Mobile : Which phone or rather which platform to go for? As a consumer.

22 Aug


P.S. – Since iOS and Android are the dominant platforms, I am only taking these two into the discussion, for now. Also since I am an Apple fan and love every moment of my iPhone, there is a very reasonable possibility of bias, but I would do my best to be as objective as possible. 

I like technology and I like the word of mobile phones. Now I also like the world of mobile platforms as it creates so many new layers of devices. Android being open offers ton of scope for innovation for various manufactures(Samsung, HTC, LG, Nexus, etc)

On and off I get a lot of similar questions personally and also similar questions crop up on many forums/twitter/facebook etc.

  • Should I buy iPhone or should I buy S4?
  • Should I go for Apple or Samsung.

For me both questions are flawed and if your basic premise of question is flawed, no matter what the answer be it will flawed.

The very first question one should ideally ask should be –

Which platform should I go for? Should it be iOS or should it be Android. 

That’s the question Ladies and Gentlemen which will make sure you don’t feel cheated on spending on your smartphone and that it meets your usage requirements.

It is not only the manufacturer/hardware which is responsible for what you get with your smartphone, it is primarily the platform which provides the experience on your phone.

If your choice is iOS then you have just saved yourself from decision fatigue and all you need to do is decide between the latest model(iPhone 5) or the one previous(iPhone 4S) to it.  I wouldn’t really go to the 3rd level of iPhone 4. Once you have chosen that its literally choosing between black or white and storage capacity, These are fairly easy decisions to make compared to what you will be making if you choose and the plethora of brands and models they offer.

Now I am not saying that you go for iOS. This is where it gets interesting. When advising/suggesting/advocating mobile preferences, people get personal and start defending the one they own, which technically applies to the majority of us. But then if you are looking for advise, you would want a rounded one and not the bias of the person giving the advise influence the advise and eventually the decision making you will have to do based on that advise.

Frankly, I don’t care what mobile others use as long it they don’t start shouting on how awesome it is. Mobile is a very personal device, its usage is very unique to each user and what may work for me may not work for others and vice-versa. Also appearance plays a crucial part and since its nothing but design which is obviously very subjective, enforcing what you feel is beautiful is stretching it too far.  Same goes for the experience or user experience in tech jargon. So may want how iOS functions, some may like Android.

So if its not iOS and Android for you, you need to decide on a budget. If budget is not an issue, then you have less of choice as I would not look below the top 2-3 models of each brand. If the budget is an issue and you are looking at the entire spectrum right Rs. 5000 to say Rs. 20000, then God bless you as a roller-coaster awaits you.

Thanks to Samsung’s $300 million ad-marketing budget, its easy to go for their flagship phone which at present is Galaxy S4. These ads are everywhere and specially on full front page ad on major newspapers. Add to it the offers(free this, free that), the EMI scheme and this is easily getting Samsung the numbers it wants.

But do seriously look at other Android phones in the top range like HTC One, Samsung Note-2 , LG Optimus G-Pro E-988, Nexus-4(brilliant VFM) as these are worthy contenders as well. Make sure these are all on the latest version of Android and get a look and feel in your hands. This is super important.

You can also go for “stock” edition of S4 and HTC One, which means the software/os updates comes directly from Google and the user experience is by far the most in sync with Google’s own Nexus range of devices.

Considering everything be equal in iOS and Android, there are two major differences –

  1. iOS experience is same across all devices including Tablets. Whether you buy iphone 5 or 4S or 4, majority of the user experience is same. And the updates come directly from Apple once or twice a year. No erratic updates, no faulty updates. A major issue in Android is that besides their Nexus range, its in the manufacturer’s arena to roll out the updates. So even if Google has brought out a latest update, there is absolutely no guarantee that the same will be available on your top-end phone. And this dilutes the user experience from device to device. Also since Android is open platform, manufacturers play with the interface to differentiate from other manufacturer’s.
  2. Quality of Apps. If you remove apps from the smartphone, its hardly smart and basically just like any ordinary phone. So Apps are very very important. This is the only reason why I am not talking about Blackberry and Nokia. Apple controls/monitors/restricts what goes in the App store like a bank to ensure its users gets the best experience. No faulty apps, no bugs, no fishy stuff, no virus etc. But Android anyone can upload an app. And this is a key difference. On iOS the app eco-system is much superior, way better apps in every possible way than Android. Though a lot of say top-20 apps are present on both platforms, going down the app quality in Android gets messy, very messy.

I can go on and on getting into the details more, but it would be diluting from my main intent.

So to repeat, think about the platform before getting to the brand.



Steve Jobs Documentary(unofficial?) – One More Thing

21 Aug


Steve Jobs is always deeply inspiring and intriguing to me. He changed 3 industries completely – Computers, Music, Phones and brought out a whole new category in the form of iPad. So every time I read or watch stuff related to him it never ceases to amaze me!

I don’t want to take away the delight of this video by giving out any content.

Watch it and get inspired.



Raksha-Bandhan : Formality or Festival

20 Aug


For those who don’t know what’s it about, Wikipedia describes it as –

Raksha Bandhan, (the bond of protection) or Rakhi is an important Hindu festival primarily observed in IndiaMauritius and Nepal along with all other countries with the presence of Hindus , which celebrates the relationship between brothers (shaurya), cousins and sisters. It is also called Rakhi Purnima. The day is synonymous with Janai Purnima , when Brahmins and Chhettri community change their holy thread annually. in most of India.[1][2] It is also celebrated in some parts of Pakistan.[3] The festival is observed by Hindus and Jains.

Depending on when you celebrate its either on 20th August’13 or 21st August’13. The dates keep changing every year as its based on the Hindu calendar.

Somehow past decade or so this festival is loosing relevance for me as far the spectrum of people who play a part in it.

Make no mistake, I love festivals, not only what we celebrate at home, but also what other cultures have as it brings a festive cheer in the air and that at times we get a way to official bunk work(read Holiday)! Also the other or rather the primary reason why I enjoy festivals is due to food! Delicacies are abound and being a festival we can indulge sinfully in all those mithai and savories. Naming all here will describe me as gluttony so do a Google and you will know!

For me being a Marwari it also engulfs Bua(Father’s sister), Mosi(Mother’s Sister) and of-course many cousins randomly chosen.

For me memories of Rakhi is when we were in New Delhi(1989-1998). My mother used to visit one cousin(Mama for me) of her in the morning, in our tradition, sisters ties Rakhi to the brother/cousin and also to his wife(if married). She used to get a snack homemade which my Mama loved and on the way we used to pick pastries from “Cake Shop of Taj” located in G.K-1 market. Almost every year this was how it is. We used to leave around 11 AM and after having a wonderful lunch at my Mama’s house we used to be back by around 3 PM. After a siesta, we started the preparing for the fantastic family mela which was to happen in the evening and continued well past dinner.

We are a big family. My father has 5 sisters(Bua) and 2 brothers(including him) and my mother has the opposite – 5 brothers(Mama) and 2 sisters(including her). As its destined, none of my own Mama were in Delhi so we used to send them Rakhi by courier, more on this later. But I had 3 Bua(2 own and 1 cousin) in Delhi. Since my sister used to tie rakhi to their sons and daughter-in-laws also, it was quite a lot of fun and frolic on that day. In totality a minimum of 20-25 family members gathered every year on Rakhi in our house. Also I had a few cousins and cousin Bua’s in other cities also, so I have fond remembrance of getting cartons full of Rakhi and gifts!

As in tradition, a sister puts “Tika” on brother’s forehead, ties the rakhi, feeds some sweets(usually brought from her house showing her love, if she has a bahu, she is delegated the duty of keeping this ready!), gifts something and in return the brother hands over a envelope containing his hard-earned money.

For me Rakhi was all about getting gifts! 🙂

I used to get gifts from my sister, my various cousin sisters, my various buas and from my mosi. Since I was not ready for employment my father used to prepare the envelope on my  behalf! So yes I loved Rakhi!

For my various Mama, my mom used to(and still does), prepare small boxes fill with Rakhis and Chocolates and courier it to various places where they are settled in.

I had many cousin brothers and hence days before Rakhi, we used to get gifts for all of them and gift-wrap it! It was a lovely sight on the day of Rakhi. Tray filled with colorful rakhis, colorful gifts, colorful delicacies!

But over time as I grew up, moved cities, Rakhi became less fun and frolic . In 1998 we moved to Chennai and in 2003 my sister got married.  Then I moved out to few places for work and the day of Rakhi became just another day. I still got( and continue to get even today) my Rakhi’s from my sister and cousins regardless of which city I was in. Then in 2005 my sister moved to Lagos(Africa) and due to various reasons its not possible for her to send Rakhi from there, even today. So at a time when my sister used to tie Rakhi on 10-12 cousins, now its barely 1-2 which we send on her behalf.

Then beyond a time, cousin’s grew up, we ventured into our own lives, hardly spoke to each other, so getting a Rakhi from them and making that customary calls once a year was totally insignificant and had no meaning for me. Even the calls which I make are reducing with each year. I hate formalities of ANY kind. If I cannot do something from my heart, I had rather not do it only. The package of gifts which used to accompany Rakhi became smaller and smaller and now its just a few chocolates as shagun (auspicious moment).

So as you can see, personally I never got the actual meaning of Rakhi and hence I never got the real association for it.

For me Rakhi is just between my own sister. Period. We shared our childhood and growing up together and she is only one which has stood besides me and will continue to do so in my good and bad times. There is genuine love and fondness between us which no cousin/bua/mosi can ever match. Tell me if I haven’t been in touch with my cousin sisters 364 days a year, if I have to call just one day, what will we talk about. Nothing, because we don’t have anything to talk, nothing to update as we are not in touch! Some gaps are difficult to fill.

If some of the cousins happen to be in the same city then I would still love to get it tied in person, but other than that sending courier doesn’t mean anything for me. Sorry if any of my cousin/bua/mosi are reading this. Its not personal, just being candid. It’s tradition and I respect it but just as a formality and because I have to!

I mean whats the use if there is no personal emotions attached. Also its more meaningful if some one is there to tie it. This year it will be just me with my parents. So Rakhi is no fun doing it all by ourselves. Prior to this for many years I was away working in different city  for Rakhi and besides ordering a Pizza on the day of Rakhi it had no significance for me!

My point is do something which you will want to do, not just because you have to do!

I am still waiting for that day, when my all my Mama’s are in my city and mom ties to them in-person and looking forward to some day when my own sister ties Rakhi to me in-person! 🙂

On that note, wishing everyone a wonderful Rakhi, thanks to all my Bua/Mosi/Cousin who continue to send Rakhi and Chocolates!


Weekend Reading (17.08.13) – Week 3

17 Aug



Interesting read from around the web on a multitude of topics!

Learning to Love the E-book (Medium, #ebooks #read)

How do you know when it’s time to leave your current company and move on? (Quora, #career #advise #jobs)

Stuff we Don’t Need – 5 Reasons why it doesn’t lead to happiness (tiny buddha, #minimalist #living #declutter)

Vegetarian restaurants are going to be the growth area in the coming years (Vir Sanghvi, #food #vegetarian #indian)

15 Secrets to Better Health (Success Magazine, #health #fitness #body)

Ex-Global Head Digital PepsiCo – Shiv Singh at Ad:tech 2012

16 Aug


Shiv is best known(or became known) as being the Global Digital Head for Pepsico(last 3 years, only very recently he moved to VISA) and considering the size of Pepsico and its presence all over the planet, its a massive title and of-course the challenge which comes along with. To say that it was his stint at Pepsico which made him what he is would be taking the term “overnight” success very very literally…and wrongly at that. Earlier he spent 11 years at Razorfish(thanks to Shiv social media business became one of the core strengths at Razorfish)  and obviously he did something right which made Pepsico bring him in. While at Pepsico he rolled new initiatives like Pepsi Sound Off and Pepsi Pulse in addition to partnering with new technology such as Twitter.

Shiv is very renowned in the field of everything Digital Advertising-Marketing/Social Media. He is also been named Ad Age Media Maven in 2009. A very unassuming and soft spoken guy he knows what he says. Just see any of his videos and you will get the drift.

Wishing Shiv all the best for his stint and VISA and expecting to see many innovations in the area of Digital Advertising-Marketing/Social Media


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