Phone batteries to improve in 2015

batteryA big regret, for ditching our Blackberrys and feature phones, is good battery life. I recently switched back to a Blackberry Curve 9220 and I now get 2.5 days of juice. The device is programmed to switch off after 9:30 pm and to wake up at 6:00 am. It’s not running any third-party apps, email or instant messaging. And thankfully, I am not disturbed by frequent beeps announcing a new post by someone on a WhatsApp group — late at night.  I have stopped habitually peering into my phone every 10 minutes while commuting, to check news and messages. Trends show that the retro phone may have a come-back moment for these very reasons.

Big screen phones with multi-core processors are hungry for power. On average, a smartphone offers 8 hours of battery life (by today’s standards, 10 hours is impressive). Last year, the demand for power and charging points opened up a market for portable auxiliary power, by way of Power Banks. Companies like Portronics were pioneers and now there are so many options available.

If you want some lasting juice for your phone or tablet, don’t settle for a power bank that offers less than 5,200 mAh (milliampere hour is the unit of measure for battery power). And if you use multiple devices on the go, then 10,000 mAh or above is recommended.

In 2015, you will see more phones with power ratings in excess of 3,000 mAh. Wireless charging will also become common. All day battery life will become the norm.

Already we are seeing phones that offer fast charging. For instance, Oppo Mobile offers phones that charge to 50 percent their battery capacity in 30 minutes.

With such technologies becoming a norm in portable devices, we may soon be leaving our power banks at home.

 

Microsoft is back, but what can we expect in 2015?

MicrosoftMicrosoft will unveil Windows 10 next week, and the tech world will once again gravitate towards the company. It’s the company we love to hate. Great products? We haven’t seen much of that lately, though there were a few announcements and product releases in 2014. Blame it on the previous leadership if you will. But Satya Nadella is the man to watch in 2015.

In 2014 IT giant Microsoft announced its third CEO and this time it picked a person who was born outside the United States. Satya Nadella was elevated to the CEO post on Feb 4, 2014. He immediately got to work and made a lot of changes.

Nadella successfully transitioned Microsoft from a devices and services company to a platform and productivity company. Among the first products that Nadella announced was Office for iPad. Its Surface Pro 3 tablet sales doubled compared to a year ago. Microsoft’s Digital Assistant Cortana got good reviews. Windows Phone 8.1 put Microsoft back in the smart phone race. The Nokia brand was edged out and replaced by Lumia; many employees lost their jobs due to this merger. The Microsoft Lumia 830 showed the competition what Microsoft can do with smart phones, but the shortage of apps on Microsoft’s app store continues to be a damper. Microsoft also introduced Sway, its graphics rich, easy-to-use and affordable publishing environment.

Look out for Windows 10 (previewing next week), a new browser called Spartan, new versions of the Surface Pro tablet, a wrist assistant called Microsoft Band, and other great innovations from Microsoft in 2015.

Meanwhile, you may want to read this story I found on Business Insider.

 

What to expect from e-commerce in 2015

e-commerceMulti-million dollar valuations for e-commerce companies; venture capitalists flocking to invest millions of dollars in these companies. That’s how we could best remember the business of e-commerce in India during 2014. Some highlights: Softbank committed an investment of $10 billion in India and invested in Snapdeal, Housing.com and OLA cabs. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos visited India and committed an investment of $2 billion. Rival Flipkart.com responded by raising a third round of funding taking the total to $1.9 billion. With that, Flipkart’s market valuation reached $7 billion by the end of the year.

In 2014, e-commerce sales through mobile phones picked up drastically. Flipkart and Snapdeal note an increase in the number of users shopping through their respective apps. At the beginning of 2014, Flipkart got 10 percent of its business from mobile apps and for Snapdeal it was 18 percent. By December 2014, the figures jumped to 55 percent (Flipkart) and 60 percent (Snapdeal).

What to expect: The e-commerce bubble is going to swell to massive proportions once the government permits international companies to sell products online in India.  Look out for the entry of giants like Amazon.com and Alibaba.com. And the e-commerce companies will make massive investments in India. Amazon and Flipkart will invest nearly Rs 2,300 crore. Some major acquisitions and mergers may occur. Since most Indians access the Internet on their mobile phones, expect to see more apps and shopping done through phones.  The introduction of 4G services and cheaper 3G phones will boost mobile internet and shopping through mobile phones.

WhatsApp – the tech with biggest impact on Indians in 2014

WhatAppWhatsApp was the killer app of 2014 and impacted many Indians’ lives. It is now common to see parents discussing homework assignments and school projects on WhatsApp. In the office, colleagues discuss work in their own spaces on WhatsApp. The year also saw more people using apps to book cabs from taxi aggregators. And society became more receptive to the unconventional —   dating apps (Tinder and Zoosk); buying groceries online; checking news on apps before consulting the morning paper. Indeed, technology can change the habits of Indians.

And WhatsApp recorded phenomenal growth, clocking 100 million users in just 4 months! WhatsApp cofounder and CEO Jan Koum said on Monday (Jan 5) that the messaging app has topped 700 million monthly active users.

What to expect: The majority of Internet users in India access the net through mobile phones and not PCs. And the common man has now acknowledged the convenience offered by apps.  Consumers will seek and use information-based apps and apps related to public and government services. For instance, farmers will seek weather forecasts. Commuters and travellers want information on bus, train and airline schedules.  Even information on rickshaw sharing or carpooling will be sought. Travel and hotel reservations will increasingly be done through mobile apps.  As the cost of sensors reduces, these will be incorporated into personal devices and communicate through healthcare apps. The state governments will also launch apps directed at citizens.

Since WhatsApp is now owned by Facebook, expect to see the little green icon appearing on your Facebook page sooner or later.