Two big titans( John Doerr and Fred Wilson) of Venture Capitalists industry discuss the current state of startups and whether we are heading towards Bubble or Boom. Check out the video below.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Here you go guys, Apple finally approved Google Voice iPhone application. This is definitely a big leap forward for Apple and Google. Earlier Apple had banned Google Voice application citing various reasons. As we all know FCC got involved in the whole fiasco and it took so long for Apple to approve the app. This is going to be a big blow to operator. Now I can use Google Voice App to send and receive SMS message for free. Yeh that’s a killer deal.
It took almost 16 months for Apple to approve this app. Things got murkier after the FCC got involved. We got to know lot more about Apple’s relationship with AT&T and each other. Initially AT&T was blamed for blocking Google Voice App as it was eating into their SMS and voice revenue. However there were other theories that surfaced during the course of time. Initial Apple’s stance was that Google Voice app was exact replica of its own built-in calling system.
Following features are provided by the Google Voice iPhone App:
• Cheap rates for international calls
• Free text messaging to U.S. numbers
• Voicemail transcription
• Display your Google Voice number as caller ID when making calls
With the Push Notification enabled, the app will notify whenever there is a new text message or Voice mail.
With both the service and app are free. What more can anyone ask for. So just go ahead and download the app and enjoy the free ride until it lasts.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 9:57 PM
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Today Apple announced the public beta of FaceTime for Mac, a new application using which Mac users can video call iPhone, iPod touch and Mac users. So looks like Apple is pretty serious about its Video calling service “FaceTime”. I guess Facetime has brought in some momentum to the consumer Video calling service. Though video calling was not something new that Apple invented, it existed even before Apple ventured into it. However FaceTime literally gave a facelift to consumer video calling service. If Apple can support Group Video calling, then it’s a perfect vehicle to target enterprise segment. Beware Skype, Cisco, Logitech and slew of other companies operating in enterprise video market.
Here is what Steve Jobs has to say about FaceTime:
“FaceTime makes video calling to or from mobile devices easy for the first time,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve sold more than 19 million FaceTime-ready iPhone 4 and iPod touch devices in the past four months, and now those users can make FaceTime calls with tens of millions of Mac users.”
Though Apple claims that FaceTime uses standard protocols, it is yet to publish any documents supporting the statement. Any inter-op with Facetime will open up huge opportunity for developers and other video service providers. Unless Apple sees a huge potential in inter-op, I doubt they will share all the technical information about Facetime.
Skype Journal compares FaceTime and Skype. Looks like Skype beats Apple with respect to quality and additional features. Dan York has hands on information about FaceTime on Mac.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 5:29 PM
Thursday, October 14, 2010
According to Nielsen report Teens prefer Texting than calling. The amount of text message teens send is unbeleivable. They send and receive on average 3,339 SMS texts a month. So looks like the most popular activity with teens are sending/receiving text messages. Infact female teens sends and recive an average of 4,050 texts per month. Compared to SMS texting, Voice usage is very low among teens. So texting activity has taken precedence over voice.
Some highlights of the news:
• 94% of teen mobile subscribers self-identify as advanced data users, turning to their cellphones for messaging, internet, multimedia, gaming, and other activities like downloads.
• While teen usage does not reach levels of activity seen by young adults, it has increased substantially versus Q2 last year, from 14 MB to 62 MB.
• This fourfold increase in data usage is the largest jump among all age groups.
• Much of this boost is led by males, who are more gadget-savvy and consume 75 MB of data, versus 17 MB in Q2 last year. Teen females use about 53 MB of data, compared to 11 MB a year ago.
• Software downloads among teen subscribers who use apps enjoyed a solid 12% increase in activity versus last year, from 26% to 38%. This includes popular apps such as Facebook, Pandora or YouTube. Usage of the mobile web has also surpassed activity on pre-installed games, ringtone downloads and instant messaging, too. Other mobile activities like mail and text alerts have also seen significant growth.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 10:23 PM
Thursday, October 7, 2010
With the recent inflow of $850 million debt, LightSquared announced vendor partners who will provide network, chip and devices for its ambitious wholesale LTE launch . The overall LTE network will be constructed, operated and maintained by Nokia Siemens Networks. This is a huge deal for NSN. The total budget to build, operate and maintain is around $7-8 billion dollars. The overall network will consist of 40,000 base stations and cover 92 percent of the US population by 2015.
The Chipset and devices will be provided by Qualcomm and Nokia Corp respectively. With CDMA almost nearing its death, Qualcomm must be betting big on LTE chipsets. Most of the folks still don’t believe this is gone happen, and feel it’s just hogwash and will never see the light of the day. Iam cautious in my opinion. It’s an ambitious plan. Building a network from scratch is not a trivial task. For now, I will just say Kudos to the team and wish they succeed.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 8:26 PM
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
As speculated earlier, According to Wall street journal, Apple is making a CDMA version of iPhone that Verizon Wireless will sell early next year. So this means an end to the exclusivity with AT&T, and a huge blow to AT&T. Too me its no brainer decision. If Apple stays with AT&T, they are going to loose big-time to Android. This should be one of the compelling reasons why Apple should be spreading their wings across multiple operators. Launching with Verizon is going to be a big leap for Apple in terms of volume and revenue. The plan is to begin mass production of new iPhones by end of the year, and release the same in the first quarter of 2011. The new iPhone will resemble the iPhone 4 currently sold by AT&T.
Some interesting tidbits from the article:
At a press conference Wednesday, Verizon Communications Inc. President Lowell McAdam declined to comment on whether his company would soon sell an iPhone. "At some point our business interests are going to align," he said, referring to Apple. "I fully expect it, but I don't have anything to say."
A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal in March reported on Apple's plans to build an iPhone that works on code division multiple access, or CDMA, technology used by carriers like Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp.
Toni Sacconaghi, a Sanford Bernstein analyst, estimates Verizon could add more than 10 million U.S. iPhone customers, adding it could help stem the rapid adoption of devices that run Android.
According to ComScore, as of August 2010, AT&T has 38% of the smartphone share while Verizon holds 26.8%. A total of 68.7% of AT&T smartphones users are iPhone. As you can see clearly, a majority of AT&T smartphone market is of iPhone. Launching iPhone on its network will give Verizon a big boost in its smartphone market and also increase the overall market share. It will be a WIN-WIN for both Verizon and Apple.
Verizon launching iPhone has been in the news for quite sometime now. There’s no Smoke without fire. Iam more than positive that this is credible news and would be surprised if Verizon doesn’t launch iPhone next year.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 8:18 PM
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
This news should come as a shocker to Apple and RIM folks. According to Nielsen , Android is now the most popular operating system among people who bought a Smartphone in the past six months. Blackberry RIM and Apple iOS are fighting each other for the second spot. In the past six months ending August 10, Android accounts for 32 percent of the smart phones while iPhone accounted for 25 percent and Blackberry 26 percent.
Among all smartphone owners, RIM still rules the roost with a total market share of 31%. Apples iPhone comes second with 28% followed by Android with 19%. Surprisingly Nokia is no where in the list.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 9:52 PM
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Facebook and Skype are planning a deep integration partnership, which will allow its users to communicate with each other using voice chat or sms messaging. Sounds like an audacious plan. For the most part this is definitely good news to FB users. So Facebook has started adding value to its platform by providing communication utilities to its users. The strategy of Facebook is not to reinvent the wheel and instead use one of the existing products that can cater its users. It’s a smart move. Building a communication platform for 500 million users is not a trivial task. Also, Skype is the best when it comes to Internet Telephony. So the marriage is perfect.
Skype currently has more than 560 million registered users. So with facebook counting more than 500 million users, we are talking about a total of more than billion users. Off course most of the users could be registered on both Skype and Facebook. Apart from Voice and messaging, Skype brings the video chat, which is gaining momentum. Thanks to Apples FaceTime. Both these companies are very aggressively positioning themselves as the next generation communication and messaging platform.
So does it mean Facebook should buy Skype as Om suggest? I don’t think it makes sense. The first question I would ask anyone suggesting Facebook to buy Skype is-
How many FB users currently communicate to each other using Voice Chat. We all know what happened to some of the VoIP applications on Facebook who tried the same communication game and turned out to be a disaster. Even Skype had its own Skypeme app on Facebook, which didn't do well either. Some startups even closed shop. Even if FB users use Voice Communication, the call should be delivered via SkypeOut or SkypeIn in order for Facebook to make any money. Now this is a big stretch in my opinion. If its purely a VoIP call, there is no money.
Instead of Facebook buying Skype, I would still bet big on Cisco buying Skype. I think Skype fits well in the Unified communication arena. With Cisco very aggressive in the Unified Communication space, this makes a killer combo. Also Cisco doesn’t need to fight hard to enter the communication space, with Skype acquisition; they will have instant access to 560 million users. And Skype Video will blend very well with the telepresence and other UC related Video communication.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 8:51 PM
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Pinger, the company behind textfree, a very popular application for iPhone and iPod Touch is venturing into Voice area by providing Free Voice calls for iPod touch users . The company already supports ad based text messages and Users have already sent more than 4 billion text messages using pinger application. The VoIP application will work on both 3G and Wi-Fi network. Pinger provides its user a unique phone number and has distributed 1.7 million phone numbers so far. Unlike text messaging, Voice calling will have a monthly cap and user needs to buy additional credit when they run out of the monthly cap.
It looks like a good deal for iPod touch users. However what is not clear is the monthly free minutes, and the per minute charge after the monthly free minutes is exhausted. At least these guys understand that giving free unlimited minutes is not gone fly from business standpoint. Many players tried free calling model and shutdown the shop. I’m not sure why advertisement is not considered for free calling instead of charging for the extra minutes. Getting a unique number for iPod and free minutes are big pluses of this application. However, Number of free minutes, call quality and per minute charge will determine the success of this app.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 8:39 PM
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Its MetroPCS and not Verizon to be the first operator to commercially launch LTE service in United States. Today they officially launched LTE service in Las Vegas. The service offers voice, text and 4G Web access starting as low as $55 per month including taxes and regulatory fees. Add another $5 for unlimited on-demand video streaming from 14 networks. Also they are offering first commercially available 4G LTE enabled handset, the Samsung Craft. Pretty impressive for a small operator to aggressively pursue LTE and launch as promised. Metro PCS is very aggressive in the prepaid market and doing pretty good in this segment.
Here are some of the highlights of the launch:
MetroPCS is introducing many new applications and features that take advantage of its 4G LTE network, including:
• MetroSTUDIOSM, powered by RealNetworks, is available on the $60 service plan. MetroSTUDIO is a new source of multimedia content, including access to full-track downloads, ringtones and ring-back tones, as well as premium video content from NBC Universal, Black Entertainment Television (BET) and Univision, available on-demand and on-the-go from one easy-to-use application.
• A new social networking and instant messaging aggregation application, which harnesses notifications, friends and content from the Facebook, MySpace and Twitter social networks and AIM, MSN and Yahoo! IM clients into a single interface that consumers can access with one click.
• Upgraded MetroNavigator® feature with the addition of voice-activated GPS and turn-by-turn directions.
MetroPCS is initially offering the Samsung Craft in Las Vegas metropolitan area stores and online for $299, after $50 instant rebate, plus tax, while supplies last. As the world’s first commercially available multi-mode 4G LTE/CDMA handset, the Samsung Craft was created with Web and multimedia content in mind, delivering a stunning visual experience.
The device offers:
• Incredible clarity and rich color for viewing crystal-clear multimedia and video images with its 3.3 inch AMOLED (Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) screen.
• A 2GB microSD card preloaded with Paramount Pictures’ hit movie “Star Trek.”
• A combination touch screen, slide-out QWERTY keyboard and Samsung’s TouchWiz™ user interface to surf and text message with whichever input format users prefer.
• A 3.2 megapixel camera with flash and camcorder to capture images that can be shared while on the go on MetroPCS’ fast 4G network.
• Wi-Fi capability.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 10:05 PM
Thursday, September 9, 2010
According to J.D Power and Associates Report , Verizon and Sprint lead the pack with respect to call quality. AT&T lags in most of the regions. So the issues are just piling up for AT&T. One of the biggest plus for AT&T is the exclusivity of iPhone, and iam sure AT&T will fight tooth and nail to keep it intact. Loosing exclusivity on iPhone is going to be a very bad news for AT&T. With such a bad call quality rating, it will be a hard sell for them to keep the subscribers intact loosing iPhone. Verizon on the other hand is sitting pretty with a good network, and call quality very good in most of the regions except for some. J.D Power sites that one of main reason subscriber will switch carrier is dropped calls. So with Verizon iPhone launch rumor, they can surely expect lot of disgruntled AT&T subscriber switching over to Verizon.
I think it makes sense for both Apple and Verizon. Apple needs to find new avenues to sell its flagship product. With android catching up fast, launching iPhone with more operators is the best bet for Apple.
Below is call quality rating for different regions. The call quality rating was calculated based on dropped calls, failed call connection on the first try, voice distortion, echoes; no immediate voicemail notification and no immediate text message notification.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 8:02 PM
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Sorry folks this article is not about technology but it’s a personal rant about my online shopping experience with sears. It was one of my worst shopping experience and iam so disappointed by sears online shopping. I would never recommend anyone shopping online with sears. I don’t think sears understand what online shopping customer satisfaction is. In fact after dealing with them for the past three days I kind of felt that they don’t really care for their customers. Seriously sears should take lessons from Amazon or any other online vendor who value their customers. So this labor day I was looking for a good canon DSLR to fulfill my photography passion and bumped into the following link.The price of this canon( Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR Camera with Canon EF 24-105mm IS lens) was way too low and an awesome deal. Initially I was a little skeptical. So I called up sears customer service, and the lady assured me that the vendor is authentic and that sears does a lot of background check before they allow anyone to sell their product on sears website. So fine. I believed her, went ahead and ordered this camera. Though she assured me about the vendor and all that, what I didn’t realize was that she had no clue about the third party vendor. She did not even do a basic vendor check. Why? Because the contact number for seller was invalid and the company was using Gmail account. Something fishy.
So just out of curiosity I sent a mail to the vendors(The electronics limited) contact email id (email@example.com) asking him about the details of the camera and the response I got was-
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR is brand new and also comes with Canon EF 24-105mm IS lens, we have packaged the item already for shipment but unfortunately we were unable to proceed your specified payment method because our merchant is down. So we advise you proceed to make payment through Western union money transfer and send money to the information below.
Name: Latanyia Bennett
City: Baton Rouge
Zip code: 70802
Immediately after the transfer is made kindly get back to me with the following details.
Sender full name :
Amount sent :
We shall proceed to send out your order and get back to you with the tracking number.
The above mail scared the shit out of me and got me thinking. I started getting a bad feeling. Googled for more info on the deal and found some other folks also going through the same shit on slickdeals forum .This is when it dawned on me that the whole thing was a SCAM!. In addition, all the folks who bought the camera got a order shipment confirmation with the same bogus tracking number for UPS(ZA7894988597890).
After I got to know it’s a SCAM. I called up sears customer service rep and the first person I talked to said iam being impatient and need to wait for couple of more days to get the camera delivered. What a bummer. So I called up again, and this time I asked for the supervisor. I explained the details to supervisor and she agreed that it seems fishy. Finally someone understood. After all this, the problem did not get resolved. All I heard is that “we will get back to you after our investigation” and nothing happened for another 24 hours. So I called up the sears customer service today and they asked me to talk to my credit card company. That’s about it.
Also what’s disgusting about this whole fiasco is that even after they knew that vendor is a fraud, the link to the product is still live on sears website, and you can purchase the camera by checking out. So as we speak there are folks who may get fooled by this offer. In fact while writing this article, I was chatting with a sears online rep and she had no clue that the product she was trying to sell me again was a SCAM.
It was such a bad experience for me. I will never ever buy anything from sears and would not recommend anyone either. In short, I feel like cheated by sears and not by “The electronics limited”. I purchased the camera based on sears customer service promise and sears brand. (BTW, sears rep who sold the camera to me would not reply to my mails even after repeated attempt.) For all the shit I went through, I would have been happy if sears had accepted that it was there fault and provided some alternatives to all customers. Alas! That never happened. Sears management should take responsibility to have let a fraud use their website to cheat customers like me.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 9:24 PM
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
RIM averted a ban by Indian government
by providing an interim solution that India authorities will test for another 60 days before making any further decision. Earlier India Government had warned RIM of possible shutdown if they don’t provide access to encrypted email and instant messages. Not much has been disclosed about the possible solution to intercept messages. There are even reports of installing servers locally in India for Indian Authorities to have easy access. Some are skeptical about the whole fiasco and even call this as a farce between RIM and Indian Authorities .
So with the interim solution from RIM, it looks like a face saving deal for both RIM and Indian government. With a partial victory over RIM, Indian authorities are targeting Skype and Google to open up their end-to-end secure communication for lawful intercept. Now this is where it gets interesting. Iam not sure how Skype is going to support Lawful intercept of their calls and messages. One of the reasons being that Skype is a P2P protocol and there are no servers involved between users for communication. Iam not even sure if Skype supports Lawful intercept standards. They have been having problems with law enforcement agencies for years now and don’t think there is a solution. Indian government is pushing these companies to install local servers for authorities to have easy access. Nokia plans to setup servers in India by November for its enterprise email services.
For RIM, building its own Blackberry data center within the country would cost tens of millions of dollars. Not sure if this is something RIM will consider in future given that the Mobile Smartphone market in India is gone explode. Currently RIM has roughly around 1 million blackberry users and that might change in future. Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts predicts that Indian Smartphone market will grow to 40 million by the end of 2015.
It would be interesting to hear what Skype has to say now that their IPO is imminent. Will they Comply like others Or not give a rat’s ass to Indian Authorities?
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 8:23 PM
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Google’s getting pretty serious about Voice business and is moving aggressively in this direction. Today they unveiled a new feature for Gmail using which users can call any phone number in USA and Canada free of charge. Yes u heard it right, its free. However the free calls will last only until end of this year. This new service will put Google into direct competition with Skype, the most popular internet telephony company. In fact they have some good pricing for international calling. According to some sources, Google is using the money they make from international calling to provide free calls to USA and Canada.
The service doesn’t need you to install a new desktop client. All you need to do is install a voice and video plug-in to the browser and voila u can make and receive calls for free. Google says the new service would work well for people in a spot with poor cell phone reception or for those making a quick call from their desk.
Another interesting news to share is the Google Voice Phone booths that Google plans to install in Airports and Universities. Now this gets interesting and has not been tried by any of the other internet telephony folks. With so much cash in bank, this might not be a big deal for Google. Also this pushes the Google Voice feature to more audience and serves as a marketing tool. Apparently Google wants more user to try out the Google Voice feature and its quality. If the call is free, iam sure there will be tones of folks who would love to use this booth.
As Om points out, launching this feature with Gmail has such a huge impact for various different reasons. So it’s a sort of one place for all communication. I think this is on of the features Facebook should be thinking off to support in future. From a user standpoint, It makes so much sense to have all communication (IM, Voice, Video, SMS, Chat, Calender, Mail etc) happening in one place instead of opening multiple apps/windows/browser etc.
So looks like Skype has got a serious competitor in Google Voice. Its not only Skype that should be worried about Google Voice, even the Telco operators should take this threat from Google Voice seriously. So until it lasts, just enjoy the free calls.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 8:39 PM
Thursday, August 12, 2010
India has joined the bandwagon to ban Research In Motion’s Blackberry Smartphone unless it gives the key to decode encrypted email and messages. In fact India issued an ultimatum today that if they don’t get the code by end of Aug, they will ban RIM Blackberry phone. The BlackBerry-to-Blackberry messenger and the BES, which provides corporate intra-email services are the ones that India wants the key to decrypt. Other services provided by Blackberry like Voice, SMS and BIS already comply with the law enforcement agency. Unlike other Smartphone vendors, RIM operates its own network of servers to provide corporate email and messaging. The high security provided for Corporate email is one of the reasons why RIM is corporate’s favorite Smartphone. Will they give-up that to please Indian Government? Looks like they may succumb to the pressure as they did with Saudi Arabia government.
According to RIM, the security architecture for its enterprise customers is based on a symmetric key system where in the key is generated and owned by the customer. So their argument is that it can’t be provided since users own the key. However, based on pressure from Saudi Arabia, they did agree to handover the codes in a last-ditch effort to stop getting banned. So Indian officials are hopeful they will do the same thing with them. With the recent terror attacks and the new threat looming every now and then, Law enforcement agency are very serious about intercepting these communication devices.
For RIM, this is going to be a very critical decision to make. Any compromise could jeopardize its appeal to corporate users and politicians alike. We all know U.S President Barack Obama’s favorite gadget is Blackberry. So any changes in their security strategy would have bigger impact. Saying no to these countries would limit its ambition to grow beyond North America. In addition, competitors are eating into RIM’s dominant share of Smartphone. Some of the corporate users are embracing iPhone, which was introduced as a cool gadget for kids.
I personally feel RIM should give access to their encrypted message if Indian authorities feel that they have legitimate information about threats. Iam assuming the messages will not be intercepted for all Users and it will be on case by case basis based on user’s background. How users will be picked for interception is beyond my imagination. Last time i got lot of hate mails when i said its OK to intercept any communication as long as it is done in the interest of the country. I don't approve privacy intrusion, but at the same time if its abused by some folks then it needs to be addressed.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 10:17 PM
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Today Google made a big decision. Its bidding Goodbye to Google wave, the messaging 2.0 product that they unveiled with much fanfare . Somehow I had this feeling that the product was geekier in nature and complicated for average users. So the news is good and bad for Google. Good that they were quick to realize that the product did not attract enough users and canned it. Bad that it had to let go one of its ambitious project.
Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects. The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.
Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web.
Is Google struggling to find a new cash cow other then the search engine, which is their main source of revenue. Though Google has so many different products, none of them have made any significant contribution to the company's revenue stream.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 9:34 PM
Vonage, the VoIP Company is trying to figure out new avenues to grow its revenue. In the process the company is launching a new app for Android and iOS that lets users make free calls to Facebook friends over 3G and Wi-Fi. Finally a bigger VoIP player is embracing the social networking power. With this, Vonage can reach all the 500 million face book users. So what this means is that if your Facebook friends have smart phones then you can call them for free. What’s interesting about the service is that you don’t have to remember the phone numbers of your Facebook contacts to talk. Though the concept of making call via 3G or Wi-Fi is not new, providing voice services to social networking friends via Smartphone is a new twist.
Despite the fact that Vonage is one of the biggest VoIP provider for more than a decade, it is still struggling to maintain a strong growth in the failing Voice market. With the introduction of free International calling via its routers that features a standard telephone socket, Vonage has gained some ground. Skype is one of biggest competitor for Vonage and with more than 550 million users, Vonage still looks miniscule. Off course not all Skype users are paid users. So all these new initiative might give Vonage some leading edge for competition.
“The Vonage Mobile app for Facebook is a tangible example of our commitment to deliver extraordinary value and a better communications experience for individuals and their social networks, across broadband-enabled devices, around the world,” said Marc Lefar, Chief Executive Officer of Vonage Holdings Corp. “This is just the start. In the future we will expand on this service to include a wide range of integrated voice and messaging services that change the way people communicate.”
Below is more info on how Vonage Mobile Application for Facebook work?
The Vonage Mobile application is simple. It’s simple to download, and so simple to use that we have eliminated the need for dialing altogether. To get started, the user:
• Downloads the app from the iTunes Store, Android Market, the Vonage fan page on Facebook or vonage.com/talkfree.
• Enters Facebook ID and password (one time only).
• Views Facebook contacts after they are automatically loaded. They’ll be grouped by friends who can be called for free and friends available for instant messaging on Facebook. A Vonage logo will appear next to the names of friends who have downloaded the app.
• Invites additional Facebook friends to get the app at the Vonage Fan Page on Facebook or vonage.com/talkfree.
• Touches a friend’s name from the Call Free list to make a free call anywhere in the world; no need to be online.
• Rings the phone for incoming calls, even if the application is closed.
Check out the video below:
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 8:28 PM
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Harbinger Capital Partner, a New York private equity firm plans to build an open Multibillion dollar wholesale 4G wireless network that will cover most of the USA by 2015. Just couple of days back the company launched the new venture, called LightSquared. According to industry sources, the overall cost to build the entire network will be between $6-10 billion. From a funding standpoint, Harbinger has secured $1.75 billion in debt and equity financing . The new financing adds to the $2.9 billion already contributed to LightSqaured. The dream is BIG. The folks running the show at LightSquared are no newbie’s. These are veterans’ in the Telco world and have run multibillion dollar networks in the past. However building an entire wireless network from scratch is a stretch and many folks doubt( here and here) if this is ever going to be become a reality. There are lot of hurdles from financial and implementation standpoint. In addition, as per FCC guidelines, LightSquared needs to cover 100 million people by end of 2012. Other operators are very aggressive with respect to 4G rollout. So competition is gone be stiff.
The clear winner out of this whole deal is Nokia Siemens, which signed an 8-year agreement worth $7 billion to deploy, install, operate and maintain LightSquared network. This will give Nokia Siemens a big boost to its ambition of becoming one of the Key Vendors for North American operators. The recent acquisition of Motorola wireless infrastructure business also bolsters its entry into most of the North American operator accounts.
Here are some highlights of the LightSquared announcement:
• Nokia Siemens Networks signs an 8-year agreement worth $7 billion to deploy, install, operate, and maintain LightSquared network
• First-ever wholesale nationwide 4G-LTE wireless broadband network integrated with satellite coverage allows partners to offer terrestrial-only, satellite-only, or integrated satellite-terrestrial services to their end users
• Telecommunications luminary Sanjiv Ahuja becomes Chairman and CEO, joined by a seasoned management team
• First truly open and net neutral wireless network spurring the development of new wireless devices, applications, and services
• Unique wholesale-only business model avoids conflict of interest with customers
• LightSquared is announcing up to $1.75 billion in additional debt and equity financing
• LightSquared network build-out anticipated to generate more than 100,000 direct and indirect private sector jobs within five years
Only time will tell if Harbinger will be able to execute its grand ambition of providing a wholesale-only nationwide 4G-LTE network. Stay tuned.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 9:43 PM
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Walt Mossberg, the most popular gadget reviewer for Wallstreet journal reviews Samsungs Galaxy series which is built on top of android platform.
Please find the video below:
Competition is good and iam happy Android is steadily gaining the ground. Also the number of apps available on android platform is increasing. It’s good news to consumers. Expect to see more innovation in the Smartphone space.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 8:51 PM
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
According to ABI research , Mobile video services is expected to generate revenue of $2 billion worldwide in 2013. This should be good news to all the Mobile video players like Skype, Fring, Apple etc. The mobile video includes Video Telephony, Video Messaging, P2P and Web 2.0 video sharing and live streaming. Apple recently launched its ambitious Mobile Video calling via FaceTime with iPhone 4. Though I don’t have an iPhone 4, I had the privilege to watch the FaceTime demo from one of my colleague and it was awesome. Already lots of folks are raving about FaceTime. Mobile Video calling is still in its infant stage and needs a big push from one of the Big Carrier/Mobile Vendor. Looks like Apple is pretty serious about mobile video and iam sure they will play a pivotal role in making this feature popular. Iam glad Apple is driving the technology.
The uptake of Mobile video service also depends on the wireless bandwidth availability, and this is one of the reasons most of the operators are moving towards LTE. Consumer’s appetite for mobile entertainment is increasing and thanks to iPhone’s and the droids. The mobile handset which was originally used for basic calling and messaging is now used as a primary entertainment device. In addition, consumers are willing to pay for the bandwidth usage. Web 2.0 services have definitely changed the Mobile industry. Information is Real-time. Be it Location, News, weather etc.
On a flip side, availability of mobile video capable handset and bandwidth can derail the growth of this service. The recent policy change of AT&T to charge for data based on usage is definitely going to hurt users while help operators make some more buck. If the service is compelling, consumers might be willing to pay some extra bucks and that might be a new avenue for operators to make money.
Some interesting tidbits from the article:
“Video services revenue will only amount to about $121 million this year,” says senior analyst Mark Beccue. “But the growth curve is very steep indeed, and will only continue to accelerate through the end of our forecast period in 2015.”
“MNOs mustn’t settle for the role of undifferentiated mobile ISPs that manage ‘dumb pipes’,” Beccue advises. “They should provide a variety of mobile video services and leverage strategic ecosystems until they upgrade their networks to provide quality video services. Partnering with device OEMs and software solution providers will help to optimize mobile devices. This will contribute to an already significant investment, but the rewards will be great.”
Though some folks are skeptical about Mobile Video calling, iam upbeat about the product and definitely think it has a bright future.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 8:12 PM
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Looks like Apple’s dream run with iPhone,iPad is going through some hiccups in the form of iPhone 4 antenna issues. Though the issue was observed immediately after the launch of iPhone 4, Apple ignored it saying it was not a big deal. And the man( Steve Jobs) of the era said consumers need to learn how to hold the phone. The irony is that during the iPhone 4 launch, he was holding the phone in the wrong way. After some more hue and cry by iPhone critics and users, Apple PR came up with some cooked up story of how a software glitch was causing these antenna signal bar issues and how a new software update would solve all the problem. So far so good. The latest report from Consumer report blog was the last nail in the coffin. This was picked up by almost all the media and blogosphere and exposed the arrogance of Apple. The impact was pretty big and it tanked Apple shares by 2%. Yes 2% of the shares were down and definitely not good news to the shareholders.
So here is my personal opinion about the whole fiasco. If Apple expects me to pay a premium price for their product, iam willing to pay as long as I get what is promised. But if there is a problem with the phone and iam asked to change my behavior or use some shit hack to make it work, Now that is ridiculous and arrogance beyond imagination. If the shit you manufacture has issue, go fix it rather than asking people to fix it. I hope the man I admire the most comes out with a common sense solution instead of stupid gimmicks.
There is lot of speculation on what could be a potential fix. A simple duct tape or an iPhone Bumper case . Some folks even suggest a recall is inevitable, which would cost Apple around $1.5 billion. In addition, every week delay would cost them $200 million dollars more.
The impact of iPhone antenna signal issue has reached its peak. Tonight show David letterman has fun at iPhone 4 expense:
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 10:43 PM
Thursday, July 8, 2010
According to ComScore’s data on Smartphone market for the three month average period ending May 2010, Google’s Android platform is making steady progress with a 4% increase in the Smartphone market share. Apple lost 1% of the market share for the same period. Google Android platform stands at number 4 with 13% of the market share. Though android is gaining momentum, it is still a long way for it to catch up with RIM and Apple. The overall gain of 4% comes from RIM, Apple and Microsoft. No wonder Microsoft lost 1.9% of the market in the same period. A total of 49.1 million people in the U.S owned Smartphone’s. Iam happy that Android is making steady progress and could become one of the biggest competitors to Apple’s iPhone. Though iam an iPhone freak, I think competition will keep Apple’s momentum in check. We don’t want to see another Motorola (Razr) story repeated from Apple.
From a manufacturer shares, Samsung is leading the pack with 22.4 percent market share followed by LG (21.5 percent), Motorola (21.2 percent), RIM (8.7 percent) and Nokia (8.1 percent).
Smartphone Platform Market Share:
OEM Market Share:
Mobile Content Usage:
More info Here.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 10:33 PM
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
It’s sad to see Microsoft’s Kin’s failure. It has become a big embarrassment to Microsoft . Everyone has started trashing the management for the Kin’s failure. With Kin, Microsoft ventured into making a kiddie phone, which would be enjoyed by teenage girls and boys. Alas, they failed miserably. It spent over billion dollars on Kin, which includes the acquisition of Danger (Sidekick). I had a chance to look at both Kin1 and Kin2. The phones UI was cluttered and the form factor was very small. The whole unified view of social networking was a bit complicated. What’s disheartening is the fact that only 500 Kin phones were sold after the launch. Some even say that they could not even recoup the money spent on the launch party.
I have always been critical about Microsoft’s mobile phones and their OS. I tried couple of Smartphone’s that had windows OS and it sucked. For someone who was there from the early days in the Mobile space, I expected lot more innovation than the new crop of companies like Google, Apple or HTC. What a disappointment. I guess they have lost the battle. The iPhones or droids are way better compared to crappy windows mobile. Iam not sure if there are still developers out there working on the Windows Phone 7 train wreck. Stay away! Run, Run, Run. Oh worthy of mention is those TV commercial which sucked bug time. Sometime I feel Microsoft needs to get their act together on the marketing front. In addition, Mobile consumer market is very competitive compared to the Enterprise market. If people have choice, they will buy superior product even if they have to pay the premium (iPhone, iPad etc). No wonder apple is ruling the Mobile Smartphone space.
An unknown Microsoft source talks to Jay Yarrow:
"We had a huge launch party on campus and I bet that party cost more than the amount of revenues we took in on the product. As an employee, I am embarrassed. As a shareholder, I am pissed. It's one thing to incubate products and bring them to a proof-of-concept to see what works, but it's something else to launch. I suspect we launched because we felt like we HAD to so we could save face because we were trying to build buzz, but overall - HUGE fail."
Here are some interesting comments by former and current Microsoft employees including Danger folks on minimsft:
All I can say as a former Windows Mobile employee who is now working for a competitor in the phone space is that this is good news for the rest of us. [...] Personally I quit because of the frustrating management and autocratic decision style of Terry Myerson and Andrew Lees. The only exec in the team myself and other folks respcted was Tom Gibbons who is now sidelined. Lees and Myerson don't know consumer products or phones. Gibbons at least knows consumer product development. We often talk about how Andrew Lees still has a job but Microsoft's loss is a gain for the rest of us.
And now Kin is killed *after* it has shipped in June 2010. You can bet Andy was involved in the development of Kin, the partnership agreements with the OEM, Verizon and most importantly the "ship it" approvals all along the way. And Microsoft discovers its a bad idea after it blows up in the broad market. Absolutely no thanks to any pro-active decision making on Andy's part.
Now there is spin that Andy killed kin to put all the wood behind Windows Phone 7. Er, the guy was in charge for two years of Kin development. He could have made this decision far earlier.
Similarly Windows Phone 7 has two years of development under his watch. Based on his past performance, 99% chance this is also going to be a total catastrophe. It further doesn't help that much of the Windows Phone 7 leadership team was kicked out of Windows when they screwed up Vista.
And finally, one Danger-employee's point of view of why they became demotivated:
To the person who talked about the unprofessional behavior of the Palo Alto Kin (former Danger team), I need to respond because I was one of them.
You are correct, the remaining Danger team was not professional nor did we show off the amazing stuff we had that made Danger such a great place. But the reason for that was our collective disbelief that we were working in such a screwed up place. Yes, we took long lunches and we sat in conference rooms and went on coffee breaks and the conversations always went something like this..."Can you believe that want us to do this?" Or "Did you hear that IM was cut, YouTube was cut? The App store was cut?" "Can you believe how mismanaged this place is?" "Why is this place to dysfunctional??"
Please understand that we went from being a high functioning, extremely passionate and driven organization to a dysfunctional organization where decisions were made by politics rather than logic.
Consider this, in less than 10 years with 1/10 of the budget Microsoft had for PMX, we created a fully multitasking operating system, a powerful service to support it, 12 different device models, and obsessed and supportive fans of our product. While I will grant that we did not shake up the entire wireless world (ala iPhone) we made a really good product and were rewarded by the incredible support of our userbase and our own feelings of accomplishment. If we had had more time and resources, we would of come out with newer versions, supporting touch screens and revamping our UI. But we ran out of time and were acquired and look at the results. A phone that was a complete and total failure. We all knew (Microsoft employees included) that is was a lackluster device, lacked the features the market wanted and was buggy with performance problems on top of it all.
When we were first acquired, we were not taking long lunches and coffee breaks. We were committed to help this Pink project out and show our stuff. But when our best ideas were knocked down over and over and it began to dawn on us that we were not going to have any real affect on the product, we gave up. We began counting down to the 2 year point so we could get our retention bonuses and get out.
I am sorry you had to witness that amazing group behave so poorly. Trust me, they were (and still are) the best group of people ever assembled to fight the cellular battle. But when the leaders are all incompetent, we just wanted out.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 10:19 PM
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Today Amazon acquired woot, a online web startup that is famous for selling one item a day. We have all read/seen many acquisitions in the past. However what's cool about this one is the mail that the CEO sent to his employees. It’s funny, cool, satirical and very well written. I guarantee it will be worth your time reading this mail.
Several months ago, when we were all sitting on Jeff Bezos’s bumper drinking orange Mad Dog and trying not to be noticed, we heard a voice in the distance yelling “You kids better not scratch my Mercedes or I’m calling the cops!” We ran.
Amazon's hoping our nutty Woot steez continues to grow and develop (and perhaps even rubs off on them a little). They’re not looking to have their folks come in and run Woot unless we ask them to, which incidentally you can do by turning off the bathroom lights and saying the word “Kindle” three times; a helpful Amazon employee will appear in the mirror.
Date: Weds, 30 June 2010
From: Matt Rutledge (CEO – Woot.com)
To: All Woot Employees
Subject: Woot and Amazon
I know I say this every time I find a picture of an adorable kitten, but please set aside 20 minutes to carefully read this entire email. Today is a big day in Woot history. This morning, I woke up to find Jeff Bezos the Mighty had seized our magic sword. Using the Arthurian model as a corporate structure was something our CFO had warned against from the very beginning, but now that’s water under the bridge. What is important is that our company is on the verge of becoming a part of the Amazon.com dynasty. And our plans for Grail.Woot are on indefinite hold.
Over the next few days, you will probably read headlines that say “Matt Rutledge revealed to be monstrous pseudo-human creation of Jeff Bezos.” You might even see this photo making the rounds. Rest assured that these rumors have nothing to do with our final decision. We think now is the right time to join with Amazon because, quite simply, every company that becomes a subsidiary gets two free downloads until the end of July, and we very much need that new thing with Trent Reznor’s wife on our iPods.
Other than that, we plan to continue to run Woot the way we have always run Woot – with a wall of ideas and a dartboard. From a practical point of view, it will be as if we are simply adding one person to the organizational hierarchy, except that one person will just happen to be a billion-dollar company that could buy and sell each and every one of you like you were office furniture. Nevertheless, don’t worry that our culture will suddenly take a leap forward and become cutting-edge. We’re still going to be the same old bottom-feeders our customers and readers have come to know and love, and each and every one of their pre-written insult macros will still be just as valid in a week, two weeks, or even next year. For Woot, our vision remains the same: somehow earning a living on snarky commentary and junk.
We are excited about doing this for all sorts of reasons. One, our business model is so vague that there’s no way Amazon can possibly change what it is we’re truly doing: preparing the way for the rise of the Lava Men in 2012. Also, our deal means that Jason Toon will finally be released from that Mexican jail owned by Zappos honcho Tony Hsieh. No, don’t lie, Tony, we’ve seen the paperwork. And we need a powerful ally in case Steve Jobs finally breaks down and comes after us for all our Apple jokes over the years. Don’t think of it as a buyout; think of it as NATO!
I will go through each of the above points in more detail later, but first, let me get to the top 5 burning questions that I’m guessing many of you will have.
TOP 5 BURNING QUESTIONS:
Q: Is Snapster leaving?
A: Are you kidding? He’s out the door about ten seconds after that check clea- that is to say, Snapster will continue as Woot.com CEO, just like before, and the rest of our staff’s not going anywhere either. Woot and all our various sites will continue to be an independently operated company full of horrible, useless products and an untalented jerkface writing staff, same as it ever was.
Q: Will the Woot culture change?
A: Amazon is interested in us because they recognize the value of our people, our brand, and our unique style of deep-tissue, toxin-releasing massage. And they don't want to start changing things now. Amazon's hoping our nutty Woot steez continues to grow and develop (and perhaps even rubs off on them a little). They’re not looking to have their folks come in and run Woot unless we ask them to, which incidentally you can do by turning off the bathroom lights and saying the word “Kindle” three times; a helpful Amazon employee will appear in the mirror. That said, Amazon clearly knows what they're doing in a lot of areas, so we’re geeked about the opportunities to tap into that knowledge and those resources, especially on the technology side. This is about making the Woot brand, culture, and business even stronger than it is today, and we expect that any changes will be for the better or we wouldn't bother with this endless paperwork.
Q: Where can I get one of those vuvuzelas?
A: Are you even paying attention?
Several months ago, when we were all sitting on Jeff Bezos’s bumper drinking orange Mad Dog and trying not to be noticed, we heard a voice in the distance yelling “You kids better not scratch my Mercedes or I’m calling the cops!” We ran. It was later that night when Amazon came by the house and said they liked our style and also wanted to get that money we owed them for messing up the chrome. We like to think that our relationship with Amazon will continue at this level for many, many, many years to come.
But we here at Woot are still a thoughtful company, so, at the end of the day, I watched the sunset, and its golden-hued glory made me think about two questions:
1) Is there really a universal deity?
2) Does such a thing preclude free will or are we humans in control of our own destiny?
After spending a lot of time falling asleep at the library while facing the philosophy books, I determined that the concept of destiny is a construct that allows man a gentle release from facing the terror of his existence, and that a Hyundai full of twenties would pretty much offer the same benefits. And so, I ultimately said YES!
This is definitely an emotional day for me. The feelings I’m experiencing are similar to what I felt in college on graduation day: excitement about getting a check from my folks combined with nausea from a hellacious bender the night before. I remember fondly that time when an RA turned on the lights and yelled “WHO OWNS THESE PANTS?” Except this time, the pants are a company, and the RA is you, and the sixty five hours of community service is a deal that will ensure the Woot.com experience can continue to grow for years and years and years, like a black mold behind the Gold Box. Join us, because together, we can rule the galaxy as father and son. Also, there will be six muffins waiting in the company break room, courtesy of the nice folks at Amazon.com. Welcome to the family!
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 7:35 PM
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Finally Google opened up its sign-ups for Google Voice service to all USA residents. This should be good news to all the folks who were waiting for a Google Voice invite. So looks like the competition is heating up in this space. There are so many areas that Google Voice competes with other apps like Skype and Service Providers. I’m sure service providers will be looking at this news with caution. With the money and resource power, Google has the potential to enter Service provider arena and scare the hell out of incumbent providers. It might be a stretch for Google to truly compete with service providers considering the infrastructure advantage the latter has. However, they can tout themselves as a new type of service providers with major web presence. Anyway too early to predict the verdict. Don’t waste your time, go ahead and grab your Google Voice account here.
One of the important features that Google should think of adding is Number Portability. This feature will help consumers port their existing numbers to Google Voice.
What is Google Voice Video?
Interesting Modern Human communication picture that depicts Google Voice role:
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 9:27 PM
Sunday, June 20, 2010
The hype surrounding the IMS (IP Multimedia subsystem) deployment is slowly fading away. In reality, IMS deployments are moving in snails pace. I have been hearing about IMS for more than a decade now with no sight of any concrete deployment from operators. There are very few operators around the globe who have deployed or promised to deploy IMS in their network. Some of the big operators in North America are focusing on LTE/WIMAX and there is no mention of IMS. According to TM forum’s yearbook , more than 100 operators acknowledge they will convert their network to IMS in the next five years. Alas I have been hearing this for a long time now.
Why do we need IMS? IMS was touted to be a service agnostic platform using which third-party applications can run on operator network. It was a bridge between web 2.0, messaging 2.0 and voice 2.0 and the Telco platform. Service creation and execution using IMS framework was supposed to seamless and easy. It had lot of promise from a platform perspective. Infact it was an answer from Telco to the growing popularity of Web 2.0. The layered architecture of IMS addressed all technical challenges that exist in today’s Legacy Circuit switched networks. IMS was originally designed for mobile but was extended to cover Wi-Fi and fixed line services as well. What was lacking with IMS was a good business case for Operators to justify the investment in the platform.
According to Ibrahim Gedeon, TELUS CTO, IMS was “a waste of seven years” by wireless industry that was trying to bring its voice service into the IP realm. One of the reports published late last year by Alan Quayle of Mind Commerce, IMS still remains niche. Even in the year 2014, only 32% will commence IMS deployment.
Here are some reasons I can think of why IMS is not getting its share of limelight:
• Lack of Compelling business case to justify the investment
• No IMS killer app to drive the requirement of IMS. Most of the promise by IMS can achieved without an IMS network.
• Lack of standards compliance including billing and Operational support system
• Service providers are still not convinced that implementation of IMS would translate into reducing costs and complexity.
• IMS brings in lot of promise and innovation. However service providers do not understand how to address and embrace innovation from a platform standpoint.
• Lack of understanding between IMS vendors and Service providers.
There is still some hope for IMS. Rich Communication Suite (RCS) another standard from GSMA aims to unify the communications experience by tying together presence, voice, chat and multimedia services over IMS. RCS holds a lot of promise, and we are already seeing operators (Orange, SFR etc) deploying RCS compliant handsets in the market. By 2011, there will be 7.3 million RCS subscribers mostly in Western Europe and Asia Pacific. If RCS does well, there will be strong push for IMS network.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 10:13 PM
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
iPhone 4 pre-order sales yesterday were 10-times higher than the previous iPhone 3GS pre-order last year. A total of 600,000 pre-orders were processed yesterday. I think AT&T’s new data plan combined with awesome features of iPhone 4 has made consumers go crazy for iPhone 4. AT&T has officially suspending pre-ordering today. It had more than 13 million visitors to its website checking for upgrade eligibility. No wonder Nokia lowered its forecast for Q2. Sorry Nokia we understand your pain.
The significant amount of traffic to AT&T and Apple brought massive failure to both the systems.
Below is the statement released by Apple apologizing for the system failure:
CUPERTINO, Calif., June 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Yesterday Apple and its carrier partners took pre-orders for more than 600,000 of Apple’s new iPhone 4. It was the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions. Many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered difficulties, and hope that they will try again or visit an Apple or carrier store once the iPhone 4 is in stock.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 9:28 PM
Monday, June 14, 2010
Looks like this year is going to be hot for Location based services and apps. Earlier it used to be small startups working on Location based mobile apps. That’s no more the case. Lot of big companies are trying to solve the Location mystery with each coming up with their own niche. Twitter just announced their location based service called Places . Facebook has plans to launch its own location based service. What’s interesting about this service is that it complements some of the existing services like Foursquare, Gowalla etc. Twitter is getting into Location big time.They already have a partnership agreement with TomTom and Localeze. In addition, they acquired MixerLabs, Creator of GeoApi startup last year.
The new feature helps discover more places (Point of Interest) and tweets based on User location. Users will be able to select places from a list in their areas based on the tweet posted from twitter home page or mobile site. Soon the service will be extended to Mobile clients. The tweets are not only limited to twitter, users can also see Check-Ins from Foursquare and Gowalla. With the vast user base that twitter has, what I would love to see is an open database of Point Of Interest that is powered by both users and existing data.
Several other features of this launch include:
• Foursquare and Gowalla integration: Many Foursquare and Gowalla users publish check-ins to Twitter. Location is a key component of these Tweets, so we worked closely with both companies to associate a Twitter Place with Tweets generated by these services. This means that if you click on a Twitter Place, such as "Ritual Roasters," you will see standard Tweets and check-ins from Foursquare and Gowalla.
• API: We are releasing API functionality that lets developers integrate Twitter Places into their applications.
• Support for more browsers: Now, you can add location to your Tweets from any browser—Safari and Internet Explorer, in addition to Chrome or Firefox.
Twitter plans to roll out this feature to users in 65 countries around the world. So have fun exploring new interesting places and tweets.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 8:50 PM
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Iam so thrilled to write about this news. Why? Because this news is very special to me and I have been waiting for this day for a long time. I have been blogging for couple of years now and this is the first time iam talking about my company ( Kodiak Networks) and the product, which I have been working on for many years.
Today Verizon Wireless announced Group Communications features, which is powered by Kodiak Networks, a leading provider of innovative mobile applications including Conferencing, Messaging, Presence and Contact Management, and Push to Talk (PTT).
The details of the product is in the press release. I have always shied away from writing about my company. This is a proud moment for our startup and I wanted to share this news with my readers of this blog. So if you are a Verizon subscriber, don’t miss the opportunity to try out one of the best and a unique Group Communication service in the market. Trust me you won’t be disappointed. Check out the Link for more information.
I will write a separate article on how Mobile Group Communication could become one of the Killer Mobile service. There is lot of potential in services like this. Remember what we saw in D8 conference where facebook revealed via Marks hoodie that they want to become the global platform for sharing data. What is often ignored is the vast Mobile Social Graph Data that operators own, and how that is far more valuable than the Social Networking Social Data Graph. So Kodiak is providing utilities to unravel the potential of Operators Social Data Graph and yes this is the beginning of a new era in Group communication and Sharing.
Please find the press release below:
ONE NUMBER, MANY CONTACTS: STAY CONNECTED WITH GROUP COMMUNICATION, ONLY FROM VERIZON WIRELESS
BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – Verizon Wireless is making it easier for customers to call, text or send voice messages to their friends, family and colleagues with an exclusive new product called Group Communication. Equally valuable for both customers and small businesses, Group Communication can help families plan where to meet for dinner, coaches schedule a baseball or soccer practice or business owners contact their employees quickly. Group Communication enables simple, collaborative calling without the hassle of multiple numbers or conference bridges.
“For years, wireless phones have helped people stay in touch wherever they are. Verizon Wireless is taking the next step by offering Group Communication, a service that lets people use one number to connect with all those people at the same time,” said John Stratton, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer at Verizon Wireless. “Group Communication offers a new way to share information, make plans and run businesses more efficiently, all managed online in your Verizon Wireless account.”
Customers have two choices on how to set up Group Communication:
Family Group Contact provides a toll-free number – 888-VZ-GROUP (888-894-7687) – that automatically connects up to 20 members of an account with a call, text or voice message. Businesses that have more than 20 lines can select up to 20 account contacts and connect with them using the toll-free number. Members of a Family Group may include anyone on an account, plus one non-Verizon Wireless number or any wireline number not associated with that account. Family Group Contact is $4.99 per month per account, and once subscribed, any member of the group with a Verizon Wireless number has the ability to initiate communication with the others.
Group Contact allows a customer to create up to seven customized groups, each with up to 20 different wireline, wireless or international phone numbers. Group owners can initiate communication with a call, text or voice message by dialing a unique phone number assigned to the group when it is created. Group Contact is $6.99 per month per line and includes Quick Contact, which allows users to ring all members of a Quick Contact group simultaneously. When the first line answers, all others are disconnected, making Quick Contact perfect for those looking to connect with hard-to-reach individuals.
Customers can create and set up groups by logging into their accounts on either My Verizon or My Business. Managing groups, including adding or deleting members, involves just a few clicks, and changes take effect immediately.
Group Communication from Verizon Wireless is powered by technology from Kodiak Networks. For more information on Group Communication, go to www.verizonwireless.com/groupcomm, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store or call 1-800-2 JOIN IN.
# # #
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving nearly 93 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 81,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 5:54 AM
Thursday, June 3, 2010
With thousands of apps listed in app stores of handset vendors, you may be wondering which are the most popular apps or the apps that are used everyday. According to Nielsen, some of the most popular Smartphone apps are Facebook, Google Maps, Pandora, weather channel, YouTube and ESPN. Iam not surprised by these apps making to the top list. I use most of these apps myself on iPhone. One of the apps that is missing in the list is twitter client. Games are the most downloaded apps on all platforms. We don’t need Nielsen data to know this one. It’s obvious. iPhone users download more apps than other Smartphone users.
Here are some other interesting facts:
• Games are the most downloaded – both free and paid
• Facebook, Google Maps and Weather Channel are the most popular apps across smartphones
o iPhones: Facebook (58%), iTunes (48%), Google Maps (47%)
o Android: Google Maps (67%), Facebook (50%), Weather Channel (38%)
o Blackberry: Facebook (51%), Google Maps(34%), Weather Channel (28%)
• Social Networking: Facebook clearly favorite app, but MySpace is hugely popular among teens; LinkedIn attracts adults 25-44
• News/weather: Weather Channel was used by 58%; age distribution across sites was similar, save for Time Mobile and Thomson Reuters
• Shopping: Amazon and eBay lead (57% and 41%)
• Search/Map: skew male, particularly Instamapper (80/20)
• Video/Movie: skewed towards males; Imeem and Moviefone show a higher proportion of young users
• Music: iTunes, Pandora, Sirius XM appeal more to males, while Yahoo Music almost evenly split
Iam sure you guys must be wondering why iPad apps details are missing. Maybe in future, Nielsen will come up with another category of apps analysis for tablets, and iam sure iPad will rule the list.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 9:12 PM
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Today Skype finally launched the long awaited 3G Voice calling client. What this means is that consumers can make calls via iPhone using the AT&T 3G data network instead of relying on Wi-Fi. After AT&T approved Voice calling via 3G, many VoIP apps already support Voice over 3G networks. Skype was a little late to the party. The service is free until August 2010, after that Skype is planning to charge users for the service. I’m a little confused here, why the hell should I pay Skype for making calls on AT&T 3G network. I’m already paying $30 for unlimited data plan and Skype uses the same data network for voice calls. So this logic sounds ridiculous to me. Another possibility could be that there is a revenue sharing between Skype and AT&T for carrying Voice over 3G network.
Here is the FAQ published in the iPhone App:
What does the “free Skype trial” mean?
You can now make and receive Skype-to-Skype calls and call phones over 3G from your iPhone.
To get you started, we’re offering you free Skype-to-Skype calls over 3G until at least the end of August 2010. After that there’ll be a small monthly fee.
Remember, you can always make free Skype-to-Skype calls from a WiFi hotspot.
The client monitors the 3G bandwidth and displays warning if the required bandwidth is not available for the call. I tried couple of calls and the quality was really bad. I noticed a small warning screen mentioning the bandwidth is average and will affect call quality.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 10:46 PM
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Very interesting talk from Jack Dorsey (creator of Twitter and Square) at the 99% conference about how twitter, square idea was conceptualized. Some great points for wannabe entrepreneurs. He also talks about his new brain child Square, an iPhone/iPod payment system. If you guys have 16 minutes of time, this is definitely a must watch video.
Some highlights of the talk:
• Draw your thoughts and ideas on a piece of paper
• Luck and Right Timing
• Iterating like mad
• Ideas: When to draw the line and move on with a different one.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 7:49 PM
Thursday, May 13, 2010
As I mentioned earlier , Skype launched a preview version of Group Video calling today. You can download the beta version here. Using the new client users can make group video call with upto 5 people. The new client is only available for Windows. So the people you are calling should also need to be running the same version of client. Sorry Mac folks, it sucks. (I just bought my new Mac last week. It’s awesome and very sleek)
The beta version of Group Video calling is free. However, Skype is not gone give this premium feature for free in future. So go head and download the client and enjoy the Group Video calling before Skype starts charging for the service. I’m not sure if consumers are gone pay for the service. Maybe enterprise would.
The below statement confirms Skype’s intention to charge the feature:
Group video calling is just one in a set of new premium features you’ll see us roll out during 2010. We haven’t set prices for these premium features yet, but rest assured that we’re still absolutely committed to bringing you free voice and two-way video calling.
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 9:45 PM