Archive for September, 2008

The India you may NOT know & Innovation at the most unexpected places

September 28, 2008

There is so much happening in India that many of us may not know. For example,

    Apple iPod (the ultimate gadget the youngsters today) had the audio codec (in the earlier days) from Portal Player whose development center used to be in Hyderabad; again iPod got “unwired” by a start-up firm ImpulseSoft based out of Bangalore; though the Indian media routinely dismisses Indian IT as “software coolies”. ImpulseSoft and Portal Player do not exist today!

    Three of the top 10 core banking products (as per The Banker, UK), iFlex Fexcube (now part of Oracle), Infosys Finacle and MiSys (an Irish company with major development center in Bangalore) are “Made in India” though most Indians (including IT professionals) think India “cannot do products”!

    HiCal Magnetics (now HiCal Technologies) is the major “magnetic component” supplier to the likes of Nokia. Started by a husband and wife team (who went to REC Suratkal), HiCal proved that India CAN DO hardware

    VXL Instruments with technology leadership provided by Dr Maslekar was the “global” No 3 “thin client” manufacturer as per Gartner; we design, make, sell, support hardware for the global markets!

    Infineon designed the $ 20 mobile phone chip out of Bangalore; the “single chip” design for mobile phone by Texas Instruments had tons of “made in India”; Motofone (not a spectacular success) was made for India. Nokia “Made for India” phone (Nokia 1100) was a spectacular success! Vasantha-led team in Bangalore designed an 80-core processor (will be commercialized 3 years from now); Intel Bangalore designed Xeon processor is into production in the third week of September 2008

    Innovation happens at the most unexpected places

    A lot has been written about “dubbawala” of Bombay who move tiffin boxes to millions of office goers in Bombay with better than “six sigma” quality

    Arvind Eye Hospital & Narayana Hrudayalaya do eye & heart surgery at world-class quality level but at a fraction of global cost!

    Bangalore International Airport (not withstanding lack of road / train access) was built in record time against all odds (with a non-functioning government and no government for much of the 34 month period)

    IIIT-B could graduate 1,000 M Tech students with a high quality at a fraction of costs compared to every other Institute

    You too can innovate

    Start today (not tomorrow); do not look outside (listen to your inner voice); role models are nice to have; becoming one is “nicer”!

    (Talk at the “Common Purpose” event at Taj Gateway Hotel, Bangalore on Sep 26, 2008)

Wireless in India

September 27, 2008

My views are just simple

Wireless has a great future; in fact it is “made for India” (with 38 million landline subscribers over 125 uears and 100 million over 1 year, it is clear). As my student puts it, “WWW” for India is “Wireless Will Win”

Wireless is for “aam admi” (common man)’ often we think people without college degrees are tech-averse. It is far from true. Recently I was surprised; some senior telecom executives could not demonstrate the installation of “ring tones”, but richshaw drivers could demonstrate with ease!

The real contribution of Apple iPhone and Google Android G1 would be the speed at which 3G roll-out will happen in the world. We need to prepare ourselves for that.

Finally, we need to get the “3G spectrum” mess sorted out; it cannot be left to the whims & fancies of IT Minister and the greed of Finance ministry. It is a technical decision. Let not Finance ministry look at “earning” from spectrum; let 3G roll-out be real fast and widespread; several Indians can “learn” and “earn” using the infrastructure; let government get the tax from the “earned income” of the citizens and not “short-circuit” it on the way

(Panel discussion on “Wireless Future” in the CLIK (Consortium of Electronic Industries) Conference, Ashok Hotel Bangalore on Sep 26, 2008)

It is official; India has more than 300 million subscribers

September 24, 2008

TRAI Press Release was out today (Sep 24, 2008)

The total number of wireless (mobile) phone subscribers is 305+ million at the end of August 2008!

Interestingly the landline subscribe base that was 46 million in 2005 when mobile phones “crossed over” has slowly declined to 38 million today!

India is adding 300,000 subscibers a day (9 million a month in August 2008)!

Interesting times indeed

Google G1 is a reality today

September 23, 2008

On 7:30 PM IST today (September 23, 2008) Google Phone (G1) was launched in New York by the 4th US Cariier T Mobile (part of Deutsche Telekom) after more than 18 months of “rumour mill”

With Apple iPhone setting a very high benchmark, the show was “damp squibb” compared the “hoopsla” created on the launch of iPhone (July 2007) and iPhone 3G (July 2008).

The phone itself is made by HTC; it is a good phone; it has “touch” interface (I used HTC Touch 6 months back and gave up as the “touch” works “on and off”). One hopes it has improved.

G1 is a clear “Google Phone”; if you Google Search, GMail, YouTube you would love it. One is not sure of great “audio” the basic need for a phone! G1 lets you multi-task (based on several Video blogs including NY Times, Times London, BBC, BusinessWeek) that I could watch within 2 hours of launch; I feel almost I were there for the launch!

It will be an interesting 3 G phone to watch; $ 179 ($ 20 less than iPhone 3G) with GPS, 3G, TouchScreen with some “lock in” (all US consumers get “lock in” unlike India a “free country”) is not a bad buy

Google talks of all “open”; one has to see whether it is a “rhetoric” or “nice philosophy” to preach to others (the way “super rich” Indian politicians who were “corrupt to the core” using “capitalitic money and goods” used to talk of the virtues of “socialism” for decades)

One month with Apple iPhone 3G

September 22, 2008

I bought a new Apple iPhone from Airtel stores the day it was officially launched on Aug 22, 2008. It was pricey, but I did want to start using an iconic phone. The first one month has been very satisfactory.

It took several hours to install the software. But once done it has been smooth sailing.

What I really like is the “touch” as mainstream interface, remarkably good graphics and “push mail” through another paid service “MobileMe”.

I am able to keep my contacts 7 appointments syncronized with Web Interface of MobileMe, my iPhone, MS Outlook on PC and iMac Laptop; change anywhere, things reflected at ALL places (automatically – over the air from iPhone, over the Net for PC, iMac and MobileMe Web.

I did face problems, 3,4 times; the phone “stalls” and comes back after “boot”; twice the entire contacts “disappeared” but within an hour got “synch” ed. Outlook client still has problem in synchronizing “past events”. The mail client is smart; in fact the WebMail client of MobileMe is dumb!

Just last week a new software was announced (including iTunes 8); every such “update” takes hours of your time, thanks to “narrow band” of our broadband lines!

The new software has search feature for contacts; something I need badly!

I did install half a dozen applications; the ones I really like iWiki (wikipedia for iPhone), BigClock (serves me when I give talks), MiGhtyDocs (copies my Google Docs on to iPhone) and HurryMail (sort of Speed-dialing for sending e-mail to those whom you mail frequently)

Overall a very satisfactory experience; one is not sure of the “bang for the buck”; lot of value but tons of bucks too!

Google launches “chrome” browser

September 5, 2008

Google released on Monday (Sep 3, 2008) IST, its new browser code named “Chrome”.

What is special about Chrome?

It is a “bottom-up” browser; something badly needed after many years (the browsers have vintage of 10 – 16 years)


Google claims the browser design has 3 simple goals – simple, stable and secure; my first impressions confirm all three claims

Google also release it under “open source”


It will be interesting to see the evolution of “Chrome” over the years