July 29, 2010

Microsoft Brings Street Slide for Bing maps…in one word – AWESOME

If you think Google's Street View is awesome, you’ve got to check Microsoft’s Street Slide. They've taken the concept to a whole new level. Virtual sightseeing (and even window shopping) will from now on be a lot more fun. It gives a panorama view of the whole street and even shops, prominent locations, landmarks and much more on the same screen as you scroll through. I particularly loved one feature...Street slide allows users to switch between lanes effortlessly. You've got to check out the video to see how amazing it is...truly awesome.



Street View is my favorite Google Maps feature but that doesn’t mean that I’ve missed its flaws. Moving along the street (virtually) happens by moving from one 360-degree photographic bubble to another. While you’re in a bubble you can hardly see what’s in the next. And zooming in doesn’t help much either so you need to move to the next bubble. Although it might not ruin all the fun, it does get a bit irritating at times.

It's a good thing (at least from my perspective) that somebody found a solution for that...Thank You Microsoft. What you actually get in Street slide is a multi-perspective street panorama; and above & below the strip is additional information (such as street names and signs, building numbers, store names, even a mini-map) which helps you find what you’re looking for a lot easier than before.

There is still a lot of work to be done on Street Slide and no word from Microsoft Research on when we’ll be seeing the new technology implemented in Bing Maps. We'll have to wait and see I guess...sigh!


July 28, 2010

The Proximity sensor issues finally solved on iOS 4

Is your iPhone 4’s proximity sensor acting weird on you? If it is...I‘ve got some great news for you: the solution is on the way. The iOS4 beta 2 has just been released to developers which means; you can expect it to come to your iPhone 4 in just a few weeks time.

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The waiting for the final iOS 4.1 release is definitely worth it. According to most reports, the iOS 4.1 beta 2 finally fixes the irritating proximity sensor problem although most people seem to believe that the actual reason for the flaw is some faulty hardware. Let’s wait for a few weeks and see how this unfolds. Will update this post when more information is available…


July 21, 2010

Will Customer Experience Management be the next big thing???...or is traditional CRM still the King?

It is interesting how the creation of exceptional customer experiences is becoming a standard practice today. Customers are becoming highly sophisticated in their buying habits and those who deliver superior customer experiences gain a competitive edge. Just so you don't think I'm making this up; let me give you a few examples:

  1. Lego, who provide an opportunity for children to play with their toys in shops and also an opportunity for parents to experience and share their children‟s happiness;
  2. Starbucks, who create an exceptional service experience by providing an apt environment for social interaction and a personalized coffee shop experience.

Let's now see how all this actually unfolded. In the beginning of the new millennium (that's 2000), Customers started demanding a higher marginal utility on their purchases; which basically means that they wanted more value for what they were paying. Traditionally, CRM has just focused on customer retention and nothing else, which made it narrow in scope and highly inflexible. Thus, the concept of CEM was put forward. Pine and Gilmore first introduced the concept in their 1998 Harvard Business Review article (Titled:Welcome to the Enterprise Economy). They said that "customer experiences would drive business value and propagate financial success" and I must say; they hit the nail right on the head. It is said that forecasts are generally never accurate...guess that rule got thrown out the window this time. You would've already started getting an idea of what CEM is all about...let's have a look if you were right~

How CEM differs from CRM

What CEM basically does is cater to the emotional aspect of product purchase. That is; what customers are not getting physically in the form of rewards, discounts & stuff like that, you are being compensated for emotionally in the form of an exceptional user experience (& the sort). This view has been clearly illustrated in the book "The DNA of Customer Experience" written by Colin Shaw. For those who still need convincing, here is a live example...Apple Inc; each time Steve Jobs makes a new product announcement, the sales figures go off the charts (ex: i-Phone, i-Pad). Most people would think it's because Apple's customers are passionate about the company, but in actual reality they are passionate about the experience that it offers. This is one of the main reasons why even after pricing their products at outrageous rates, there are still people to buy them. Apple realised the importance of CEM before most companies, and one must give them credit for that.

I believe you are now ready to comprehend this wonderful saying....“A company with a price advantage can be undercut, a company with a performance advantage can be outflanked, but a company with an emotional difference can potentially demand a price premium forever”...don't you think so now???


July 20, 2010

Microsoft's folly with Windows Phone 7

Did you hear the latest news on Windows Phone 7? Well...Microsoft's already started giving technical previews to the press to prove that their latest mobile OS is a worthy opponent to the likes of Android & iOS. The software giant's getting a little desperate if you ask me...but who could blame them; its practically their last shot at the Smartphone marketplace after all. Microsoft has been constantly losing ground ever since Apple released their first iPhone. It's been 3 years since then and the story is pretty much the same even now.

Engadget got their hands on a WP7 device a few days back and from the looks of it, Microsoft is entering troubled waters. Remember the days when the iPhone lacked some very critical features and Apple got a lot of slack for that??? Well...Microsoft seems to be following Apple's lead and making those same mistakes all over again. Yes...you guessed it; Windows Phone 7 won't be supporting Copy Pasting, third-party multitasking and HTML 5. I hate to say it, but leaving out these features will definitely come back to haunt Microsoft.

On the positive side, Microsoft has significantly improved the User Interface (UI) and I must admit, it looks amazing. The virtual keyboard has been re-engineered to include a variety of useful features too. This is one area where the UI has a significant edge over other platforms. The UI also seems to be a lot smoother and is somewhat comparable to that of the iPhone. Microsoft has shown with WP7 that fast responsive UI's are not the exclusive domain of Apple. The platform also seems to be highly optimised for document editing; it's one of Microsoft's core competencies after all. Even from your first glance, one thing becomes very clear; Windows Phone 7 has Social media written all over it. It has such a high focus on real-time social interaction that you would be tempted to call it a Social phone, rather than a mobile phone (OS).

However, it has to be said that Microsoft now runs the risk of exposing all the capabilities of its new OS before the actual release. Remember what happened to the Nokia N97??? Nokia announced the phone nearly 5 months before the scheduled release and to make matters worse, disclosed the entire spec sheet as well. This allowed the other manufactures enough time to make comparable phones of their own and the N97 ended up being an utter failure. Microsoft is risking the same thing by disclosing the specs so early, especially since the first WP7 device is not due until October. This would allow platforms such as Android to easily incorporate any distinguishing features brought forth by WP7 (Gingerbread is due for Christmas...remember?).

In any case, I don't see any reason why the Windows Phone 7 platform is better than Android or iOS anyway. Android is improving at an exhilarating pace and there would be no reason for their customers to switch to WP7 (same with Apple); unless of course Microsoft manages to pull a rabbit out of the hat...who knows??? but I seriously doubt it~

Your comments and opinions are appreciated...


July 19, 2010

The Truth Behind the Nexus one…Why Google Actually made it???

Remember the day when Google announced their first ever Android Smartphone...the Nexus one. There was something that constantly bothered me about that day. Why would an Advertising company try to enter into the Smartphone market??? I went through the question again and again in my mind but something just didn't add up. The first explanation I came up with was, that Google saw a bright future for m-commerce and they wanted to enter that market before anyone else. But then again, people have been talking about m-Commerce for nearly 2 decades but it just hasn't picked up as everyone expected. 

Today, on 19 July 2010, Google Announced that they were stopping production of the Nexus one, their flagship Android Smartphone; and that's when it struck me. They never intended to enter the Smartphone market in the first place, it was all part of a brilliant marketing strategy. Their target was popularising the Android OS and I must say, they have been extremely successful at that. Today, nearly 90 percent of all new Smartphones run Android and it's now become a perfect customer base for their core business - Advertising. Android OS has been gaining in market share ever since the beginning of 2010; the same time Google launched the Nexus one...what a coincidence, don't you think???

In 2011, with the arrival of Gingerbread (Android OS 3.0) Google will surely capitalise on this advertising base and introduce various mobile advertising innovations into their operating system. It is also quite clear that Android would be the leading mobile OS at the time overtaking RIM, iOS and Symbian. It would be as easy as catching fish in a barrel as far as Google are concerned. I really appreciate what the company has done for the world with all their free tools and stuff but this time, we have all played right into their hands (although I must admit I don't mind it one bit).  Google played a very tricky game and they won (quite convincingly).

Please leave your comments and opinions...I would really appreciate it~


July 08, 2010

Android 2.2 Froyo blazes past iOS4…

I just stumbled upon an interesting comparison between the iOS4 and Android 2.2 and thought you it might interest you. With both running on 1GHz CPUs (the Snapdragon Scorpion core vs the iPhone Cortex-A8) the results come up somewhat surprising (for me at least).

Benchmark results

Instead of the expected similar scores there was a clear domination of the Froyo-running Nexus One over the iPhone 4. Of course this is probably partially down to JavaScript engines of the two browsers, but the JIT compiler brought by Froyo also helps here (obviously quite a lot). And even though JavaScript performance plays a pretty minor part in the overall user experience, it’s another sweet victory for Android nonetheless.


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