06 August 2008

Have we peaked out technologically ?

The Ctrl-Esc-Boys brainstorming thread regarding career switch spawned a another thread on technology saturation. Being decently updated in technology from information point of view, I had to respond to Ritesh's statements and the discussion continued.

Ritesh's statement on technology & future:
Today we have reached a situation where we don't want to change our cells, computers and gizmos. partly because we have peaked out technologically for the present. How many upgraded to Vista ? have a 3G handset & own an iphone? . The truth is that technology is stagnating because of reducing demand for the incremental features.

My response:
  • Nice views, but I don't agree to your views on technology saturation. Luxury of one decade will be need of subsequent decade. 10 years back ... Did anyone of us really used to bother about of not having a mobile ?... I wonder how people used to plan trip/treks and plan meet at a particular location without mobiles :)
  • Why we don't have an iPhone ? Because it is not yet legally available in India ...Globally why iPhone didn't picked up in last one year ? because iPhone 2.5G was not a complete smartphone whereas latest iPhone 3G overcomes it. Have a look at the sales iPhone 3G in last one month and telecom service providers all round are wooing Apple for selling iPhone on contract! It's killer feature is safari browser, its experience of web-browsing browsing beats other smartphones by miles.
  • Web browsing on mobiles ? I feel it will be a need within 5 years .. with traffic situation is getting bad day by day .. people will be forced to travel more than an hour to office .. then iPhone type phones with 3G connection will come handy ... because people will be lazy enough to take out laptops and browse :)
  • Coming to Window Vista .. why are we not using it ? Simple it doesn't do anything great and has lots of issues ... many people say it will be last of its kind of product (OS) developed by a closed community ... to say in ur words OS type project in future will be done by artists, not businessmen.

Ritesh's response:
Defly you are much up-to-date on the technology front. But what I am telling is that talking is a necessity, messaging is an accessory & browsing on the mobile will be a big thing in years to come but :
  • How many people will pay for this service ? - the ones whose company sponsors it use it , else businessmen .. most mobile users are naive users. Did you notice that the mobiles have to drop prices by a huge amount to make u buy a mobile nowadays ? In turn the companies working for these handset manufacturers will have rising wages and lowering margins.. This is not a sunrise sector anymore.
  • I know Iphone is a bad example but even if it is available, it should be available at a discount to nokia to sell here . We techies will buy it at a premium but local junta wont.
  • I used to upgrade OS every year from 2000 to 2004 .. now I dont .. Why ? forget Vista I dont want to upgrade bcos there is no incremental advantage.. Now Shande .. if you were the microsoft CEO what would have you done to make people buy the next version of software ?
  • Processors :- Do we go for the fastest processor these days ? I have seen people going for the most cost effective one as the processing power is far more than they want anyway...
Question which comes is : What do we make to make people buy new technology of any kind ?

My response:
It's a billion dollar question for industries worth trillions of dollars. I don't have the answer of it .. one way we can do it by making existing version defunct or inferior … here are some additional thoughts.
  • As a Microsoft CEO I am going do what Nitin Pujari said in our first CCP class in engineering. Introduce a bug somehow in old version so that people buy an upgraded version. That won't be ethical in the real world. But as per my knowledge Microsoft was planning to stop support for Win-XP in order allocate more resources for ailing Vista. I think indirectly they are doing what Nitin Pujari had said.
  • Being in mobile terminals domain for last 2 years I feel companies always avoid making a perfect mobile phone. They expect people to get bored with a mobile within 6 months. Also people want to break pattern, but in the process 'breaking the pattern' also becomes a pattern! So I feel people are not going for frequent upgrades of mobiles as 2-3 year back.
  • I agree mobile industry is not a sunrise sector … margins are getting low … companies are losing a lot of money in integration/testing … so they are planning go for a stuffs developed by artists i.e part of components which are developed open source .. Android is one such example.
  • Regarding premium prices … many technology products are initially very high …may be companies want to recover RnD costs or they don't may people buy it because a new product will have many issues .. Moto Razr was 25K+ when it was launched and also Nokia 6600(also 25K) was a kinda dream phone when we were doing engineering. But what happened 1-2 years after launch .. prices were half the launch price and every tom, dick, harry had similar kind of phone.
  • With increase in processing speeds there have been better phones .. some people have upgraded but many have not… the major factor for this is our poor networks and delay in issue of 3G spectrum license … mobile phones are still a conversation device(just a phone) for many people … but it's going to be a communication device(like computer) soon … with growth of Internet in India especially in vernacular languages .. who knows in future a auto rickshaw driver will be reading a kannada blog on 'How to calibirate a autorickshaw meter' in a iPhone type device.
  • In India are technology penetration is very low compared to tech-savvy countries like Korea,Japan. The scenario may change in future or gradually changing(?) … recently in a barcamp I met a co-founder of a start up company developing mobile phone games .. he was telling that highest downloads of his games happen in Uttar Pradesh and other North Indian states … so we can't ignore a section of people as na├»ve users .. they may fetch more revenue in future. If we look at stats .. population of U.P. is more than entire population of Europe put together!

[The views expressed here are not entirely my own, it is somewhat integration of my thoughts with one-liners several other people whom I have met in seminars, events etc.]

1 comment:

  1. vista wasnt popular becoz what ppl saw was bad perf
    especially on their existing hw
    i do agree it had bad perf
    but all the same ppl shud understand that hw has become cheaper n better
    and they shud be moving ahead with better hw
    also vista had really v gud security enhancements
    which ppl failed to appreciate
    the next version hopefully will meet expectations with regards to perf issues