Friday, January 29, 2010

Notion Ink: Another attempt at making a device in India

Wow! Now I am really excited about this one... and I really wish they can come up with a successful business model for tablet devices in India.

In my last post I mentioned about Pi, the e-book reader to be sold in India, and was not very happy about lack of "innovation" there. I also mentioned that Simputer was a remarkable product, but failed miserably in market (to read more about my views on Simputer look here:

Now, a few guys ( have setup Notion Ink with the intent of creating a tablet for Indian market ( And apparently they were at the CES.

This is good going. However, again for this to be really successful (as in consumers and developers appreciating it) there are few factors that I feel are important:

- Why would one want this device? A compelling reason(s) on why some one from Bharat will save and spend on this device, rather than just buying a mobile phone.

- The software stack. Merely porting an existing Android will not help. May I repeat, it will not help! It needs to create a whole ecosystem around it. What differentiates it from other Android devices, say for instance what Dell plans to introduce?

- What particular advantage is this device going to offer culturally? As in, culture in India. This is largely a software issue, and I think there is a lot of interesting things that can be done in this space, which address to some extent the above two points.

- Software developers are very important. You have to be able to attract "mindshare" in large numbers and it needs to be specific to your device. This cannot be just off the stock Android.

- Finally, price is a very (very) important issue in India. It has to be very rational.

I really wish that I can work with these guys. These are some of the issues that I would really like to address and seem fairly challenging to me.

(Update: The specs are out now, still no news on how the software and sevices will stack up, but the device has quite interesting usage scenarios. The rotatable camera is something that is cool design :) In any case, as of now this is definitely innovative than that Jojoo or Crunch Pad, or what ever...)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Indian Kindle!

The Kindle (from Amazon) is available worldwide, but is too expensive when shipped to India. On the top of it is English only (for the moment).

Now an Indian company ( have come up with an Indian clone for Kindle and its called the Pi. So much so that the site also looks heavily inspired by ... I did have wished that they would have been a bit creative here!

The plus point with this device is that it supports Sanskrit, Hindi and most of other official languages, which is missing in Kindle. The only truly missing point is wireless, the thing that makes kindle successful. To ignore it wont do good in long run, I think. Also the ability to make notes on kindle, along with the dictionary are two great reading aids, which I think would be completely missing in Pi.

The price of 10K is also too high, I think. The device should be below 5K to be popular in India. Some features like an SD card reader is actually not very useful, it should simply be removed and the cost saved.

Overall, I think it is interesting to see some thing like this come up in India. I think after the Simputer, this is the first IT hardware product made in India, and made for Indians. The Simputer was quite an innovation, which is missing to a large extent in Pi. Even then, kudos to Vishal Mehta and team for kick starting this. I hope he can open up the device for 3rd party programming too, possibly release an SDK along the lines of Amazon Kindle?

(Note: Pi is available for pre-order from

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Why search suggestions need to be a little better?

Just out of curiosity, I was searching “indian people” in Google, and and I was quite surprised to find the suggestions like this:

google-suggestionPersonally, I don’t feel annoyed or hurt about this, but definitely feel sad. The world’s best search engine “suggesting” people are “ugly” or what ever, is also quite funny. I think the search suggestions are a good idea, but they should better be reasonable!

Bing, for instance seems to be not that great, but at least it doesn’t give you quite absurd suggestions.

bing-suggestionsGoogle, when are you fixing that ;-) ?!


Update: After though, just thinking how this could be automatically filtered. Probably should assign negative weights for words that qualify (living) person or words like people or person or human. Well to be truly democratic, that should not be done, but then there needs to be exceptions for the well being of society.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Alice in multicore land

.. Is a talk that I gave for a conference recently held for the 60th birthday of my Ph.D. guide Professor S R Gadre

The slides (available here) were prepared just a day before the actual talk, and that too while attending other talks! So don't expect them to be perfect.

Any how I enjoyed giving the talk ;-) Hope the ISSC public did get something from it :P

Friday, January 08, 2010

Eee of Tablet

Asus Eee T101MT. Unless some one comes with a superior model, I plan to get one of these as soon as it is available:

and ditch my heavy laptop, for ever. Well, as far as mobility is concerned. I will still use it at office ;-)

I really hope that they are fast enough to introduce it in Oz as well, given that they have already cleared FCC.

- I also found out Lenovo s10-3t
- But I also found another interesting thing, the Pinetrail processor GPU GMA 3150 is apparently less capable than the GPU used with Asus T91 MT which is GMA 500 .. Also T91 MT is mere 960 grams. Makes me think if the older version is better for me !


I was not sure if I should ever write this .. but any ways just jotting down some random thoughts...

- Being on an India tour the most asked about question is: "Whats all the media reports about Bharateeya in Oz? Is that true?"
My conclusion: Belief of Indians in media reporting (especially sensational) is dropping, for good.
The bad: I almost felt like an Oz diplomat every time I tried to address this question.
The good: My very close friends did not ask that Q ;-)

That brings me to the Hindu report ( and again a reason why I read The Hindu than any other media in India.

- Hopped a number for flights in India (10 to be precise!). Was the first time I ever visited domestic airports (train being my first choice of long distance travel). Of all the airports, I found the Kochi airport to be best managed and also cheap on food. I could get 120 ml coffee for 15 INR as against hardly measurable amount of coffee for 40 INR at Chennai airport! Also the Chennai airport was the worst airport I have visited so far. The other airports I visited (in the decreasing order of goodness): Pune, Mumbai and Madhurai.

- The rikshaw travel from Pune airport to my home (which is hardly 2.5 km) is 80 INR! For me this quite literally amounts to: looting! Or am I missing the point of Inflation? Next time I should get less luggage and just walk down.