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Mar 042014
 




Telugu Bidda Satya NadellaTelugu bidda Satya Nadella faces many challenges as the new head of the foundering technology giant Microsoft.

Among Nadella’s most formidable challenges (albeit one inherited from Steve Ballmer) – What should be done about those disastrous Surface tablets.

It’s clear to sane minds that in a million years Microsoft cannot make a success of its Surface tablets.

And the pitiful market share data proves Surface just doesn’t have a hope of taking on the more mature Android or Apple iOS (iPad) tablets.

Apple iPads have the branding, quality and fanboy advantages while Android tablets score on lower prices.

Lacking any advantage, Microsoft’s Surface tablet is doomed (Office compatibility is no longer a big deal in my opinion).

Surface Pro 2 - $899 Without KeyboardSurface Pro 2 – $899 Without the Keyboard

Surface – Billion Dollar Disaster

Late to the market, and with a confusing set of two operating systems, Microsoft has lost over a billion dollars on its tablet misadventure.

The company took a charge of $900 million last year on unsold Surface inventory and slashed prices of the older Surface models.

But the grim picture has not changed and Surface still encounters strong resistance from consumers in the marketplace.

Gartner recently put out tablet market share data for 2013 and the numbers show Microsoft in a horrible light.

Top Tablet Vendors 2013

Microsoft is not even a contender.

Hell, Surface is not even among the Top-5 tablet vendors.

In 2013, Microsoft sold a piddling 4 million tablets versus 70.4 million for Apple iPads. Continue reading »

Feb 252014
 

Qplay Internet Device for TV
Somebody ought to get their head examined!

And I mean right now, kiddo!

There’s a new $49 device out there called Qplay TV adapter for playing Internet video on your TV.

But here’s the catch – Before you can get the $49 Qplay adapter to play Ram Leela songs or any other Internet video on the TV you first have to invest on an iPad tablet costing $280 and up (iPad price depends on screen size, storage capacity, model and cellular connectivity).

This whole idea of Qplay forcing users to have an iPad, download an app, and connect the Qplay adapter to the TV before Internet video of Bollywood or Kollywood songs will play on your TV is utter nonsense.

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with Internet video, here’s an example: ;)

I can’t imagine any of the other set-tops like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Box (forthcoming), TiVo, Xbox, PlayStation, WD TV Play, Google Chromecast or Smart TVs requiring an expensive iPad tablet first before they will play your Internet video.

I have used the first-gen Roku box with its small remote for four years now. Works fine with a gazillion channels like Netflix, Amazon Prime etc.

I don’t care if Qplay comes from the co-founders of TiVo.

I ain’t biting.

My four-year-old Roku still does the trick fine.

What’s wrong with a Roku remote or any other remote for that matter?

How Qplay Works

To get the $49 Qplay device to work with your TV, you first need to get an iPad and then download the Qplay app to the tablet!

I checked on my iPad 2 at the AppStore for the Qplay app. Yes, the app is available and requires you to be running iOS 6.1 or higher.

You use Qplay app on the iPad to discover content, playback and as a remote control for the TV which is connected to the Qplay adapter. The whole shebang is integrated with the cloud, where the video content is stored. Continue reading »

Jan 082014
 

Samsung launched a new line of Android tablets today including two 12.2-inch devices but couldn’t resist loading them up with a ton of crapware.

By bulking up the new Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO 12.1-inch tablets with crapware, Samsung is following in the unsavory tradition initiated by PC vendors like HP, Dell, Acer, E-Machines etc several years ago.

Samsung Galaxy TabPro with Crapware

Samsung Galaxy NotePro – Filled with Crapware

Crapware – Not New

Crapware is not a recent phenomenon and I’ve seen it for nearly 15 years in the U.S. on new Windows PCs

By crapware, I mean the pre-installed software/services that you don’t need but the PC vendors thrust on you so that they can make money off your inconvenience and irritation.

Isn’t that what life all about when you boil it down to the essence – People making money by making you unhappy

In the old days, crapware used to include icons on the desktop for AOL, Prodigy or Compuserve Internet access or software for shitty games, limited version of anti-virus/spyware utilities, DVD burning etc.

The first thing I’d do after buying a new PC was to get all that junk off my PC.

Once the world moved to tablets, I thought we’d left crapware behind.

Alas, No!

Samsung Tablet Crapware

When I got the Apple iPad 2 three plus years ago, I was happy to see no crapware on the device.

Little did I know of what was to come.

A short while ago, I was reading about Samsung’s new tablets that were announced today at the Consumer Electronics Show – Galaxy NotePRO (12.2-inch) and TabPRO (12.2, 10.1, 8.4-inch).

The new Samsung tablets run Android 4.4 (KitKat) and will ship later this quarter. Pricing has not been disclosed..

As I kept reading through the announcement, I discovered to my horror that Samsung has bulked up the new 12.2-inch tablets with crapware from not just one or two vendors but 13.

Here’s the list of crapware Samsung is loading on to its new 12.2-inch NotePRO and TabPRO tablets – Bitcasa, Bloomberg Businessweek+, Blurb, Cisco WebEx Meetings, Dropbox, Easilydo Pro for Tablet, Evernote, Hancom Office for Android, LinkedIn, LIVESPORT.TV, NY Times, Oxford Advanced Learner’s A-Z, and Sketchbook Pro.

Obviously, Samsung makes money from its deals with its crapware partners and cares two hoots about annoying its paying customers.

Of course, Samsung is not the only villain of the tablet world.

Amazon hijacks all your Kindle Fire tablets with ads unless you pay a ransom to the company to get the crappy ads of your tablet screen.

With the annoying presence of crapware, now I have one more reason not to buy a Samsung Galaxy tablet!

Oct 232013
 

To those running around with older iPads,  don’t bother to open your wallet for Apple’s  new iPad launched yesterday.

The new iPad Air is not worth the extra $599 (32GB), $699 (64GB) or more if you want higher storage.

iPad Air - Not Worth ItApple CEP Tim Cook with iPad Air
(Pix: WSJ)

Except for a new A7 64-bit processor (same as in the iPhone 5s) and reducing the thickness and weight, there’s not much new in Apple’s new tablet.

Sure, the iPad Air is 20% thinner and 28% lighter than the fourth generation iPad but that’s not enough reason to get a new tablet.

My iPad 2 works as well today as it did two years back. I watch live Indian TV channels, listen to music, play YouTube videos, turn on my favorite Korean movies and TV serials and read the news without any issues.

Although my 32GB iPad 2 is running out of space (thanks to all those digital New Yorker issues), I can still easily run with it for some more time by deleting my music collection from the  device.

iPad Air will ship November 1.

A 32GB version (WiFi only) costs $599.

The iPad Mini, which got a Retina makeover, is now $399 for the 16GB model.

Oct 222013
 

For those keeping track of the iPad or other digital media devices, here are a bunch of tables that reveal how quickly the Apple iPad has become a market-leading tablet and the darling of consumers.

Microsoft, Asus, Google, Dell, Acer, Motorola, Blackberry and dozens of other vendors developed iPad envy seeing the wild success of the iPad and introduced their own tablets.

But none of the rival tablets have anywhere near the adoption rate of the iPad.

Today the majority of tablet Internet traffic comes from the iPad.

And except for the iPad, most tablet vendors are likely losing money despite pricing their devices lower than the iPad.

iPad Timeline from 2010-2013

170m iPads Sold

There was no tablet category until Apple introduced the 9.7-inch iPad in April 2010.

Pre-iPad tablet introductions by Microsoft, Nokia and others were utter disasters with consumers showing them the middle finger.

Apple created the tablet market with the introduction of the iPad.

In less than four years, Apple has introduced five generations of the iPad (including a 7.9-inch iPad mini) and sold over 170 million units.

Apple’s revenues from the iPad since 2010 will approach $100 billion by the end of 2013.

iPad Sales from 2010 - 2013

Developer Support

The iPad would not have been such a raging hit were it not for overwhelming developer support.

Thousands of developers have created nearly half million dedicated iPad applications in diverse categories including games, music, news, utilities, video, sports and live TV.

By late October 2013, there were over a million apps that could run on the iPad. These include both native iPad apps and all apps written for the iPhone.

iPad Apps from 2010-2013

Oct 222013
 

Nokia today released its first tablet, the Lumia 2520.

The 10.1-inch Lumia 2520 competes with Nokia’s soon-to-be-parent Microsoft’s Surface 2 tablet.

Nokia Lumia 2520 10.1-inch Tablet

The Windows RT 8.1 based Lumia tablet has no hopes of success in the marketplace.

But it has one big plus – the tablet offers both WiFi and cellular data connectivity (requires extra monthly fees from carrier) for a low price of $499 (32GB model).

For frequent travelers irked by spotty WiFi at hotels and public places, a cellular option on the tablet could be a big deal.

A comparable iPad Retina 32GB model from Apple with WiFi and cellular connectivity costs $729 at Best Buy.

The Lumia 2520 is said to come with up to 10-hours of battery life. Not bad!

Microsoft Outlook and Office are pre-installed. Do people still use Office?

The device has a 6.7-megapixel camera. Not that I expect a lot of people to take photos with a 10.1-inch tablet.

Limited App Support

Like the Surface 2, the Lumia 2520 has limited app support and will not run older Windows apps.

I doubt there’s even an official YouTube app for Windows RT.

Nokia Lumia 2520 will come in red and white in glossy finish and cyan and black in matte.

The tablet should ship this quarter.

Nokia Lumia 2520 Specs

Operating System: Windows RT 8.1
Networks: GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz; WCDMA: 850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100MHz; LTE: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 13, 17, 20
Speed: LTE: 150 Mbps DL / 50 Mbps UL
Memory: 2GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage, micro SD card support up to 32GB, SkyDrive storage
Display: 10.1-inch 1080p full HD (1920×1080) AHIPS Capacitive Multi-Touch Display, Gorilla Glass 2
Processor: 2.2GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Primary camera: 6.7MP Auto Focus ZEISS optics with f1.9 aperture; FFC: 2MP HD wide-angle
Size & weight: 267 x 168 x 8.9* mm (*volumetric); 615g
Connectivity: NFC, A-GPS+GLONASS, WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n, microUSB 3.0, BT 4.0 LE, 3.5mm audio connector
Battery: 8000 mAh
Audio: Stereo front facing speakers