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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rare Apple I computer sells for $ 210K


Its processor works 1,000 times slower than the Apple iPad, but the first ever Apple computer has sold for 425 times the price.

The Apple I, one of only 200 such models ever made, was sold today afternoon at Christie`s auction house in central London for 133,250 pounds (about USD 210,000.) It came with its original packaging and a signed sales letter from Steve Jobs, one of Apple Computer`s co-founders and the current CEO of Apple Inc.

When the Apple I was introduced in 1976, it was the only personal computer to come with a fully assembled motherboard, making it ready to use straight from the box - provided the user supplied a keyboard, power supply, and display, Christie`s said.

It sold for USD 666.66 and was available until it was discontinued in 1977.

Bidding on the Apple I came quickly, with the computer eventually going to Italian businessman and private collector Marco Boglione, who made his offer over the phone.

Marco`s brother Francesco Boglione, who attended the auction in person, told The Associated Press that Marco`s purchase was a testament to his love of computers.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Asian Games: Somdev Devvarman wins seventh gold for India


Somdev Devvarman defeated Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-1, 6-2 to clinch India's seventh gold at the Asian Games on Tuesday.

India's tennis ace had also won the double's gold pairing with Sanam Singh on Monday.

Somdev Devvarman played tirelessly to provide India with a gold in the men's doubles with Sanam Singh by stepping on the tennis court barely an hour and a half after cruising into the singles final with hard-fought three-set win in the Asian Games on Monday.

On Monday, Somdev and Sanam secured India's third successive men's doubles crown with an energy-sapping 6-3 6-7 (4) 10-8 victory in the final against crowd favourites and second seeds Gong Maoxin and Li Zhe of China on the centre court at the Aoti Tennis Centre.

In the men's singles semifinal match, showing a lot of spunk and fighting spirit, India's No 1 player Somdev came back from the brink to subdue Japanese rival Tatsuma Ito to reach the final on Monday.

In the baseline slugfest, that lasted almost two hours, second seed Somdev pocketed the opening set in his semifinal clash with Ito, ranked 195 on the ATP circuit, with a measure of comfort 6-2 and then was blown off court by fourth seed Ito in the second to drop it 0-6.

Things were looking difficult for the Indian world no. 106 when he and his rival traded service breaks in the first four games before Somdev staged an excellent rally under severe pressure by saving two break points in the fifth game.

That was the turning point as the Tripura-born Somdev regained poise and then broke his rival for the third time, this time decisively, before taking the set 6-3 and reaching the final.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Aircel to launch 3G in early 2011


Mobile phone service provider Aircel on Friday said it would launch 3G services in 140 cities across 13 circles in January-February 2011, with an investment of $500 million and would invest another $500 million to expand its 2G network across the country.

"Over a period of one year we will cover at least 50% of the 2G footprint under 3G network," said Aircel chief operating officer Gurdeep Singh while launching a value added service. Aircel would launch 4G or BWA services in a year's time and was evaluating Wimax and TD-LTE platforms for the same, he added.

The company won 3G licences for Delhi (Metro), Mumbai (Metro), Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh , Maharashtra & Goa, Rajasthan , Punjab, UP (West) and UP (East) in an auction earlier this year.

The company would clock 50 million customers by end of this year and was expecting 10% of its customer base to move to 3G in the first year of 3G launch. The company foresees an additional 25% of its customers to shift to 3G by end of 2012. On pricing, Aircel officials said that 3G services would be more expensive compared to 2G tariffs and would be priced so as to commensurate the investments it was making. It may adopt a strategy where consumers will pay more for faster speeds and vice-versa .

The company added that it had not received any notification from Trai with regard to cancellation of 2G licences. Aircel is one of the six companies mentioned by Trai in its recommendations to the Indian government saying that 69 licences to companies including Etisalat DB, Uninor (Unitech), Videocon (Datacom), Loop Telecom and Aircel should be cancelled since they have not complied with their rollout obligations as mentioned in the licence conditions.

"I can only say that we haven't received any notification as yet. till such time we receive (the notification) I can say 'no comments' ," said Mr Singh. Trai has also suggested penal action to be taken against the mobile operators, as they were required to cover at least 10% of each district headquarters in each circle within 12 months of the date of award of the licence.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

India beat Pakistan 3-2 to move into Asian semifinals


Sandeep Singh scored two goals as India stormed into the Asian Games men's hockey semifinals with a 3-2 win over Pakistan Saturday, their fourth success over their arch-rivals this year.

In Pics: India beat Pakistan

The penalty corner specialist slammed one in each half and Dharamvir Singh chipped in with the third goal as India recorded their third consecutive win in group B after an action-packed encounter.

India have nine points ahead of Sunday's last league match against Japan, who are level with Pakistan on six points each.

India beat Pakistan 4-1 at the World Cup in March, won 4-2 in the Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia in May and hammered the rivals 7-4 at last month's Commonwealth Games.

"Winning four times in a row does not matter, this is not a series," said Indian captain Rajpal Singh. "What is more important for me is that we play well in every match.

"Our strategy was simple. We had to attack from the start and not give Pakistan too many penalty corners."

Pakistan's lone penalty corner, which came in the 58th minute, did not succeed as Indian goalkeeper Bharat Chetri leaped in the air to deflect Sohail Abbas' stinging drag flick.

Pakistan captain Zeeshan Ashraf blasted the umpiring, saying poor decisions throughout the match cost his team the match.

"The umpires made the difference," he said. "We should have got at least three or four more penalty corners.

"I don't think there is any difference between the two teams. It was a close game that could have gone either way.

"India also got only three scoring chances in the entire game, but they converted all."

Pakistan's Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel, who watched the match from the stands, argued with the umpires and technical officials after the final whistle.

Zeeshan denied Pakistan will protest, but wanted his team to recover quickly from the defeat and prepare for the rest of the tournament.

"The main thing is we are still in contention for the gold medal," he said. "We will bounce back."

The match, watched by some 1,000 fans at the small Aoti Hockey Centre, began on a rousing note as Sandeep put India ahead in the second minute and striker Rehan Butt drew level for Pakistan in the fourth.

India took a 2-1 lead by half-time as Dharamvir swooped on a pass from the centre to flick the ball past the rushing goalkeeper Salman Akbar in the 16th minute.

An error from Indian defender Dhananjay Mahadik, who failed to clear a loose ball, allowed veteran Shakeel Abbasi to net Pakistan's equaliser eight minutes into the second session.

India earned their second penalty corner five minutes later and Sandeep once again executed a perfect flick to make it 3-2.

Pakistan, who won the last of their seven Asian Games gold medals in Beijing in 1990, have not bagged a major title since the World Cup triumph in Sydney in 1994.

Friday, November 19, 2010

'Indian ready to pay for genuine software'


Most Indians are ready to shell out more for original software rather than pirated versions, as they feel genuine products are more secure and stable, according to a Microsoft survey.

"More than 75 per cent of consumers in India said they believed genuine software was more secure, more stable and was easier to keep up-to-date," the survey released today said.

Coming against the backdrop of rising software piracy, the survey found many participants were in need of ways to protect themselves from inadvertently purchasing counterfeit software.

Going by the report, 86 per cent of Indians are ready to pay more for genuine software, while 79 per cent feel there is a need to protect themselves from unknowingly buying illegal software.

About 2,000 people in India took part in the survey, which covered more than 38,000 people across 20 countries. Consumers that had a personal computer and were the primary decision-makers at home on PC/software purchases took part in the survey.

Microsoft India Director (Genuine Software Initiative) Anil Varghese said the survey findings showed that users in India were gradually acknowledging the risks of using pirated or counterfeit software.

"Approximately, 6,000 Indian customers have reported the incidents of pirated or illegal software to Microsoft India in the last two years," he noted.

He pointed out that the number of complaints related to piracy has increased in recent times, which is a good sign of increased awareness among consumers.

As per the survey, 82 per cent of respondents said software companies should do more to stop their products from being counterfeited and 76 per cent believed the government should take more steps to curb illegal software.

In its fight against piracy, Microsoft India is also carrying out various programmes to create awareness among consumers and resellers about the risks associated with pirated software.

For corporate clients, Microsoft conducts software asset management audits to ensure there are no incidents of piracy.

IT services firm Symphony's CIO Vijaya Shaker said the company is using technology to ensure compliance with guidelines against piracy. Symphony is a client of Microsoft.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Aliens 'hit our nukes' claim US airmen


Aliens have been hovering over US and UK since 1948 and hitting weapons-a scene, which seems straight from a sci-fi movie is actually a reality, only if US airmen are to be believed.

The researchers have claimed that since 1948, aliens have been hovering over UK and U.S. nuclear missile sites and deactivating the weapons. They once even landed in a British base.

"We're talking about unidentified flying objects, as simple as that," the Daily Mail quoted Robert Salas, who, along with six others is to break his silence on the subject.

"They're often known as UFOs, you could call them that.

"The U.S. Air Force is lying about the national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases and we can prove it," he said.

The former officer said he witnessed such an event first-hand on March 16, 1967, at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

"I was on duty when an object came over and hovered directly over the site.

"The missiles shut down - ten Minuteman [nuclear] missiles. And the same thing happened at another site a week later. There's a strong interest in our missiles by these objects, wherever they come from. I personally think they're not from planet Earth," he said.

The six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man, are to present declassified information which they claim backs up their findings.

They have witness testimony from 120 former or retired military personnel which points to alien intervention at nuclear sites in the U.S. as recently as 2003.

They will urge the authorities to confirm that alien beings have long been visiting Earth.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pink 'champagne' diamond fetches record $46 million


A rare pink diamond fetched 45.44 million Swiss francs ($45.75 million) on Tuesday, virtually doubling the previous record to become the most expensive stone ever sold at auction, Sotheby's said.

The rectangular step-cut pink diamond, which weighs 24.78 carats and is about the size of a pinball, was the star lot among nearly 500 on the block at semi-annual jewellery sales in Geneva.

Top diamond trader Laurence Graff, bidding by telephone, was the buyer of the diamond which is mounted in a platinum ring, Sotheby's said in a statement.

"It is a world record price for a jewel at auction," said David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's jewellery department in Europe and the Middle East, as he brought down the hammer to applause in the packed sales room.

"It's like pink champagne," he told Reuters before the sale.

The stone, purchased from American jeweller Harry Winston 60 years ago by the anonymous owner who consigned it for auction in the Swiss city, had a pre-sale estimate of $27-38 million.

Previously, the world's most expensive jewel sold at auction was the historic "Wittelsbach" blue diamond, a 17th century stone of 35.56 carats that fetched $24.3 million in December 2008 at rival Christie's.

That was also purchased by Graff of Graff Diamonds, who later had it repolished, making it smaller at 31.06 carats, and renaming it the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond.

"Laurence Graff is a great connoisseur of gem stones. He certainly now owns two of the greatest stones in the world," Bennett told reporters on Tuesday night.

"There were four active bidders for the diamond, which at that level is quite extraordinary," he added. "It tells you a lot about the health of the market."

The sale netted $105.05 million, a world record for a jewellery sale, exceeding the previous record of $68.5 million also set by Sotheby's in Geneva in 1993, its statement said.

In all, 397 of the 487 lots on offer found new owners, for a sell through rate of nearly 82 percent by lot. The top 10 lots, including diamond rings by Harry Winston and French jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels, each sold for more than $1.3 million.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ashish Kumar, Khade create history, India slip to 9th position


S S Ramaswamy Guangzhou, Nov 16 (PTI) India opened a new page in its Asian Games history with Ashish Kumar clinching the first-ever medal in gymnastics while Virdhawal Khade broke the swimming medal drought after 24 years as the contingent added four bronze to its kitty in the fourth day of competitions here today. Ashish Kumar made the country''s first foray into the gymnastics medals podium with a bronze in the men''s floor event but disappointing performances in other disciplines resulted in India slipping to the ninth position in the medals table.

The 19-year-old Khade also scripted history as he became the first Indian swimmer in 24 years to clinch an Asian Games medal by notching up a bronze in the men''s 50 m butterfly event. Harika Dronavalli also clinched a bronze in the women''s individual chess.

Bimoljit Singh won a bronze in the 60 kg category of the wushu event while Sandhya Rani Devi has assured herself of at least a silver medal by reaching the final in the women''s event. With the addition of four bronze medals to the kitty, India''s medals tally rose to one gold, four silver and seven bronze.

India had finished tenth on the medal''s tally in the Doha Asian Games in 2006 with ten gold, 17 silver and 26 bronze medals. But the failure to win any gold medal meant that India could not maintain their seventh position on the medal rostrum, going down by two places.

The Chinese juggernaut continued to roll on as the hosts maintained their position atop the medals table with a whopping tally of 77-28-28 while South Korea (22-17-27) and Japan (15-34-29) were in the second and third position respectively. Pugilist Suranjoy Singh also provided some spark to punch his way into pre-quarter finals while the shooters came a cropper for the second successive day.

Suranjoy gave a resounding start to the team''s boxing campaign by entering the fly weight (52kg) pre-quarters with a thumping win over Thailand''s Chatchai Butdee but the script turned out to be quite different at the other venues where the shooters, shuttlers, lifters, men''s football team and the women''s hockey team came up with dismal performances. Indian shooters drew a blank for the second successive day after they failed to qualify for the final round of the women''s 25m pistol individual event and finished a lowly seventh in the team competition.

The women''s hockey team were handed a 0-3 thrashing by Japan in their second game while the paddlers endured another disappointing day with only the men''s doubles pair of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Subhajit Saha progressing to the pre-quarterfinals. Editors: Pick up suitably from the ASIAN-LDALL IND series issued under FGN62, 63, 64).

Monday, November 15, 2010

What Ferrari, Nano Have in Common


What’s the price you pay for the world’s cheapest car? Just under $2800 – and a small chance that it might catch fire.

At least that is the conclusion some observers may have drawn as they followed the saga of Tata Motors Ltd.’s Nano—the most affordable car on the planet. Some reports of the car catching fire soon after it began to be delivered in the summer of 2009 led Tata Motors to launch two investigations between May and October. A total of six incidents, some of which were smoking rather than fire incidents, have been reported, the company told India Real Time.

In a statement released Wednesday the company said it would offer additional safety equipment to its owners, free of charge.
But folks shouldn’t actually jump to the conclusion that this is a “cheap car” problem. Turns out it happened to some of the most expensive cars in the world too. Owners of the Tata Motors minicar might find some comfort in knowing that owners of the iconic Italian sports car share similar worries – despite having paid a much higher price tag.

Last September, Italian luxury car maker Ferrari S.p.A recalled all of its 458 Italia model – a total of around 1,250 cars – after three customers reported their cars caught fire. “We gave (the three customers) brand new cars, and fixed the flaws in all the other 458 Italias,” Ferrari spokeperson Stefano Lai said in a phone interview. The base model of Ferrari’s 458 Italia stands at around $275 000 – about 100 times more than the Nano.

“The truth is – it happens to everyone, not just to Nanos or Ferrari,” said Mr. Lai, referring to incidents of overheating and fires.

The Indian auto giant has stopped short of recalling its 70,000 minicars from customers across India and said their investigation did not find manufacturing flaws. Rather, problems with additional electrical fittings added after the purchase and material , such as newspaper scraps, found in the exhaust system during the investigation probably caused the incidents, the company said.

Both companies say theirs cars are perfectly safe.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Samsung, Sony book profits but wary of road ahead


Three of the world's biggest names in electronics Samsung, Sony and Panasonic are bracing for weaker global demand and a rocky road ahead even as they reported stellar quarterly profits Friday. South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co.

booked a record net profit for the third straight quarter thanks to brisk sales of semiconductors and mobile phones. Japanese rival Sony Corp.

climbed back to the black as consumers clamored for its PCs and the PlayStation 3 gaming console. Panasonic Corp.

's net profit surged more than fivefold on strong demand for flat-panel TVs and Blu-ray Disc recorders. The results underscore how major Asian manufacturers have benefited from a recovering global economy and government stimulus measures that boosted consumer spending.

But with that recovery now in doubt in key overseas markets like the U.S., companies are preparing for a tougher fight for customers and with each other. Rising currencies in Asia also cloud their outlooks.

"We believe the operating environment will become more severe," said Sony's Chief Financial Officer Masaru Kato at a briefing for analysts. "We are being very cautious regarding the second half.

" Samsung is wary of oversupply and price cuts for memory chips, along with a potential further decline in prices of the panels used in LCD televisions. "Combining these with the possible appreciation of the won, we expect overall fourth-quarter business conditions to be difficult," said Samsung vice president Robert Yi on a conference call with analysts.

What happens to Samsung matters because it is such a major force in the global electronics industry. Besides dominating in memory chips and flat screen TVs, the company is also the world's largest manufacturer of large-sized liquid crystal displays and ranks second in mobile phones behind Nokia Corp.

of Finland. The company manufactures both DRAM chips, used mostly in personal computers, and NAND flash memory chips, used in products such as digital cameras, music players and smartphones.

Samsung earned 4.46 trillion won ($3.97 billion) in the three months ended Sept. 30, up from a net profit of 3.81 trillion won the previous year.

Its semiconductor business boasted record sales of 10.66 trillion won during the quarter, while revenue in the memory division rose 60 percent from the year before. That led pushed overall sales up 12 percent to 40.23 trillion won, also a record and the first time the company's revenue has surpassed the 40 trillion won mark.

Over in Tokyo, Sony reported net profit of 31.1 billion yen ($375 million) for the July-September quarter, a huge turnaround from losses of 26.3 billion yen a year earlier. The results were so good the company raised its profit outlook and expressed confidence that it could weather turbulence, including a persistently strong yen.

The solid results reflect the success of cost cuts and restructuring carried out under Chief Executive Howard Stringer. Since taking over in 2005, the Welsh-born CEO has been trying to unite the company's sprawling businesses and improve efficiency.

Revenue climbed 4.3 percent to 1.73 trillion yen. Its "Networked Products&Services" division, which includes gaming and PCs, did particularly well.

The September launch of the highly anticipated PlayStation Move motion-sensing game controller helped drive demand, the company said. Of its three previously money-losing businesses TVs, games and mobile handset maker Sony Ericcson the latter two are now in the black.

Sony's Kato said the company is trying to break even in TVs. He acknowledged that Sony lags Samsung in profit growth but said the two companies aren't necessarily comparable.

"Our business model is different," Kato said. "One of our assets is our mix of hardware, software and content.

" "We will compete on this overall basis." In its forecast revision, Sony expects net profit of 70 billion yen, 17 percent more than its previous forecast of 60 billion yen.

But it lowered its sales outlook slightly to 7.4 trillion yen due to the impact of the strong yen, which erodes income brought back to Japan from overseas sales. Panasonic, Japan's biggest home appliance maker, made a profit of 31 billion yen ($384.3 million) in the three months through September, up from 6.1 billion yen the year before.

Quarterly revenue rose 27 percent year-on-year to 2.21 trillion yen. Lower materials costs and other expenses helped offset the impact of growing price competition and an appreciating yen, which hit a 15-year high during the quarter.

The Osaka-based company is pushing ahead with a strategy to strengthen its green technology business. It recently raised its stake in Sanyo Electric a money-losing unit with strong battery and solar panel businesses to more than 80 percent and intends to take full ownership by the end of March.

But an increasingly precarious future kept Panasonic from revising up its forecasts for the fiscal year through March 2011. It still expects a profit of 85 billion yen on sales of 8.9 trillion yen.

It expects an uncertain business environment to continue into the end of the year "with further price declines due to ever-intensifying competition, appreciation of the yen and rising prices for raw materials." ___ AP Business Writer Kelly Olsen in Seoul contributed to this report.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nissan Is Readying Micra Diesel For December Launch


I’ve been spotting throngs of Nissan Micras on the road recently, which itself is a proof for the model’s success in India. Riding high on this success, Nissan is all set to roll out Micra’s diesel variant on Indian roads. Nissan has already announced the commencement of the booking orders across its 20 dealerships for the diesel variant. The Diesel-powered Micra is expected to go on sale before Christmas this year.

The car is expected to get Renault Logan’s 1.5-liter CRDI engine which should deliver around 65-70bhp of power, 150-160 Nm of torque and 20-25 kmpl.

The Micra diesel will be available in two variants – the XV and the XV Premium. The diesel XV will have the same features as the XV petrol except ABS and EBD, which will be available in the XV Premium variant. XV Premium will also sport 15 inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a rear spoiler.

The diesel Micra is expected to be priced in the Suzuki Swift DDiS territory.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Men using laptop in laps 'may be risking fertility'


Melbourne, Nov 06 (ANI): Men who use their laptops while keeping them in their laps could be risking their fertility, a new research has found.

A new study by Fertility and Sterility has found that when men use their laptops in their laps instead of on their desks, they may be overheating those male parts, which, in turn, may be damaging their sperm.

In studies, even men who used laptop pads as a buffer between their machine and their man parts, dangerously overheated themselves within 10 minutes.

The authors noted that other research has shown that warming the scrotum more than 1.8 degrees is enough to damage sperm.

After one hour, the 29 subjects working with a laptop on their knees had raised the temperature in their testicles by more than 4 degrees.owever, Yefim Sheynkin, lead author of the study and State University of New York urologist, stated that this is not proof that laptops definitely lead to infertility among men.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nissan shows tiny electric concept vehicle


YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) Nissan showed a two-seater electric vehicle resembling a go-cart Monday that isn't ready for sale but spotlights the Japanese automaker's ambitions to be the leader in zero-emission cars. Nissan Motor Co.

is planning to produce 250,000 electric vehicles a year, starting with the Leaf electric car set for delivery in Japan and the U.S. in December, and next year in Europe. Its alliance partner Renault SA of France is planning to produce another 250,000 electric vehicles a year.

The two companies together will produce 500,000 batteries for EVs a year, said Nissan, which makes batteries with Japanese electronics maker NEC Corp. "We don't want EVs to be a niche product," Corporate Vice President Hideaki Watanabe told reporters at the company's headquarters southwest of Tokyo.

He said Nissan boasts 18 years of development experience in lithium-ion batteries, which will power the Leaf, and the company developed its first electric vehicle in 1947. Lithium-ion batteries are common in devices like laptops but will be relatively new for autos.

Then Watanabe zipped around smoothly and silently as is characteristic of electric vehicles Nissan's showroom in the tiny electric vehicle called "Nissan New Mobility CONCEPT." It has a range of a 100 kilometers (62 miles), and maximum speed of 75 kilometers (47 miles) per hour. The EV system was developed by Renault, but the car's design was by Nissan.

Some analysts are skeptical about the practicality of electric vehicles, noting they will make up only a tiny fraction of the overall auto market for some years to come. Watanabe did not give a price for the concept car.

He said uses were still being studied, such as amusement parks and Yokohama city's green mobility projects. Nissan said it is setting up charging stations for electric vehicles, and forging partnerships with governments and companies, now climbing to more than 80 around the world from 30 last year in an effort to make the move to electric successful.

"That shows how interest in zero-emissions is growing," said Watanabe. Nissan dealers in Japan will be equipped with battery rechargers with the goal of having 2 million chargers, and an additional 5,000 that recharge quicker, around Japan by 2020, according to the manufacturer of the March subcompact and Infiniti luxury models.

Nissan has set up a company to recycle used EV batteries to reuse and repackage, as well as reselling for back-up and storage.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New-age technologies and mobile phones


During this festive season, a cursory glance through newspapers shows advertisements of several new phone launches— Blackberry Torch and the Samsung Tablet. The advertisements do not talk about the hardware but what the "devices and the technology" put together can do for us. With the new age technology products, the whole is truly more than sum of the parts. Let's look into a few reasons why these devices have evolved to the current level.

One key reason has been the rapid pace evolution of core technology in mobiles. Core technology in the mobility space consists of fundamentally the processor speeds and the base memories (RAM, ROM) in the hardware, graphic accelerators, internal memory, display sizes, resolutions and types, ability of play a multitude of music and video formats, camera and video capture in megapixels, output formats and so forth.

Processor speeds that used to be non-existent some time back, have now clocked up to 1GHz. This entails that the device becomes quicker and more responsive to the input commands of the customer. The average speed in the basic Chinese phones is 104 MHz and at best goes up to 208 MHz. These used to be the speeds in the erstwhile premium devices costing 30K or so but this is now passé .

With the operating system (OS) system becoming hungry and constantly being required to ensure multitasking of applications, the average speed of the processors have come to 600 MHz in the touch and Qwerty segment devices from Nokia, Samsung, Blackberry and Sony Ericsson. Processor speeds have little meaning if the RAM and ROM are inadequate. From a mere 1 megabyte or some kilobytes in basic phones which is good enough to take care of saving limited contacts and SMS, the evolved phones now boasts of 256 megabytes of both RAM and ROM and this goes up to as much to 2 gigabytes. This ensures more memory available to the user to store and load programs as well as for the device to store its OS, programs as well as contacts and SMSes etc.

Another reason is the increase in internal and external memory capabilities. For a user, this translates into "more" music, movies, images and so forth. From less than 2 MB memory a few years ago, to 32 GB as internal memory and support up to 32 GB of external memory cards is what is now available in mobiles. A customer can carry about 4,000 songs on a 16 GB card costing a mere 2.5K. The new era mobile phones have the ability to play all or any music format be it MP3, AMR, MIDI, WMA, WAV, RMVB etc.

A few years ago, a video player evolved from a VCR to a VCD player and then a DVD player. This reached its zenith when a Blu-ray player got launched. Today, a mobile phone can play all possible formats including MPEG4, DIVIX, 3GP and WMA. In fact, two models of Nokia and Motorola—N8 and XT720—have HDMI output ports. They can be attached to the HDMI port of the TV and the two devices get integrated—convergence at its best.

The technology pundits are also predicting that growth of the digital camera category will slow down, as the mobile phones enhance their camera capabilities. With pricing going south on phones, this may well become a reality with 5 MP camera phones becoming available at entry level prices.

Display quality in the phones has perhaps seen technology at its best. From the plain Jane black and white displays, we now have colour displays that would put a movie theatre to shame. LCDs consist of TFT, Amoled and now Super Amoled. Vendors have left nothing to imagination with a choice of 16 million colours to give the real depth of the display quality. Along with the colours comes the pixel size. Higher the pixel size better the resolution. A high end phone like the Samsung Super Amoled device—Galaxy S makes viewing a true pleasure.

In a nutshell: The convergence of various technologies on the mobile phone is a force multiplier that is truly delighting the customer.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Facebook adjusts feature to block pictures of users' old flames


Social networking site Facebook has altered a feature, which caused photos of users' former lovers to appear when they logged in.

Following a backlash over its Photo Memories sidebar Facebook has adjusted the feature so it automatically blocked such photos.

"While users may still see Photo Memories of their former romantic partners if they didn't declare the relationship on Facebook - as well of their current partner with that person's former partners - the change should help heal the heartache for many users," the Independent quoted Sam Odio, Facebook's project manager as saying.

However, in order to successfully block the hurt-inducing snaps, the site is now keeping a record of its users' ex-partners - at least, those who have used the site to declare with whom they are in a relationship.

The site says the fact that it maintains a log of people's romantic adventures should not be a cause for concern.

"There is nothing Facebook could do with this information, just as a doctor couldn't share your past medical history with someone else," a spokesman said.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Salman Opts For Half Southie Surya


South biggie Surya has inspired a certain 'Dabangg' Khan too. Word has it that Salman Khan has been suitably impressed by the actor who will soon be spotted in 'Rakht Charitra 2,' helmed by Ram Gopal Varma.

John Abraham, unfortunately, has already been pencilled in for the remake of 'Kakka Kakka' and SK now set his starry sights on recrafting a Tamil winner, which had Surya enacting both father and son in a tale centred around an old father and his young army officer son.

Incidentally, Surya had enacted both dad and scion in the regional original, though Salman has made it amply clear that he will only enact the younger role of the army man. The intense role of the old father, meanwhile, is yet open for casting.