No Stealth For Health

May 3, 2015

What an irony, that smartwatches which are built for tracking health information, are still so far away from the complicated structure that the human body is. Apple confirmed that Apple watch doesn't track heart rate if there is a tattoo on the wrist. It's actually funny and amusing that such a simple yet deceptive use case escaped Apple, the most valuable company in the world.

Smart watches seem to be just a fad, just like how tablets flooded the market and are being overtaken by phablets. The only thing smatwatches may do is drive humans become paranoid about their health and woes, or in other cases gloat about their health quotient. Of course the argument could be the fact that it can track potential risks or sudden episodes of an attack or so on. But such is the complexity of the human body, that there is only so much that a smart watch can do.

Add to it the fact that even a tattoo can resist a smart watch being fully functional, questions the  device of its authenticity of the readings. What if a developer witfully manipulates heart rate readings or such using an app he hosts on a smartwatch. It is enough to drive the user nuts and have nightmares. That alone might actually cause issues to the end user, forget the watch itself.

Now we have a smartwatch to track heart rate, calories, pressure etc. In time, we will have 'waist' band to track strains and muscle pulls, And maybe even a nose ring band, to track if there is running nose, with predictions like - "Today there are 80% chances of precipitation inside. Keep a kerchief handy". Or a Fart watch, which helps the user with predictions of farting time and the toxicity of it. Imagine of you are in a lift, with the Fart watch, the user can trigger an alarm for the others in the lift saying "Nose Alert, nose alert". Or if it detects just decibels, it could alert saying - "Boom boom alert".

Come to think of it, just like how our online data is not private anymore (what with facebook, whatsapp and loads of other snooping apps), even our fart times and running nose updates will be available for data brokers. Soon there will be a fart timeline, and a running nose timeline. With live updates going to all friends, it will help friends and relatives avoid visiting the unfortunate user. Soon enough, every fart watch user or nose ring user, will have to send out invites with their latest health updates and medication undertaken before confidently inviting for a party.

Oh for the digitally connected world. Information explosion is soon becoming a playground for all and sundry who can claim to be a competent app developer or company. Nor is location private, nor our phone numbers, and soon neither our own health. A fart in faraway Papua new guinea can be diagnosed in Antartica and any other place you name it. Talk about how powerful technology is. Technology delivers sound waves and the smell of it far into hinterlands, where even the winds of nature can't do. 

Long Pending, now (I)mpending

September 9, 2014

Though I have always disliked Apple because of the suffocating ecosystem, there is no doubt that Jobs and Apple revolutionized the mobile phone market. Jobs took it to the next level by convinvcing the world of another must have device in the form of the iPad. By calling it magical and with his marketing abilities it became a runaway hit and was garnering over 80% market share in the year after its launch. Fast forward 3 years after Jobs' passing away, and Apple has not introduced anything revolutionary. Unless a fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S qualifies as revolutionary.

Honestly, there hasn't been much innovation even from Samsung which pioneered the Android ecosystem to the beast it is today. Android commands over 80%  of the smartphone market, and most of the credit is due to Samsung leading the efforts and giving customers a cost effective alternative to the oh so expensive iPhone. Even Samsung's Android tweaks have been more gimmicky than revolutionary. Of course some of the features like split screen and the stylus are certainly worthy of mention. While Samsung pulled away from iPhone in terms of smartphone shipments, Apple probably resisted being pulled into the rat race of competing low cost phones.

Samsung introduced the phablet concept via the Note, and the past year phablets have picked up massive adoption at the cost of tablets. So tablet shipments and sales are now on the vane. Apple could not have ignored customer needs when large sized phones in the range of 4.7 - 6 inch began flooding the market. Maybe Apple did not want to be an also ran company when it came to smartphone competition. Probably devoid of ideas, Apple finally seems to have succumbed to the pressure from its hundreds of Android rivals.

Android One - A late Google Bugle?

September 4, 2014

Is Google late into the party? At a time when local players like Micromax, Lava and Karbonn are redefining budget smartphones in India, Google wants to enter the rat race with Android One. Announced in June, Android One is Google's initiative to give a pure Google experience to millions of customers wanting to switch to a smartphone from a feature phone. While the whole intent is to give the pure android and google experience, the end objective is to bring as many users into the Google's internet web. A perfect strategy, but one which could fall flat if local market sentiments are not given due respect.

India is too cost conscious for Google to bring out smartphones priced at over $100. Though on average disposable income is on the rise, the average Indian customer is still very picky when it comes to pricing. Firefox has already made an aggressive entry with phones priced at $30-$40 which is probably more than enough for first timers or those who are from the lower income strata. And then there is the middle class which is equally cost conscious and since the days of Moto G, the choices in the $100 market are abundant. Options range from Windows phones running on the latest 8.1 to the explosive new entrant, Xiaomi. Xiaomi's Redmi 1S phone with its hardware specs and pricing easily beats all local players to dust. Of course, its unique and times frustrating strategy could also backfire.