Category Archives: Gadgets

What do you think of Apple device pricing?

appleWell, I am a fan of Apple’s designs, and the craftsmanship of their H/W. I am also a fan of their strictly controlled ecosystem which offers high stability in most situations. But I am not a fan of their pricing.

I mean, well, this is 2015, and still Apple has 16GB models of iPhones, iPads in circulation. We will have to see if this trend is to continue in their upcoming devices, but it is indeed curious to see how a 32GB device is missing from the line up. However, a 64GB device is available for a huge asking price, effectively putting that much gap between it and its 16GB counterpart. I would ask an Apple fan to come up with any legitimate replies to that, but IMHO anyone who wants an Apple device but cannot afford one can scrape a 16GB model, with Apple hoping he will upgrade after having storage problems with it.

Honestly, one thing I hated about this year’s WWDC was when Apple was showing the slide on OS upgrades and how it was comparing the uptake of OS X Yosemite & iOS 8 to that of Windows 8.1 & Android 5.x. I would like to differ. Seriously, Apple, you are pushing updates free to all of your devices, and Windows updates are paid ones. Only a small percentile of Android devices are treated to upgrades, and while Apple continues to manufacture and maintain its H/W & S/W, Android & Windows devices do not enjoy that privilege. And then there’s that matter of affordability. When someone can afford an Apple device, he can also afford high speed internet to go with it. But while an ubiquitous network of high speed internet access is taken for granted in some places, the majority of the world does not have such privilege. So, suddenly, even small updates seem impossible.

While Apple elaborates on its designs, it does not elaborate the capabilities of its H/W (for which it demands such exorbitant prices), in quantifiable ways. Apple enjoys the position of the most valuable IT company in the whole wide world, with an unbelievably high market cap, and why has not any other company been able to do this? Because Apple exacts the highest profit from each device it sells, period. Apple says this is required for the huge amount of R&D it does. But is there no innovation outside Apple? How do they manage this? Why does Apple, with this huge amount of R&D muscle, have to resort to acquisitions then?

In recent times, all the features Apple ‘innovates’ H/W or S/W-wise, are already present elsewhere. IMHO all the innovation Apple manages is in the Design department, Johny Ive take a bow. Apple is unparalleled when it comes to design. But just as Steve Jobs’ enigma was what brought Apple to what it is today, it is Ive’s vision which still propels Apple’s legendary design department, and there is indeed nothing I can say against. Every time Apple comes up with a new design, the first thing that comes to my mind is ‘only Apple can do that’! But that’s that, when it comes to the H/W department, there are no surprises.

You get H/W which looks amazing but when you put it to its paces, and it stutters, you compromise because after all, it’s Apple. I mean, the Macbook Pro(Early 2015) range starts from $1299. Just look at what other options you have in that price range, and check out the H/W these devices offer. I dare say they will be leaps and bounds better than your Mac.

To conclude, I would like to say I do not detest Apple devices, it’s just that a company must not get greedy. While Apple makes amazing devices, and scores of Apple fans worldwide lap them up each time something new comes up, the margins that the company exacts each of those times will ultimately take its toll. While Microsoft lost its way under Steve Ballmer, the new Microsoft under Satya Nadella is as a phoenix that rose from its ashes, fresh, forward-thinking, ready to accept challenges, and most importantly, ready for business. Google, on the other hand, is a company which still makes losses on its Android platform, but guess what? All those iOS features that Apple announced this WWDC are already taken for granted by Android users. An Apple user may change his wallpaper to change his phone’s or tablet’s appearance, but that’s all he can do. Android is much more customizable. How far is it then, when people sit up and actually start noticing what they are sacrificing and push past the hype?

My 2014 Nexus Wishlist [UPDATED]

Nexus 5

[Update 10th November 2014]

The Nexus 6 has been announced and will be available from Google Play from the 12th of November, 2014. The phone sports a 5.9 inches 2560×1440 OLED display, runs on a Snapdragon 805 processor with 3 GB of RAM. The phone runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop out-of-the-box. It also sports a 13mp rear-facing camera with dual-LED flash.

[Update 17th Aug 2014]

A new benchmark on GFXBench indicates that the Motorola Shamu may come with a Snapdragon 801 and 1080p display.

The Nexus 5 is Great, with a capital G. Ask me, I have been using it for several months now. It doesn’t skip a beat, ever. But there are a few annoyances, and none of them subtle. This year we will, hopefully, get a look at the next Nexus, what with Sundar Pichai confirming in this year’s Google I/O that the Nexus line is to continue. So I wanted to make my wishlist known. As the title suggests, this post will keep on updating till the device releases.

First of all, what is known to us till now. Well, this year’s Nexus tablet (Nexus 8?) will be made by HTC and the smartphone(Nexus 6?) is being made by Motorola. The tablet is codenamed Flounder and the smartphone is codenamed Shamu. Both of these devices should be releasing with Android L out-of-the-box.

So, what can we expect to see in these devices? HTC is rather fond of their dual front speakers, so I hope that they do make an appearance on the tablet. Since Snapdragon 805 is due towards the end of this year, it should be on-board the smartphone. Snapdragon 805 will be the last 32bit processor from Qualcomm. There should be at least 3 GB of RAM.

Now, here goes my wishlist.

  1. A bigger battery…O come on, Google, you know this is a legitimate wish. The Nexus 5 battery is pathetic and the life you can squeeze out of a single charge is all over the place.
  2. Software improvements – Albeit this is not for the device, but I hate it how the N5 becomes noticeably hot, even when it is idle, and this blogger is just listening to some songs on Play Music. Also, this problem is also a concern with several Snapdragon processors, so really hoping Qualcomm pays some attention to this problem.
  3. The 2560 by 1440 2k display on the G3 is gorgeous but you can’t make out any pixels even on the N5’s 1080p 442ppi display. So, either way, we will be happy.
  4. Seeing as a 16 gig unit has so less free space left OOB, Google should churn out 32 & 64 gig units this time around, since I don’t think expandable storage will be making a comeback on a Nexus.
  5. Now, this is entirely personal. It rains a lot here and is very humid and hot all the year round. I would really love a dust and water-proof device this time around.
  6. Every other smartphone manufacturer is focusing heavily on the camera unit. The N5 has a pretty good 8mp shooter in the back, but Google should up the ante. No HTC, I am not talking about your puny 4mp UltraPixel cameras. And while we are at it, throw in a Zeiss lens or two like those gorgeous Lumias 😉

Well, that’s it for now! Will keep updating. Think I missed something? Why not add them below in the comments?

The Xiaomi Mi3

Xiaomi Mi3

The Xiaomi(or Mi , as they like to be called now) Mi3 is an amazing device, at least in terms of specs. This handset has a great cost to performance ratio. And this phone was also recently launched in India exclusively through the online retailer Flipkart. Mi sells all its devices through flash sales and the Indian market is not an exception. Anyone who wants to get his hands on this device has to go to Flipkart and register for the nearest upcoming sale. The website as well as Mi’s official Facebook page informs everyone of the date & time the device will go up for sale. Then on the day of the sale the person has to log in and try to buy the device. No one can warrant you a device, and this has already earned Mi a bad name in India.

However the device in question has all the top specs that last year’s flagships boasted, albeit at a much higher price. The Mi3 is selling on Flipkart at 13,999 INR and sports a 5 inches FHD OGS JDI display, Snapdragon 800 processor @2.3Ghz MSM8274AB, Adreno 330 graphics, 2 GB RAM, a RF 13mp camera with a Sony f/2.2 sensor & dual LED flash, a FF 2mp camera, 16GB non-expandable storage. All this awesomeness is powered by a 3050mAh battery.

While this device is the cheapest Snapdragon 800 touting handset by far, Mi has already announced the Mi4 worldwide and the same is already available in it’s home market in China. Hugo Barra, the company’s VP, has recently said that the Mi4 is currently undergoing certification in India and should be released by 2014 year-end. The Mi4 is powered by the latest Snapdragon 801 and is almost entirely crafted from metal.