Tuesday, December 28, 2010

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Close on the heels of the impending 3G launch, Airtel has reduced the Mobile Office rates which were skyrocketing earlier to something much more lower now. Earlier MO was 30p per 20kB, and now its 30p per 50kB which essentially means about half as less as previously.

Additionally, the Airtel Live WAP portal which was free so long is now 30p per 20kB. Though we feel not many people use this portal, we are wrong. The youth is the target segment of this portal and there are groups of users who primarily download wallpapers, games, and music off this portal. Airtel just decided to tap revenue from this set of people and hence the paid mode. Of course it will also discourage non serious users to stop visiting this portal or alternatively make serious users go for 3G which is coming shortly.

Users already into some plan will not be changed to this mode until next six months. Take a look at the announcement to know more.

 

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

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Auctions have always been BDA's golden egg netting them more than the revenues normal site allotments can actually get them. Today BDA has announced e-auctions for sites in Uttarahalli and BSK 5th stage, which adds the much needed dimension for auctions, the electronic medium.


While many people do not have time to be at the auction venues each time, some depute other people on behalf of them. However, with e-auction comes not only some bit of transparency but also participating in an auction sitting on your desk!


check out the advt in TOI below:




What is interesting is that the initial bid per square meter is 39,000 rupees. Which means if we use conversions:


1 (square meter) = 10.7639104 square feet


This makes it Rs.3,635 per square feet, a whopping amount to pay up even for a 30x40 site (which works out to ~ 44 lakhs)


This shows BDA is clearly pushing brand bangalore and its corner site philosophy what with the FAR (floor area ratio) increased, as well as with some commercial possibilities in the offing. This then surely becomes a golden egg for both the BDA and the investors. Of course then this is only the starting price if one takes note of it and it can go anywhere between 4000 and 6000 per square feet making BDA a killing for its offering.


As the south western parts of Bengaluru improve in terms of connectivity to places like Whitefield and Electronics city, the areas have started commanding more and more money for the residential nature they offer. What then remains to be seen is how BDA goes forward into the next decade in terms of some serious thinking about long pending irritating issues like water supply, rain water harvesting, electricity supply, garbage disposal and transport facilities.


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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

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Slow but steady, Airtel is finally catching on the heels of Tata Docomo to launch their 3g services in Bangalore next week coinciding with the festive season. This blog already had a post on the tariff structure for Docomo post paid 3G services. Compared to those costs, expect Airtel to be a tad bit higher with their offering.


Ushering in both MNP and 3G at the same time, Airtel is bound to attract a lot of new customers even though their customer service quality has deteriorated over the past few months to a year. This is primarily in the backdrop of the 2G scam and the telcos that are now on the firing line by the government. Though many telcos more than rival the features offered by Airtel, the scam will deal a severe blow to these people if they are found to be involved.


MNP itself will be an interesting trend which will redefine and pick out the cream out of the telcos by the next quarter. This will be the only differentiating factor as compared to services, which will define who truly is capable of being a respected telco for time to come.



 


Airtel has already listed the steps to enable other subscribers to move to Airtel on their website. Airtel promises real time HD gaming, live video streaming (which might in due course involve live TV), real time video calls, among other offerings. No doubts this will come at a cost, but India deserves atleast 3G in 2011 and 4G in 2012.TRAI surely is working hard to bring more and more streamlined operations in the telco space. With the introduction of 3G the possibilities suddenly seem endless, and the next boom of rural and urban reach would be defined by data usage rather than just voice calls. After having met and spoken to many people who have witnessed the demos at Airtel outlet as well as Airtel insiders who have used the service, their claim is that its blazingly fast, and steady and exciting to use.


So this festive season, look forward to Airtel 3G! Spread the cheer.


 


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Friday, December 10, 2010

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(source androinica.com)



(source www.notionink.com)


The Notion Ink Adam is finally out for preorder. Fine. But the details have been so seriously sketchy that Indians have no idea about what exactly it costs in India, and how one can get hold of the Android tablet. On an average in the USA the notion ink adam costs roughly close to $450 or in Indian money a little over Rs.20000/-. As of now shipping to any country via DHL costs a whopping 50 USD or roughly Rs.2500/-. While this is ok for other countries, a product conceptualized, designed in India is manufactured in China and sold all over the world first.


I think the Indian government should seriously consider policing such product launches. Given the fact the person designing the product has an office in Bangalore, has studied in an enviable place like IIT and has been Indianized all long the way, this becomes unacceptable. Using Indian soil for product launches elsewhere. This applies to Apple in part too. Look at them, they have launched iPAD everywhere other than India. I can understand their sentiments. India perhaps is still not fully ready for a device like iPAD. But lets take Samsung for instance. They came, they saw the opportunity and they conquered.


Yes its a bit high in price no doubts, retailing at a whopping Rs.36,000 for a silly tablet running android. But then my iPhone is also the same price and I guess its justified if I own one over the other. However for people who were looking at affordable computing with a tablets - congrats folks, your dreams have just been shattered by Samsung. The only other way you can own one is to get into the infamous and dubious EMI trap and keep paying for years together.


Coming back to the Adam product, its flawless and most suited for today's market if launched properly. But the distribution, returns and servicing strategy is not fully enlisted for both local and international users. There are no reviews of it with production quality hardware. The user interface looks great no doubt, but still not shown anywhere on the actual device. This makes the first set of devices questionable on their use. The keyboard looks fantastic and hopefully will allow for faster typing unlike other miserable touch screen devices like the Galaxy tab or iPAD even.


In summary one only hopes that Notion Ink shapes up its distrubution policy to be more transparent, ties up with banks in India and charts out a proper business growth plan for India. And yes please ship us the device for a 500 bucks instead of a 50 USD !



 


 


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Thursday, December 9, 2010

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Its about time since the last KHB announcement regarding allotments of sites and houses under the KHB Suryanagar scheme. Chowchowbath is pleased to power discussions on this subject further but on a special web portal specific to this venture from KHB.


You are welcome to sign up for discussions on KHB Suryanagar on this portal and air your views and suggestions and discuss in a more organized fashion on the developments. This is the soft launch of KHB Suryanagar.


Click here to sign up and start discussing. All the relevant information from this blog will be ported to the new portal in due course of time.



I hope you enjoyed participating on Chowchowbath, and would continue to be part of a more bigger, specific community which is dedicated to the cause of KHB Suryanagar. See you there!


 


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Monday, December 6, 2010

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I have created a new child thread for you to continue discussions on KHB. Please bear with me until a permanent acceptable solution is found for this.

I am working on it already. Thanks for your patience. You may continue discussing here.

I have created a new child thread for you to continue discussions on KHB. Please bear with me until a permanent acceptable solution is found for this.I am working on it already. Thanks for your patience. You may continue discussing here.

For Original post, click here:



NOTE:A new website has been created for these discussions.
CLICK HERE to know more!



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Sunday, November 21, 2010

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Today we celebrated the Karthigai festival. Its a festival of warmth, lamps, and light. Its a time to meet the family, spread the cheer, and generally be happy. To mark this occasion the following extract from Tamil Nadu tourism website is replicated here for people to understand the significance.

From tamil nadu tourism:

There is an interesting story explaining the link between Karthigai and lamps. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma began to quarrel as to who was the more powerful of the two. While they were fighting, Lord Shiva appeared before them in the form of a huge pillar of fire. Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma gave up quarrelling and decided to find the top and the bottom of the pillar.


Accordingly, Brahma assumed the form of a swan and moved upwards. Vishnu transformed himself into a boar and started digging deep into the earth. But even after searching for several years, neither of the two was able to find the ends the pillar. Finally, they realised that the pillar was none other than Lord Shiva.
Soon afterwards, Lord Shiva appeared as a hill (Arunachala Hill) at Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. Indeed, the very names `Tiruvannamalai' and `Arunachala' translate as `holy fire hill.' The Shivalinga in the temple here is the agni linga. The tiny lamps lit during the Karthigai festival (Karthigai Deepam) are believed to be the miniature replicas of the fire linga. Every year thousands of devotees from Chennai and elsewhere flock to Tiruvannamalai to see the spectacular Karthigai Deepam there.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

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While speaking with a customer service rep today I happened to show my willingness to understand the data packages offered under the Tata Docomo 3G banner for Bengaluru city. This information is perhaps the first such information which is still not published for everyone’s benefit on the docomo website. Take a look and choose your pick. All these plans are valid only for postpaid 3G connections. For prepaid the first 100MB is free per month for two months and after that its 1p per 1kb which amounts to a whopping 10000 bucks for 1 GB which is insane.


For the postpaid connections the following packages hold good and are more reasonable by nature.


POSTPAID PLANS FOR BENGALURU







































MRP (Rs)
LOCAL minsDATA USAGESTD mins
350500150MB300
500750250MB450
7501250500MB750
100020001GB1200
200050002GB3000

 


BENEFITS: Anytime, Anywhere minutes ! Use them for ALL LOCAL & STD CALLS. Even when roaming on Tata Docomo networks.
BONUS OFFER: Postpaid customers activating till 31st December’10 get additional 100 MB data for 2 months.
Note : All the above packs are applicable for the INTERNET APN only.


 


HOW TO ACTIVATE 3G


Just send a message ACT 3G to 53333, and within seconds you should receive a confirmation that 3G is active. Go to APN settings, type TATA.DOCOMO.INTERNET on the values for both internet and MMS and you are done. Ensure you have the 3G radio switched on (as in the case of apple iPhone for example). Wait for a while and enjoy the fast life !


The best way to choose a plan for yourself from here is to go to www.tatadocomo.com, choose 24/7 customer support by CHAT, and ask the rep you chat with to enable this plan for you. Calling customer care should also help!


 


HOW FAST IS TATA DOCOMO 3G


The time it takes from when you type a URL on your phone browser to when the DNS resolves the IP Address for that URL is very crucial in determining overall speeds for content download. This is unfortunately taking a few extra seconds of impatience on Docomo 3G. So typically upto 5 seconds you dont see any activity, and then suddenly content starts to download in huge bursts. Its not the experience you would get out of a PC say with a Reliance or BSNL broadband connection, but its not really bad either.


WHAT IS TATA DOCOMO 3G’s BAD PATCH ?


Well, I must say here that it is only the Signal quality that really determines how strong a 3G connection lasts with respect to consistency in data download and in this respect, Docomo are still very far away from other operators like Airtel or Uninor. Having said that statement, I observe that frequent signal variations (drops and rises) affect the real 3G experience making it not so enjoyable. Many a times, just walking out of the office to an open area makes 3G stronger, while within your home or office 3G drops to E(dge) and sometimes even E(dge) is not recognized at all. Signal varies from 5/5 to even 1/5 and no service in lifts, basements and higher floors of buildings. This is really bad and affects overall connectivity to an extent that making normal phone calls itself become impossible. Tata have a long way to go in first getting their act right which I am sure Airtel are good at though they would be pricey.


LOOK OUT FOR A COMPARISON VIDEO BETWEEN UNINOR 2G AND DOCOMO 3G – COMING SHORTLY !!


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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

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Everything comes by experience. Some details come by enquiries. Whichever way you look at it, there are still mistakes bound to happen and this blog post is a ready reckoner for those who would love to organize parties for their loved ones calling all near and dear. Particularly this post reflects on a recent birthday party I had for my son. Some important experiences I underwent while organizing this party has made me to pen them down here so that people organizing similar events would get a clue as to how to go about.

Invitation process:

  • I first wrote down a list of main invitees
  • I then counted how many people are totally there in each of the invitees families, which gave me a total invitee count
  • I logged into www.evite.com one of the well known invitation sites and added the main invitees and prepared a detailed invitation.
  • I presented/mailed the invite to everyone I added so that step one was done.
  • The total invitee list stood at a little over 200 (including family members)

Getting the people to respond:

This is no doubt the worst part of all, but then the organizers have to understand that the stakes of a birthday party are high. The main costs involved in organizing the party today is that of FOOD. Hotel’s charge per head and its generally about Rs.120 upto Rs.250 or even Rs.300 for some high end resort style hotels. So even for a meagre 100 people, this works out to Rs.12000/- bucks just for good. To add the icing to the cake, the hotel charges separately for the party hall in case your guests are less than a hundred. So basically this high cost covers only the FOOD and/or the party hall itself. Absolutely nothing else.

Always plan an event in advance. This will give you enough time for you to go behind people for their responses on their availability. This may mean calling them until they respond or even daily birthday reminders by email, but so be it. It is important that we learn to estimate almost exactly on how much food is needed to be served.

 

Nothing comes free:

Remember that nothing comes free. There is no such thing as a free lunch! So barring the party hall and food there are many more things that cost money and time to organize. This includes games for the party, the birthday cake itself, the music, magic shows, tattoo-ers, return gifts and so on.

Event organizers cost money. So do different parts to an event. Lets go over these briefly.

The cake is supposed to be chosen carefully from a cake joint that is not only well known but also one that serves up fresh cake even if the event is on a sunday morning. Reliability is the key thing here as we cannot afford to get embarrassed without a cake for the birthday! Also check out shops that provide good designs and an egg/eggless option. Remember that NOT everyone coming to the party may want an egg based cake. One of the things I found in Bangalore is that the list you see of the designs available are rarely translated into the original thing by the bakers. Unfortunately reproducing a said design is an art and the end result is directly dependent on how good the person who produces that art really is. The safer bet would be to go for one of those normal shaped cakes which not only are made to perfection but also don’t have much fuss associated with it in terms of preparation.

The games for the party are plenty. Some entertainers for the party not only entertain children present but also the adults there. While its impossible to find the perfect entertainer, its equally impossible to judge whether the chosen entertainer would do his job well. This was one of the biggest failure points of my party. A few suggestions for the party entertainer are these:

  • Its preferred to find a friend or someone inhouse who is very talented in handling entertainment and event management in general
  • Never go with the people the hotel suggests unless their reliability is verified. Unverified people not only present things badly they also give a general perception of incapability to put up with children and adults. Its best to go by word of mouth for hiring such people.

The music is charged for extra. While this is normal due to the setup involved I have found no one to be using some good quality speaker systems to conduct the event. This is disappointing really and I would love to see people hiring good bose speakers and the like to maintain clarity in the music. It otherwise boils down to a loud noisy package of din and disturbance rather than something pleasant. Even though you may find it costly go for a good system to enjoy the show properly.

The magic show creators and guys who put tattoos on children are quite creative with their work, so no worries here. They cost some bit, but its ok for what they finally are able to bring up in terms of their performance. These two would be a good hit with children.

Additionally I hired a caricaturist who came up with some spell binding caricatures. Though initially people did not appreciate what he started off with, he was the star of the show, to the end of the party as he proved to be a major hit with the adult crowds as well. These are the people who matter really and who can decide the success of an event single handedly.

Finally the decoration and the return gifts. These are by choices and the people doing the decoration do a good job usually with different themes to our liking. The return gifts are something we need to buy and choose for our near and dear ones. One suggestion though is to buy different sets of items according to the age profile of people (kids) coming to the party. You don’t want to be giving a toy to a 10 year old kid do you? So you need to plan accordingly.

This is where the event planning in advance helps a lot. Start atleast a month in advance so that you don’t get stuck anywhere.

Some final words for a great party:

  • Choose a hotel wisely
  • Choose the food package wisely. Less items are ok, as long as they have quality
  • Invite guests quite early on in the planning and ensure they respond on their availability
  • Always provide guests with a detailed map to reach the place along with your contact numbers
  • Ensure the hotel readies the chairs, tables and decoration as per said date and time, this requires followup regularly.
  • Ensure you keep the party to start after 11am or after 6pm.
  • Ensure you hire good event managers, and good audio systems
  • Ensure you plan your return gifts properly according to age profile of kids invited
  • Ensure you add some good stuff like caricature, or even singing events as need be
  • Ensure that you choose the right level of room decoration according to your budget
  • Always follow up with stakeholders to bring them to function on time
  • If you can find inhouse talent to handle the show use them
  • You dont need expert photography, ask your budding photographers within the family to show their skills, its a good opportunity for them
  • Always choose an egg cake and an eggless cake and ensure the cake does  not have too much of colour in them (dye)
  • For a crowd of 80-100 people a cake of upto 4kgs is enough. Increase accordingly by proportion if more people attend
  • Always ensure the games planners keep kids occupied while adults get time to mix and talk with others around
  • Always ensure you welcome guests, and keep speaking with them. Its a nice opportunity to introduce your guests to one another so that new friends are made.
  • Always keep a tab on food necessities and keep the men organizing the lunch or dinner to be on their toes – you have paid for this and this is the most important thing in the event – the FOOD!!
  • You can keep distributing return gifts to kids right from the beginning of the function, you will not have time to do this later
  • Ensure you have paper plates, spoons, and mainly water with cups – these are bare minimum essentials.
  • Ensure you have a couple of kitchen tissue rolls, these are very necessary and will certainly be used.
  • Ensure party hall has a room to store your personal belongings including the gifts your kid receives
  • Ensure you have upto Rs.10000/- in hundred rupee notes or five hundred rupee notes during the time of the function to pay off organizers as they leave. Alternative would be to settle upfront or after the function to avoid extra money from being paid without your proper notice.
  • Bear in mind that food gets wasted. I had 115 final invitees of which 80 made it. The rest of the food IS A WASTE and won’t be packed for your guests if required. Its therefore very important to plan exact quantities of food properly.

LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST, CONSIDER DONATING MONEY TO A BLIND SCHOOL OR A KID’S ORPHANAGE FOR COVERING THEIR FOOD EXPENSES OR OTHER NEEDS. This is the best thing you can do to wrap up the party in style.

If you encountered any other experiences you would like to share, please comment on this post for the benefit of others. Thank you!

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

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So I happened to apply for a car loan at SBI. I was anticipating that a usual home verification would happen and later on the loan would be sanctioned. I was pretty right in my assumptions except that I did not anticipate that the officer who would verify my credentials would come armed with a CIBIL report.
The report she showed me was nothing less than astounding. She pointed out to me on what all loans I had taken since 1999 for a whole period of ten years. My bike loan, esrtwhile car loans, personal loans, credit card spends – everything was in that report neatly outlined. Courtesy CIBIL.
CIBIL is the credit information bureau Inida limited, a company that helps money lenders understand their credit worthiness of their borrowers. Every time you go for a new loan or credit card spend in huge amounts, these details are at regular intervals shared by the lenders (banks) to CIBIL. So in essence there is a history maintained with CIBIL on a regular basis on the new loan(s) you have taken and the status of the old loan(s) you have already borrowed. Each time the lending agency notifies CIBIL that a particular loan has been closed, CIBIL makes the pending amount “0” on that loan, which is technically when the loan is ACTUALLY closed.
However there are few cases where the lending agencies do not notify CIBIL on loan closures, or perhaps more regularly than others, which leads to some inconsistent information about your loans. It is at this point that we as borrowers must go behind these banks, to make them send the closure report to CIBIL so that your credit history is made CLEAN by reflecting the proper status. Also, there are two types of reports that CIBIL generates – a customer copy (which is essentially your copy) and the lender copy (which is what banks prefetch while issuing a new loan to you each time). The former copy is more detailed, has the account numbers, amounts, and types of loan sanctioned, sanctioning authority, etc. The latter also indicates the amounts, and closure status while it does not give the account numbers and other sensitive information to third parties. This is for obvious security reasons of your data not being able to to be misused.
Along with the famous Dun and Bradstreet Corp of the USA, CIBIL has ushered in a new era of helping lenders understand clearly the profile of their borrowers, and borrowers understand clearly their spends and loans they go into to help make them plan more efficiently for their life needs. So then you may ask what is the way to get your own CIBIL report.
The answer is very simple. Go to www.cibil.com and signup as a customer. Needless to say you need to provide valid credentials like address proof, id proof etc. For a meager amount of about less than Rs.200, you can in no time access your credit (loan) information to help yourself better understand what you have been spending on, and how much of your credit history is clean in terms of repayments.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

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Today I happened to test drive the FORD FIGO TITATNIUM DIESEL. Initially I thought i would take the car only for a short distance, but then I decided to try this baby out on a rather empty stretch of almost a 10 to 20kms highway. This was the Electronics city toll elevated highway. Person from Ford with whom i interacted with for the fiesta promised yesterday that he would be here in my home at 10AM and he appeared about 15 mins late.

(source: http://www.theautomotiveindia.com)

I jumped into the car and without wasting time shot off on my drive. From here on some crisp points about the drive itself. Just to give you a background, I ve owned 2 800s, one palio petrol 1.2, one swift diesel 1.3 and one honda city 1.5 iVTEC. Also test driven the punto 1.4p, 1.3d, manza 1.4p and 1.3d, linea 1.4p and 1.3d. Also test driven 1.3 swift Dzire ZDI and fiesta 1.6S petrol. Today was the figo's turn after all this.

Seating position is spot on with ample room in the footwell. While the absence of a dead pedal would be found annoying by some people, especially on highway drives, due to ample room in footwell, this is hardly a concern on the figo. Unlike the cramped footwell of punto due to dead pedal, the figo was far more spacious down there.

(source www.fordfigo.in)

The gear shift is similar in nature to fiesta. Its not exactly slotty, but kind of still precise without leaving room for errors while shifting. There is no engine roar as in swift exactly but though the figo takes some time to pick up, once it does, nothing can beat it. if used effectively this translates to a 2000 rpm + manouvre on each gear. The torqueyness isnt exactly as good as swift but it is not unbearable as the car responds the moment you accelerate on any gear.

Driver and passenger ergonomics seem spot on though a bit lower than swift. the reason i keep comparing to swift is because i owned it before this one. being lower also means better stability on the road which i will come to shortly. thankfully the one i drove had the black dashboard and not the pink one. Seats have sufficient thigh support although back support could be bolstered a bit more. Plastics and interiors look a bit cheap, but then this vehicle is about value for money with respect to function not great interiors. For that look elsewhere like the polo which is more expensive.

Clutch was pretty easy to use and with an excellent gear shift, made the driving a pleasure. The AC is an absolute chiller. Though Figo does not offer climate control one can easily still control the temperature with the manual heat adjustment to offset for the chillness. The presence of a rear defogger also means good defogging in bangalore city during rains especially in the nights. The electrically controlled side view mirror switches are of very high quality and are also of precise action without errors or doubts. Needless to say when compared to the swift, which does not provide this feature, it is definitely a plus point during those hard to negotiate reversal and parking manouvres. The 154cc compressor acts immediately putting everyone in the cabin at utmost ease quite soon.

The lower height (if not necessarily ground clearance) only means that the car stays well planted on the road. What better example can I take than the fact that I had to remind myself that I was overshooting 140kmph all along the long tollway drive. One of the superior characteristics I found about this engine was its eagerness to push beyond 140 all the way upto 160 or more without much ado. Of course I did not try this feat due to obvious reasons. Going at 140 seemed like going at 60.

(source www.fordfigo.in)

A few times I had to negotiate slow moving traffic ahead of me in a zig zag fashion and the braking was near perfect with ABS and EBD at play. Considering atleast people at front have seat belts on, braking is a no nonsense affair and the car exhibits extreme maturity doing this. Needless to say its also confidence inspiring for the driver. The steering is a bit heavy I thought and did not really check if its tiltable. Neither did I confirm whether seats had height adjust. In a relative context, I did not quite appreciate the open 12V socket and the bonnet latch on passenger side. This was pretty lousy in my opinion as kids in front on passenger side can be easily fiddling with this latch.

The door latches themselves are pretty cheap looking and cheap in function too. In the sense that children in the front can easily pull the door latch when least expected. This is quite dangerous to even think of and I wish Ford had heeded this possible issue during design. Instead they seem to have copied fiesta functionality as is causing some heartburns. Atleast when the car picks up a certain speed, the door latches should not be openable. Neither is there a complete shut possible from drivers side for windows or doors. To add to the glory only front two windows are power windows. While Ford says due to the way the Figo is designed, rear windows have not only had to be mechanical, but also they open only to the tune of 70-80%. Perhaps while in one way this is okay, the rear windows not being powered is a shame and only speaks of some serious cost cutting in some sense. Whatever it is this doesnt seem quite great.

(source www.fordfigo.in)

Flaws aside, the stereo is great to use. While FM radio was a bit cracked to listen to, CDs would sound much better on this system as compared to say Manza or the DZire. I also could pair my iPhone to the music system via bluetooth and the sound quality of songs from my iPhone to the Figo stereo was astounding without the real need for an amp/subwoofer. That said I am not yet clear whether Figo supports 4 channel amp + subwoofer. Also in the midst of listening to a song, when I accelerated the song cut off for a fraction of a second before resuming. Just some signal interference and nothing to think beyond that I feel. As a bonus I also made one call and received another call on the stereo and the caller's voice was very clear and they could also hear me clearly. I am not sure where the mike is placed for this purpose. Bluetooth is one of the most important aspects of the figo at this price w.r.t swift, and these days its an indispensable feature to stay put on concentrating on the road while still enjoying a call or two.

The horn of the Figo is somewhat hard to press but provides the necessary sound externally to deter any annoyances displayed by other vehicles on the road. My personal choice would however be to put in a windtone horn (like what the skoda laura would have) as its more pronounced though it needs to be used maturely. I did not get a chance to test the headlights as it was daylight driving but I assume it would be good enough without warranting a change to Philips 100/120W.

(source www.fordfigo.in)

The rear space of the figo is an interesting aspect to talk about. I initially had the opinion that it would not provide me anything more than a swift. But to my surprise I found that with me being 5'10" and my driver's seat pulled back to my comfort level, I could still sit in the Figo's rear seat without feeling cramped. This is a marked departure from the swift days honestly and this could be a deal breaker for me other than price vs features. The third person (the guy in the middle) is always an unwanted guest and it so remains even in the Figo case. We should start treating all cars as strictly four seaters from now on and should not accept an additional guest simply because its our culture!

The only thing then left to talk about is the boot. By and large the boot is much much larger than say swift. Additionally one can also perfectly (100%) tilt the rear seat to make for much larger space to even carry a bicycle if need be. With this kind of versatality one does not really need a sedan for these purposes. The external design of the Figo looks somewhat oldish, but if one can just excuse that for the features it provides and a price its coming at, its perfectly drool maal. The tyres are not alloys but for a mere 15k more, one can add ford made alloys to the car.
The suspension itself is a bit soft which means if the car is fully loaded, one has to drive carefully on speed breakers. I scraped once with four people in the car at a certain high speed. so take note of this.

Finally, the pricing is the icing on the cake. with some cost cutting by Ford, they are today the only car in the category of diesels with so many modern features and a reasonably responsible engine and handling characteristics. The 1.4 engine isnt exactly a gem at 69bhp and 160NM torque at 2000 rpm but then it isnt a laggard either. The only thing then that will make Figo a winner or loser is the long term complaints about the car and service issues considering whether the strategy of Ford works or not as the case maybe.

The fuel efficiency must be in the range of 16 to 20 easily between city and highway driving which is what one can expect from most diesel hatches cut out for this kind of performance.

So what are you waiting for? Take your own test drive today and enjoy sheer bliss.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

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The TOI reported a couple of days back that the Telenor group is considering quitting India for good. This only means a death knell for a rather successful telco - Uninor which is a joint venture between Unitech and Telenor groups who are into real estate and telecom respectively in India and Norway. The rate at which Uninor has been handing over discounts on prepaid minutes and showing no interest in launching postpaid services, this possibility only looks more realistic than impossible.

If this happens this will be one of the historic failures of a telco in India who is just upcoming showing lots of promise. But however this will not be the end of Unitech's telco jaunt. All Telenor have to do is to sell their stakes to the likes of Bharti or Vodafone or perhaps IDEA telecom and exit the country. Whatever happens would be an easy buy for these other companies, but not so sweet for the consumers who are using these services. With Uninor also not getting 3G service spectrum, things look bleak for the telco in the days to come!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

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Today I happened to see a report on mobile providers and their service efficiency standards as provided by each individual mobile provider to TRAI. It would be interesting to note the trends on how these mobile providers are doing, and gauge for yourself who you need to be associated with. First lets look below for what info was shared:

All the information is for a month in terms of percentages. So lets see who fares how ?

  • Downtime: refers to how often network was not available for making calls. Needless to assume BSNL was down 1% of the time (the highest) showing how bad their network setup and problem resolution is. Airtel comes in second as no surprise. 0.49% of the time, their network is down for whatever reason which is bad. While others are all in an average respectable band of 0.1 to 0.2%, the best is Tata CDMA network which is at an all time best of 0.03% (while their GSM suffered at 0.2%)
  • Accessibility: refers to how often you were able to make calls within the network. BSNL and Airtel are two notches below 100%, while Uninor for all practically tops the chart. I have my own doubts on Aircel whether they meet 99% at all, since they do have access issues (not dropped calls) even when their signal is strong.
  • Drop rate of calls: refers to how often your calls were dropped. Airtel and BSNL shamelessly lead the pack aligning with reality. Uninor trails the pack showing a respectable maintainability in connection. I can vouch for uninor in this aspect since I had a long call for 1.5 hours without a hitch using uninor. No surprises here at all !
  • calls with good voice quality: is self explanatory, though what is needed to be stressed on here is that just maintaining call continuity does not mean its a good call. The voice has to be crystal clear. Again here only Reliance and Uninor make it to the top here with over 99%. Again I can vouch that Uninor has one of the best call qualities ever in GSM space. The most pathetic of them remains to be BSNL and Airtel which is very disrespectful for a provider of long experience levels in the country.
  • Complaint resolution: though last, this is definitely not the least point to be noted. Whatever be the quality of connection, service matters a lot to customers if they have to remain with the network. Barring Tata CDMA, everyone else seems eager to keep their customers showing 100% adherence to complaints. So there is an even playing ground here.

So who is the winner? From all these statistics? well this could be very very subjective. But before I come to that, let me add my own points worth noting.

  • Aircel has one of the worst impressions it creates for customers. I had dropped calls, unreachable networks on day one of buying a connection. This is like serving raw chicken in a star hotel, which is totally unacceptable.
  • BSNL has got one of the worst 3G implementations in the country. This is again not surprising at all since they have never known to get their act right the first time they do things. As with broadband, they have also goofed up with 3G. With pathetic networks, and below par customer service, it is only natural they are where they are.
  • Airtel has got one of the best EDGE implementations. Any web page that I have tried loading using an Apple iPhone, has given me data almost instantaneously while other providers give data as bursts which means that I must wait for data to be loaded. With Airtel its a great experience using data based services. Especially once they launch 3G.
  • Uninor has one of the best call quality among all operators. When you talk with a person either within or outside your network, its as good as having a conversation with the person standing beside you. Such is the call quality and I hope Uninor keeps this strong point and works on their EDGE a bit to reach to the top as a desired provider. Its unfortunate that they did not win the bid for 3G spectrum and improving their EDGE makes it all the more important for Uninor to be competitive in some way.
  • Tata Docomo has one of the best customizations possible on their plans. No other operator provides such unique customizations and Tata indeed is the leader of the pack for their uniqueness in their offerings. With the recent 3G license grant things for TATA are only bound to get better if they buck up their customer service to the next level.
  • Vodafone is in a niche of their own, but their network problems is going to pull them down from their leadership vantage point sooner than later if they do not work on it soon. There is no use if they have the best customer service happy to help when their basic services aren’t alright.

Of all the providers we have today, there are a couple of players who look extremely promising for the next decade of operations, and these are the natural winners of the game if they play it properly.

Welcome the winners, Uninor and Tata Docomo!

     

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Monday, July 5, 2010

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Post 1995, koramangala slowly started picking up to being one of the favourite haunts of many an IT company. This is also rougly the timeframe when Electronics city was parallely contemplated and put into place. EC was a natural extended version of Koramangala itself. Those companies who could not afford the would-be-slowly-posh neighbourhood, had to think of EC as their next choice. EC brought about expanding Koramangala southwards towards madiwala. Another popular destination chosen by some famous software companies including Texas instruments, HP were Wind tunnel road, nearby ISRO and old airport, and this expanded Koramangala eastwards to bring out what is currently the Intermediate Ring road. the west and north were already bustling entries and exits to Koramangala. 

The next most important turning point for the locality was the Forum Mall. Businesses, apartments, paying guests, eateries, offices, everything mushroomed around Forum making 7th and 8th blocks most wanted. The 1st and 2nd blocks maintained their charm due to the rather famous Raheja Residency and a few other apartments around the place. Today it serves as an important link to outer ring road, HSR Layout, and madiwala for thousands of people. What were once huge (120x80, 120x120) residences in 3rd and 4th blocks, are now serviced homes, and/or costly restaurants which lend themselves rather well to the decor of the entire locality. With peaceful surroundings, they make the best spots to be in for visitors from both within and outside the country.  5th and 6th blocks were mostly middle class who were typically from the public sector companies and at best these are now influenced by the 80' road running through 6th block, and the two 60' roads binding 5th blocks in a deadly business grip !!

The 80' road itself has proved a lifeline for the esrtwhile lakebeds of National Games village, and ST bed, to become jam packed with apartments offering paying guest options and business conference rooms who make hay even when the sun won't shine. Of course this kind of development also presents tens of thousands of employment opportunities to a wide variety of people who naturally then become the floating population of the place. This means they also use their vehicle to criss cross the locality which is already congested with some serious traffic. Every single IT company has a bus running through this place during peak hours and this only adds to the chaos. An area which starts off its calm mornings by 6am turns into a traffic nightmare by 8am. Same holds good during the evenings. The residential tag of Koramangala is slowly and steadily reaching its logical end. So much that people are unmindful that them causing noise pollution and vehicular disturbance would harm the peace and tranquility enjoyed by erstwhile residents.

Pubs and shops have only added to the chaos which brings about scores of boys and girls who occupy every park bench everyday bunking their daily routines denying residents a chance to enjoy anything around. Paying guest accomodation only means vehicular disturbance beyond the acceptable night hours. Call centre mania is no less glorified as well here. And with so many people for the 12 hours in a day and their palates to satisfy, have only meant literally hundreds of restaurants mushroom on every street possible - the shanti sagars, the sukh sagars, the amritsars, the delhi's, the paratas, the andhra messes, the kerala food joints, why only indian, even all the way upto chinese, korean, american and even europians have invaded the place lapping up every piece and parcel of real estate available. There are no less than about 200+ restaurants dotting the locality making it a logistical nightmare. 

Without proper infrastructure plans, without proper connectivity which was faster, safer and more effecient, Koramangala has silently suffered through the changes in times. What I enjoyed in terms of my schooling, my friends' circle, my games sessions, and the tranquility around during my youth are things which I cannot provide for my children at this stage. The evolving change Koramangala has brought about has forced even a few of the hardcore Koramangalites who have known the localities' roots to look out for other options. There can be hundreds of good things to enjoy nearby but all that becomes meaningless if one cannot get one nights' worth of sound sleep at the end of it.

It is at this juncture that I take a deep bow to salute and respect a locality that has meant so much to me and my childhood, a locality that has gained so much respect for globalization and its cosmopolitan nature, a place whose great things will forever be etched in the minds of its original residents. The years spent in the locality Koramangala originally was are something no one in future can understand, and no one in the past can forget. This is the true phenomenon I was part of and will never forget. Goodbye Koramangala. Goodbye forever.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

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I noticed this article from the times of india, which captured the essence of Koramangala through the mind of Balbir Singh, the owner of Koramangala.com.

Around 17 years ago, Koramangala was nothing short of a pocket of villages. For every small purchase, we had to drive down to Brigade Road. Instances where a Koramangalite would go outdoors after 7 pm were sparse. It was unsafe and autorickshaw drivers always refused to come to Koramangala. This place was dead," says Balbir Singh, who quit his job in the printing & packaging industry to launch the portal koramangala.com along with his wife Amrit Sethi.

Way back in 1984, if someone went out after 7pm, there was no guarantee of him returning home be it a kid or an adult. The biggest set of marshy land regions included what is now the National Games Village, and ST Bed (behind the Maharaja hotel).  Everything beyond that were just groves and groves of cocount trees which could trap an unassuming individual if he trespassed into an unending maze of no-return. From our home, we could see the Mantons crane factory (today otherwise called Raheja Arcade), and St.John’s hospital. While the first five years of my stay did not see anyone owning a television set in Koramangala, after that stage the first few black and white sets started arriving on the scene. Chitrahaar, Chitramanjari, Vartegalu, Blockbuster movies, and the famous moon mission by Rakesh Sharma – were some of the things that raked in crowds. Hordes of children descended on the only house(s) that had TVs and settled down like we were one family, with one goal – watch TV.

Open spaces, tall grasses, St John's Hospital, service roads and, yes, cows. Nobody thought this quiet suburb would be transformed so much. It was more like a brick & mortar village with the typical ration shops around it," recollects Santhosh Kumar, an HR professional, who has been residing in Koramangala since 1984

The Koramangala club membership was a near miss for my father. To keep up the socializing habit, the membership was offered at a mere 500 bucks which those days amounted to a monthly salary of people living there. The founder members had to pitch in about 2000 bucks each with which they would build what is otherwise today called the Koramangala Club with a mind boggling membership amount running into lakhs of rupees.

The entire set of people living in Koramangala 6th Block used to play badminton, shuttle, ring, kho-kho and what not and this included all the adults in each family. Boy, it was such a pleasure to be living here. After my dad, I was the next undisputed badminton champ out here. The next ten years was sheer bliss upto 1995. The locality slowly gained ground in terms of development, and infrastructure to support the growing population was slowly being put in place. Post offices, schools, bus stops, banks, water tanks, electricity board offices, small shops to meet the grocery needs.

Some of the famous names to do business with were Krishna medicals, Vaishnavi stores for stationery (and those new famous pens and pencils), fashion center (for your clothing needs), modern stores and balaji stores (for groceries). The only good hotels years down the line were Sukh sagar, and Utsav Veg. Bethany and Neena schools were the only schools that have withstood the test of time for over 25 years now. So much so was the nostalgia that I can say I could reach my school as the crow flies (diagonally) from my home.

1995 was ushering in the software era, into india, into bangalore, into koramangala in full swing. This was the turning point for the poshness of the locality to start exposing itself. In full glory. for the next ten years. Few of the earliest names to move into Koramangala were Wipro and Infosys.

The phenomenon was now being created.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

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I always wanted to pen down this story, but time was at premium. It finally finds its way into this blog. This is not a story of a place. Its an article about the phenomenon called Koramangala and my gratitude for a chance to breathe, live and loathe it.

The year was 1983. But we were living in 1682. The mood wasn’t exactly one of jubilation but more of an urgency. An urgency to find a place which we could call our own, in anticipation of a family which would shortly burst at its seams. With many siblings of my father yet to be married, there was never a perfect time for this shift. Our then rented home 1682, in Rajajinagar had a reason to be vacated. With burgeoning rental demands, and for reasons beyond my comprehension when I was just six, and with pressure from everyone around, we had to vacate the place.

Koramangala was neither in the city, nor was a village. At best it wasn’t even lands that belonged to the rich and powerful Reddys those days. It was more of unexplored forest, which BDA decided to tame in the name of site allotments. My father had been allotted a site for five thousand rupees. Five thousand was like a current day fifty lakh figure to him with his rather abysmal salary levels and the last thing he could do was cough up this amount for the property. He had two choices – Koramangala and Indiranagar. While he could somehow locate the former, he was afraid to go to the latter area !! :)

After a lot of discussion and math crunching all the brothers decided to pitch in for the house so that my dad could enable the change in life. This in my opinion was the beginning and end of a joint family. The beginning was one of happiness and the seeds for the end were being sown not withstanding my oblivion about it.

The nearest  bus stop to Koramangala those days (80’s era) was can-you-believe-it Diary Circle which is a good 3-4 kms away. I would say its good for a heart patient as such, but for the good-for-nothing health freaks that we are, this was way too much. This also is the sole reason why my dad and grandpa are living/lived a healthy life. They walked this distance at least for a couple to three years before the phenomenon started happening. With just six houses for the entire eight blocks of Koramangala, this was nowhere near a phenomenon in the making.

From there what happened until now is the phenomenon.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

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The road widening hooligans are at it yet again. This time they are aiming to chop off full grown trees alongside the palace road from both cauvery theatre side as well as from TV tower side. Reason is they want to make it a 10-lane road leading to the already glorious (for the wrong reasons) airport. Of course Mr.Srikantadatta being from the royal lineage wants 40 crores per acre or per squarefeet - all this while the government is already mulling whether palace really belongs to him or not in the first place. The palace itself is earning crores of money for all kinds of events and some sundry income from few roadside meters chopped off is a feather in wadiyar's money cap. Here it seems both the government and wadiyar are equally selfish to their own ends. Whether its road widening or underpass or flyover, in the name of infrastructure the government seems to be siphoning off funds here and there in mass scale. No wonder in the recent GIM, the government has sanctioned power projects alone to the tune of some 2 lac crore if i am not mistaken, and pat came the query from the high court asking for the details of such blanket approvals and what exactly were these projects. While industrialization of karnataka is not bad, mass approval of projects without any consulting agency or committee just by the chief minister is a certain invitation for trouble in the short future.

 

 

 

Monday, May 24, 2010

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About 4 years ago, I pursued a fancy wish of mine to own a phone that was not a smartphone, but had ample battery, and was ultra cool to hold and speak for an hour or two without worrying about radiation and all those issues.

At a time when smartphone sales were gaining pace all over the place in this country, I did some research and found a dual sim phone from [Alcatel](http://www.alcatelonetouch.com/global-en/products/featurephones/ot-813.html#.U4B28ViSxU4), called the 813D.



The FCC or Federal Communications Commission lays down rules regarding the acceptable [SAR values](http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/specific-absorption-rate-sar-cellular-telephones) for mobile phones. These limits are given in terms of a unit referred to as the [Specific Absorption Rate](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_absorption_rate) (SAR), which is a measure of the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed by the body when using a mobile phone.

According to them, the limit for public exposure from cellular telephones is an SAR level of 1.6 watts per kilogram (1.6 W/kg).

Alcatel's 813D boasts a SAR of (0.859) W/Kg and for use close to the body is (0.92) W/Kg. Now you can see why the phone is also referred to as ICE3. Just in comparison, the nokia asha is at 1.5 W/kg which is very high.

With a 1000maH lithium battery and music, pim, resistive touchscreen capabilities, this phone is slightly more useful than one can think. The keyboard is blackberry style and functions well though quite annoying in the days of swype keypads on smartphones.

After 4 years, I have had no issues with the phone in anyway after much of rough handling the instrument. On long international calls, I have felt very cool on the ear using this phone due to the rated SAR value. Quite obviously I use this phone as a secondary phone which I am now planning to change to the recently launched [Nokia 630](http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/lumia630/). Time will tell if that would still get me the same purpose solved.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

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Many reviews have been written on the iPhone 3GS and now even the iPhone 4G with its impending launch sooner than later. However it was only in the last one month did Apple launch the iPhone 3GS officially in India, almost a year later than other countries and with good reason. With the country seeing a surge in 3G connection options from BSNL and the impending followup by other mobile operators shortly by September post the 3G auctions, the iPhone 3GS has enetered at the appropriate time into the country.

While some people may scoff at the fact that many mobile providers offer the service pretty late to developing countries, they must also realize that its not only about being a late entrant, but the limitation in technology makes in infeasible for higher grade devices to be launched at the same time. What would someone in India do with a 4G apple iPhone without an actual 4G service? Besides, red tapism and bureaucratic hurdles in our country only more definitely point to the fact that every new launch will be delayed if its linked to the spectrum. Having said this, still the iPhone 3GS launch in India deserves some coverage with respect to the aspect of having a great device to work with and this review makes these opinions rather precisely and to the point.

So what is the USP for going in for an iPhone? Well after my tryst with many other phones, including the Nokia 5800, Blackberry 8520, Blackberry Storm 2 9550, and Nokia N900 – I decided to sell off all these phones (except the last which I didn’t own) to finally decide to buy an iPhone 3GS. While all the above mentioned devices were no doubt great at their functionalities, the touch sensitivity and eye-catchiness of the user interface was rather sub standard and resistive touchscreens only made it worse for instance on the 5800 by Nokia. After ten years of being with Nokia the time had come to bid a rather eventless goodbye to the once upon a time king of mobile world. While their devices still continue to support multitude formats and be technologically advanced even now, unfortunately the company has not concentrated on the user interface and intuitiveness of use which has led to a steady downfall for Nokia. This is also the time companies like RIM and Apple have got very aggressive in their marketing pitch with their phones. While I wish to talk about the Storm flagship model from Blackberry later on, its now time to give standing ovation to a phone well made by Apple – the iPhone 3GS.

 

 

This is a phone people die to own. This is a phone people cannot afford to own. This is a phone that people will not sell once they own. This is a phone that defines your lifestyle from the moment you own it. This is a phone which is truly capable of making your life more meaningful and productive. And finally this is a phone for all ages right from the child in you upto the old man in you :-)

There is nothing to not like on an iPhone. The capacitive touchscreen and the user interface deployed to work with it by Apple, is by far the best strategy by Apple which has seen nothing short of its market share and stock price increasing from day one of launching its iPod and iPhone series of devices which are now in their fifth generations. It will take a long time for other companies to perfect the touchscreen input recognition and these companies will merely be second fiddling Apple for sometime to come. If there is anything you would want to pay money for to own an Apple, its the ridiculous simplicity of usage and nothing else! So does the iPhone stack up as worthwhile for the 35,000 odd bucks you would want to spend on it in India ? Read more to find out !

I do not in this review wish to dwell deep into each and every feature (known or hidden gems) that the iPhone provides, but I will try and make it as detailed as possible on things that I know after being with it for a month.

Design

When you design a phone whose usage will be across generations, you better keep things simple. While I may know the hardware to a greater extent than my dad, my kid may only know how to touch the screen to get things going at a little over two years old. So the point is Apple has really paid attention to this fact and kept the design of the instrument simple. The only buttons around the device are the On/Off button, Mute button, Volume button and well the Home key. Other than this are the two neatly placed speakers around the charging port, and on top you find the rather uncomfortable-to-take-out sim card tray and a 3.5mm standard headset jack. Period. Nothing else nowhere around the phone. No removable battery, no removable memory card and an almost no removable sim. This is where the Indian safety pin comes in handy. That or the paper clip are the only way to remove the iPhone SIM. Besides why would you keep removing your SIM card every now and then ? You wouldn’t and this is what exactly Apple wants from you as well.

I must not forget to add rather hastily that the phone is ultra slippery. One mistake could send such a costly device plummeting to the ground and break it before you can wink your eyes. While its a shame that Apple did not think of a hand grip (like a recess somewhere on the phone body), this is where companies have made a living making cases for the iPhone, besides a gazillion other things.

Ecosystem around the phone

If a phone has to survive for a long time as an icon which is desired, then it not only needs to look good, be simple to use and function well, but it has to have or create an ecosystem around it which makes it extensible for a good amount of time to come. This ecosystem must not only help this model, but also be readily available to be used by other models which are due. This is what AppStore is about and iTunes is about. Apple has slowly but steadily built the much famed AppStore which sports thousands of applications which are available either free or for a fee which is as cheap as eating out at a local fast food joint. Not only has this proved a life saver for Apple, but has also enabled thousands of developers to test their popularity on the AppStore. The result is that there are some wonderful applications which are highly usable yet simple and keep you productive and entertained for as long as you have the phone.

It will take a long long time before any other mobile phone provider can reach this level of the number of apps with Apple, and the release of iPAD has only increased the heat even among tablet developers to be on their toes for apps. Its not just the apps which are available, its their quality that makes their usage on a device such as the iPhone more outstanding.

Performance

This is one area which is a sure shot opportunity to produce a winner of a phone. While speed is not the only thing that matters all the time, it sure is one quality of the phone which makes people buy it. Comparing my early Nokia 6600 which was great during its launch, phones have come a long way in what they can achieve for you. Much to the extent that a PC’s processor now sits within a phone. If you had asked me an opinion about the 3G version of iPhone, I’d have passed it off as yet another normal phone. The speed took a hit due to the amount of graphical manipulations happening on the user interface and to the extent of causing annoyance among users after having spent a little over 30 grand. However Apple quickly worked on it, and with the 3GS speed is no more a concern. But if you want some serious improvement for speed wait for the 4G which will sport a 1Ghz processor.

Back to the discussion, the speed on 3GS is sufficient to make applications open rather instantaenously and perhaps the OS 4.0 would be only better in handling these. I have about 4-5GB of songs on the 16GB memory, and with these many, the unitasking system does well in terms of speed and data access. The browsing speed is also decent and Safari does well in rendering many pages properly. The scrolling, touch input are almost at a perfection level which many other manufacturers will never be able to achieve and these are the reasons Apple is sought after for their devices. With no stylus, the only way to input on the phone is your finger and Apple has done a good job to ensure your touches are interpreted correctly most of the time.

Battery life

For any Smartphone which does a lot of work from the morning to the evening and a large screen  as its offering, the only area of suffering would be the drain on battery. And drain it does, each single day and requires a charge each day more or less. The best I have got is one and half day (36 hours) and nothing more than that. If you ask me a question whether Apple has thought of plonking in a better battery, I am sure they would have, except that the reason they did not include it would be because of the design constraints which would have otherwise made this device as heavy as a brick. One has to also look at heat dissipation and other parameters like this with decisions on powering the device.

So yes, the battery is not the best, but a charger for the home, office, and the car must keep the phone going as the battery charges up pretty quickly way beyond the 50% mark. Some tips to conserve the battery power is to keep the brightness low to the extent you can read the screen, to switch off the wifi, bluetooth and 3g radios while not in use, and perhaps even keeping the volume low on the phone to the extent you can hear it. If you dont browse too often, or hear music too often, and dont use speaker or talk on bluetooth too often, then you get a bonus of a few more hours.

Price and conclusion

There is always a debate why Apple has priced this beyond 30 grand in India and the fact that the phone costs much more than a laptop. While I believe for other phones that manufacturers always make a killing in profits up to the tune of about 4-5 grand extra, with Apple I think even if it is the same case, you get a device that keeps you happy for a lot of time to come. And yes, the smaller and technologically advanced the device gets, the more costlier it is, so its not very surprising that a laptop should cost much lesser.

The best part of the phone is its great capacitive touch screen, stunning user interface, and outstanding simplicity of usage. The points that drag it down in terms of popularity would be its low battery life, its limited memory, non removable battery and also a non exposed file system which causes options like jailbreaking to be available for hackers.

On a more mediocre front, the ringtones could have been better, the camera could have sported atleast a flash and optical or digital zoom and the grip could have been better.

What will keep you happy though is its capability with respect to download and install (on a free or chargeable basis), good applications which will keep you amused and productive for many more happy days to come.

The Apple iPhone is not a phone, its not a music player, its not a video player, its not a photography device, its not for business alone, its not about data – but to sum it up – its a LIFESTYLE device which will appeal to all age groups alike and is extremely simplistic to use by people of these age groups.

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About Me
Srikanth Eswaran
Bengloor Huduga

Srikanth is a blogger, reader, photographer, butter dosa eater, an urban car racer & an apple fanboy. He loves music, playing table tennis and traveling. Most times he would like to be solitary to introspect on what life has thrown to him and the bigger purpose of life.