Tag Archives: technology

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

22 Aug

ios5-vs-android

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.

Anirudh

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1st June 2013 : Return of N.R. Narayan Murthy(NRM) to Infosys

8 Jun

NARAYANA_MURTHY_jpg_974f

It has finally happened! NRM has been called back to Infosys to revive what he built over two decades after the other Founders were unable to arrest the slide and its flagging fortunes over the past 18-24 months. Now to be fair the slide started to happen once S Gopalakrishnan(or Kris as he is fondly called) departed and by tradition the next Founder – S.D.Shibulal took the helms of this IT behemoth.

NRM return to Infosys is indeed breaking news, very significant and quite interesting!

As much as I was surprised, I am happy to see he being back. In-fact even NRM has expressed surprised that he was being called back! Desperate times call for desperate measures. This reminds me of Apple and how they called back Steve Jobs and as they say rest is history. But let us not get carried away! 🙂

High profile companies are always in the news and when a company like Infosys – which has always been the poster boy of the Stock Market – doesn’t do well consistently over many quarters, its even more in the news. Many people became instant millionaires in 1998 when Infosys stock got listed. Infosys headed the IT revolution which engulfed India in the 2000’s. Infosys virtually changed the economy, gave employment to thousands, gave disposable income to the middle class which led to burst of spending thereby creating growth and momentum for everyone. And Infosys did this for a long long time, almost 10-12 years. And then things started going downhill. This is what media thrives on!

Once NRM resigned as CEO, Nandan Nilekani took place and carried forward the growth  like never before, for Infosys. No wonder he was personally called by PM – Manmohan Singh to start the UIDAI  initiative for 100 million Indians!

Once Nandan left for larger endeavors, Kris took place and though he did carry forward, he was nowhere close to what Nandan/NRM. As Kris term started to end, the Infosys shine begin to fade off. And when S.D. Shibulal took place, things started to slide…unprecedentedly.

Usually Infosys has a solid track record of beating street expectations every single quarter. Its guidance (revenue estimates) is always higher than what the   market predicts. But since Shibulal became the CEO, its the street expectations which has always beaten Infosys. Its guidance are even lower than what the market predicts..on a consistent basis!

The reason why Infosys has been in the news in a negative way is not because its not doing well. It is because its the ONLY company among the top 5 IT giants which is not doing well. So if all are doing well, definitely market is not as bad as Infosys keeps saying it is. It may be bad for Infosys but not for others. And therein lies the crux of the issue.

For the first time in a long long time, Cognizant who was not even considered among the big IT companies, recently overtook Infosys to be the #2 in terms of revenue. TCS continues to be #1. And FYI when Infosys stock is down 20%, Cognizant stock went up by close to 40% in the last 2 years!

Clearly the plan Infosys 3.0 which Shibulal mentioned once he took over is not working. Whether its a problem in strategy, or in culture or in the management or all the three, this needs to be fix ASAP before the damage becomes irreversible. Even KV Kamath who is known for making ICICI the biggest private sector bank and the first “outsider” to be a part of Infosys when he took over NRM’s role in 2011 couldn’t do much as Infosys is clearly not better since he took over.

Now once this news was broken that NRM is coming back, media went berserk and different theories started to circle in all news medium. Some said its a good step, some said not very good, some said that KV Kamath was feeling the heat and it was his initiative to even think of calling back NRM, many have expressed disappointment that company rules(NRM bringing his son Rohan apparently to make him more effective, and retirement age being scaled up to let NRM come back) have been changed for this recent development. Good thing about opinion is that everyone is entitled to it, the bad thing is that everyone has one! Including me and hence you are able to read this post! 🙂

The way I see it, its definitely is a good step though it has regressive overtones to it. Firstly it clearly highlights lack of leadership in the management of Infosys which were unable to sustain once leaders started to step down as is tradition. It also reveals lack of succession planning to make sure that the behemoth which Infosys is continues to sustain its leadership among the IT companies and continues to be bellwether stock it used to be.

I am also disappointed of the tenure of KV Kamath considering his dazzling track record in the banking sector and his overall capabilities as known from media. The only time I vaguely heard from him was when the Quarterly results were out and more recently his take on NRM coming back.

Many have blamed the tradition of founders being progressed to CEO positions which limits who can lead. I agree. If they throw open the CEO position and hire an outsider, a lot will change in Infosys and a lot of those changes will be positive. Ownership, be it family/founders should always be clearly demarcated from who professionally runs the company in the interest of all involved and if its a listed company the accountability increases manifold. Culture is definitely one problem at Infosys. As good a brand Infosys is, I have always heard that working there is not all that attractive.

On the issue of increasing the retirement age, well yes technically these rules should be binding to one and all but if a future of a company is at risk in the largest interest its best to change the rules if mutually accepted to all involved. On bringing his son Rohan as an executive assistant, I really don’t see the fuss in it. Its not that he is now part of the board or in the top management. Its been long time since NRM was involved in the day-to-day running and since he is been working with his son(Catamaran Ventures) for sometime, if he feels his son will add value and make him more efficient, so be it.

Top most priority is to arrest the slide and get Infosys on the growth path which is used to be it. Of-course all this within the ethics/values of Infosys and as mandated by the govt.

To conclude, I am happy that NRM is coming back. If it benefits all including its shareholders/investors, why not!

 

Anirudh

Disclaimer : I don’t own a single Infosys stock!

 

What makes Google’s Maps so good!

28 Sep

Now a lot has been said about how disastrous is Apple first foray into its own Maps. For those who are not aware, with iOS 6 Apple has pushed Google Maps out of its system(an app is yet to come, if at all it will!) and replaced with its own Maps app. I may cover what I have discovered in the new Maps in a different post but lets say if I use that to reach somewhere, I seriously don’t know how I will go and where I will end up.

But comparing Apple Maps and Google Maps is a  bit unfair as Google Maps has been where it is now with 7 years of humongous work. Give some time to Apple and I am sure it will reach or even cross where Google will be!

More on the interesting and insightful article –

http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/27/what-makes-googles-maps-so-good/

Enjoy the read!

IPMA Event Coverage : Excel for Product Managers

25 Sep

First a bit about what IPMA is all about –

India Product Management Association (IPMA) is a not-for-profit, voluntary, grassroots organization with chapters in Pune and Bangalore. Our Mission is to Foster Product Design and Innovation and Catalyze Product Management/Marketing Talent in India across software, mobile, hardware, telecommunications sectors in the IT industry. IPMA organizes knowledge sharing and networking forums such as Speaker Series, Workshops, P-Camps etc.

IPMA regularly conducts events for Professionals in the industry and specially relevant to those who are in the area of Product Management.

This time it was about Excel which is a valuable tool in any Product Manager’s tool kit.

Lets get started…

Day/Date/Time – Saturday, 22nd September, 9:30 AM

Venue – The beautiful Yahoo campus at Embassy Golf Links, Domlur, Bangalore

Trainer – Anand Vishwanathan, Microsoft

Topic – Excel for Product Managers

It was a beautiful Saturday morning and the splendid Embassy Golf Link made it even more so! I would love to work in any of the companies here just for the luxury in the form of their sprawling space! 🙂

It was my first trip to one of most widely known tech companies on the planet! Yes they have been sidelined for sometime thanks to the Apples, Googles, Microsofts etc but now since a star ex-Googler  : Marissa Mayer has taken the helm in the form of CEO of Yahoo, Yahoo can certainly look forward to even more interesting  and fun times in a good way! Why even more?? Well to start with Yahoo has started free food for all which has started in their offices in US to begin with! And very recently Marissa sent a memo to all their employees giving a list of smartphones(iphone5, s3, motorazr, etc) of which they had to choose one…for free! Now its not about the freebies which is commendable to me but the confidence which Marissa has shown in her employees in these very challenging times. Yahoo is probably going through their worst phase ever since they came into inception and these freebies will further put their top-line under pressure but imagine the confidence each and everyone will get from this move. Now each one will be renewed in their endeavor and work to make sure Yahoo comes back to glory! Anyways…lets not divert here!

I was very excited to see how a Yahoo looks like and though I didn’t get what I expected, it still is a beautiful office! One thing I don’t understand is why the security guards have a cribby and stern look on their faces. Don’t they know what a smile is? Or is it part of their job not to be friendly?? Hmm…

This workshop was at 2nd floor, after registration and registering our laptop serial numbers, after passing the blocks which you would normally see in Metro stations, we took the elevator and onto the 2nd floor. Crossing a typical office space lined up with cubicles…we reached India Gate!!!,  which was the name of the training room! Name is quiet quirky, though I didn’t get the link!

Training room was one big room which can comfortably sit 64 people and which consisted of 2 different training rooms separated by a partition. One can easily remove or close the partition as per their requirements. Room itself was quite nice and colorful and gave a feel good factor to it! Though I was the first to enter soon enough the room was comfortably packed!

Packed Crowd for the workshop

Session was opened by Anand Xavier(Yahoo) who is part of the organizing committee and is Vice-President of IPMA along with Ravi Padaki(Yahoo) who is the founder of IPMA.

Ravi Padaki, Founder of IPMA giving a brief intro of what IPMA is all about.

Now it was time for the trainer  – Anand Vishwanathan to get started. Since it was a hands-on workshop, we all were required to download certain files on which we could work upon. Anand started showing the demo and we all followed him. Some of the topics covered were –

  1. Formulae
  2. Charts
  3. Pivot Table
  4. Macros
  5. Goal Seek
  6. Data Validation & Analysis

Trainer – Anand Vishwanathan taking the stage!

Considering we had a very short time of 2 hours, Anand could barely touch on all the above without us getting lost, which I have to confess I did get lost with the quantum of things to do in Excel. At present I would be using less than 5% of Excel! 😦

Anand is a seasoned trainer and has been conducting such workshops for years now. It definitely shows as he had a nice flow to the entire session and knew what he was talking about. The session was very interactive, with every now and then questions coming up.

Overall the session was definitely useful to at least start exploring the capabilities of Excel.  Yes longer duration sessions are even more useful and beneficial, but its a start and I am not complaining! 🙂

If you are in Product Management or aspiring to make it part of your Profession, I highly recommend joining IPMA. Please don’t judge from their site which – they are aware – needs a revamp and are looking for Volunteers to help them do the same!

See you at the next event!

Cheers!

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