Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Admist the hegemony of Android and iOS,Nokia had a very tough decision ahead of them,whether to ditch their proprietary OSes,and adopt the burgeoning Android,or try and work up on MeeGo.Nokia arguably has the best hardware out there in the market,which is why many longed for its marriage with Android,to get possibly the best smartphone.But,Nokia entrusted itself with the nascent Windows,a move which raised a lot of eye-brows.

Both Nokia,and Microsoft are no strangers to the mobile world,but when did decided to join hands,both were still struggling to set a foothold in the smartphone category.With both having a soft corner for each other,other OEMs must have felt a bit snubbed by Microsoft's partial treatment towards Nokia.To an extent,both helped each other a bit,with the launch of Lumia series.

The Lumia series of phones were a healthy change for Windows,from the secondary designed HTCs and Samsungs.Though it was pretty much an extension on the N9,it was something new and refreshing for the Windows line of phones.Nokia had the perfect hardware,the AMOLEDs,Carl Zeiss lenses,but yet again,the OS failed on it.Nokia was let down by the software counterpart.Though,it still continued to put its soul into it,while Microsoft continued its dainty updates.

Ballmer's retirement plans,speculations turned up of Stephen Elop being his successor.And with those,rose rumours of Microsoft acquiring Nokia.Given the kind of relation between the two companies over the years,the move seemed quite plausible.

With the formal announcement of both,the future of Nokia phones,for series other than Lumia seems shaky.For starters,Microsoft now has control over Lumia and Asha series.While Lumia will continue to work its way up,Asha series will have a tough time surviving,without Nokia's aid.Basically,Nokia has signed itself off from the smartphone game with this move.
Also,Nokia still has an huge influx in the lower end phone market,owing to its credibility.Nokia brand still has control over the Series-30 and Series-40 phones,but the huge question still remains whether Nokia will continue making these phones.If not,it would be the demise of one of the greatest powerhouses of the phone market.
On a plus side though,like Apple and to an extent Google,Microsoft now has total control on not only the software,but also the hardware.With deep integration of both hardware and software,Windows could produce its own Nexus or iPhone.

It feels like yesterday when you owned the sturdy 3310,playing snakes for hours at end,or the communicator,which seemed like the smallest laptop,or the pioneer of mobile gaming,the NGage,or even the humongous 40+ mp camera on the PureView.Flip,touch,slide,QWERTY,they did it all,but somehow they were beaten at their own game.

With the announcement of the merger,came a very sad news of demise of one the best innovators of the phone industry.Maybe it was all pre-planned with the Nokia and Windows phone marriage,and they were just waiting for the right time to get the ball rolling on this.Anyway,here's hoping this marriage gives us more options in the smartphone category and revives Nokia!

Or well,maybe 9GAG sums it up best!(Image credits : 9GAG)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

iOS 7

It was known for a fact that Apple was going to completely rebase the existing iOS UI,into a flatter model.Now,this went completely against Jobs and Ive's skeuomorphic,leather-wood laden,grey-white-black based UI.Infact,these were the very points,which they boasted about themselves,and riddled about its competitors.
And so,following the latest trend of drifting away from Jobs' Apple-esque world,iOS too,was sucked into the Tim Cook world!

Being a complete rebase,there is barely anything reminiscent of the old UI,right from the patented icons/slide to unlock to the multi-tasking,every freaking thing,flatter,colourful.

Switch on the screen,and trademark lockscreen,with place holders for time,camera and slide to unlock are no where to be seen.Instead,both blend in with the wallpaper and a simple arrow,which on swiping would take you directly to camera.Seriously speaking,looks so much sexier than the earlier renderings.

Unlocking the phone,takes you directly to the apps,and the first thing you'll notice is the childlike,colourful array of icons.
Sexy? NO!
Classy? NO NO!
Disaster? YES!
I mean come on,its a smart-phone,not a child's plastic replica to have icons like that.Not that flatter icons with colours are always child-like(MIUI),but seriously,theres no co-relation between the icons and the apps they launch.The Photos app for example,how does an overlapping,multi-coloured array of ellipses,againsr a white background represent photos? or Overlapping,multi-coloured spheres anyway resemble a gaming center ?
Only useful change I could see is the clock app is not static and updates itself with the current time,like the calendar app.

Notification panel is still a disaster.Instead merging multiple notification for an app into a single event or a centralized clear-all (or even a larger clear-all button against each app notification),all Apple did was changed the background from a dull grey,a gaussian blurred one!

A "new" feature,the control center,which can be accessed from anywhere,by swiping the screen upwards.As the name suggests,its a control center for all the settings and a few other.This by far is the most messed up update.
While this is pretty much what iOS lacked,Apple has tried to include everything into this.Toggles are good,but a persistent brightness bar,music controls,AirDrop,everything is dumped into this,irrespective of its use.We need some organization,Apple.And again,the background is a plain gaussian one.

Double tap the home button,and we move onto the multi-tasking screen.No longer does the screen slide up to reveal a row of open apps with a small 'x' mark to close them,this time,we get an active screen,revealing the status quo of the app,with a swipe gesture to remove them.Apple just took a leaf out of WebOS's book!

Apart from these,there are certain universal changes,like the font.Also a swipe gesture that takes you back.

Frankly speaking,iOS now looks how WP8,Andorid,WebOS,would look together.Which is not bad,but given Apple's out look towards "inspired designs",seems a bit hypocritic.
The changelog is huge,so much so,that I wished they would have named it iOS 2.0 .

iOS 7 looks promising,but it is still in its diapers at the moment.Its going to take more than just a few quick updates to make this as robust as say iOS 4 or 5 was.But its a start none-the-less and I am happy they finally moved away from the grey-white-black UI!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Hypes-anticipation-disappointment,this one had everything.The much awaited successor to the best Android series,the Samsung Galaxy S series,the S4 was finally launched.

Sure,the launch was pathetic :
a)Well,it was plain dumb(I mean c'mon,tap dancing,kittie parties?)
b)Leaks had already showcased everything(well,almost all the features)

But that doesn't make the S4 a dumb phone.In fact,S4 is quite a powerhouse,and a glimpse of future.

Starting off with the design,which many totally detest for the sheer amount of plastic(polycarbonate) on the phone,but,who cares as long as I am able to hold it,as I want it,without the need for bumper stickers.But,apparently,looks takes precedence over functionality.

The phones heart is an Octacore/Quadcore processor depending upon the regions.Yes we like to show-off power,be it cars,phones.But seriously,I don't see any point an Octacore processor.
There are only a handful of games/apps which demand real high performance,and frankly,these processors are overkill most of the times.

2 GB DDR3 RAM is spot on.
13 mp camera,meh.But some good software bundled in for various modes,and a first of its kind dual shot and sound in still photos is something worth checking out.
NFC.LTE,et al in place,in short,all the standard features expected from a flagship device.They also bundled in an IR blaster.

On the software front,its running 4.2 out-of-the-box.Bravo,Samsung,brownie points for you.While the rest of world is running 4.1,Samsung is already a step ahead of the competition.
Picking up from the Smart Stay they brought in with the S3,they took it a step up,with the ability to scroll a page,based on eye movements,and play/pause videos,in case of turning away head from the screen.
S Health

Sure,the S4 looks shit in front of its competition(Sony Xperia Z/HTC One),but apart from that,there isn't much to complain about.The hardware and a few software capabilities,are a glimpse of what lies in store.
Lets just hope Samsung doesn't screw up the Android community again,by locking up their sources!

Sunday, March 10, 2013


After months of hide and seek with Mr.Blurrycam,BlackBerry unveiled their much awaited BB10 series.But,this was far from an ordinary launch,as the whole fate company was to be decided on its success,which is why they had to develop the whole OS from scratch.

At the beginning of the new millennium,RIM launched the BlackBerry,aimed at people who need access to their mails on the go.Armed with dedicated secure servers and top notch qwerty,BlackBerry was far from being just a phone,it was a status symbol.They ruled the roast when came to smartphones.BBM,an exclusivity to BB owners.

But towards the latter end of decade,with the launch of iOS,Android functionality started losing precedence to form factor.Suddenly mega-pixels,4 inch touchscreen displays,high pixel densities were more important than robust qwerty or dedicated servers.
Losing most of its clientele,RIM finally gave in,and joined the touch-screens/mega-pixels bandwagon.But a horrid a fusion of a dated OS with a comparatively newer hardware got BB nowhere,and they still couldn't win over the lost crowd.
Amidst this,came the tablet evolution,and RIM tried its hand there,and failed there too with half-baked Playbook.Pretty soon,BB was down the drain in terms of market share,with its only clientele being the avid BB buffs,who just couldn't do without the qwerty or BBM.

On the verge of being extinct,RIM gave it their all,with BB10.Designed the OS from bare-bonesb,taking into consideration the current "needs" of their new client base,they are willing to win over,at the same time not disappointing the already loyal fan base.

Renaming itself from RIM to BB,it set itself in motion again,with the launch of BB10.
Their efforts are clearly visible,as their flagship device,Z10 has barely any reminiscence to the pre-BB10 era.Near zero in weight,non-glossy body,8 mp camera,with full HD recording capabilities,no qwerty(heck,no button on the front panel!),this one barely seemed like a BlackBerry.
On the software front,the story is the same.A touch based OS,with gestures being the heart of navigation,again no resemblance to any of its previous iterations.And with no buttons to guide you,gestures are the only way to get around this device.While you may seem lost for a few moments,gestures seemed to stick after a couple of tries,and to be frank were quite intuitive and hard to let go after a while!
Lockscreen was minimal,which notifications for calls,messages,mails.Very neat and functional.
The multi-tasking screen,made visible by swiping from the bottom of a screen looked like a brilliant feature.Only downside being the number of apps being limited to 9,which meant adding further would automatically removed the former ones.
The Hub,a central place for all calls/messages/emails,again accessible by gesture swipe from any application was another great feature,as the key feature on a BlackBerry is obviously mails.
But the biggest drawback of the Z10(atleast for the aficionados)would be no qwerty.BB had to deliver a keyboard worthy enough to replace their trademark.While at first glance,it may not have seemed any different from other touchscreen keyboards out there,a few taps on them revealed predictions,which can be completed by swiping up on them.Also the predictions seemed quite accurate.Very neat!
Voice commands,another need of the hour,accessible through a button,jammed between the volume controls.

Though what BB10 lacked the most,in comparison to Android and iOS,was sheer no of apps.Though they that covered a little,by having the ability to run Android apps,via Android Player.

Given the nascent state of the OS,not many people are likely to switch over to BB instantaneously,but BB has surely got their wheels rolling,with Z10 targeted at the touch-oriented base,and Q10 with the qwerty,for the loyal base.But the high pricing is not a smart move by BB,if they are trying to gain a strong hold on the current market.Hopefully better pricing,little improvements on OS front,and of course an increased app market in the coming years,BB might have just saved the ship from drowning.