Monday, August 30, 2010

Wanna Customize your Mobile Phones?

Dell Aero

Well, not yet. But this may be possible in future.

PC maker Dell has ventured into smart phone business, with the launch of Aero recently. Unfortunately, Aero has been given thumb down by many analysts. One main gripe: the phone runs on Android OS 1.5, a pretty outdated version. (The latest version is 2.2.)

Dell’s strengths in PC business, as we know, are its distribution channel (ordering over the Web or phone, and direct delivery), as well as the ability to customize the machines. Which makes me wonder: Can we ever customize our mobile phones?

Imagine that we state our preferences when we order our mobile phones: Want a faster processor? Check! Want more memory? Check! Want you phone to be in pink color? Check! Isn’t that wonderful?

Admittedly, customization of mobile phones won’t be so easy. Customization of PC works because Dell delivers them to our doorstep. When it comes to smart phones, most of us buy subsidized units from the carriers. When there is another party involved, things become more complicated.

Still, I hope Dell or other smart phone makers will explore this possibility…

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Decline of Flickr

According to a BBC news article dated July 22, 2010, several social networks gained popularity during the period from June 2009 to June 2010. They are: Facebook, Twitter, Orkut and Linkedin. On the other hand, MySpace, Flickr, Bebo and Friends Reunited had seen their “unique audience” dropped.

I have been posting photos to Flickr since 2006, and opted for a paid account last year. While I like the minimalist design of Flickr, I wasn’t a little bit surprised by the BBC news. After all, the function of Flickr has been largely replaced Facebook. On Flickr, a free account allows us to display just 200 pictures. A paid account removes that limit, but costs us US$24.90 every year. On the other hand, we can post as many photos as possible to Facebook at no charge. Yes, Facebook compresses the pictures we upload, thereby reducing image quality. But for the average Facebook members who only want to share their casual snapshots among their small circles of friends, the choice is a no brainer.

But Yahoo, which owns Flickr, is also to be blamed for the site’s decline. Flickr does not allow non-members to comment on the site. In a sense, it is a closed network. Apparently, non-members will be less inclined to come to Flickr, if they can’t participate.

I am not optimistic with the future of Flickr.


The ups and downs of social networks

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Green Packet and the Future of WiMAX

Green Packet, the parent company of Malaysian WiMAX operator Packet One, reported an after-tax loss of RM44.75 mil in the first quarter ended March 31, compared with an after-tax loss of RM22.55 mil in the same period last year.

In Malaysia, there are primarily three ways of accessing the Internet wirelessly – Wifi, WiMAX and 3G. Wifi has limited range, and is usually provided for free in hotels and F&B outlets such as Starbucks, McDonald’s and Old Town White Coffee. WiMAX and 3G, which both have longer range, compete with each other.

If you have been following my other blog for a while, you probably remember that I met with the CEO of Green Packet in May 2009. Back then, I thought WiMAX had advantage over 3G. It was supposedly faster than 3G; it was unofficially referred to as 4G technology… I almost wanted to buy the stocks of Green Packet.

Now, I am not so sure if WiMAX still has the advantage. Technical-wise, it may be superior compared to 3G. But can your iPhone ride on it?


Green Packet loss soars on higher costs

Unexpected Meeting with Green Packet’s CEO