Are Good Times Over for Apple & Xiaomi Smartphones?

 Apple, Smartphones  Comments Off on Are Good Times Over for Apple & Xiaomi Smartphones?
Dec 172015

All good things of life must come to an end sooner or later.

And that holds true for the wunderkinds of the smartphone business too.

After a great run for the last few years, the good times appear to be drawing to a close for the two smartphone darlings, Apple and Xiaomi.

Xiaomi, Apple Face Hard Times in Growing Smartphone Sales

Challenges Loom

Both Apple and Xiaomi, wildly popular with millions of users, now face a seemingly insurmountable challenge in growing sales – market maturity in major markets like China (for Xiaomi) and North America (for Apple).

A lot of consumers including yours truly are also holding on to their older generation (Xiaomi and iPhone) smartphones for longer periods.

iPhone 6s

Apple faces an additional challenge due to its step prices, which makes its smartphones unaffordable to most people in high growth but low-income markets like India.

Not surprisingly, Apple has been forced to slash the price of its best-selling iPhone 5S model in India by nearly 50% in December 2015. Continue reading »

Ultimate Free Tool Box for Mac

 Apple, Open Source  Comments Off on Ultimate Free Tool Box for Mac
Dec 072015

Just because you forked out a gazillion dollars for your spanking new iMac or MacBook does not mean you must spend more money on buying a bunch of Mac applications.

In this post, we’ll consider several useful free and open source applications that work well on the Mac OS X platform.

Free is sweet, right? 🙂

So here we go.

1. Avast

No matter what you hear from the Apple fanboys, Macs too need protection from Malware.

There are too many bad actors lurking in dark corners waiting to pounce and devor unwary computer users.

Avast Free Mac Security

Further, there’s now a great deal of urgency because after terrorizing businesses and governments, ransomware creators have started targeting regular computer users and hold their computer hostage unless they pay a ransom anywhere from $300 to $3,000 in bitcoins.

Thank God, anti-malware software Avast is available for free on the Mac.

I downloaded Avast a few months back to my iMac and it’s provided timely alerts on several occasions when I was about to open a file containing malware.

You can download the free Avast application for Mac here. Continue reading »

Windows Phones – Dark Times Will Continue

 Android, Apple, Smartphones  Comments Off on Windows Phones – Dark Times Will Continue
Dec 042015

It seems there is no light at the end of the Windows Phone tunnel.

Market research specialist IDC has put out a new report on smartphones with a depressing take on the Windows Phone.

IDC’s number crunchers estimate that Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market (currently at a pitiful 2.2%) will grow by just 0.1% through 2019 to 2.3%.

Despite pouring billions into its smartphone business, Microsoft has little marketshare to show it.

Disdained by consumers, ignored by developers and brushed-off by mobile operators, Windows Phones continue to languish at the bottom of the smartphone pile.

Tough Times Continue for Windows Phones, Says IDC

Here’s what IDC had to say on the Windows Phones:

Despite all the effort Microsoft has put into the launch of Windows 10, IDC does not expect Microsoft’s share of the smartphone OS market to grow much over the coming years. In 2015, IDC expects the average selling price (ASP) of Windows Phones to be $148, which is $71 lower than Android’s ASP of $219. This was brought about by the Microsoft/Nokia push into the low-end mass market. While this approach helped drive shipments up to 34.9 million units in 2014, IDC is forecasting a year-over-year decline of -10.2% in 2015, followed by further decline in 2016. The weak results can largely be attributed to the lack of OEM partner support.

Although Android devices account for the bulk of smartphones shipments, Apple makes the majority of profits in the smartphone business.

Reflecting the turbulence in its mobile unit, leading Android smartphone vendor Samsung recently changed the head of its mobile division.

Koh Dong Jin has been named the new chief of Samsung Electronics’ mobile division replacing Shin Jong-Kyun.

How to Verify md5, sha1 and sha256 Checksum on Mac

 Apple, Security  Comments Off on How to Verify md5, sha1 and sha256 Checksum on Mac
Jul 202015

How to Verify Checksum on MacWhen we download or exchange a file, we need to be sure of the integrity of the file we have downloaded or exchanged.

By integrity, we mean checking if the file was corrupted or tampered with during download.

To ensure that the iso or any other file we downloaded is the same file as the one at the source, we do a Checksum verification.

Think of Checksum as a digital signature (comprising of a long string of numbers) used to verify the integrity of a downloaded file.

Checksum Verification

Here’s how to do a Checksum verification when you download a file to your MacBook, Mac Mini or iMac.

Major sites in the open source universe provide the md5 or shasum as a string of numbers when you download an OS like Ubuntu or an application. Copy the md5 or shasum number to a notepad so that you can compare it with the Checksum you generate.

Load up the terminal and run the md5 or shasum commands to verify the Checksums of your download. Continue reading »

Apple iPhones Fail to Crack Indian Smartphone Market

 Apple, Smartphones  Comments Off on Apple iPhones Fail to Crack Indian Smartphone Market
Dec 022014

Although some of you may think iPhones are as old as Adam and Eve, these modern era communication and computing devices have been with us for only about seven years.

But much has happened (a lot of it in the U.S.) in those seven plus years – Apple sold nearly 600 million iPhones, reaped tens of billions of dollars in profits, became one of the most admired companies, its phenomenal success contributed to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer being thrown out and buried Steve Jobs.

In the same period, I’ve watched hundreds line up for the latest iPhones outside Apple and AT&T stores, witnessed 14 and 15-year-old McDonald’s workers toying with their latest model iPhones, listened to 65-year-old fogies boast about gifting iPhones to their girlfriends and gone through three iPhones myself.

Oh yeah, I’ve seen Chinese people alighting from tour buses in droves at the nearby mall to buy tax-free iPhones to send them to eager buyers in China.

But while the rest of the world is going gaga over iPhone 5, 5S and the large screen 6 and 6 Plus, Indians have resolutely raised their collective middle finger to the iPhone.

That must be extremely distressing to Apple since India is still largely a feature phone market. At the end of the third quarter, smartphones accounted for 32% of the Indian mobile phone segment with feature phones taking the rest.

iPhones Fare Poorly in India

Indians Say No

Apple just can’t get those thrifty Indians to open their wallets to the pricey iPhones. Continue reading »

Shortages Persist for 64GB iPhone 6, 6 Plus

 Apple  Comments Off on Shortages Persist for 64GB iPhone 6, 6 Plus
Nov 052014

Apple’s new large screen iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones are easily available now but with a catch.

64GB Models – MIA

The 64GB version is hard to get hold of if you’re one of those looking for instant gratification (i.e. walk into a store with $399 and walk out 15-minutes later with an iPhone 6 with 64GB of storage).

We checked online and at a couple of stores including Best Buy, Walmart and an Apple retail store to see if we could get our hands on a 64GB model of either of the new models today (November 5, 2014). Continue reading »