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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mobile broadband networks need to become smartphone-friendly fast

FOLLOWING the highly-anticipated announcement of Apple’s iPad on Wednesday, it is safe to say that smartphones and tablets connected to mobile networks are going to be the focus du jour.

The potential of the smarter, more mobile and ever connected global tribe, however, can only truly materialise if we ensure all elements are in place to deliver the smartphone-friendly experience.

The start of 2010 registers 25% – or 1.7 billion people – of the world population as Internet users. Closer to home, Pyramid Research expects Malaysia’s mobile penetration rate to increase to 133% by 2014, with broadband data services accounting for 45% of all mobile revenue, driven by increases in adoption of mobile broadband services and mobile data applications .

According to a Gartner estimate, the sale of smartphones is estimated to grow 33% year 2010 (y-o-y) while the overall smartphone sales are forecast to reach 43% of mobile devices by 2013.

In Malaysia, IDC expects to see a growth in the adoption of smartphones in 2010, predicting a growth of total smartphone shipments of 19.8%, hitting 1.8 million units. According to the technology research firm, smartphone shipments are predicted to make up 30.1% of the total mobile phone shipments sold in Malaysia .

The wide range of applications is expected to create huge traffic growth that is expected to double each year for the foreseeable future. This begs the question of our networks’ readiness to cope with this explosion in traffic growth and deliver the always-on, always-connected experience.

To get an impression of impact on the network load, viewing a YouTube video on a smartphone uses as much network capacity as sending 500,000 SMSes simultaneously, according to a leading European service provider.

The service providers have on hand both an opportunity and a challenge to capture the booming mobile broadband business. On one hand, the burgeoning demands on mobile broadband networks present an opportunity to improve profitability of mobile broadband end-user relationships. But before that, service providers need to tackle the issues of customer-centricity and efficiency of their networks.

Service providers require a holistic approach to capitalise on this prospect of creating sustainable and economically viable customer relationships.

Service providers need to study how to optimise networks to deliver the best end-user experience. If a user is using mobile broadband on a network that is not smartphone-ready, the experience is either equivalent to unplugging and plugging in a fixed connection to your computer every few seconds, or your battery drains very fast.

Some smartphones automatically turn off their antenna to save battery life as soon as the user ceases to send or receive any information, so that the next link you click or the next app that asks for data from the “cloud” has to establish a new connection, also called “signalling”.

Every time that happens, the smartphone experience is marred and wastes capacity on the service providers’ network.

Other challenges presented by the advent of the smartphone and its network requirements which can be addressed include load sharing techniques, which allows service providers to support peaks in traffic and reduce operational experience when traffic is empty.

On a broader level, the evolution to IP and all-IP architecture will help service providers to reduce total cost of ownership, whilst enabling them to react dynamically and fast to changes in end-user behavior.

The combination of always on applications, mobility and the growth of smartphones and mobile computing devices like the iPad will increasingly test providers. It is imperative for Malaysian service providers to become smartphone-friendly in order to cope with the real mobile broadband experience that end-users demand.

p/s:i will buy one!! for sure

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Apple iPad

The self-confessed Apple fanatic on why the launch of the company's new tablet will change everything......

Well bless my soul and whiskers. This is the first time I've joined the congregation at the Church of Apple for a new product launch. I've watched all the past ones, downloaded the Quicktime movies and marvelled as Apple's leader has stood before an ovating faithful and announced the switch to Intel, the birth of iPod, the miniMac, the iTunes Store, OS X, iPhoto, the swan's-neck iMac, the Shuffle, Apple retail stores, the iPhone, the titanium Powerbook, Garageband, the App Store and so much more. But this time I finally made it. I went to San Francisco for the launch of the iPad. Oh, happy man.

The day had special resonance. In front of his family, friends and close colleagues stood the man who founded Apple, was fired from Apple and came back to lead Apple to a greatness, reach and influence that no one on earth imagined. But a year ago, it is now clear, there was a very strong possibility that Steve Jobs would not live to see 2010 and the birth of his newest baby.

With revenues of $15.6bn, Apple is now the largest mobile-device company in the world, Jobs told the subdued but excited 600 people packed into the Yerba Buena Cultural Center for the Arts theatre. A few more triumphant housekeeping notes followed and then we were into the meat of it. Well, the whole event is available to be watched online, you don't need me to describe it. He picked up an iPad and walked us through. Afterwards I was allowed to play with one myself.

I know there will be many who have already taken one look and pronounced it to be nothing but a large iPhone and something of a disappointment. I have heard these voices before. In June 2007 when the iPhone was launched I collected a long list of "not impressed", "meh", "big deal", "style over substance", "it's all hype", "my HTC TyTN can do more", "what a disappointment", "majorly underwhelmed" and similar reactions. They can hug to themselves the excuse that the first release of iPhone was 2G, closed to developers and without GPS, and that cut-and-paste and many other features that have since been incorporated. Neither they, nor I, nor anyone, predicted the game-changing effect the phone would so rapidly have as it evolved into a 3G, third-party app rich, compass- and GPS-enabled market leader. Even if it had proved a commercial and business disaster instead of an astounding success, iPhone would remain the most significant release of its generation because of its effect on the smartphone habitat. Does anybody seriously believe that Google, Nokia, Samsung, Palm, BlackBerry and a dozen others would since have produced the product line they have without the 100,000-volt Taser shot up the jacksie that the iPhone delivered to the entire market?

Nonetheless, even if they couldn't see that three billion apps would be downloaded in two years (that's half a million app downloads a day, give or take) could they not see that this device was gorgeous, beautifully made, very powerful and capable of development into something extraordinary? I see those qualities in the iPad. Like the first iPhone, iPad 1.0 is a John the Baptist preparing the way of what is to come, but also like iPhone 1.0 (and Jokanaan himself too come to that) iPad 1.0 is still fantastic enough in its own right to be classed as a stunningly exciting object, one that you will want now and one that will not be matched this year by any company. In the future, when it has two cameras for fully featured video conferencing, GPS and who knows what else built in (1080 HD TV reception and recording and nano projection, for example) and when the iBook store has recorded its 100-millionth download and the thousands of accessories and peripherals that have invented uses for iPad that we simply can't now imagine – when that has happened it will all have seemed so natural and inevitable that today's nay-sayers and sceptics will have forgotten that they ever doubted its potential.

"What can I do with it that I can't do with a laptop or an iPhone?" they might now be objecting. "Too big for my pocket, not big enough for serious use. Don't see the need. It's a solution looking for a problem."

There are many issues you could have with the iPad. No multitasking, still no Adobe Flash. No camera, no GPS. They all fall away the minute you use it. I cannot emphasise enough this point: "Hold your judgment until you've spent five minutes with it." No YouTube film, no promotional video, no keynote address, no list of features can even hint at the extraordinary feeling you get from actually using and interacting with one of these magical objects. You know how everyone who has ever done Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? always says, "It's not the same when you're actually here. So different from when you're sitting at home watching." You know how often you've heard that? Well, you'll hear the same from anyone who's handled an iPad. The moment you experience it in your hands, you know this is class. This is a different order of experience. The speed, the responsiveness, the smooth glide of it, the richness and detail of the display, the heft in your hand, the rightness of the actions and gestures that you employ, untutored and instinctively, it's not just a scaled up iPhone or a scaled-down multitouch enhanced laptop – it is a whole new kind of device. And it will change so much. Newspapers, magazines, literature, academic textbooks, brochures, fliers and pamphlets are going to be transformed (poor Kindle). Specific dedicated apps and enhancements will amaze us. You will see characters in movies use the iPad. Jack Bauer will want to return for another season of 24 just so he can download schematics and track vehicles on it. James Bond will have one. Jason Bourne will have one. Some character, in a Tron-like way, might even be trapped in one.

There's much to like, of course. The physical beauty and classy build quality, as in anything designed by Jonathan Ive. The shockingly low price — $499 for the basic model. The contract-free, unlocked nature of the 3G version. But there are two chief reasons for its guaranteed success.

1. It is so simple. It is basically a highly responsive capacitative piece of glass with solid-state memory and an IPS display. Just as a book is basically paper bound together in a portable form factor. The simplicity is what allows everyone, us, software developers, content providers and accessory manufacturers to pour themselves into it, to remake it according to the limits of their imagination. I'll stop before I get too Disney.

2. It is made by Apple. I'm not being cute here. If it was made by Hewlett Packard, they wouldn't have global control over the OS or the online retail outlets. If it was made by Google, they would have tendered out the hardware manufacture to HTC. Apple – and it is one of the reasons some people distrust or dislike them – control it all. They've designed the silicon, the A4 chip that runs it all, they've designed the batteries, they've overseen every detail of the commercial, technological, design and software elements. No other company on earth does that. And being Apple it hasn't been released without (you can be sure) Steve Jobs being wholly convinced that it was ready. "Not good enough, start again. Not good enough. Not good enough. Not good enough." How many other CEOs say that until their employees want to murder them? That's the difference.

I have always thought Hans Christian Andersen should have written a companion piece to the Emperor's New Clothes, in which everyone points at the Emperor shouting, in a Nelson from The Simpsons voice, "Ha ha! He's naked." And then a lone child pipes up, "No. He's actually wearing a really fine suit of clothes." And they all clap hands to their foreheads as they realise they have been duped into something worse than the confidence trick, they have fallen for what EM Forster called the lack of confidence trick. How much easier it is to distrust, to doubt, to fold the arms and say: "Not impressed." I'm not advocating dumb gullibility, but it is has always amused me that those who instinctively dislike Apple for being apparently cool, trendy, design-fixated and so on, are the ones who are actually so damned cool and so damned sensitive to stylistic nuance that they can't bear to celebrate or recognise obvious class, beauty and desire. The fact is that Apple users like me are the uncoolest people on earth: we salivate, dribble, coo, sigh, grin and bubble with delight.

No, I don't have shares in Apple. I came so close to buying some as an act of defensive defiance in the early 90s when every industry insider and expert in the field agreed that Apple had six months to go before going bust. But I didn't. If I had done I could now afford to buy you all an iPad. Yes, I do like and have tried to champion OpenSource software. How can I square that with my love of Apple? I'm complicated. I'm a human being. I also believe in a mixed economy and mixed nuts. I love our NHS and the National Theatre, but I also love Fortnum and Mason and Hollywood movies. "Apple," Steve Jobs said, "stands at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts." This statement confused non-Americans who are not familiar with the phrase "liberal arts" but I think shows the fundamental cultural seriousness of Jobs and Apple, which in turn explains their huge success and impact. He might perhaps more accurately have said that Apple "stands at the intersection of technology, the liberal arts and commerce".

You may or may not be in the queue for an iPad in March, April, May or June. Or you may decide to stay your hand for version 2.0 or 3.0. But believe me the iPad is here to stay and nothing will be quite the same again. You should know, however, that plenty of industry commentators disagree with me. They have pronounced themselves less enthralled. It is perfectly possible I will be proved wrong about its enduring, game-changing place in the landscape and that people will gleefully rub my nose in this blog in two year's time. I'm certainly not wrong about how soul-scorchingly beautiful it is to use though. And that, for me, is enough.

p/s:sexy,sleek,slim n slender like my new gurlfren LOL ^_^

Regular sex prolongs life

People who have frequent sex are generally healthier. Most health benefits seem to be linked to penile-vaginal intercourse.

Frequent sex may also bring longer life, fewer coronary events, lower blood pressure. Nardini and her husband, a professional photographer, initially decided to have sex like bunnies with the hope that all the activity might help them overcome his-and-her bad habits: cigarettes and chocolate, respectively.

And indeed, the nightly trysts did help. But they also found, unexpectedly, that frequent sex made them feel better in other ways, too.

Nardini says they both slept better and had more energy, and she didn't get a cold or the flu all month as she usually does in the winter.

"Sex doesn't seem at first glance to be the cure for what ails you, but there's so many health benefits of having more sex," Nardini says. "Anyone can be better served by having more sex."

In fact, the experiment was so successful, the couple plans to have daily sex in January, too.

Researchers have long known that not only is sex fun (when done with the right person, of course), but that people who have frequent sex tend to live longer and have healthier hearts and lower rates of certain cancers.

These studies also show that men with an active sex life have healthier sperm, and sexually active women have fewer menopause symptoms.

A healthier heart

In a British study, people who had intercourse twice a week or more were less likely to have heart attacks and other fatal coronary events.

Those who had sex less than once a month had twice the rates of fatal coronary events, compared with those with the highest frequency of intercourse.

Lower blood pressure

In a study published in the journal Biological Psychology, people who had sex more often tended to have lower diastolic blood pressure, or the bottom number in a blood pressure reading.

Brody's experiment, in which more sexually active study subjects had markedly less dramatic blood pressure spikes when they were put under stress, also supports the benefit.

Lower risk of breast cancer

A French study found that women who have vaginal intercourse not at all or infrequently had three times the risk of breast cancer, compared with women who had intercourse more often.

Lower risk of prostate cancer

A Minnesota study found that men who'd had intercourse more than 3,000 times in their lives had half the prostate cancer risk of those who had not.

While it's not clear why this would be true, studies have found that men who had more intercourse tended to have better prostate function and eliminated more waste products in their semen.

"These differences could conceivably impact prostate cancer risk," Brody writes in his article.

Pain relief

Whipple and others have conducted studies suggesting that more sexual activity helps relieve lower back pain and migraines.

A slimmer physique

A study of healthy German adults revealed that men and women who had sex more frequently tended to be slimmer than folks who didn't have as much sex.

Sex burns 50 to 60 calories per encounter, Whipple says, so sex three times a week for a month would burn about 700 calories or the equivalent of jogging about seven miles.

Better testosterone levels

A group of men being treated for erectile problems saw greater increases in testosterone when, along with the treatments, they had frequent sex.

Specifically, men who had sex at least eight times per month had greater increases than those who had sex less than eight times per month.

* Fewer menopause symptoms Menopausal women in Nigeria experienced fewer hot flashes when they had sex more frequently.

Brody says this may be because sexual activity c helps regulate hormonal levels, which in turn affect r the symptoms of menopause.

Healthier semen

In three studies, men who had frequent intercourse had a higher volume of semen, a higher sperm count and a higher percentage of healthier sperm, compared with men who tended to participate in other sexual activities.

p/s:^_^ are u ready