Thursday, January 31, 2008

Motorola rumored to be exiting the handset business

If Nomura International analyst Richard Windsor knows what he’s talking about then Motorola will be leaving the handset business to focus on being an enterprise and government company. And its not surprising that some Chinese companies are interested in acquiring it. Motorola certainly has an entrenched brand but not too sure about its existing software platform. Its not like Lenovo acquiring IBM's PC business. Lenovo had everything in place and all they needed was a dependable and big brand to set them up for the world stage.

Acquiring Motorola comes with a burden to turn around the platform that had created all the problems for Motorola and thats not an easy task. This could be the main reason why a real offer hasnt been tabled. What do you think? DO you think Motorola is best to carry on without their troubled handset business?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Worst Winter in China in Half a Century

(photos taken from my apartment)

Chinese New Year is just around the corner with less than 1 week away and China is facing the worst winter in decades. The situation is definitely reaching breaking point with the world’s largest annual human migration as people will be making their way back to their hometown. Over the next couple of days, over 100 million plus people are preparing to return home for the upcoming week-long national holiday to celebrate Chinese New Year with their families.

The condition is Shanghai isnt as bad as the other worst hit cities and provinces where planes, trains and automobiles come to a complete stop. People are stucked in the stations and at the airport where most of them are forced to shut due to bad weather.

Though Shanghai may not be as badly hit but still having to wake up to an unusual heavy snow with room temperature dropping below 10 degrees Celsius can be a huge pain. Almost all apartments in Shanghai are poorly insulated with single glazed windows with no central-heating had further worsen my agony. In comparison to the northern cities like Beijing, its a real comfort to stay indoor with temperature constantly in the 30s celsius. Cant understand why a big city like Shanghai isnt implementing it???

The weather expert is forecasting at least another 3 days of winter storm and I m hoping that the condition will improve to lessen the strain and stress of people having to commute during the festive season. Chinese New Year is often their only opportunity every year to return to distant families in the far flung corners of the country.

I m glad that i m not making any travel to anywhere during the festive season except for having to make a business trip to Beijing this Friday. I m just going to keep my fingers cross and hope that the trip wont turn into a nightmare as I need to be back before my parents arrive from Malaysia. Got to be back on time to start warming up my apartment as my older folks are not going to be able to handle the winter storm that easily especially coming from a country with weather thats constantly hot everyday.
Below is a video news by AlJazeera English reporting on the hundreds of thousands of people who have been prevented from returning home by heavy snowfalls.

Nokia to share music revenues with Operators

Nokia, the world's biggest maker of mobile phones, will share revenue with phone operators from a program to sell handsets with unlimited music access according to the Nokia's head of entertainment.

``In those cases where we cooperate with operators, there will be an arrangement so they can get a piece,'' said Tero Ojanpera, an executive vice president and a member of Nokia's executive board, in an interview today in Cannes, France.

The Finnish company unveiled in December the ``Comes With Music'' program, which will allow customers to buy a phone with a year of unlimited access to millions of tracks included in the purchase price. Nokia agreed to offer tracks from Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, and is in talks with other major labels.

Its a good start for the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer to offer a revenue sharing scheme but not too sure whether how the Operators will see this gesture. Most of the Operators
sell music downloads to subscribers to help lift average revenue per user. Nokia's shift into services has caused concern among phone companies about how revenue is spread among the players.

Even if Nokia isnt in this space they are many other music providers who had started offering music over the internet. At this present moment most of the musics on the mobile are actually side loaded from the PC downloaded via the internet and most of them are ripped from the CDs. In order for the mobile music to take off, all the providers including Nokia must have strong value proposition why users should pay for the services or in Nokia's case, why pay more for the handsets.

The bundling of musics with Nokia phones is a great value proposition and if the incremental cost to the phones arent that high, users will see this as a good value. With unlimited downloads offered via "Comes with Music"program, Nokia is in good position to shape the mobile music industry. I guess thats the advantage of having 40% market share afterall with such volume, i m sure its alot easier to negotiate with the record labels and get the best deal.

With a whole array of services offered via the Nokia branded phones, from music, games, maps, gps, and many more, Nokia is in a good position to continue dominating the market. If i were to be one of their competititors, i certainly need to think harder or eventually surrender it to them. The only area that Nokia needs to improve is on the design. While the features are great, the shape and design has still some catching up to do. I m sure they can learn from Apple and Samsung. Who do you reckon as a real competitor to Nokia in the longer term?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We know who you are, and also where you are

Sounds like a gangster or big brother right? This is the exact words that the CEO of China Mobile, Wang Jianzhou, told the delegates at the World Economic Forum held in Davos. The admission sent shivers through an audience of telecom experts at the World Economic Forum who immediately saw the potential for misuse and surveillance.

The head of China Mobile went on to say that the company had unlimited access to the personal data of its customers and they will hand the data over to the Chinese security officials when demanded. Wang was surely speaking in the context of mobile advertising and clarifying how the company could use the personal data of its customers to sell advertising and services to them based on knowledge of where they were and what they were doing.

The ability for China Mobile to pinpoint this with accuracy is nothing new. Its not like a new technology that they had developed to track and monitor their users. All the operators in the world have such capabilities and many of them had actually provided similar services ie, a mobile locator to locate your friends and family members. In fact mobile locator is a popular service in Hong Kong for some users to locate their cheating partners. Surely the expert must had came across such services and isnt this what location based services is all about...

Wang could had picked a better way to say it but there is nothing alarming of his statement afterall he is saying what all operators in the world are capable of doing.

As for handing over the data to the government, what do you expect China Mobile to do? I m sure being a quasi state-owned company, they are under some obligation to assist the government.

My take on this is that the Chinese officials should be more tactful in making comments at such international events where reporters and analysts are just waiting for an opportunity like this to create a story and I m sure whatever negative stories on China will surely be a major headline.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Do you know how Google employees spend their time

No wonder Google is perhaps the best company to work for. Take a look at the clip below and you would probably start looking at Google's career website.

Personally i like the 20 percent rule that Google allocates to its staff to do its own things inside Google. Alot of the good ideas in Google for example, Google news were a result of the 20 percent rule. Something other companies should consider as this would improve and increase innovation within the company.

On top of good innovation, Googlers have access to unlimited good food and during their free time, they can go to the gym and burn all the calories.

One other thing i like about Google is even though Google is such a big company now, it still maintain a high level of startup spirit that promotes ambitious ideas, fast responses and big achievements. This is something pretty much lacking in most big giant corporations.

You dont need to come from top engineering schools to submit your application to Google. If you have lots of passion with what you are doing, lots of energy, you understand the product space and you want to build good products, Google will be more than happy to have you. By the way, I m not from Google but believe me, Google is a cool company to work.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Nokia hits 40

Nokia has just hit over 40% global mobile phone market share in the last quarter as profit surged 44 percent on rising sales in China, Africa and the Middle East. The company, based in Espoo, Finland, said profit rose to 1.84 billion euros, or $2.7 billion, from 1.27 billion euros a year earlier as sales climbed 34 percent to 15.7 billion euros from 11.7 billion euros.

Shares in the Finnish company soared 14.6 per cent, supporting claims that Nokia’s performance can defy global economic weakness. Nokia’s growth has been driven by strong sales of cheaper phones to emerging markets such as India and China. Any consequent profit margin compression has been offset by volume gains.

Nokia had sold in the 4th quarter 77.8 million cellphones in Asia, the Middle East and Africa in the quarter, nearly double the 42.3 million sold in Europe and North America. In China, Nokia’s fastest-growing, high-volume market, the company sold 20.2 million phones, an increase of 38.4 percent over a year earlier.

Strategy Analytics, a research company, said yesterday Nokia’s 40 per cent fourth quarter market share was larger than the combined 35.6 per cent of its three largest rivals, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.

While Nokia is grinning, Motorola, the US’s largest mobile phone maker, last year lost its position as the world’s second largest to Samsung and this week reported an 84 per cent drop in fourth quarter profit to $100m and forecast a loss in the current quarter.

A competitor to look out would be Samsung who has gained alot of traction and market share lately. Their fourth quarter profit from its telecoms business, which includes mobile phones, rose 67 per cent, fuelled by its range of aggressively priced products. Samsung is a serious competitor to be taken note as their products had for years be synonymous with reliability and good design. In some market they are leading Nokia in market share eg, France.

This is an impressive milestone for Nokia who had doubled its 20% market share back in 1997 to 40% in 2007. Nokia isnt going to slow down anytime as they had been aggressively for the past 2 years making several major acquisitions to become an internet company. Nokia believes the path is "beyond the device" and its this strategy that Nokia believes that they will continue to lead the market and ensuring a great user experience for its customers.

Its going to be interesting how this whole strategy will pan out over the next few years as the vision is great but more importantly are how those strategies will be executed. Not only Samsung and Sony Ericsson are chasing after Nokia, Nokia has to start including Google, Microsoft, Apple and other impressive startups to its radar.

Any thoughts out there whether Nokia will be able to move at internet speed? or you think Nokia is better off to focus on making great devices?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

US Stock Exchange and Monetary System on a verge of collapse

This is a good clip summarising of where the US stock exchange and monetary system is heading. Is it heading for a major collapse or just the regular market correction. I would certainly like to think its the latter but every indication, be it from this clip and the news that are released daily are showing indications that things are not looking good at all. What do you think?

How much more crazzier can the Koreans get with the Internet

These are the pictures that was captured in Korea where they are famed for the fastest broadband connection in the world, leading online gamers, one of the most developed fixed and mobile infrastructures in the world and of course creating the most internet addicts. They are reported news that some of the addicts there had gone one playing online games for days without taking a shower as they practically camp and live in the cyber cafes.

The government had came up with rehab centers for these kids and the next time when you are going online in your room, make sure you lock your door otherwise you will be all over the net.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mini Printer from Polaroid

Picked this up from CNN, Polaroid just debuted their new tiny printer at the recent CES 2008 and guess what no ink required because they employ a thermal printing technology from startup Zink Imaging Inc.

You can see from the picture above that its tiny printer almost the size of a regular mobile phone and it will be retailed at about $150. Once connected to a phone or camera by Bluetooth wireless or the USB port, the printers need less than a minute to churn out 2-inch-by-3-inch pictures, which can be peeled off a backing and used as stickers. Sheets of paper for the device will cost about 40 cents each, less if bought in bulk.

I m not surprise that someday the printer will be integrated with the mobile phone. All you need to do is to snap a picture or open up a PDF file and out it comes into a hard copy from the mobile phone.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Nokia courting Facebook

Paid Content is reporting exclusively that Nokia is courting Facebook and they are in the midst of securing a partnership and may even take a strategic stake in the leading social network company, adding to the social network’s funding gathered from the likes of Microsoft and the Sawmer Brothers.

If the claims are true, Nokia phones will have a direct link to Facebook which i m sure will improve the already good user experience available on current facebook's interface for mobile.

While this is still categorised as "rumor" but it makes alot of sense for both companies to be talking to each other. The Nokia-Facebook deal would give the social network instant big-time mobile distribution: Nokia is the world's largest maker of mobile phones and Nokia will have a bigger exposure to the US market as majority of Facebook's users are coming from the US.

With the OVI strategy in place and a new reorganisation that had just been completed on the 1st Jan 2008, Nokia has a big task ahead. Moving from a device manufacturer to an internet company requires more than just a strategy and acquisitions. Its interesting to see how the whole fairy tale story at Nokia will develop in the next few years.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Another extremely poor version of Chinglish in China

This has to be winner of the many chinese to english translation that I have seen anywhere in China for years. Not only the whole translated meaning is wrong, its entirely absurd and silly and carries no meaning whatsoever. What in the world is "Lives pull out the soy sauce?" The ingredient was supposed to be "soya sauce" and I reckon those guys at Dolar Shop (a successful hotpot chain of restaurants in Shanghai) must had picked up a dictionary and directly translated. So much of lives being pulled out from the soy sauce!!!

Its pretty amazing even till these days with Beijing Olympic just around the corner, Chinglish is still widely found all over the place. It can be all that difficult to get people with good English to have it properly translated. Its still good old China but believe me, its improving rapidly.

Fionne, thanks for having the shot taken and emailed to me. Keep the good stuff coming ok.

Nokia N95 or iPhone??

Day to day, I’m not sure if I like my Nokia N95 or iPhone. It’s a tough battle between Apple and Symbian, as I love the touchscreen on my iPhone, but then I start missing the N95's T9, the Opera Mini and other better phone features.

I think for now the Nokia N95 has won, as it’s the only way I can get decent access to text messaging with capabilities like sms forwarding, sending multiple sms, mms, etc. Its a class above the iPhone when comes to text messaging. I m sure the iPhone will improve but for the meantime, the N95 is a clear winner in this area.

One other thing that i can do with my N95 thats hard on the iPhone, I can easily send out a sms with just one hand. On the iPhone, i need launch the QWERTY touch screen pad and tap with both hands. Its a real pain.

Another reason I love my Nokia N95 is the wide range of applications that can be installed. Just feast your eyes on 25 Must Have Applications For Your Nokia N95. I must admit that there are tons of softwares that you can download on a jailbroken iPhone but without the SDK released, there is little value that you can attach to it in comparison to those certified softwares for N95.

The iPhone may have greater user experience with its Safari browser but frankly i m pretty happy and satisfied with the Opera Mini which in many ways is like a mini Safari. The user experience of Opera Mini on the N95 is just great and i have little to complain about it other than when its not able to access the Opera Server.

And of course the N95 has a much superior built in camera with 5 MP in resolution and double up as a video cam too.

As of now, I think the Nokia N95 is a much better overall mobile device but dont count the iPhone out as the next version will definitely be much better than what its. We have to give it to Apple for the success of the iPhone afterall its their 1st attempt at producing a mobile device and to be able to start from where the iPhone is now, I think the real challenge is with the bigger manufactures like Nokia, Samsung, Moto, Sony Ericsson, etc whom I m sure recognised the commitment of Apple for any products that they developed.
Apple is in for the long haul and as consumers we are in for a real treat. I cant wait for the next generation of mobile devices from Apple but for now, I will stay loyal with my current N95, the flagship of Nokia Nseries.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Lynx Effect

This is perhaps one of the best executed online and mobile campaign. Lynx, known as Axe in the U.S., has launched a "Get in there" digital campaign in the U.K. that uses branded mobile applications as a bridge from social networking and online dating to the real world of actually talking to females in person.

Lynx had created a bunch of "weapons of mass seduction" which include a "Fit Girl Finder" soundboard that can be used, for example, to play the sound of a car being unlocked while standing next to an expensive vehicle. Another converts a phone into an on-the-go Spin the Bottle device. A third is a soundboard that guys can transform into a harmonica or "body-piercing scanner."

The campaign was born out of a need to translate Lynx, which promises to attract girls with its scent, into a digital world where scent doesn't exist. Mobile is certainly versatile to create anything and i must say that Lynx and its agency had definitely created something unique thats worth the acknowledgement. Who says that scent cant be virtually spread?

Lynx's Agency worked with mobile application developer Golden Gekko on the development of the utilities. They can be downloaded at or by texting a short code. Lynx hopes for viral distribution by enabling users to send links to the application from phone to phone. In order to ensure at least 85 percent of the market could download the application, Lynx created up to five versions of each app to be compatible with handsets.

These applications are actually compelling and fun because I think they will work at least starting up a conversation with the girls. You should go download it and try it yourself. Good luck.

Check out the 4 video clips below to see how the Lynx guys do it and have it a good laugh and my favorite one would be the last clip. Wouldnt it be great if my mobile could help me find the right girl?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

When not to be an Entrepreneur

While its a dream of many to become a boss or entrepreneur, there are other reasons why you maybe better off working for others. Its great to be on your own doing what you love to do and driving the business the way you want it but at the same time if you know how to manage those expectations, you can also do what you love at the same time working for others.

This blog was inspired by Robert Scoble on why he is going to Fast Company and not starting on his own. I had always been enterprising and had even started a few startups myself and constantly had little reasons why one should not be starting up on his own. Scoble's blog certainly had been thinking for a while especially I m also in the midst of reading the 4-hour-work-week by Timothy Ferris's book which i will talk about later below.
Scoble is a smart and talented person. He is inspiring and at the same time provided valuable information and knowledge to many of us. In his blog he has listed down why he has little passion for doing business on his own.

1 . I don’t love doing much except for interviewing and blogging and my family. I’ve run the books at UserLand Software. I hated that. I’ve tried managing people at PodTech and found that I wasn’t particularly interested in doing more of it (which is one reason why Rocky’s going to play a key role in the development/production of the network — it’s important that we build a strong team, but I’d rather focus more of my energies on getting great content than on finding and keeping great people).

2. Building a diverse set of income requires a sales crew and attention to client happiness. It’s one thing to take care of one sponsor. It’s a whole nother thing to make magic happen for a wide range of sponsors. That takes a team of professionals. I don’t have the time, nor the skills, to build a world-class sales team and if I took the time that’d cause me to take my eye off of doing my videos, which would be the life-blood of the organization.

3. Setting up a business requires a ton of other tasks. HR. Banking. Invoicing. All the other drudge work that takes time away from doing interviews, going on photowalks, reading feeds, hanging out and networking with industry leaders, etc that leads to great content.

4. Doing a business is stressful on everyone involved. Om Malik’s heart attack had an impact on me. So did Marc Orchant’s death. Life is too short and if that means I leave a few million on the table because I gave up equity in my own thing, so be it. I’m happiest when behind a camera talking with someone like Doug Engelbart or taking Patrick, my son, to MacWorld. Anything other than that I’m going to outsource, ala “the Four Hour Workweek.”

5. Brand extension is hard when running your ass off to build your own business. For instance, I want to build communities that lead to interesting events. But if I did my own business, running an event team would have to wait until I got my business on solid ground. That could be a year or more. That would mean opportunities lost. Fast Company and Inc have awesome event and marketing teams — I’ve been to their events and if I wanted to build a team like that it’d take capital, time, and talent that I don’t have.

6. Getting access to things, when running your own business, is tougher. Yeah, I can get access to a lot of things, but did Steve Jobs invite me to attend his keynote at MacWorld? No. If I was part of a bigger team with a more established brand, would it be more likely that I’d get invited? Yes.

I completely understand Scoble's reasons for joining Fast Company and not trying to start a business on his own. He was honest with himself about what he is good at, what he wants to do, and what it really takes to make a business successful. Do you have what it takes to be on your own? or you are better off working for others and I m sure you can still achieve what you want in life.

I m in the middle of reading a very inspiring book by Timothy Ferris, the 4-hour-work-week as mentioned above. Its a best seller and i strongly recommend that you read it if you can get hold of one. It certainly had opened the way i look at things even though i havent finished reading it. Do not read it unless you want to quit your job. haha...

This is a book that will guide you through the concept of doing less but but achieving more. It teaches you to forget the old concept of retirement as there is no need to defer you life plans all the way to the end. It wil help you to escape the rat race and get the best of life. It doesnt mean you drop your work and pack your bags to the Maldives rather it teaches you how to maximize your time and achieving more. Even Scoble had read it too. Life is short, dont wait till the end to enjoy the fruits that you had been saving for 30-35 years.

I m definitely going to re-evaluate all over again and see whether i m better off working for myself or I could achieve the equivalent or more working for others. There is no right and wrong to what we decide afterall as Richard Branson had famously quoted it, "Screw it, just do it."

China market takes No 2 Global Spot at $4.72 trillion

China has leapfrogged past Japan to take over the No 2 spot as the second largest stock market in the world after US in terms of capitalization thanks to all the mega listings and robust trading.

Here are the top 10 largest stock exchanges in the world according to a recent data released by Bloomberg :

1. US - $16.93 trillion
2. China - $ 4.72 trillion
3. Japan - $ 4.39 trillion
4. Britain - $3.81 trillion
5. France - $2.65 trillion
6. Hong Kong - $2.53 trillion
7. Germany - $2.13 trillion
8. India - $1.83 trillion
9. Canada - $1.68 trillion
10. Australia - $1.38 trillion

China has been enjoying tremendous growth and for the past years coupled with flood of large-scale IPOs including PertroChina (the 1st trillion dollar company by market cap) and others had helped its market cap soar. As most of the shares are still locked up, the market cap figure isnt a true reflection of its true market value. In reality, the real value will start to decline once the non-tradable state-owned shares get unlocked in the near future as the overall share prices will be diluted. Nobody can estimate the severity of the size of the selldown but it will eventually.

Steve Jobs Keynote at MacWorld in 60 seconds

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Apple launches Super Thin Notebook

The headline product for MacWorld has to be the MacBook Air. It’s built to be a wireless machine. It is really thin, at 0.76 inches at its thickets in the back and only 0.16 inches at the front. It weighs in at about 3 pounds and definitely looks better than a MacBook.

It has a 13.3 inch screen, a solid state drive option, a 1.6 ghz Intel Core 2 Duo microprocessor. It is so thin that it could fit inside an interoffice manila envelope. It has a full size backlit keyboard, with multi-touch gestures, iSight video camera built-in, and an LED backlit display, 2 gigabytes of memory standard, an 80 GB hard drive standard with an option of 64 GB SSD. It will cost just $1,799.

There is no CD/DVD drive. That’s because the machine will wireless install software, including hefty programs such as Mac Office 2008. Jobs said Apple has made it easy to install software wirelessly, without a compromise. With Wi-Fi turned on, it will have five hours of battery life.
Apple is taking orders today online and it will ship in two weeks.

It has to be the thinnest notebook in the world. It may not enjoy the similar hype to iPhone but its the kind of device that we would all like to get our hands on except that its priced beyond the budget of many. I would give this product a 8 out of 10. What do you think?

4 million iPhone sold

At Macworld today, Steve Jobs announces that Apple has sold 4 million iPhones in 200 days from the day it was launched back in June 2007. Thats 20,000 of iPhones a day. Impressive coming from a company who had never made any phones before and majority of the sales are coming from the US and a few European countries. Apple has yet to nail any agreement in Asia but I m sure 2008 is a year where iPhone will be released in most countries. Of course, if you are interested in buying an iPhone, you will still be able to buy the cracked version from the gray market just like me.

In terms of the U.S. smartphone market share from Gartner, that means Apple is strong at 19.5 percent in its first quarter, compared to 39 percent for RIM. Palm has 9.8 percent. Motorola has 7.4 percent, Nokia is 3.1 percent and everyone else is 21.2 percent. Steve believes that the latest figures that is scheduled to be released will be even more promising.

The iPhone software development kit will be out in February. But there are new features: maps with location. You can find your current location in maps. You can take webclips of favorite site and put them on screen. You can customize the home screen, send a text message multiple people at once, put chapters and subtitles on video, and it supports lyrics now. There is still no GPS in the phone but I reckon it should come with the new iPhone scheduled to be released this year.

Apple isnt a company that will sit for a good product to come, they may not be a great inventor, but I m quite sure that you will agree with me they are definitely the world leading trendsetter.

Apple launches Movie Rentals at MacWorld

Next time when you are bored and have nothing to do, you may want to check out Apple's iTunes for new releases and even some of the old titles from their catalogs. Apple just announced iTunes® Movie Rentals featuring movies from all the major movie studios including 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Lionsgate and New Line Cinema.
Users can rent movies for as low as $2.99 and watch them on their Macs or PCs, all current generation iPods*, iPhone™ and Apple TV®. iTunes Movie Rentals will offer over 1,000 titles by the end of February, including over 100 titles in stunning high definition video with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound which users can rent directly from their widescreen TV using Apple TV. iTunes Movie Rentals are priced at $2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for new releases, and high definition versions are just one dollar more with library titles at $3.99 and new releases at $4.99.

Once a movie is rented, it starts downloading from the iTunes Store directly to iTunes or Apple TV, and users with a fast Internet connection can start viewing the movie in seconds. Customers have up to 30 days to start watching it, and once a movie has been started customers have 24 hours to finish it—or watch it multiple times.

Apple will certainly be going head on with Blockbuster and Netflix and if they are not taking Apple's new movie rental business seriously, soon they will go out of business as Apple has more competitive edge over them. Apple do not need to have physical presence afterall the services are being streamed digitally directly to end users' devices just like how they had streamed 1 billion iTunes music downloads. Look around where are the mom and pop shops selling CDs, most are no longer around and i m sure the movie rental shops that we all go to will soon ended up just like the CD Shops.

Cheapest Mobile Phone in the World only $12

Reliance Communications of India had announced plans to introduce potentially the world cheapest internet-enabled mobile phone at $12 and they are targeting to sell 1 million handsets a year. I wonder why only 1 million when its $12?? Surely India has a much bigger market than that right?

They are currently in advanced stages of discussions with leading contract manufacturers in China, Taiwan and Korea for sourcing the prototype of the low-cost internett-enabled mobile phone. The company intends to place an initial order for 12 million handsets. It will target the 600 million rural population and sell around 1 million pieces a year in the rural and semi-urban areas.

At that price, i would recommend them to bundle the phone with the service. Why bother trying to sell at $12. As its, most providers worldwide are giving away free phones bundled with their mobile services. At $12 a piece, the return of investment (ROI) should be fast.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Google improves user experience for iPhone Users

Google announced new improvements to its Grand Prix integrated iPhone software suite on iPhone. The previous version, launched just over a month ago, brought together our suite of web applications including Search, Gmail, Calendar, Reader, and more into one easy-to-use interface. Apple has improved the interface even further, making the applications faster and improving their usability.

Some of the improvements announced today include:

- Improved UI: The applications look and feel slicker, and they are easier to activate, navigate and use via a touch-screen.

- Customization of default tabs: Now Google users can have easy access to their favorite applications by customizing the applications that appear on the menu bar. Users simply choose their favorite Google applications to bring them to the front menu, ensuring that they'll be close at hand whenever they're needed. Switching between applications is effortless, as users only need to sign in onceto access their Gmail, Calendar, Reader, Docs, and Picasa accounts.

- Speedier Gmail: New emails will automatically show up so there's no need to manually refresh in boxes. And the new auto-complete feature forcontacts makes composing emails faster than ever.
- Speedier Calendar: With the new month view, users can glance at an entire month of appointments.

- iGoogle: Now Google users can access their iGoogle gadgets on theiPhone. Everything they've customized on their iGoogle homepage including weather, stocks, and news feeds now appear on their iPhones. To go to iGoogle, simply click on the iGoogle link on the Home tab. You can customize your iGoogle page on your computer at

These new features provide iPhone users with a desktop-like Google web application experience in terms of ease-of-use, speed, and feature richness but optimized for the iPhone.

According to a New York Times article published today, traffic to Google from iPhones surged on Christmas, surpassing incoming traffic from rival mobile devices despite representing just 2 percent of the global smartphone population.

iPhone has certainly taken out the frustration of mobile browsing and thanks to Google, I m sure browsing on mobile internet is much better. With the iPhone's SDK launched possibly next month, it will surely open up a world of opportunity for more services to be integrated with iPhone. Sometimes i wonder why the other more established mobile manufacturers are not getting it the way Apple does...

With only 2 percent of the global smartphone market share, Google and others are scrambling to recognise the cult iPhone has created. Phones powered by Symbian make up 63 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, while those powered by Microsoft’s Windows Mobile have 11 percent and those running the BlackBerry system have 10 percent, dont these established players deserve the equal iconic status of Apple. I guess not, afterall beside creating a sexy iPhone, Steve Jobs and the team at Apple has definitely changed the mobile business landscape. Gone were the days where Operators drive the business their way, its now consumer driven and if the Operators do not play according to these new rules, they will lose out. Long Live the Consumers.

China Forex Reserves has piled up $1.53 trillion

This has to be the largest reserves anywhere in the universe and there is nothing stopping it from growing. The trade surplus was projected to hit $210 billion by the National Reform & Development Commission a year ago but it had recorded a trade surplus of $260 billion for 2007. It surged nearly 50 percent from last year to surpass $260 billion. The surplus has climbed more than 10-fold since 2003.

US, European and other critics complain that China keeps its currency, the yuan, artificially weak, which they argue gives Chinese exporters an unfair advantage and China has responded by allowing the yuan to appreciate gradually, and slightly faster in recent weeks, but it has refused to scrap its controls completely.

On Monday, the yuan hit a new high against the US dollar smashing the 7.26 mark to reach 7.2566 yuan to one dollar, which marked an appreciation of about 12 percent since the currency’s peg to the greenback was loosened in July 2005. The yuan is likely to appreciate by around eight to 10 percent against the dollar in 2008, according to Qiu Qingdong, a Beijing-based economist with Guodu Securities, whose estimate was similar to those given by other analysts. My advise to you is to keep your money in yuan or RMB instead of US dollars.

Source : AFP

Monday, January 14, 2008

Your Custom Tattoo with your own name in Brazilian Beer Ad

This is a very good interactive commercial. It for the Brazilian Antarcita beer. You put your name in and somebody else’s name too. The names then appear on live characters - not cartoons. The girl says (loose translation), “I have your name as a tattoo, want to see it?” After the lovely reveal, she calls for Paulo to show his tattoo and that’s the fun part.

Cant embed the video so please click on this link and enjoy sending it to your friends.

Mobile Phone Watch

Engadget got a chance to take few photos of what seems as LG-made watch phone. And while we still don't dig the idea of wearing a phone around a wrist, I guess the Korean giant did some research and figured there's a room on the market for such devices. Apparently, the phone/watch has some cool interface and relies on exclusively on the three buttons located at the bottom of the device. The bad news ― at least for the watch phone lovers ― is that it appears to be a mere prototype at the moment, but who knows - we may see it hitting the store shelves within few months. In the meantime, check out the short video demoing device after the jump.

Friday, January 11, 2008

43 billion SMS was sent and received on New Year day

43 billion of SMS sent in a day! If you translate that assuming that they are 3 billion mobile users, each users will be sending out about 14 SMS on an average. Thats alot of SMS in a day!

Global SMS traffic during the 2007/2008 New Year period increased by 30 per cent over the same period last year, research revealed today. Figures from messaging and charging company Acision suggest that global phone users sent a staggering 43 billion text messages to wish their loved ones a happy new year.

The most astounding growth figures came from developing markets. India's 220 million mobile subscribers sent over a billion text messages representing a 300 per cent increase on daily traffic levels.

The Philippines retained its title as the text messaging capital of the world, sending a remarkable 1.39 billion text messages from a subscriber base of just 50 million.

Millions of people have chosen this new way to deliver their best wishes to their loved ones. It’s time efficient; sending texts out singularly is faster and easier than a phone call, email or card. Those with phones who allow it can even super-charge those attributes by writing one message and sending it out as a mass text.

But, above all, it’s another indicator of how much more impersonal our contact with others is. The inauthenticity, the effort, the willingness to devote a certain amount of time, money and energy on expressing our care for those we love.

Isnt mobile supposed to be the real denominator to bring us closer together in the lowest cost and fastest way or have we been sucked into the powerful device that we had ended up becoming more dependent on it and remote from everybody?? With 43 billion SMS sent and received, arent we supposed to be closer to each other??

Thursday, January 10, 2008

iPhone coming to China in the 2nd Quarter 2008

Was reading an article from Marbridge Consulting where Lin Ronghui, VP of official Apple reseller iTell, confirmed the iPhone will be on sale in China by the second quarter this year, in partnership with mobile operators, and priced at about RMB 4,000 - similar to the price on the US market.

Not sure how true is this and when it will ever be launched. There are still so many unanswered questions like will Apple give in to the local Operators own terms and would Apple disable the wifi capabilities on its iPhone as required in the Chinese Market. China is a market that Apple would not want to miss but at the same time there are way too many local requirements that Apple would need to give in if they want to launch iPhone officially here.

As its, iPhone is everywhere in China regardless of whether its officially launched as most mobile users are aware of where to get it in the black market. The price has dropped from an all time high of RMB 8,000 ($1,096) to only under RMB 5,000 or less ($685) which will include the cracked code. Go to any of the mobile retail centers and you will see iPhone all over the place. Why bother having it launched as its already in the market afterall Apple could still have their iPhone in China minus having to negotiate its way with the Operators in China.
While the deal in China is not to be missed, Apple still has to consider the agreements that they had made with all the other operators. At the end of the day, perhaps a back door entry to the China market isnt a bad idea.

Bill Gates last day at Microsoft

I must say this is one of the best made video clip on Bill i have seen taken from Bill Gates's keynote at CES 2008 which should be his last keynote with Microsoft, the company he co-founded and grew into the largest software company in the world.

This is a really down to earth version of the world's second richest man to be driving off to work on his last day in a Ford by himself. I know this video is specially made for him for the occasion but still its cool to see Bill taking up different chararaters here in this video. Believe me after the watching the clip, you will have a different opinion of the geek who gave us the operating system on our PC.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Japanese girls spend 2 hours a day on Mobile Internet

Browsing on the mobile internet has risen tremendously lately with better mobile phones and faster connection over the mobile network. According to a latest survey on youngsters and the information society, high school girls in Japan use Internet and text services for an average of two hours and four minutes a day. Thats similar time spent on internet users in China on a regular PCs or laptops.

High school boys follows them with an average use time of one hour and 32 minutes a day. Then come the middle school girls who accessed services for an average of one hour 19 minutes, and middle school boys for one hour 11 minutes.

But the numbers don't stop there. The poll has also found that 27.3% of primary school students, 53.4% of middle school students, and 95.2% of high school students had their own mobile phone.

These stats proves that the use of mobile internet will become common and popular with better user experience mobile devices as mobility is surely be the way driving the future of mobile internet. At some point in time, wired connectivity will be rendered obsolete as most connections will be unwired and thats the future we will be living in.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Child's vision of the future of Mobile Communication

An excellent advertising from Telenor where a little 10 years old girl was reciting an essay she wrote about the future of mobile communication. Her vision to the future had caused concerns among her teachers, classmates, friends, parents and others. We should get Telenor to write another essay with the vision for the future. Perhaps in the future, the rich media wireless device will be in-built in our brain with nothing to carry.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Data Presentation at its Best

I dont suppose many of you would like to look at data as data presentation format has mostly been static and boring. Frankly i dont like looking at data too and even if i m reading them, its definitely not by choice. But I sure do have a second thought now having watched an amazing presentation on world statistics by Hans Rosling, the inventor of, which was recently acquired by Google. Its mindblowing how he had presented the world using the Gapminder software created by his team. Its a 2o min clip and believe me, it will be worth your time watching it. Even the crowd who were listening gave a standing ovation after the presentation.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

World Pool Champion in the Making and he is only 7 years old

Amazing 7 years old kid that will put any advanced and semi pro-pool players to shame. Not only Landon Shuffet has very good playing skills, he can even do trick shots too. Landon started playing pool when he was a baby coached by his father. Check out the clip below and you will agree with me that he is definitely a champ in the making.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Amazing Google

Google will always be a special company. The Google idea was conceived and started less than 10 years ago and today its one of the world's most admired brand and company. There isnt a day that goes by that online users are now using Google. We are either searching on Google, checking our emails on Gmail, writing a business proposal on Google Doc or chatting on Gtalk. The big "G" is everywhere and how can we not admire them.

Here are some stats why Google is an Amazing company :
• Google is the “fastest growing company in the history of the world.” – Times of London, 1/29/06
• Google controls 65.1% of all searches in the U.S. at the end of 2007 and 86% of all searches in the UK, according to measurement company Hitwise.
• Google was searched 4.4 billion times in the U.S. alone in October, 2007 (three times Yahoo), says Nielsen. Average searches per searcher: 40.7.
• Google’s sites had 112 million U.S. visitors in November, 2007, says Nielsen.
• Google’s traffic was up 22.4% in 2007 over 2006, according to Comscore.
• Google earned $15 billion revenue and $6.4 billion profit in 2007, a profit margin of 26.9%. Its revenue was up 57% in the last quarter of 2007 over 2006, says Yahoo Finance. As of late 2007, its stock was up 53% in a year. The company has a market capitalization of $207.6 billion.
• Google controls 79% of the pay-per-click ad market, according to RimmKaufman. It controls 40% of all online advertising, according to web site HipMojo.
• Google employed almost 16,000 people at the end of 2007, a 50% increase over the year before.
• Google became the No. 1 brand in the world in 2007, according to Millward Brown Brandz Top 100.

Not that we didn’t know this already. But the stats still amaze me and I m sure you find it amazing too and believe me, Google aint stopping here and 2008 will be another year where Google will continue to amaze all of us.

Friday, January 4, 2008

China Telecom sees increase in profits but lost 2.74 million customers in 2007

Its business as usual for China Telecom registering a turnover of 177.1 billion yuan ($24.5 billion) in 2007, up by a slight 2.4% year on year. Local media reports that the company's net profit was expected to reach 26.6 billion yuan ($3.6 billion), up 1.9% year on year.

Meanwhile, China Telecom said its telephone user number reached 227 million by the end of 2007, while its broadband user number reached 38.1 million.

Though still registering a slight increase in profit, China Telecom lost 2.74 million users in the first 11 months of 2007, and is expected to record its first customer-churn year since it made the IPO in 2002.

The broadband service sector and value-added service sector have become the main driving force to China Telecom's growth in business turnover. And i believe the global fixed network operators are experiencing similar customer-churn as more users are migrating to mobile network.

The key to fixed network operators continuous growth is mobile. China Telecom will soon join the mobile playing field as they are a prime candidate for one of the 3g licenses that will be awarded this year and I m certain that they will give China Mobile a better reason to be more competitive.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Wife speaks on Husband's infidelity "caught live" at the launching of the new Olympic TV Channel

State television channel CCTV 5 was renamed The Olympic Channel, and the press conference held recently to launch this was meant to be a proud moment for all involved. Unfortunately, while sports news department head, Zhang Bin was about to speak, his wife, Hu Ziwei, went to the podium, grabbed a microphone and started speaking about her husband’s infidelity in a surprisingly calm and dignified, yet determined manner.

This rather unfortunate moment was captured live via a mobile phone by one of the guest who was attending the auspicious function.

Infidelity of course is not limited to China, but Hu Ziwei did, in her upset state of mind, mention China negatively in her comments in the clip.

For viewer in China, you can access it at Tudou, the chinese equivalent of Youtube.

The clip is in mandarin and this is in summary what she had said.

"I m here speaking not as the host of the program but the wife of Zhang Bin (the fat guy with glasses). I would like to have 1 minute of your time. China will be hosting the Olympic next year and this will attract alot of world's attention. A French Ambassador had once quoted that until China is able to export good moral values, it wont be a great super power. Is this how you treat a woman? Dont you have any conscience? We are still far away from being a super nation. "

I feel sorry for the wife and even the husband was simply shocked and cant even face up to his own wife who must be very hurt and disappointed and angry too.

Infidelity is nothing new in China as ancient China had a long standing acceptance of allowing man to have more than 1 wife especially for the rich, high ranking officials and even the Emperor as a symbol of success and status. But time has changed and such ancient acceptance must give way to the notion of equality of sexes. In a developed nation and society, men and women must enjoy a great degree of equality bonded by strong moral values. Without such value, all the prosperity of any great nation will go in vain.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

China vs India

Both are countries that has started dominating the world economy and will continue to dominate for many years to come. While many of you would think China and India are similar as both are in the same league taking center stage in the global economy, in reality both countries are very different.

Their political systems are also vastly different, with China being ruled by a single party and India being the world’s largest democracy. In fact India has benefited out of this misconception as the world sees China being the king of manufacturing and infrastructure and India is the leader in provision of information technology services.
Here are some stats between the 2 countries :

Stock Markets:
The market capitalization of the 10 largest companies today in China is $1.8 trillion, whereas the market capitalization of the 10 largest companies in India is only $0.5 trillion.

Similarly, at year-end 2006 the total stock market capitalization of China was $2.4 trillion versus India where it was only $0.8 trillion.

Direct Investment:
China has received more than 10 times the total foreign direct investment as India ($700 billion versus $68 billion).

China has made direct investments abroad that are more than 3 times that of India ($67 billion versus $21 billion).

The Chinese GDP expressed in US dollars is three times the Indian GDP ($2.5 trillion versus $0.8 trillion). On a purchasing power parity basis, the Chinese GDP is two and a half times the Indian GDP ($10.2 trillion versus $4.2 trillion).

Current Account Balance:
China’s current account balance is positive and growing strongly, while India’s has meandered and recently gone negative.

China produces 3 times the electricity of India; more than 4 times the oil; and more than 1.5 times the natural gas. On the consumption side, China consumes more than twice the oil of India and almost 1.5 times the natural gas.

Approximately 1/3 of the world’s population is either Indian or Chinese, but the populations of China and India are quite different from each other.

India’s population is smaller than China’s, but is growing more rapidly. In 1995, China had nearly 33% more people. By 2005, China had less than 20% more people. By 2025, their populations will be about equal. After that, India will have a larger population.

India has a population that is growing younger and that will continue to supply young people to the labor force for a long time. China has an aging population that will show labor supply problems without net inflow of migrants. India today has 6 times the number of people migrating out of the country as China. China has a 40% lower infant mortality rate than India, and a longer life expectancy.

Labor and Income Distribution:
China and India have roughly equal acreage of arable land, but China has a much smaller portion of its people in agriculture than India (45% versus 60%). China has twice the proportion in industrial jobs (24% versus 12%), and a similar portion in service jobs (31% versus 28%).
China has a lower rate of urban unemployment (4.2% versus 7.8%) and far fewer below the poverty line (10% versus 25%) – although we don’t know how reliable that may be. Both have about 1/3 of total income in the hands of the top 10% of households.

Literacy is dramatically different. Only 61% of Indians over the age of 15 can read and write, while nearly 91% of Chinese over 15 can read and write. The development and therefore economic value of women is higher in China where 86.5% are literate, whereas in India only 47.8% of women are literate.

The religious composition is dissimilar.

Hindus account for over 80% of the Indian population, but are negligibly represented in China. Muslims account for over 13% of the India population, but are only about 1% to 2% of the China population. Christians are about 2.3% in India and 3% to 4% in China.

China does not report religious composition as thoroughly as India, but China is greatly influenced by Taoism and Confucianism which have ancient roots there. India and China do not have similar populations in terms of guiding belief systems.

India has numerous regional languages with English as the official government and business language. China has one basic language with regional variations. Mandarin Chinese is the standard language.

Legal system:
India’s legal system is based on English common law while China’s is based on civil law derived from the Soviet Union and continental European legal principles. India’s judiciary reviews legislation, while China’s legislature retains the right to interpret its laws. India accepts compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction, while China does not.
Political System:
India is a multi-party democracy. China is a single-party controlled state.

China has more than 3 times as many cell phones as India and 7 times as many land lines as India.
China has more than 4 times as many internet users as India.

China spends 4.3% of its GDP on its military versus 2.5% by India. In total US dollars, the Chinese military budget is five times the size of the Indian military budget.

From almost every metric, China and India are very different countries. They are neighbors. They are important and disruptive to the old order of things. They are interesting investments, but they are a unified portfolio concept that could lead to unwarranted conclusions and allocations. Both have great investment values that need to be considered separately.

Data Source : U.S. Census Department, the CIA Factbook, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the Economist Intelligence Unit and others.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Science vs Faith

Have you ever figure out whats the difference between Science and Faith? This simple flow chat will surely explain it all.