Apple iPad IOS 4.2 vs Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets

In Apple's quarterly financial conference call for Q4 2010. Steve Jobs declared that the new tablets flooding the market were dead on arrival (DOA). One reason was the fact that the 7" is 45% smaller than the 10 inch iPad. This makes the smaller tablets sit it an awkward spot. It is too big to be a mobile phone and too small to be a serious mobile computing device.

The other reason was simple. The operating system, running on these tablets, was not essentially built for a tablet experience. It was more like taking a mobile phone O/S and pushing it on a bigger so-called Tablet.

Most of the tablet manufacturers rushed to get their devices out in the market only to ensure that they don't lose out to the iPad(7.5 million sold in 2 quarters).

But Honeycomb changes the game for these manufacturers. While Apple redefined the mobile phone platform and then took that platform to the iPad. It is quite obvious that the iPad has its limitations.

Honeycomb on the other hand brings the desktop experience to the tablet in a seamless manner.
In short, it means that the tablet manufacturers will no longer try to play catch up with Apple as far as the operating system is concerned. Apple will really need to dig deep into its bag of tricks(IOS 4.3) if it has to surpass Honeycomb.

That said, a lot will depend on the hardware and the new tablets that will come into the market with honeycomb. Battery life will also be a key factor. Both Samsung and Dell are working on a 10inch version of the Galaxy Tab and Streak. Not to mention the MOTOROLA XOOM

Some of the features in Honeycomb are as follows:
  • Hardware acceleration for 2D and 3D: Applications can now use hardware acceleration there by improving the gaming and graphic experience.
  • New animation framework to add transitions
  • Better multitasking menu, with faster switching across apps.
  • All software based buttons, such as the Home etc.
  • Renderscript: A brand new graphics engine there by improving the YouTube, Album and Books experience (particularly the page flipping is close to the iBook experience)
  • Support for multi-core processors
  • Media Capabilities: New Camera application with re-designed user interface giving the user more options. Ability to tap into a front facing camera, built in image stabilizing technology (which should improve the video calling capabilities and reduce bandwidth)
  • Built in video chat capabilities coupled with a contact shortcut widget that enables a quicker way to contact, chat and video call.
  • Seamless synchronization with the cloud.
  • Market Place: Hot synchronization of apps purchased on the desktop with your mobile devices (eliminates the need for cables to transfer your purchases from your desktop to mobile devices. Friend based recommendation for apps using email and twitter. Soon to be rolled out buyer currency support so that you can buy apps in your own currency without having to do conversions. Developers can monetize their application by promoting apps within their existing apps using the in-app purchasing SDK. Ability to promote your app over YouTube.
To get a more in-depth understanding of Honeycomb please follow the video below:

Customer Service and Satisfaction - Part 2


This is another company that started out with a lot of promise. Around 4 yrs back I searched for a Telephone and Internet Service Provider. Being a small company, I didn't want an expensive lease line.
After looking at all the options I settled on Airtel. The sales team was efficient, the technical team came within a day of signing the contract and everything worked seamlessly. For 2 yrs there was only a couple of instances when I had at outage. The service team was quick to respond which minimized the downtime to less that 2 hrs.
However after that it has been all downhill for this brand. In their rush to expand they have got their basics all mixed up and overall quality , integrity and service has been pathetic if not worse.
This is a company which recently spent a lot of dollars trying to re-invent its brand image.

Over the past 6 months there has been frequent internet outages. The response and resolution time has gone up from 2 hrs to 24-48 hrs. Imagine a software company with no internet connection for 48 hrs. It is next to impossible to get in touch with customer service. And when you get through, more often than not their systems are down. (I think Airtel uses IBM based upon the numerous Tivoli errors I get when trying to pay my bills online)
As far as their cell phone services are concerned, their network quality has dropped. My cell phone only catches their network in "strategic" locations, for e.g. my office restroom, my kitchen at home and of-course when you stand close to their network antennas which are also placed at "strategic" locations

When I signed up with Airtel for an internet plan the monthly charges I paid was around 3000 INR (Approx $80). As my demands for bandwidth increased so did my bill which was fair enough. Within a year's time I started paying around 18000 INR ($400) a month for a 2Mbps DSL line. After a couple of months I realized that the same plan was being offered by the company for 4000 INR (approx 90$). I contacted the sales team and asked them why I was still paying so much when the prices had dropped.  I was told that since it was a corporate account, which meant a dedicated line which meant I got a true 1:1 bandwidth, the prices for the same was high. Also I was told that the plan mentioned on the website was only for home users and not SMBs.
After some months I realized that the speed wasn't 1:1. A trip to their local office also confirmed the same. After repeated attempts of trying to get in touch with their sales team, I kept getting excuses that someone would come down to my office and explain why they were charging exorbitant rates. But no one did really show up.
After some days I noticed that the company had updated their website and now also displayed their corporate plans. The pricing was similar to the home users plan. This meant that I was unnecessarily payment way too much.
I contacted customer service and was told that they would immediately change my rates and I would have to pay less from the next billing cycle. The next billing cycle came and I was still charged the exorbitant rate. On contacting customer service again, now I got a different explanation. This time I was told that when changing a plan there is a one month notice period that I have to give and so I would have to pay this bill. The new billing cycle would be effective from the following month.
No prizes for guessing that the following month also I was charged same amount. Its been close to 4 months that I have been trying change my plan.

The last time I used their toll free number and tried to get in touch with a "person". Their IVR system conveniently reminded me that since I opted to speak with someone, instead of the 20+ automated options that their system provided, I would be charged a flat rate per minute. Need I say more?

Here is a company that cannot scale with the growth they are experiencing, has lost its way as far as quality and customer service is concerned. And they don't even want their customers to speak to them.
 Part 1 of the post is here