Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Starbucks now lets you pay for your caffeine fix with your iPhone in New York City

Source: MobileCrunch
Here’s how it works: First you buy a Starbucks gift card. Then you load up the free Starbucks Card Mobile app on your iPod Touch, iPhone, or BlackBerry (Starbucks says 71% of their customer base carries at least one of these), punch in the details from the gift card, and you’re all set. The barista scans a code of your device’s screen when it’s time to pay, and your daily dose of caffeine is one the way. When the funds run low, you can refill the card right from the handset. Pretty nifty.

Read the full article here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Color Nook Could Be The Tablet Tipping Point

Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have downplayed actual e-reader device sales numbers, instead crowing about the number of ebooks sold in the past year. This is an important distinction because it shows few things about the Nook/Kindle audience. First, e-readers (dedicated e-readers, mind you, not tablets) are popular with heavy readers and, as a corollary, most e-reader owners buy a lot of books. However, the real value has been in the e-book format itself, as the popularity of the Kindle and Nook e-book stores can attest. Since the first e-readers trickled out of Sony in about 2006, the general audience has complained about the lack of a color option and their interest has been consistently drawn to tablets like the iPad, the Playbook, and the HP Slate. What’s an e-reader manufacturer to do?

Read the entire story at Crunchgear.

Falling in love only takes about a fifth of a second, research reveals

Falling in love can elicit not only the same euphoric feeling as using cocaine, but also affects intellectual areas of the brain. Falling in love only takes about a fifth of a second. The findings raise the question: "Does the heart fall in love, or the brain?"
Read the rest of the story at ScienceDaily.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Future of Credit Cards - Card 2.0

With most people having more than one credit and/or debit cards, carrying all your cards can be quite cumbersome, let alone the fear of losing all of them. To tackle this some people carry just a couple of cards leaving the others behind. But what if you are out shopping and need the one you left behind?

Dynamics, Inc. has come up with a brilliant solution for this problem with their programmable cards. So basically, while our conventional card has a one time loaded magnetic strip, the card from Dynamics comes with a programmable magnetic strip to communicate dynamic information. Although it looks like a normal card, it can do much more.

Currently they have two types of cards based on the nature of the consumer.

  • MultiAccount - The device includes two buttons on the face of a card. Next to each button is a printed account number and a light source. A user can select an account by pressing one of the buttons. The card visually indicates the selection by turning ON the light source associated with the selected account. Additionally, the magnetic-stripe information associated with the account is written to the Electronic Stripe™. The card can then be swiped at any magnetic strip reader. You can have a combination like credit/credit, debit/credit, debit/debit, credit/gift card, etc.
  • Hidden - The device includes five buttons on the face of a card and a paper-thin flexible display. The display hides a portion of a cardholder's payment card number. To turn the device ON, a user must enter a personal unlocking code into the card. If the user enters in the correct unlocking code, the card will then visually display the user's payment card number so that the user can read the number for online transaction. The magnetic stripe is then populated with the correct magnetic data such that the card can also be used with magnetic stripe readers. After a period of time, the display turns OFF and the Electronic Stripe™ erases itself - thus removing all critical payment information from the surface of the card. If the card is lost or stolen, the card is essentially useless. 
Other areas where this card can be used is institution identity cards, medical cards, security cards, etc.

The CEO of Dynamics, Jeff Mullen demoed the technology at Demo Fall 2010 in Silicon Valley, CA. Even though it is packed with a lot of electronic components, it is completely water proof, as shown by Jeff.

I feel this technology has a very bright future and can only wait to see what more can come out of it.

Source: Demo Fall 2010, Dynamics, Inc.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Google TV Announced - How many TVs do we need?

Only last week Apple announced it’s newly revamped Apple TV, which will allow users to stream movies and TV shows through iTunes,  stream web based videos from Netflix and YouTube, and also connect to various Apple handheld devices using Airplay. Many critics have said that this is a me too approach, since similar options like Tivo and Roku are already available.
Earlier this year in May 2010, Google had demonstrated a service for accessing the internet and other applications on the television and indicated that it will be available sometime this year.  At the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, Google CEO Eric Schmidt has reiterated its Google TV plans and said that the service will be available in the United States this autumn and worldwide in 2011.
Like the other players in the market, this service will be working with content providers for delivering content, and not be actually creating content. This just adds up to the list of me too services, although it’s more ambitious than others, and will eventually be available to consumers as part of their default TV experience.
It looks like with Apple’s announcement last week and the Logitech Revue set-top box (based around the Google TV experience) coming out this fall, Google had to launch its service during the fall season.
With quite a few existing players, and a whole lot of new players planning to bring the internet to the television, the battle for the $180 billion global TV advertising market is surely heating up.
 Source – Reuters, VentureBeat

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

3G in India may not be affordable for many


The Indian Government is all set to allocate the 3G spectrum to successful bidders from tomorrow, and we can now hope to get faster mobile internet services sometime soon, but not without a premium.

Sanjay Kapoor, CEO Bharti Airtel, India and South Asia, has indicated that India will not be getting the unlimited 3G data plans that consumers in most of the western countries enjoy. He elaborates that the potential of these unlimited plans to clog the networks and spectrum constraints, are the primary reasons why these services will have high costs. He goes on to say that although India has cheaper voice call rate compared to other countries, the data rates will be relatively higer. 

Sanjay says that users can get reasonable pricing if they use the 3G service in small packets, or adopt a sachet approach as opposed to heavy downloading, which he says is true even for the current 2G platform.

Sanjay also says that if the government sticks to the september deadline for allocation of the spectrum, we could see 3G services in some parts of the country by the end of the year.

Read the entire article by Economic Times here.

I think I will go for the wait-watch-adopt strategy rather than being one of the early adopters of the 3G services.

Source - Economic Times