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Revolution Continues in Mobile Device Industry – SmartWatch Has Come to the Party

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Qualcomm Toq SmartWatch

Another mobile device which has the capability of creating a multibillion dollar industry has emerged. It is known as the SmartWatch. Will it become the next big thing in mobile device industry? When looking at the way Smartphone took off after 2007, we can expect SmartWatch to have the same behaviour as well. I say so because, people look for convenience. When Smartphone was introduced in 2007 people realized that they could perform most of the frequent tasks which they were performing using a PC at that time, using a Smartphone.

But with time Smartphones became a bit larger and now Smartphone vendors have introduced a hybrid version of a tablet and a phone. It is called the Phablet.  With people moving away from PCs to Smart phones, phablets and tablets it is inevitable to keep the screens of the devices smaller. But to take a phone call, to type a text message, to reject a phone call, to send an e – mail, to listen to music, etc taking the device out frequently might be a troublesome thing to do.

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Samsung Galaxy Gear – This Priced $299 in USA.

With the introduction of SmartWatch most of the frequent uses of Smartphone could be fulfilled without taking the device out. This is the convenience people will have and experience. But one thing SmartWatch vendors might have to look at is the price of the device. It is hard to believe people spending a few hundreds of dollars to buy the convenience it offers after spending a few hundreds of dollars for a Smartphone. At this argument would be relevant for developing countries.

Qualcomm introduces the first notable SmartWatch to the market. It is known as “Qualcomm Toq”. “Samsung Galaxy Gear” was the 2nd notable SmartWatch which took the interest of mobile device users. Samsung unveiled it on 25th September 2013. Samsung Galaxy Gear cost USA consumers $299. This is a bit higher price for a user in a developing country. Sony introduced their SmartWatch – Sony SmartWatch 2, this week for a price of $199.99 in USA. Still the price is a concern for a user in a developing country. Rumors are there about a Google and an Apple SmartWatches as well.

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Sony Launched Their SmartWatch – Sony SmartWatch 2 in mid October 2013

During the launch of Samsung Galaxy Gear in Germany, Samsung’s head of Think Tank Team and Director of Research introduced the device saying that Samsung’s SmartWatch as one of the engineering marvels of 21st century and he finished his speech by welcoming the world to the future.

Surprisingly HP and Lenovo have not announced anything related to its own SmartWatch, where as all other notable mobile device vendors have announced their interest in having their own SmartWatch. Even Nokia has announced their interest in having own SmartWatch. One notable challenge SmartWatch vendors have to address is, making them compatible with maximum number of Smart Phones.

Bell Labs to Silicon Valley – Part 2

Aftermath of Invention of Transistor and William Shockley

Silicon Valley Roots Shockley Semiconductor Lab

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory – The Building Which Gave Birth to “Silicon Valley”

It was not clear whether Bell Labs knew the gravity of the invention they did in 1947. This is a very interesting question which is a bit hard to find a unique answer. I say so because; it is not Bell Labs which is experiencing the real fruits of transistor. Until the invention of transistor there was no place in the earth which had the generous of Bell Labs. After the invention of transistor, did Bell Labs loose the generousness it had? This would be a fascinating question to answer.

Though William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain were the members of the team which invented the transistor, some part of the credit should go to the Head of Research – Mervin Kelly at that time. He was the person who pushed this team to start the research in 1945. Formation of the research team was a real radical move where he ignored most of the senior researchers and giving the leadership to William Shockley who was a young and energetic physicist at that time. Kelly did not put physicists with physicists, chemists with chemists, engineers with engineers, etc. He made up the team more diverse by including people with diverse backgrounds which ultimately became the reason for the success in 1947.

12/2/1965 William B. Shockley, Nobel Laureate in physics

William Shockley – Won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956 Along With John Bardeen and Walter Brattain. He Started His Career at Bell Labs, Moved to Silicon Valley to Start Shockley Semiconductors and Later Became a Professor at Stanford University.

It is said that transistor research team was an intensively collaborative group. William Shockley has done a great job in leading the team as a co-leader. He has supported all the norms and values of Bell Labs during the period between 1945 – 1947. This was the era where there were no cubicles. All the managers were practicing open door policy where anyone could approach anyone at anytime. William Shockley was also practicing these things while engaging with the research.

After the invention Bardeen and Brattain started further development of the device. They were able to come up with an improved version of the transistor – point contact transistor. William Shockley did not like this advancement made by his subordinates. He felt jealous about it. This jealousy leads him to develop the junction transistor. This shows that even though he felt jealous, he liked the idea of improving the transistor. But this act of William Shockley was something against the norms and values of Bell Labs at that time. One of the norms at Bell Labs at that time was not to compete even with subordinates you manage. Mervin Kelly was the prime example for this. Though he encouraged the set of youngsters to come up with a solution to solve the issues faced by telecommunication switching system, he knew that the thing that he spent majority of his life developing would become irrelevant once William Shockley’s team come up with a solution. He knew that Vacuum Tubes would become irrelevant. But he had that great quality of looking at the success of his subordinates and celebrating it with them while giving the credit. But unfortunately or fortunately (This is a dilemma) William Shockley did not have that.

When Jon Gertner interviewed the Nobel Prize Winner Phil Anderson, he has said that William Shockley could never be forgiven for the transgression William Shockley made. William Shockley’s jealousy made Bardeen quit Bell Labs and move to Illinois to become a Professor. Brattain did not quit Bell Labs. But he never took up assignments with William Shockley. The most generous research team of 20th century broke apart due to the unacceptable behaviour of William Shockley.

After the incident William Shockley stuck in a middle management position. Mervin Kelly never expected the once an intensively collaborative team to broke apart as it happened. He was disappointed by the behaviour of William Shockley. Kelly realized that William Shockley is never going to succeed in managing people. He decided to get the contribution of greatest abilities and phenomenal intellect of William Shockley to projects which William Shockley could play a part as a team member.

But William Shockley had other ideas. He wanted to move up the management ladder. Due to lack of advancement he got frustrated. He took a decision in 1955 and quit Bell Labs and New Jersey. He moved to Santa Clara valley, California where he decided to put up his own company. He set up “Shockley Semiconductors” in nearby Mountain View in 1956. Initially he tried to hire some of his former workers from Bell Labs, but none of them wanted to leave the east coast, then the center of most high-tech research. Instead, he assembled a team of young scientists and engineers.

Later the area which William Shockley set up his own company became home for companies which changed the direction of whole human civilization. The place where William Shockley put up his company is now known as “SILICON VALLEY”, which is the home for Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. With time passes Bell Labs started to lose its grip as the premier center for technological innovation and R&D. Most tech people started to come to silicon valley and “Mushroom Effect of Entrepreneurship” made silicon valley the premier center for technological innovation and R&D in the world. Silicon Valley still holds that crown.

Samsung to Expand Galaxy S Family – Samsung Galaxy S 5 Launch Predicted in Early 2014

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Hotly Anticipated Samsung Galaxy S 5 Might Launch in January 2014

According to the latest IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker which was released on July 25, 2013, by the end of the 2nd quarter of 2013, Samsung shipped more than doubled the total volumes of the next largest vendor – Apple, and shipped more units than the next four vendors combined. Samsung lead the Smartphone vendor list quite comfortably with a market share of 30.4%.

As per my view two factors have contributed vastly to the success of Samsung Smartphone. Those factors are continuous innovation and R&D and Android OS. They got the right mix in right time, which leads them to become market leader in the domain which Apple Inc. founded in 2007.

Year 2013 has been a challenging year for Samsung. They had to face a ban in USA. Apple Inc., Samsung’s biggest rival filed a case stating that Samsung has infringed 4 of Apple’s patents. Samsung found guilty of infringing on two patents: one that covers touch-screen technology, as well as a patent dealing with headphone jacks. This was not the first time they faced such a challenge from Apple.

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Samsung – Apple Clash Has Become a Normal Thing Now a days

After the ban was imposed by USA Government Samsung spokesman Adam Yates issued a statement. After addressing about the ban, he has given a hint about the strategy which Samsung is going to follow in launching Smart devices. The statement is as follows. “Samsung will continue to launch many innovative products, and we have already taken measures to ensure that all of our products will continue to be available in the United States.”

Unlike Apple, Samsung has had a very shorter time periods between their products. Samsung Galaxy Smartphone series is a prime example for this. The Galaxy S4 launched in April of this year, a follow-up to the Galaxy S III that launched 11 months prior to that. In between a few other Samsung products were launched. Samsung Galaxy Note II, Samsung Galaxy S III Mini, Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 are some of the famous products which were launched in between S III and S IV.

At the beginning of this week a Korean news website Naver (www.naver.com) has reported that Samsung is going to launch its 5th member of Samsung Galaxy S family by the end of next January. If that happens the S IV and S V are only 9 months apart. Naver news site belongs to a Samsung’s ex – employee according to a few blog posts.

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Samsung Exynos Processor

Samsung Galaxy S V is predicted to have a 16 megapixel camera in it. It is an improvement from the 13 mega pixel camera Samsung Galaxy S IV has. All the previous versions including the Samsung Galaxy S IV had all plastic cases. But S V is predicted to be different. It is predicted to have an all metal case. Also Samsung might go for a Samsung Exynos processor to replace the Qualcomm Snapdragon chip in the Galaxy S4. New optical image stabilization feature is another feature that is predicted to have in S V.

Samsung Galaxy S series lovers can wait until the end of January 2014 or end of February 2014 to see the launch of the brand new device. But let’s hope the wait would be a quite a unique one which would lead to quite a unique experience.

Nest – A Company with “APPLEness”

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Nest Protect – Reinventing the Smoke Detector

I believe it is ok to say that APPLE Inc. is another name for INNOVATION. Apple Inc. can be considered as the most innovative organization in 1st decade of 21st century. That is because, whenever Apple Inc. has come up with a product it has revolutionized the field that product belong to. iPhone, iPad and iPod are prime examples to prove it.  Some people believe that Steve Jobs as the reason for Apple’s success in technological innovation. There can be a truth in that. But how many engineers, designers, developers, etc might have put their efforts, ideas, etc to make those products a success?  

Tony Fadell is one such person who has put all his efforts to make Apple iPod a success. Tony Fadell once ran Apple’s iPod division and was part of Steve Jobs’ inner circle. To head iPod division and to work closely with Steve Jobs there should be something special about Fadell.

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Tony Fadell – The Founder and CEO of NEST. Fadell once ran Apple’s iPod Division. Due to that he has that APPLEness in him.

Now Tony Fadell has become an entrepreneur. He has started his own company named ‘Nest’with the support of a few investers – Google Ventures, Generation_, LightSpeed Venture Partners and Shasta Ventures. What Fadell says about Nest is as follows. “We take the unloved products in your home and make simple, beautiful and thoughtful things”.

The first ‘unloved’ thing Nest has chosen is the ‘smoke detector’. It is very hard to see smoke detectors in homes in most developing countries, though it is the case with developed countries. But in each country almost every commercial building has smoke detectors. When I saw the images and the idea of Fadell I had doubts in my mind. But the way he has given the thought about smoke detectors is completely different from the way I lead my thought process.

When he was asked about the reason for him to go for a product like a smoke detector he has replied by saying “Why not smoke detectors? Why hasn’t there been any innovation since the ’70s in smoke detectors as far as I can tell? They look basically the same. They do basically the same thing. And they annoy you the same as they did the ’70s when I was growing up. You know, they beep at night. They’ll beep and go off when you’re cooking, when you’re taking a shower”.

Steve Jobs and Apple revolutionized the way computer is being used in 1980s. The same combination revolutionized the music industry with the introduction of iPod. In 2007, with the introduction of iPhone, same combination revolutionized whole mobile phone business and data business all around the world. Being an Apple’s ex employee Fadell also seems to be having the revolutionary mind set. He and his team has the idea of revolutionizing the way a typical home is functioned. With the use of available technologies such as internet, mobile phones, etc Nest expects to revolutionize the way people are typically connected to their Homes.

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Nest Plans to do What Apple Does. They are planning to revolutionize the way people engage with their homes.

Fadell says that smoke detector launched by Nest, namely ‘Nest Protect’ and the previous product to Nest Protect – ‘Nest Learning Thermostat’ are only the starting point of the revolution. Answer to the question whether Nest would become successful or not could be seen in coming years. But Fadell and his team is quite certain about their success. It is quite clear from following statement which has made by Fadell. “Absolutely. Look, we’re talking about revolutionizing yet another category that you interact with at some point in your life or is part of your life. … We are passionate about … thermostats, and we’re passionate about smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Why? That’s what it takes to reinvent categories. You need to have the passion. This isn’t just about business. This is about changing our lives and changing your lives to make it better.”

Nest is a company which is trying to grab a ‘Blue Ocean’ through continuous innovation and R&D. When looking at the things that they are trying to achieve one would say there is nothing extraordinary in the idea. But the specialty is in the way these people have knitted the existing resources and the concept of theirs. When looking at the concept they will use the networks of Telecommunication Service Providers heavily. That is to make the connectivity between the devices they are going to use in the solution. At the end of the day any operator could name Nest’s solution as a value added service. In near future Nest will come to your country as well. I say so because, Fadell says that their product can be seen in 90 odd countries.

So, if we could apply some Appleness to our thinking, with the great telecom infrastructure available in most parts of the world anyone could come up with a multibillion dollar idea. Finally it would be good to look at what Fadell says about his past involvement with Apple. As per him that is the place where he has learnt about ABCs of entrepreneurship.

“Apple was an amazing experience. And many of the people here are from there. And the biggest lessons we learned is about experience, right? It’s all about creating experience. Not just a product experience, but a sales experience. How do you learn about the brand experience? About how people communicate the experience they have to their friends and family. You know, I learned before coming to Apple about how you could make a great experience in the product. At Apple, [I learned] how you sell it. How you package it. How you unbox it. All of those things were key to the experience, and what we believe we’re doing here at Nest.”