Rs. 25 k at that time ( on easy installments, thanks to Venkat, one of my bosses in US), but i still feel it was the best buy ever. It still have me hooked on, thanks to the numerous free apps available on jailbreak ed iPhones and the Internet is just awesome.

To all those curious and or skeptic about iphone (both positive and negative):

Go ahead, take it at 25k, its still worth it.

When compared to the N series and SE P1/w960 of similar price range, iPhone is a thousand times better. For the money you spend, you are certainly worth a better device.

Just watch a video or scroll through the image gallery of iPhone and then you will feel as if Nokias, HTCs and SE are cheating you with such slow, sluggish devices for ages. Then check out the safari browser to view iPhone optimized gmail or use meebo and log on to multiple chat services. Later try out the simple camera and a few iPhone apps. By that time, you will be ready to pay 30k. At least I would have done that".

GO for the Apple iPhone, you are worth it.

A former SE fan

iPhone Timeline

iPhone Timeline

A neat graphic representation of iPhone development history and the events that preceded it.

Now this is news to me too. A perfect timeline of events that preceded the launch of this revolutionary mobile device, one that really marked the transition of cellphone to a full fledged PIM +PMP + ID.

A very well researched work from iPhonegold, by someone known by the name - Silver. I reached there via Coolest Gadgets. So all credits and appreciations goes to SILVER

Friday, July 11

Raleigh vs Nano

That cycle costs a whooping 90,000 rupees. Having only heard about proffesional sports cycles made of carbon fibre, this was the first time i saw one in close contact. It indeed is lightweight, you can lift it with your finger, but stronger than its lesser cousins. The sales guy said, it comes with various accesories for stunts like slipping through railings, things that skate boaders do.

To me, it brought back memories of my bmx with shimano gears, which was stolen way back when i was in school. But with 90,000 you can soon get close to a Tata Nano. Which one will you buy?
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Thursday, July 10

Ah, there it is:

Apple's i phone website now has one for India

Apple's iphone website now has a .in page for India.

Though no mention on dates, they have links to Airtel n Vodafone for pre registeration.
With the special page for India comming up, the launch seems to be round the corner.

Even after spending 25k one 10 months back, I am still excited about this phone,
thanks Zibri for jailbreak and Installer for the 100 of usefull apps that come up every day.
Got to see whether apple's appstore and out do the community sources that provide free apps
through installer