February 27, 2013

On switching to a smartphone

Until a week ago, I was using a normal-to-me "dabba" phone - Nokia X2-01. Then on my father's insistence I got myself a "Smartphone", apparently the one which is normal for everyone else! So here it is, how a smartphone is attempting to change my life..

(I was wondering on the format on how I should have written this post, but I'll just go with this: The good versus The Bad followed by non-categorized thoughts, I am still wondering which folder to put it into.)

<!-- The Goody Folder-->
  1. Music Square
    The default music player on my phone has this feature called as the Music Square. With 4 different parameters to describe your mood - exciting, passionate, joyful and calm; I can decide the kind of songs I want to listen to by a swiping a graph. Cool, isn't it?
  2. Smart Alarm
    In the dabba phone, when I would set up an alarm, I would be awakened by the buzzing sound of the tone all of a sudden and ruin my sleep no matter how soothing a tone I keep. Here on the other hand, when I turn on the smart alarm feature I wake up less startled. Let's say I set the alarm tone as "Walk in the forest alarm" at 8:30 a.m. The smart alarm begins playing a "Fountain" tone 3 minutes just before 8:30 i.e. 8:27 onwards, a faint sound of fountain starts playing. Somewhere my sleep patterns get a hint of what's coming. And then at 8:30 when the alarm rings, I wake up fresh!
  3. Calendar
    Of course the dabba had a caledar too! In fact it very well reminded me of my Speakers Club timings, birthdays etc. However here the to-do-list is an excellent feature. I sort my to-do priority wise and keep them updated on the home screen. I always know what to do next! The interface - much much better!
  4. Email Connectivity
    Earlier, I could check my mail twice a day. Of course I am still not in the stage where I receive urgent and important emails but no sooner could that begin. Staying up-to-date with email is fetching it Brownie points. Not only can I reply spontaneously but also keep a check on latest updates.
  5. Apps on the Go
    Applications like let's say for instance dictionary have made life easier. I very well missed such an application in the dabba. Games like Logo Quiz, apps like GRE study, Sorting techniques, PDF Reader where I can read an Ebook is far better than forcefully listening to the neighboring lady crib about her husband's routine in the train journey!
  6. Health Care
    No, I am not talking of the "Count Calories" kind of applications, what I mean here is the health care by my phone when I increase the music volume. When I am plugged into earphones and increase the volume to 50%, a toast flashes "To lower the risk of damaging your ears, do not listen to music for a long time on higher volumes." Initially the first day when I came across this, I laughed. But only 5 minutes I realized I needed to reduce the volume. Ever since the toast makes me conscious.
  7. Screen Size
    The display screen is twice the size and I love watching videos here! Awesome. Finally I admit , size does matter :P
  8. Camera
    5 Megapixels, I thought I was gifted a new camera itself! Then there again, Dude anything looks better than having a VGA earlier! :D I love taking snaps from this phone.
  9. Contact Integration
    Joining a contact with gmail/facebook/contact numbers is quite a requisite feature. And the best part being, it automatically puts up a profile picture for each contact through either of these means; visual appeal rocks it. Sync is all thumbs up!
  10. Newspaper
    With engineering shcedule timings being too long and hectic, I would generally find no time to read an article from the newspaper that I might look forward to. Applications keeping me up to-date with news are a major reason why I liked switching to a smartphone now!

<!-- The Baddy Folder-->

  1. Games Addiction
    A few games have managed to pull me towards them like a magnet, the favorite one being Ruzzle. A word game, testing my competitve spirit and my flare with words, I go zesty whenever I play the game. The constant competition of who plays better is constant in my group!
    I hate getting addicted to games. They eat up plenty of my time without even making me realize what nonsense I am up to. And today if not one, next day the other, Endless games so as to endless timepass :|
  2. "Nothing is anything without me" - As quoted by Mr.Internet
    Android Market has a huge "bhandaar" of applications. With over 4 Lakh applications getting installed in mobile phones all over the world, the potential is HUGE! But-however-uh oh, we have a problem. Most of the applications work if and only if we have an internet connection. Now come on! Google goggles, searches a huge database, needs internet; zomato, restaurants price cards, from the internet; Justdial again the same. Quite a few many utility apps are over the internet. Agreed that they cannot be made online but then internet connectivity reduces the scope of its usage.
  3. Fancy Apps
    Certain applications, amazingly useful in my daily routine. However some I fail to understand the use for common people, students like me. For instance let us consider a Barcode/QRcode Scanner. I was initially so fascinated by the app. Tried out with shampoo bottles, chocolate wrappers, the computer department t-shirt, my college ID card, etc. After a certain limit, I was wondering what more can be done? No answer! Uninstall. Such apps great work but sadly no use to me really. I won't call it a disadvantage but it is not an advantage either.
  4. Handle with care
    treat it "like a lady" delicately! :\ Keep her dressed all the time
    Earlier my dabba was treated as a rough and tough piece, I would fling it from one corner to other corner of room without any worries. It would fall off great hieghts and sustain all injuries :P
    Ever since this delicate little model has been handed over, I have trouble treating it with care! My friends say treat her like a lady, with love and care :D
    Worst of all, unlike the dabba, this needs to be kept wrapped in a cover all the time. Seems the Lady looks better with her clothes!
  5. Typos
    Typinh errprs are crszy! Half thr tine I am busy correvting spellongs from the prebious senrence or keep pressibg "backspace" to avoud embarrassment. If by flule I get a spellong rifht, I wonder how did it actyally go rifht! Tge keys are tpp amall amd the wtong keys get pressed at qrong tomes.
    Tried the swipe festure, even tgat dodnot help :(
  6. Hang-err-force close-crashed
    A small poor little processor overloaded with more than what it can really handle, I pity the phone at times. Occasionally do I have to come across  an error message and wait for another 5 minutes waiting for it to settle down. Pain!
    PS: The above text may indicate I definitely go through the phone manual!
  7. Beep beep - Battery Low
    One of the major issues of using a smartphone is keeping up with battery drainage. Certain times there are certain applications which eat up the entire battery I would feed from home. And worst being, the percentage battery remaining keeps reminding when it's gonna go hungry again. Earlier, I would charge the phone once in two days. And now, its twice in one day!
<!-- Yet to be decided -->

  1. Social Connectivity
    Exactly! You might have been waiting for this to spring up somewhere in the advantages, but ah oh, it did not make it there! Why has she not mentioned Whatsapp, facebook, etc yet!? She was missing this on her phone previously! Then why is lying here, like an unanswered question with no tag/label to go with?
    Agreed that I am better connected socially now than I was before perhaps but there is a flaw in what seems "awesome". Why, why do I need 24x7 connectivity on facebook? Why does any notification be seen that moment itself? Its not important (Of course, its facebook, how can it be remotely significant?), it can wait. Whatsapp, gtalk, if a conversation is thaaat important, why don't you send in a text message? Or if it is thaaat urgent, why don't you call me? What I am trying to prove here is that every-second social connectivity as buzzing as it sounds, is not really important. Hence just getting whatsapp or messenger does not simply imply I am doing something great, in fact I am simply wasting a lot of time :\

Perhaps I haven't really spent enough time with the phone to let it sink in my daily life but I can definitely feel the restless movements made before the earthquake it might give birth to later in my life!
Maybe evetually as I discover more I might change many views, but one is sure for now, 

February 10, 2013

Marketing - A budding future!

This goes back to those times when I used to buy a pack of Cheetos just for the "free" tazos! And I am pretty sure quite many of us did the same as kids. Or maybe buy a bubble gum for a free tattoo which despite the pathetic designs, you'd vigorously rub on the back of the palm to ensure it lasts long. Then 2-3 days later it would turn all black and shabby. Whatever it be, free gifts have been a major reason we have bought many products from the market.

Women are known as shopaholics, buying stuff they remotely wouldn't need in the future. Yet they do! Even I do. Why? Because we fall prey to the "free" or "discount" or "sale" - the words which catch a glimpse and make us go on second thoughts. "I think I should buy it. I won't get such an offer later." That greed of an excellent bargain gives a huge temporary importance to something small.

I would often assume I was not one of those dumb girls buying anything and everything! But as I came across marketing techniques, I realized, I was already behaving like a padhi-likhi gawar! And adding to my fantasy is my mum, equally pushy towards buying new items. All in all, the word "free" is like a vada pav of the roadside stall. It looks like the tastiest thing in the world despite it's flaws.

Getting back to "free". Let's take the simple example of the Cheetos pack. On the detailed level, manufacturing that one tazo would have perhaps costed Fritolay less than 10 paise. But we as kids bought them for 10 bucks, 100 times the cost of the original. Let's say I ask my mum to buy me a pack of tazos, 10 tazos for 5 rupees, it'd still be cheaper! But no! We want the "joy" of adding each to the collection. Phew! Stupidity, stupidity, stupidity.

Effectively, the free item gets overvalued! And its essential purpose gets lost midway.

How brilliant a marketing technique for the PR persons. Considering recent publicity stints, even newspapers have not been spared of the advertising concept. Generally a paper can at max have a featured advertisement of a particular product. A shampoo sachet stuck along with the front page of the newspaper -  I never thought of advertising it that way! Innovation - when Volkswagen had a sensor attached to the paper, when you open the paper, you'd hear a car zoom in full speed and the newspaper would vibrate. Realistic feeling everywhere.

Taglines. Another strategy to keep the word of mouth alive. Let me share this experience with you. As a standard 10th student, a guest lecturer from the advertising field was invited to share her experience of the vastness and the scope of a career in advertising. She mentions the word "Thanda". We, the zesty crowd reply, "matlab Coca-cola". Her next question, ever wondered why did it become so famous? Amused, we couldn't answer. She mentions, in village areas of India, a soft drink is referred to as thanda. Agreed, we all knew this. But when in a village you demand a thanda, what the shop keeper gives you is a local branded soft drink. The tagline "thanda matlab Coca-cola" ensured that when thanda was demanded, Coca-cola was handed. Smartness, sheer smartness I'd say!

Perhaps that's what publicizing and advertising is all about. You need to know how to sell. Not only sell products but sell yourself. Don't take it in a literal way ;) but unless you cleverly highlight your resume, you can never be sure of being a hit with the interviewing panel.

Then there are always those fake "meet this celebrity" contests which want you to keep messaging them all day. Not to mention the heavy phone bill you pay later. No gain, only pain! But these techniques are getting older and new ones are replacing them soon. Say for instance, visit-our-website has become like-our-facebook-page or download-our-android-app.

And then once we are completely surrounded by these nagging advertisements, we have the "Try us! No advertisements" set of services. Whatsapp for example, a hit completely because it has no ads guaranteed whatsoever. Ad-blocks for Google Chrome, DoNotDisturb services for mobile operators, etc etc.

The potential of one word Marketing has become so huge that it is a full time business grossing high profits in any case. Whether there is a Global Crisis or an inflation, new products will keep coming and companies will keep paying a part of their profits to marketing organizations.

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