Archive for December, 2012


I raise this question amidst the sad state of events that has plagued the capital in recent times. Even though each one of us is busy fulfilling our daily quota of what we know as life, there are certain incidents that tend to shake up your soul and beliefs from within and have a look at what wrong is being done; and the recent weeks stand as a solid testament to that.

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With unethical and anti-social elements on the loose amongst the busy streets of the cities, just what can one do as a citizen of the state? I am keeping my opinion very generic so that the big picture can be analyzed. And I assure you that this isn’t a split second reaction to what’s been happening recently, but a comprehensive outburst which has been piled up over time. My perspective has changed from being perplexed to one of sheer disgust with issues like depredation, tasteless political comments and curbing free expression rearing their ugly heads again and again.

ePetitionsWith a constant attack on free speech, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for an individual to play his/her part in helping address the foremost issues. Being expressive online is now a strict no-no as you risk landing behind bars for it. Even peaceful and civilized protests are countered by brute force and hostility from the state’s enforcement. So we are left with a very limited number of tools to do our bit. And I am mentioning those below:

Facebook / Twitter:  Expressive write-ups and photos which end up being mass shared within the social networking community to make people aware about a current agenda.

E-Petitions: A very powerful online tool to get a unified opinion and to support a just cause.

I hail the effectiveness of these two modes but to what extent it affects the authority’s mindset is another issue in itself. In my opinion, these modes should be given more weightage on a state/national  level so that they have the right amount of influence when major decisions are taken. That might just aid the fight against the wrongdoers of our society.

 

” As they say, it only takes a spark to ignite a revolution..” 

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I have never viewed India as a good station of Christmas celebrations. Most of us generally consider it as a welcome day off amidst the tight work schedules and fog-laden sights around the city. I mean who wants to struggle in the chaotic traffic jams when you can be snug in a blanket at home!

But looking at the recent years, I am happy to concede that the Christmas spirit is slowly but steadily growing amongst the crowd here. Even the much-maligned aunts next door engage in baking cakes and cookies for the occasion. My office celebrations also went a notch up with everyone singing Christmas jingles whole-heartedly; a sharp contrast from the subdued proceedings last year J

But it was yesterday itself which I enjoyed a lot more. The day started with me watching “Jingle all the way” and “Liar Liar” on my LG LM6700 in the morning with my own version of Christmas brunch ;p And a little get-together in the evening with friends with some wine and “Home Alone Collector’s Edition” concluded my couch potato Christmas!

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And the delightfulness didn’t end there. Being an LG owner, I got a special postal card with best wishes from the LG showroom from where the TV set was purchased along with an update of their Christmas and New Year Celebrations offer. Now obviously I am not going to buy another 3D TV of theirs when I already have one, but it’s heartening to see such a gesture. Life’s Good when you Shake Up some happiness!

So condensed is the Indian Smartphone market these days that it has become difficult to differentiate performers from the pretenders. Micromax-A110-Canvas-2-MobileWith the likes of Samsung, HTC and Sony Ericsson ruling the premier segment with their Smartphone line-up, Indian manufacturers are left with no option but to provide similar specs at prices which might make the average consumer jump with joy! And contrary to popular belief, these phones have not disappointed in the short span for which they have been in the market.

Taking a look at the ones available, Micromax A110 Superfone Canvas 2 is the one that has definitely caught my attention. At just under 10K (181$), the phone packs a punch with its 1GHz dual-core processor and ICS out of the box. It also boasts of a 5-inch IPS screen with 8MP Autofocus camera and a powerful 2000mAh Li-Ion battery for longer usage. And with a largely positive response, Micromax sure has a winner on their hands.

 

 

The other one though just announced and might as well be available for sale in Karbonn A30. With a humongous 5.9-inch screen and dual sim capabilities, this soon to be launched phablet will be available at a cut-price of 11-12K (200-218$). Again, the specs are karbonn-a30-default-1355487264008standard with a 1GHz dual core processor and 512 MB RAM. But the provision of a 2500mAh battery on board means the usage span per charge might be a little lower as per screen size. Only time will tell if this one turns out to be a VFM product or not.

But the way things stand, it is definitely a boon for Indian buyers as these phones are in a similar profile to the industry leaders (albeit with lower specs) and definitely gives an alternate to Smartphone enthusiasts who can’t loosen up their purse strings for a high-end handset.

Ultra HD

It’s been some time since 4K or the rechristened Ultra HD TV’s have been launched in India and abroad. But apart from the tech-driven souls, there hasn’t been much consumer interest on this front in my isolated opinion. It might be down to the gigantic proportions that these behemoths have as well as the accompanying exorbitant price tags they carry along with them. Or just down to the fact that like 3D, Ultra HD is considered an unnecessary feature of the modern-age TV’s.

84-inch UDTV-580-75Another major factor is obviously the lack of native 4K content which doesn’t really help the cause of these TV’s. And considering that the digital STB TV transmissions are still only 1080i, the appeal of these TV’s is reduced even further. Sony and LG have been the first ones to tread Ultra HD waters with the launch of their KD-84X9000 and 84LM9600 models. And the most interesting part is the difference in geographical pricing of these two TV’s. While both are neck to neck in Indian pricing with a hefty price tag of INR 17 Lacs. But strangely, the US counterpart of Sony is a good 5000$ dearer than LG.

(Change the video quality to Original to see what Ultra HD is capable of!)

In an attempt to maybe justify the excess, Sony will start offering (on loan) 4K content server-based media player with multiple movie titles for the first batch of buyers in US. The titles may range from the latest Sony Entertainment features like “The Amazing Spiderman” and “Total Recall” to classics like “Taxi Driver” and “The Bridge on River Kwai” but the period of loan for this server is stillsony ultra hd undisclosed. In a way, Sony holds an edge over LG in regards to the 4K content it can provide, but will it finally help to kick off the Ultra HD trend is something that remains to be seen over the coming months.

Alright people, time for some fun. Everyone knows how obsessed people have become with their Smartphones these days. Installationapp-lock_icon_whatsapp and smooth running of an app is a matter of pride, abundance of features is a bragging tool and a moment’s disappearance from WhatsApp is considered to be a lifetime of social disconnect. While I do admit that Smartphones do make our lives a lot easier, the level of addiction with them is mind-boggling.

smartphone-funnyAnd then there are the promotional activities that take place for making these nifty gadgets appeal to the
masses. You will do limitless internet research, take opinions from existing Smartphone owners, scour through websites and retail stores to make sure you are getting a device which is complete bang for your buck! But what gets sidelined in all this is the funny side of marketing that these devices bring along with them. Here, I will cipher some of the funniest Smartphone commercials I have come across over the web. Lot’s of brand bashing and articulate sarcasm going on here ;p

1) Micromax slamming Galaxy Y –

Indian phone maker Micromax launched its Ninja range of Smartphones to compete with the Galaxy Y entry-level Smartphone and took a parodist potshot at Samsung with a couple of well-thought of commercials highlighting the VFM stance of their devices with bigger screens and processing as well as low costs. The claims are always subject to debate, but the commercials still made for funny viewing.

2) Significance of Smartphones –

This is a Best Buy commercial which shows an in-flight conversation between a woman with “Smartphone” and a man with a supposedly “dumb” one. What unfolds is best expressed by the video itself.

3) Smartphone Addicts –

Another one that caught my eye thanks to the sheer honesty of its underlying humor. As per the message, a Windows Phone is the shining light to save us from our Smartphones !

4) Samsung mocking Apple –

No need to summarize about what happened in the Samsung-Apple verdict as I pretty sure everyone must be bored to death from reading about it by now. But the creative heads at Samsung came up with a hard-hitting counter which showed Apple in inferior light. And judging by the 17 million views it had garnered so far, it is by far the big daddy of parodist commercials in my humble opinion.

Well, all these were basically the best ones from the lot from what I have seen, but at the end of the day I am only human. Do let me know if there are any more such funny Smartphone TVC’s that I might have missed but deserve a mention.. CIAO!!

It was one of those weeks that just flew by. Office deadlines coupled with social responsibilities in the ongoing marriage season hasn’t really helped matters. I mean all one has time for is a power nap every now and again while juggling between all the tasks in your schedule. In spite of having my own apartment, it feels like I have been living out of suitcases for the past couple of weeks.

But in a way, it was a good thing as well as buying stuff for marriage turned out to be an enlightenment session for me to get to know about the new gadgets that have launched recently. The first one was a Samsung Galaxy Camera which turned out to be quite a surprise. Packed with a 4.8 touch-screen display, the camera runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box and has both Wi Fi and 3G capabilities. The interface was smooth and impressive with the integrated tools to instantly share media on social hubs without any lagging. The image quality was clean as well but I can’t really give a true opinion on that as it was just a few snaps clicked within the showroom. The downside is obviously the hefty price tag of close to 29K which will not attract many suitors as one can get a decent DSLR for that price which boasts of a superior image quality. Nonetheless, I found the device very nifty and innovative.

The second gadget was the recently launched LG Optimus L9. The handset had a sharp design with a 4.7” IPS panel screen with a 5 MP rear camera and runs on ICS out of the box. With a dual core 1 GHz processor at its heart, it falls in the mid-range Smartphone segment as the retailer price on this one was around 19.5K. What I liked most about the phone is its glitch-free interface and the inbuilt QTranslator which worked on OCR technology. Add to that, the swift processing speed and powerful 2150mAh battery makes this phone a very appealing package.

Unfortunately for me, that’s all the time I got as the remaining duration was spent in blissful engagements and weddings for a few colleagues of mine but was nothing less than an endless pit of boredom for me. In fact, I am much more calm and high-spirited when blogging while sitting on my bean bag with a cup of black coffee by my side J

World Record – the two words together conjure up an image of something done extraordinarily – head and shoulders above the mundane. Obviously, such a proposition would definitely attract marketers – who would like to project their products and brands wras a cut above the rest – a spirit best signified by a world record. Therefore, it was only a matter of time before enterprising marketers would seek to establish world records with their products and services – to provide that all important “bragging right” – probably a matter of great significance in the cut throat world of product differentiation.

And that time has already arrived. Over the last few years, there have been many attempts to establish world records by leading companies – so as to later claim in advertisements that the product is the best at a particular job. Indeed, this trend has been noteastutely recognized by the Guinness World Records – the ultimate purveyors of world record feats. The Guinness promotes a special “package” wherein they seek to guide any world record creating efforts, and also produce them in a professional manner – so that they can be later promoted through marketing and advertising.

Of course, the basic premise of such a record breaking or creating effort is simple – the exercise should be directly relatable to a product USP. Unless this requirement is met, the record feat will simply not register in the minds of public, and the effort is likely to go waste.

For example, when the blockbuster Dreamworks produced animation movie Megamind was released in 2010, the promoters wanted to create an event that would immediately appeal to superhero fans, as well as create a buzz around the word “Mega”. As a solution, the largest gathering of superheroes was planned – a premise that gelled beautifully with the movie storyline. Adults and kids responded in big numbers, and a total of 1,580 people dressed as superheroes turned up – creating a world record. The event got very good coverage – estimated at over 58 million impressions over the first three days of the ad campaign.

Similarly, Jack Daniel’s – makers of the famous Old No 7 whiskey planned to create seven new world records to commemorate the famous brand, and to celebrate the founders 161sy birthday in a quirky, fun filled manner signifying the “spirit” (pun intended) of the brand. So, world records were created in the categories of – most contributions to a greeting card, largest glass bottle mosaic, largest bottle of whiskey, most bottles played in a bottle orchestra, most people blowing out candles together, and building a 20 shot glass pyramid in the quickest possible time.

LG – the global consumer electronics giant had started an LG World Record campaign way back in July – to promote the product innovation in various categories. For example, LG wrmenSmart TVs – that have the thinnest bezels, or the LG LTE Smartphones – where LG holds the largest number of patents. To create an association with customers, LG has created a team of friendly animated characters called LG WR Men, which explains the benefits and features of LG products to end users over online media.

Samsung has also joined the fray of world records, though its recent effort to promote Samsung Galaxy Note II is somewhat intriguing, considering that it is not associated with any product USP – thus contradicting the basic premise that a world record feat should be directly relatable to some product USP. paintSamsung is calling upon its users to break and already existing world record of largest number of artists collaborating on a single art installation. Incidentally, the original charity sponsored world record was set by more than 200,000 children earlier in 2012 in UK. Probably Samsung is not seeking to highlight any product USP; rather it simply wants to be associated with a world record.

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