Monday, October 5, 2009

Language Sms

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nokia bets big on text based services in India

Nokia bets on an entire series of text message-based services for India. This is a approach difference from Nokia. The idea is to be customer-driven, not just technology-driven. While it’s not flashy, but it is smart.

Nokia Life Tools enabled “We Meet” social networking will not require the user to have any data/GPRS plans for connecting to friends and networking around. The application specifically developed for Indian markets bypasses GPRS connection, which is still a prohibitively costly option in India and allows one to chat/IM through text messages. While IM is available to users through Telcos/ Chat portals, “We Meet” differentiates itself by software “threading” the messages in chronological order, making it easy to follow the conversation. The effect is something like an instant messaging conversation, but at the fraction of the cost and on devices with no data plans. We Meet is also designed to be location-aware. But instead of pricey GPS, which is typically found only in high-end phones, it tracks people’s location via towers. The system works because, in India, operators give cell towers geographic names. even low-end phones can detect the basic vicinity of specified contacts and display the information in the form of a word or phrase. When people move, the location updates. “It’s not a digital map, but it serves the same function.

Nokia is also organizing a mobile texting based marketplace. Called “MoMart” for “mobile mart,” it consists of product listings delivered by text message. Interested buyers would subscribe to the service and specify the goods they want; the program would then push matches directly to their phones. Listings could be text-only or include an image embedded into the message. They could also be targeted to particular areas using cell-tower location technology, enabling buyers and sellers to meet in person. The programs run on Nokia’s Series 40 software platform, giving them a potential audience of hundreds of millions of phones.

Nokia has some experience it can reference. Last November, the company introduced a set of mobile programs called “Life Tools” that provided agricultural information and educational material to people in rural areas. Life Tools routes information to users via text message and was tested in India before being publicly released. However MoMart and WeMeet target urban users and encourage people to communicate with each other, not just consume content pushed to their phones.

Naturally, there’s an end game to all this work. Nokia hopes users will get hooked on doing more with their phones. Consumers who sign up for his apps will be more likely to adopt data plans in the future. When data plans become mass market, these users can easily transition.

Nokia's social networking bets

Acquires CELLITY
July 2009: Nokia acquired mobile software firm CELLITY.the deal promises to bolster its social networking competencies–cellity’s Address 2.0 solution enables users to import all their contact data from a wide variety of sources (e.g., cellphone address books, Outlook, Twitter and social networks) and store it in one place, simplifying voice and data connections across the mobile and web platforms.
Acquires Micro networking site PLUM
If one were to believe Nokia Conversations, Social networking is trending to Micro Social networking and that is a trend that Nokia seems to be investing in through its acquisition of PLUM, the micro-social network startup.

Plum will compliment the Nokia’s Social Location services, with the acquired assets becoming part of Nokia’s Services unit. Plum develops and operates a cloud-based social media sharing and messaging service for private groups. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where users can collect hundreds or thousands of friends, Plum targets smaller social bodies. It is suited for families, co-workers, neighborhoods, sports, schools, faith and any other existing social group. Plum is like Facebook for families, but more private and intimate.

Nokia asks a very different question, a thought provoking one in the age of multiplying networking: Is there a fatigue filling in maintaining large networks?

Quoting Nokia Conversations: “Are we reaching a threshold now where we begin cutting back on the size of our social network contacts pool? Or do we keep collecting connections, and is the skill then in the segmenting those people and customizing the sorts of experiences we want to share with some groups and not others? Does the blurring of the lines between the personal and professional in these social spaces require more privacy customization?”

Business logic wise, this is being seen as an effort to expand the Social Location services approach central to its Ovi Store virtual app marketplace. The positioning is different from Facebook type mass networking to individual and restricted network of families. Augmented with Nokia’s impressive device penetration there may be some promise in the story. We will watch the space for more.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nokia's acquisition of Dopplr:Where's the business sense?

Nokia has been on an acquisition spree lately. Celity, Bit-Side, Plum and now Dopplr. One hear’s about the acquisition of Palm a well. That’s been on air for some-time now and we still don’t seem to have any definite answer on that.
2009 Acquisition of Dopplr
Dopplr, a travel social network site headquartered in London, owned and operated by Dopplr Ltd. in Helsinki, Finland is rumored to have been acquired by Nokia. The travel social networking service is based on the idea of “intention broadcasting” where you publish your intention to visit somewhere in the future, thus making happy coincidences in your social network less and less coincidental (and thus happier, more efficient). An year ago, Dopplr was voted by ReadWriteWeb to be one of the top ten international products of 2008. (Read here).
The purchase price is said to be between €10 million and €15 million. The site has never grown to huge usage, but its core users are passionate about Dopplr. This is in contrast to Tripit, which has a larger audience and caters to the same socialize-while-you-travel idea.
The problem with this idea seems to be that, it belonged as part of something bigger, not as a standalone site. There is too much social capital that is required for yet another “community” website. One single purpose did not warrant another log on, another bit of data input. The idea was nicely executed, however, but not compelling enough on its own. The flip of this is that Dopplr may add up to Nokia’s world well and would get the threshold volume it always lagged.
Interestingly, in 2008, Nokia purchased Plazes - another location-based service with social networking roots. Plaze offered users the opportunity to share locations and activities with friends while geotagging the sites they like. Dopplr serves a similar purpose; however, friends are meant to meet up while traveling.

If this sounds familiar it's because services like Foursquare and most recently Gowalla have gotten iPhone users into the habit of checking in and leaving tips at their favorite haunts and watering holes.

With Plazes in 2008 and Dopplr in 2009, both serving the same purpose, I wonder how Nokia has visioned its advance in Travel social networking. Admittedly, it does seem to have little of any worth in two acquisitions of same nature without doing much on the first one.

Presenting Om Malik’s reaction to Nokia’s acquisition strategy:
“…Nokia was bereft of direction and purpose. You can also extend that argument to Nokia’s acquisition strategy. The company has been buying up tiny companies, hoping to get a bit of web services magic. Unfortunately, all these acquisitions are like Band-aids applied on a cut carotid artery — they wouldn’t do much good unless Nokia has a platform that’s developed specifically for the mobile Internet.”


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Indian Telecom Story (Part XVII): Inching to 500 million subscribers by September 2009

Indian mobile operators added 15.1 million users in August 2009, their second-highest monthly performance ever after 15.6 million that was recorded in March 2009. India had 456.7 million mobile subscribers at the end of August, data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) showed, meaning about 40 percent of India's billion-plus population now has a phone. Total telecom subscriber base increased to 494.17 million at the end of July from 479.07 million a month before.

Tata Teleservices with its Tata CDMA and TATA DoCoMo GSM services recorded the largest number of net subscriber additions. New tariff plans such as per-second billing introduced for GSM customers helped it add a highest-ever 3.4 million subscribers in August.

Bharti Airtel, India's top mobile operator, added 2.8 million users in August to take its base to 108 million. Second-ranked Reliance Communications added 2.1 million to increase its base to 84.1 million.

No. 3 Vodafone Essar, controlled by Vodafone Plc, signed up 2.2 million customers to have 80.9 million.State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, the fourth-largest mobile firm, signed up 1.3 million to reach 57.3 million, while fifth-ranked Idea Cellular gained 1.5 million to cross 50 million.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Profiling Booklet 3G, Nokia's foray into Netbooks

Another dumb dead piece of meat from Nokia stable?

The Finns are turning up the heat and in style! Two back to back announcements on the mobile computing front seems to have turned the spotlight on Nokia World event on September 2nd at Stuttgart, where it will unveil atleast one of the two new flagship devices on which the fortunes of the beleagured Mobile giant would seem to rest. Lately Samsung, Apple and RIM have taken a lot of sheen away from Nokia lately.
The first would be Nokia’s first foray into the wworld of netbooks, with its Booklet 3G. Nokia Booklet 3G is based on Intel Atom processor, features 10.1” screen, weighs 1.25 kilograms, measures “slightly more than two centimeters” and supports 3G/HSPA and Wi-Fi connectivity as well as A-GPS support. The netbook also sports Nokia’s broad suite of Ovi services. Besides, the mini-laptop comes with an HDMI port for HD video out, a front facing camera for video calling, integrated Bluetooth and an SD card reader. It is rumoured that Booklet 3G runs Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, an operating system that lacks certain security and other features that enterprise users may require. Moreover, the system features 10.1” screen, low-performance Atom processor, lacks DVD playback, but weighs 1.25kg, just like a fully-fledged business-oriented ultra low-voltage notebook. Overall, those peculiarities do not make Nokia Booklet 3G as a good mobile PC for travelling.It does pack a 12 hour Hercules battery which is so in line with Nokia’s DNA! The 12 hour battery is a dream and a differentiator in a world of netbook wannabees!

The world of netbooks is becoming increasingly crowded and the party will hit the deck with the iTablet that is scheduled sometime early next year. So long, it is a rat race and Nokia joins the hoard. While there are many views on which way the device evolution is leading upto, my take is that netbooks are just another step in device evolution and this evolution would finally end somewhere in the smartphone space or thereabouts. In that respect, Nokia could have done better getting its smartphone portfolio and user interface in order, rather than descend into the crowded spaces of Netbooks. We will watch how the Booklet with the Nokia tab does for Nokia. If the prices are as indicated, around the $799 range, then this like the N 97 could end up becoming the non starter. Granted that the device looks neat and dapper, but it is only incremental in what it brings to the table not radical enough.
Overall, it remains to be seen, whether Booklet 3G becomes popular. But at this point it does not seem to be a successful return of Nokia to the world of x86-based personal computers. Instead, Booklet 3G looks like a test vehicle to investigate the needs of Nokia’s clients.

Watch the Nokia Booklet 3G on the following YouTube Videos:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The cost of cloud computing

Featuring an analysis of the top 3 cloud computing companies by Dion Hinchcliffe in terms of current pricing and feature sets.This is probably one of the first time a cost, feature benefit of cloud computing is being examined and from the looks of it this space is gong to get red hot in future.

Lessons from today’s cloud computing value propositions

Taking a look at all this, I’ve come away with five conclusions about the top providers of cloud computing today given their current pricing and feature sets:
  1. Amazon is currently the lowest cost cloud computing option overall. At least for production applications that need more than 6.5 hours of CPU/day, otherwise GAE (Google Apps Engine) is technically cheaper because it’s free until this usage level. Amazon’s current pricing advantage is entirely due to its reserved instances model. It’s also the provider with the most experience right now and this makes it the one to beat with low prices + maturity. However, expect subscriptions from Azure to give it a run for its money when Microsoft’s cloud platform formally launches in a few months (probably November).
  2. Windows costs at least 20% more to run in the cloud. Both Microsoft and Amazon offer almost identical pricing for Windows instances while Google App Engine is not even a player in Windows compute clouds. There are undoubtedly cheaper offerings from smaller clouds but they are less likely to be suitable for enterprise use, though certainly there are exceptions.
  3. Subscriptions will be one of the lock-in models for cloud computing. Pre-pay for your cloud to get the most value and you’ll get great prices. But you’ll be committed to providers for years potentially without a way to leave without stranded investments.
  4. Better elasticity does not confer major price advantages. GAE is one of the most granular of the cloud computing services, only requiring for you to pay for what you actually use (for example, you have to commit to at least an hour of compute time at a time from Amazon) but does not provide a major cost advantage for large applications.
  5. You can’t pay more for better uptime and existing SLAs are not sufficient for important business systems. It’s unclear why, given open questions about cloud reliability, why no vendors will offer differentiated service where enterprises can pay more for a better SLA. The best you can get right now is also the worst, or 99.95% uptime. This is about 4 hours of expected but unscheduled downtime a year. For business critical applications, this is still too much. This will end up being an opportunity for other vendors entering the space though I expect the Big 3 listed here will improve their SLAs over time as they mature.