Kindle Fire 2 – Feature Upgrades and Competition

Kindle Fire 2 is all set to be launched with a powerful camera and high resolution display system. By Nov. 2012, Amazon’s Kindle Fire will be celebrating its first birthday and the season should coincide with its successor.

The USP of the new Kindle Fire Tablet will be more powerful and yet thinner and lighter in weight than the current one. A built-in camera with 1280 x 800 pixels resolution will be the main attraction of the new gadget.

Let us explore more about the current Kindle Fire before what to expect from the Kindle Fire 2 which will be launched soon –

Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire, the tablet computer gives you the power to perform most of the day to day task that you perform on a personal computer. Some of them are as follows –

• You can browse, purchase books and movies, watch TV shows and play games on small sized Kindle Fire.
• If you possess Kindle Fire, you can purchase applications of your choice from the Amazon App Store.
• If you are one of the fortunate prime customers of Amazon, you can stream movies directly on the Kindle Fire.
• Compared to iPad, Kindle Fire’s price is very less.
• Kindle Touch and Kindle Keyboard are other versions which are still priced less than Kindle Fire.
• Kindle Fire uses Amazon browser called Amazon Silk. It is boasted that web services will load fast through the browser.
• Kindle Fire is rumored to be priced less than its actual cost price to attract new customers.
• Amazon has alternate plans to compensate that loss by selling content from the store.

The new features of Kindle Fire 2

The new Kindle Fire’s dimensions will be in a similar range as that of iPad 2 and it will be a great facelift from the current Kindle Fire. The current tablet offers resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. In addition to the improvement in the resolutions, the edges will be sharper than before. The aspect ratio of the coming version will be 1.6 whereas the current version holds it at 1.7. When compared to the iPad 3’s resolutions, Kindle Fire stays far behind. It is expected that the new device will be rolled out in September.

In addition to the better resolution, there are rumors that multiple models of the device will be launched, and there’s also rumors of 4G connectivity on the Kindle.

Competition

As per the reports from a different source, Amazon is going to launch two tablet versions. The first one code named, Coyote will be powered by dual core processors and the second tablet code named, Hollywood will be powered by a quad core processor. Regardless of one or two tablets that are being launched, Amazon is going to face stiff competition from iPad and other tablets in the market. It will be a great challenge to defeat feature-rich iPad. Apple is also poised to launch a mini version of iPad which will match the price of the Kindle Fire. It will be a touch task for Amazon to head on with user friendly iPad. The 7″ sized Nexus 7 from Google which had already received great reviews is another great competitor.

Consumers would have plenty of options to choose from in the coming days. The winner would have to have the best of features, technology, user-friendliness and must be ever-innovative. Must say, the tablet war could be more competitive than the smart-phone war. The more competitive it is, the better it would be for you & me.

Impact of Mobile Apps on PC Software

Smartphones and mobile applications are creating lots of buzz now-a-days. With the tremendous growth in development and utilization of mobile applications, the corresponding impact is also felt on development of new software for personal computers. The four year old Apple’s App Store is a great success. This success has led to the Mac Application Store (meant for desktops) in the year 2011 and Windows Store in 2012.

Let us check how mobile applications and app stores have influenced the development of desktop software.

Mobile application vs. Desktop applications

  • Mobile applications give you flexibility and convenience. As the Smartphone is always switched on in addition to the usage of the gadget for various communications, you can easily access information and services through various applications.
  • Mobiles can also provide context sensitive information which the desktop counterpart may not be able to provide. Location based apps is a good example of this case. Location based apps range from maps, exercise tracking, traffic reports and more.
  • However, mobile applications have their own limitations. These applications should be designed by taking into consideration of the availability of the processing power, memory capacity and battery backup.
  • Some of the widely used mobile applications are games and aids to information such as city traffic, climate and various live updates. You can install the application of your choice directly from the app store. About 50% of the total applications that are available for download inthe app store are free.
  • Even though there was craze for the promotion of web applications, developers are again switching gears to develop applications that can be installed by users on their desktops and laptops to improve performance. As a matter of fact, web applications eliminate the process of installation of the software on the client side.
  • Web applications were promoted by convincing users that it was a clever way to avoid viruses and malware that may enter your system while downloading the software. By registering for a service through online, you will gain access to the web service.
  • Desktop applications are again getting their prominence. This segment has enough scope for growth. Unlike mobile application users, desktop application users will not hesitate to purchase premium applications. All they want is the availability of powerful features.
  • There are no restrictions for developers as well in terms of processing capabilities, memory utilization and power consumption available with desktops and laptops. This will let users experience technology at its peak levels. Developers will be able to release challenging applications and users will be thrilled to utilize these cutting edge technologies.

There is a clear distinction between mobile and desktop applications. Desktop applications will serve the needs of serious technical brains, who would like to explore the technical capabilities of new applications which will improve the productivity. Even though there will be games and other applications of entertainment value, utilities and productivity applications are the most sought after desktop applications.

The Future

User engagement through applications is steadily growing. The world of applications is growing and it is affecting desktops and laptops as well. This was recognized by Apple and Mac Store, which were launched in 2011. It was a great success which has already attracted more than 100 million downloads. As mobile applications are made available for download on the App Store, similarly desktop applications will be made available on application store. Users can go for updates as and when the new version is released. It can be summed up that mobile applications have influenced the lifestyles of millions of people across the globe and in the same way desktop applications are going to change the desktop scenario as well.

Pic Credit – Quole Tech via Flickr

Emergence of Facebook as a Winner of the Mobile Photo War

Almost all of us love to take and share photos with our friends, families and relations. They are one of the biggest things on the internet from nearly the beginning of the days of commercial web. Photos are probably the easiest way to show one’s emotion digitally. Initially, it was about using your camera, be it a point and shoot or a DSLR and uploading them to Flickr, Myspace or Facebook. We’ve since moved on to Mobile phones: the best camera is the one that you have with you, and you always have your mobile phone with you, right?

Mobile photo sharing that is largely in use now-a-days forms an important aspect to the success of Facebook as a social media website (and as a larger entity too). So when it faced a threat in this matter from a company named Instagram, it took a very wise business decision of buying the company even though it cost them a billion dollars. Facebook thus won the war for mobile photo sharing in the worldwide global market.

 

The Popularity of Facebook as a Website

Photo sharing is the heart of Facebook and its photo-sharing album is the most updated all over the internet. This constant updating makes Facebook one of the most dominant players in the new connected world. Another contributing factor to the immense popularity of Facebook is its cross-platform nature and the fact that it gives a fully global identity, bringing together people from all parts of the world.

Numerous efforts have been made to attract more and more people to Facebook over the years. Innumerable applications, games, options for watching, listening and reading have been incorporated in Facebook. However, the greatest success of Facebook has come through photos and their sharing and is mainly due to this aspect of Facebook that this company is still growing and gaining more popularity.

Strategies Implied to Popularize Mobile Photo-sharing Application

• At the beginning when Facebook included this photo sharing application for mobiles, what the users obtained was a very tiresome, convoluted and complicated application that did not arouse too much of interest among its users.
• Nevertheless, being a great company as it is, the masterminds behind this company knew about these drawbacks and worked very hard and silently to sort it out.
• Soon enough they came up with a solution in the form of an application named ‘Camera’ that largely helped in the simplification of the process of sharing mobile photos on Facebook.
• Many people were a bit confused when Mark Zuckerberg and his companions released their photo sharing application, Camera, after they announced that they were buying Instagram for billions of dollars.

Now, why anyone would spend millions (or a billion) buying a company that makes applications for sharing mobile photos when they have already made an application for themselves.

The photos that you take and share are associated with you as a person, and your identity. It’s about what you see and share because of who you are. That’s that Instagram is about; seeing through someone else’s eyes. And that’s probably why Facebook bought Instagram (and has it’s own camera app too): a way to try and combine your Digital and Real identity.

 

Image Credits: The Facebook Blog

Can the Nokia Lumia 900 & Windows Phone catch up with Android and/or iOS?

The Nokia Lumia 900 – The Microsoft Windows Phone powered Smartphone is possibly Nokia’s (& Microsoft’s) big bet to push forward the platform and devices.  They, along with AT&T, have gone on an advertising blitz to really get the Lumia 900 up into the same space occupied by iOS and Android, both of which so far happen to be the dominant mobile platforms.

 

They started off with the Smartphone Beta-Test campaign, basically mocking issues that had affected the iPhone 4 and of-course, Android devices. Have a look at the video below.

They then went all out with the launch, shutting down Times Square in New York City for a performance by Nicki Minaj, with a huge setup. The setup was created by the CGI Team who had worked on i-Robot and used one of the world’s largest LED Displays.

Image Courtesy: Nokia Conversations

Here’s a video of the event, courtesy Nokia Conversations:

The new phone was introduced exclusively on AT&T for $99.99. However,you can get the phone over at Amazon for just $49.99, with a new 2 year service agreement of course. If you are an existing customer of AT&T, you are exempted from $36 activation fee.

Coming to the specifications, Nokia Lumia 900 is a Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” device. It has 1.4 GHz processor, 16GB storage, 4.3 inch Clear Black AMOLED display and 512 MB RAM, has an 8MP Rear Camera and a Front Facing camera for Video calls and has AT&T’s flavour of 4G LTE connectivity. The global variant, which should launch soon, will probably be a non LTE device.

The event marks the biggest re-entry of Nokia into US market. It’s the “Halo” phone for Nokia & Microsoft. AT&T is also pushing the 900, with a little help from Nokia, and it will be the featured device in AT&T stores. Even though the Nokia Lumia 900 is priced less than its’ actual worth, it is a good marketing tactic to attract new customers as well as to consolidate the Windows Phone market. The important point to be noticed here is that the price tag of Lumia 900 should not be compared with its performance.

Now, as to whether this truly will be the glory device for Nokia and Microsoft depends on how consumers take to Windows Phone. It all depends on what you look for in a phone of course, and if you want to have a quick run through a Windows Phone device, have a look at our Nokia Lumia 710 review.  As of now, Android and iOS devices have an edge (depending on how you define it) not only in terms of features  but also in terms of the availability of so called “premier” applications.Interestingly, AT&T is also going to launch a new the  HTC Titan II with LTE capability and a massive 16MP camera, but at $199.99 (so you know which device is being pushed).  LTE networks offer much faster speeds than 3G networks, but usually at the cost of battery life, so that’s one thing that will be interesting to see; how does Windows Phone do in terms of battery life when you factor in LTE.

Whether all this will work, that has to be seen. Nokia, as a brand, is pretty much non-existent in the US right now. Worldwide they’ve taken a major beating and have suffered major losses in the smartphone market share; something that people may not have foreseen just a few years back when they pretty much OWNED that space.  Microsoft too has a lot of work to do, especially in terms of brand perception in the mobile space. It has to redraw its philosophy by offering value for money products (which the Lumia 900 should adress). It should also encourage developers to work on  innovative WP7 based applications (which it’s also working on). There is vast scope for high end smarphones in the international mobile market.

Smartphone usage is increasing every day. With the enormous levels of processing and memory capacities at the disposal of latest smarphones they have become versatile devices to accomplish the tasks that can be made on laptops. By focusing on customers’ needs and latest trends in the smartphone market, smartphone manufacturers will be able to attract new customers while retaining the old ones.

Tips to Promote Mobile Applications

The mobile application market is flooded with innumerable applications. most of which are innovative and entertaining. Even though Android is growing (both in terms of market share and the number of applications available), Apple is still able to manage its own market volume. Intense competition prevails in the market among application developers to win prospective customers. As is the case in many industries, a major share of the application market is held by very few companies.

 

 

 

Let us find the prospects of new entrants in application development and marketing sphere –

 

1. Create Interest & Demand – Unique and useful features presented by products and services will always win the hearts of customers. Similarly, to be noticed and established in application market, the new application should have unique concept and unique ways of solving issues and unique features to add entertainment proportion. By attributing unique proportion, you can target the application at the intended audience. It is required to study competitors’ products in the similar range. By doing so, you will have an opportunity to create an application which eliminates the drawbacks of existing products and offers new and user-friendly features.

 

The level of entertainment offered by an application should be enhanced in such a way that the user feels like coming back to the application in future. People generally download apps and rarely look at it after their first use. It should make users want to introduce the application to their network of friends. The application should be simple to use. The current generation has no time to go through complicated controls and features even if you are offering free applications.

2. Ability to Share – The ability to share an application through various ways will make it promote on its own. The sharing features should be natural. They should be implicitly incorporated in applications. Users will be thrilled to get feedback on their creations done through the application. They will share their creations, scores and would like to play with others. Social networking sites and bookmarking sites are great platforms through which applications can spread virally. On the other hand, social networking sites also benefit by promoting applications and they will look for innovative and entertaining applications. You have the opportunity to fit into this case. The application should be endowed with few more bells and whistles at regular intervals of time, through application updates and refreshes.

3. Promotions – However good your application is, you should undertake promotional measures. User reviews will give an opportunity for prospective users to go through the application’s features. It will create interest in them. Reviews also provide first hand information and help users to get a glimpse of the application and would help them compare it with similar applications available in the market. It is not only at the launch of the application;  frequent promotions as and when new versions are released will help maintain momentum about the application and it will continue to spread to new users.

4. Analysis – One of the key measures to root deep in the market is to gauge the results and analyze the feedback from users. This is crucial to shape future versions and applications. By implementing potential user’s aspirations you can not only win them but also help them introduce your applications to other users. It is also important to study the competitor’s features and current trends so that you will be able to launch the most successful application in the market.

 

If you are a developer and have anything else to add or any experience to share, do get in touch with us by commenting below. You could also contact us via the Contact Us tab, or via Google+, Facebook or Twitter (where we’re most active).

HTC Edge – World’s 1st Quad-Core Tegra 3 SmartPhone

The number of smart phones that are being used in the world is increasing day by day. However, of all the options out there only a very few use dual-core processors and it took me by surprise when Pocketnow announced HTC is working on a brand new handset called the Edge which features a quad-core Android and Tegra 3 processor. This handset is expected to overtake Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus as a leading Android device. The features of this smart phone are jaw dropping.

 

 

Let’s start with the screen, it’s been told by BGR that this display is supposed to be one of the best displays in the world with a 4.7 inch high definition 1280×720 pixels adopting a S-LCD 2 technology with optical lamination.

Not too long ago, we started hearing rumors of the next generation of  mobile phone processors, i.e. quad-core processors. With mobile App developers and game developers looking for more power to run their apps and games, quad-core powered phones will be a hit in the market.

This processor has been unveiled by NVDIA with the name NVDIA Tegra 3 which was initially named as project Kal-El. This processor will bring the consumer more power, less battery consumption and more effective work load distribution. The quad-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz should absolutely fly with 1GB RAM back-up. There has been no information about the GPU (Graphics processing unit) yet.

Some other cool features of this smart phone tentatively include Android 4.0 with Sense UI 4.0, a unibody design that is 8.8mm thin, 32GB internal storage capacity, Bluetooth 4.0 and supports 21Mbps HSDPA. The 8 Mega pixel camera with backside illumination has a possibility of using an f/2.2 lens and is similar to the HTC Titan and HTC Sensation XL with a 1080p video added to it.

I fully support the use of Beats audio integration as one can get a decent set of ear buds that is included in an expensive smart phone package. And not to mention the presence of NFC (Near field communication) which allows transferring data between devices quickly and more securely. This is often initiated by a deliberate tapping of the phones.

This smart phone is expected to see improved HTC’s content services which includes HTC play, HTC listen, HTC read, HTC watch (a new movie store). However many feel that this smart phone is similar to another HTC’s recently debuted smart phone which goes by the name Rezound.

HTC logo

It is believed that this smart phone will hit the market by March or April 2012. Though some argue that this may not be the first quad- core smart phone as Samsung, LG and Motorola have already adopted this processor for designing smart phones; HTC’s Edge will be the first of the kind to be released at CES and MWC in the coming year. I can bet that this phone is going to get all attention in the coming months

HP attempts ‘Evolution of Web OS’

Palm Inc, a smart phone manufacturer that was responsible for products such as pre and pixi smart phones announced a new OS in 2009, the webOS which replaced the original palm OS garnet in their new devices. In July 2010, HP acquired Palm for a whopping $1.2 billion. By June 2 2011, Palm, which was considered as a genericized trademark for “mobile computer” was officially redirected to HPwebOS.com. However, last month, HP announced that it would discontinue production of all webOS device including smart phones and tablets.


And now, for the second time in the long and tumultuous history, Palm- the webOS Global Business Unit (GBU) has been split into two. Precentral.net, the world’s largest palm community has two memos detailing how the hardware and software portions of webOS are separated. Putting HP’s transition to a competitive text, Ray Lane, the Chairman of HP, said it will be easier for HP to move more deeply into information management software. He also said that the transition was much more dangerous because, “they acquired a flagging server company and they are trying to use the clout of their database to tell customers what to do“.

By separating the webOS mobile operating system from the individual hardware system, the software part of webOS that is moved from the personal systems group to HP’s “Office of Strategy and Technology (OST)”; assuming it will be able to take an advantage of what Lane describes as ‘Best Platform in the World‘ for commercial application development. This essentially means that HP is going to hang on to webOS after the PSG (Personal Systems Group) spins off or gets sold. Moreover serious portable applications cannot be developed in Android; but the web application platform behind webOS can port applications to Android, AppleiOS, or windows as well as webOS. The VP of OST, Shane Robinson, will oversee webOS along with Ari Jassaki and Richard Kerris. These three will work together to find home for webOS as Samsung and HTC are not interested in getting involved with it.

However, the hardware division will remain under the supervision of the new Vice President, Stephen DeWitt of Personal Systems Group. The entire group is up for some hard times as HP has discontinued all its hardware which makes the probability of getting laid of employee’s at some point in near future. Though all the experience in building the Touchpad Go and never announced Windsor not Keyboard less EVO Competitor will make finding new jobs much easier, it’s even possible that many within the division will end up being reassigned within the PSG.

HP has started a new campaign to signal its strong desire to spin off the division into a new company. According to the details from the website, HP has preferred course to harness the vision of the future by building a more separate and agile company. They say, it’s time to be nimble and revolutionary for a world changing innovation, and finally they have realized that they are in the cross roads of an evolving HP. Unfortunately, the market is not responding well to HP`s message.

Toshiba Thrive – The Latest Honeycomb Android Tablet

Honeycomb Android tabletshave flooded the market recently. Many companies have brought forward their versions of this new trend and most of them have been quite uninspiring. However, the latest in this flagship line is Toshiba’s Thrive. Toshiba Thrive is pitted against the obvious choices in this category; Apple’s iPad2 and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. However, Thrive does put up quite an impressive competition against them.

Design Features

Thrive has its very own special design that is in no way similar to any other Android tabs in the market. The design gives it a look of a sleek and powerful device. Toshiba has started out with a standard display screen of 10.1 inches with a 1280×800 resolution. The screen area has been kept absolutely basic and clutter free. There are only three LED indicator lights and the 2 megapixel camera with a dedicated microphone. The LED indicators are not extremely essential but they are definitely unique to the Thrive. The 2 megapixel camera is front facing while there is a 5 megapixel camera at the back of the tablet. Both cameras offer Toshiba’s standard of picture clarity.

Technical Features

Toshiba Thrive is instilled with Honeycomb 3.1 Android and has the power of NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual- Core Processor. The tablets come in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB models. All these models are quite affordable. The specifications also include 1GB DDR2 RAM, an accelerometer, a gyroscope and Wi-Fi.

Toshiba Thrive also comes with a full SD port and the micro USB and HDMI ports. Don’t miss out the full size USB 2 port which comes with the device as well. Useful if you’re planning to transfer data through your USB drives. A very unique feature of this latest tablet is that you can connect a PlayStation 3 controller with it and control the device via the UI and navigate with the launch applications provided. Although, Toshiba still needs to smooth over some parts of this function, it still remains one of the highlights of Thrive.

Apart, from these standard ports, there is a mini USB port hidden underneath the cover, a DC-in port for charging, a headset input jack and a removable docking port. The back cover of the tablet is customizable. You can choose to remove the back cover and replace with the variety of designer cover options that Toshiba has on offer for a very reasonable price of $20.

You can also carry a spare battery for extended travel as well, since the tablet features a user replaceable battery. So when you run out of charge, just pop out the battery and pop in the charged spare.

Multimedia

The Thrive comes with two cameras, a 5MP one at the back and a 2MP one on the front. The front cameras come in useful if you’re on video chats or video conferencing apps. The tablet also features stereo speakers.

Apps

Regarding Apps you have a choice between Toshiba’s App Place and Amazon’s App store via the Android App market. You can enjoy the games and apps that have already been installed in the tablet. However, the specifications allow for a smooth and powerful gaming experience as well as quick app launches whenever you require.

Price

At the time of this writing, the Toshiba Thrive start at $399.00 for the 8GB model and goes up to $499.99 for the 32GB version.

Even if just a recent period has passed after its launch, Toshiba Thrive has been through quite a few updates. It also should be noted that in comparison with other tablets, Thrive has encountered fewer problems and in general has had a smooth sail so far. The Honeycomb web browser is quite effective and offers amazing speed. Also, the Thrive tablet comes with a very effective media app that centers all the related, essential apps that you will need for an amazing media experience.

In conclusion, Toshiba’s Thrive is built and packed to provide a powerful performance. What it lacks in size and weight, it more than makes up with its delivery and compatibility.

For more information about the Toshiba Thrive, head over to the product’s details page on Toshiba’s site.

Camcorders, falling prey to ‘Disruptive Innovation’

Several products and services in the technology world have fallen and perished due to Disruptive Innovation, a concept which gives birth to a new and innovative product or service virtually killing an existing product or service. To name a few of products we have the infamous instance of walkmans being disrupted by iPods and other portable MP3 players; also one such computer hardware component which vanished was the floppy disk which went with every personal computer that was manufactured during the 90s, and was replaced by the CD drive; in turn the CD/ DVD drives are being replaced by USB drives. So, essentially every technological product eventually dies out as and when a break-through innovation takes place disrupting the existing product’s fate. Hence the term Disruptive Innovation.

Camcorders face the brunt

In conjunction with what is explained above, it could be comprehended that the next product that could be disrupted is the camcorder. What are the products that are actually disrupting a product that is as innovative as camcorders? From tablets to smartphones to DSLRs to almost any digital product that has a display screen on it features a HD video capture. A standalone camera could be perceived as useless when compared to these devices considering the other features that they offer.

Cisco’s Flip side to the camcorder fiasco

[ad#ga-cbox-left]Cisco’s sudden decision of pulling the plug on its Flip digital video camera has made it even more obvious that camcorders are truly not enjoying good sales and market share as compared to other digital gadgets. As much US$590 million was spent by Cisco to buy Pure Digital, the makers of the Flip videocam, less than two years ago. With a brand new idea conceived for the FlipLive, the announcement of pulling back the brand Flip itself comes as quite a big surprise. FlipLive was supposedly going to feature live video streaming from camera to web via WiFi.

The reasons for this decision are quite simple: one the dying demand for camcorders and two Cisco has never been comfortable selling products to the end consumers. It is just not their forte and the decision would help them focus attention back on their core products and services like networking. Speaking on the same Carl Howe, director of anywhere consumer research at the Yankee Group said, “The big issue with Cisco was that it wasn’t really a consumer products company and still isn’t and as such didn’t have the stomach for the types of marketing, advertising and customer service necessary to make a consumer product successful“.

Cisco’s decision, a deadly sign for camcorders

Cisco’s decision to drop its camcorder products partnered with some intense competition from gadgets like smartphones, tablets, pocket digicams and DSLRs that come equipped with digital video capabilities, it seems as though camcorders could face the decline stage of its lifecycle soon.

Relief from large markets

Some huge markets like the United States still showcase demand for camcorders and the statistics suggest that at least 22 percent growth of camcorder sales is expected across the global. Having said that, the growth expected could also take a hit due to the emergence of other more technically sound gadgets.

All we can do is just wait and watch.

Image Credit
[ad#ga-480-break]