Manan Kakkar

Business Analyst. Technology Observer.

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Instagram, a compromise in good UX for simple UI

Instagram started growing on me as Twitter and Facebook both became places where I’d only share specific type of content. A few months ago I got an iPhone 5 and have been quite active on Instagram. But I hate the app’s UI. The UX is simple and perhaps the conflict between simple UX and good UI makes itself evident. Here are few examples.

1. When was the image taken:
Clearly 111w is very useful to a human. I only wish my Math was so damn good that I could calculate when the images were taken without WolframAlpha. Then again, how would you show the date & time – and that’s conflict 1.

Instagram shows" 3h" which is a simple UX element but the moment you go more, say 30d, it loses its value. And showing date any other way affects the simple UI.

2. Opening an image:

The first time I used Instagram I tried tapping the image once to “open” it, it didn’t. I then double-tapped hoping that...

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When I saw Smasung’s ad, I laughed. Not only due to the humor ad but at those who line-up. There was a sense of Apple mocking, a signature Apple marketing tactic that Apple used against PCs.

The Samsung ads have a lot of owners riled up. The ad has evoked an emotion–that’s the purpose of advertisement. On the other side of the table, Samsung’s ads have given Samsung/Android phone owners an identity against Apple, as if they’re the cool ones–the same way as Apple tried to advertise Macs against PCs.

The target markets for Nokia & Samsung are different.

Samsung: those who’ve decided on buying the iPhone, hence more aggressive

Nokia: those upgrading to smartphones and still undecided, hence not aggressive

It’s hypocritical of those who appreciated Apple’s Mac vs PC campaign to feel Samsung’s ads are in poor taste. The ads aren’t in poor taste, it’s just instead of those laughing at...

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The number of iPhone 5 pre-orders has become huge news. Good for Apple blogs, they get page views. But the fact of the matter is, the number of pre-orders shared by Apple doesn’t matter. Why you ask? Well, because, 2 years ago Apple announced the iPhone 4–and there were millions of those sold. Millions of people who already owned the iPhone 3G got the iPhone 4 and have been locked into the Apple ecosystem. They will be upgrading their phones because like any other 2 year upgrade cycle in the US, people want the latest.

The iPhone was the first and was going after shitty phone users, Android came along and started going after those who didn’t want the iPhone still wanted a better phone. Windows Phone 8 is trying to get the RIM users and those that don’t want either the iPhone or Android. And that’s what should be Microsoft’s marketing. Like the 47% American voters that Romney can’t...

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Device as a Service: MSFT & Amazon

“You’ll probably think of us more as a devices-and-services company. ” – Ballmer to Seattle Times

“Kindle Fire is a service.” – Bezos launching Kindle Fire HD

Here’s the thing though, despite MSFT’s attempt to make Surface into a device as a service (DaaS?), Microsoft is less likely to make as much money as Amazon. Microsoft’s two key products that will be pushed through Surface are Windows and Office, now since Office will be a part of Surface RT, MSFT won’t be making any money there; they will however strengthen Office’s relevance on tablets. On Surface Pro, MSFT will make money through Office and make a stronger case for Office on tablets.

Content is where MSFT’s DaaS is weaker than Amazon’s. Prime include free 2-day shipping, movies, music, cloud sync, books. Compare MSFT, and all we have is music & movies–with Xbox LIVE. Amazon has content to offer on a content consumption...

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Release dates

To a consumer in the market looking to buy, what is available today and what will be available in the immediate future matters. Not everyone is a rich pompous technology analyst or hipster Valley investor that they can afford to buy an iPhone 5 today and a Lumia 920 in two months. I can’t. Many others can’t.

For us, we need to know what’s in the market when we are looking to buy. We also need to know what will come to the market in 3 months, you know, because we don’t want to feel like idiots. As an analyst one looks at projections and road maps, so when they say a product available 3 weeks from now can’t be compared to one that’ll be available 6 weeks from now, I question their professional expertise.

The Lumia 920 might not have a ship date but if common sense is any indication, it’s coming in November. If I am not locked to an ecosystem or blinded by its gloss, I’ll look at what is...

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Innovating the iPhone

I’m kinda getting tired of two arguments:

  1. Apple isn’t innovating with the iPhone
  2. Apple didn’t add NFC because it isn’t ready

Here’s the thing, making something smaller while improving performance doesn’t happen on its own. Apple’s first innovation is to be able to fit a 4" screen in a phone that’s barely 10mm longer than the previous one. The iPhone 4S hits the sweet spot in terms of form factor. The Lumia 900 for comparison feels heavy and uncomfortably huge. iPhone 5 in black looks gorgeous.

And stop comparing iPhone launches to the original iPhone launch. For one, that phone lacked most of the commonly available features, much like today’s iPhone 5; second, we saw the software and hardware announced on the same day–it was a double whammy. Apple wasn’t the first company to use a capacitive screen, they weren’t the first ones to do a touch screen phone, but what they showed was a...

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Stylus and the pen

In the world of Apple apologists (and I don’t use this term lightly) Steve Jobs’ quote about having a stylus is the end to every argument. The debate around having a stylus, today, is misguided. There’s a fundamental difference between a stylus and a pen, one that these Apple apologists prefer to ignore or understand.

The Stylus was introduced in an era when computers were pointer-based interfaces, not finger touch based. The Stylus was used as a substitute to a mouse. The Stylus also doubled as a pen simply due to its form factor. The purpose of the stylus has to be understood and that of a pen needs to be considered. The stylus acted as a pen and that does not mean in the age of the multi-touch finger based tablets, the pen is irrelevant. Or that the need for a pen has been eliminated. The need for a stylus as a UX element has been eliminated. The pen is still an integral part of...

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