Is it time to bid good bye to the Blackberry? In 2003, the company stormed the market with their push email product, BB messenger, and browser, which promised to change the way business was done.
Their march forward, fueled by their USPs, saw their subscriber count go up to 79 million customers around the world.
To their credit they were pioneers in secure push email, the USP they banked on the most, only to be copied by solution providers who soon came put with their own push solutions. But this was mostly a product aimed at business houses and for corporate email.
The QWERTY keyboard allowed the corporate yuppy to key in his email, with the least of typos which would never be possible on a flat touch screen. Secure chat helped fuel the ride of the BBM to the top and a browser that allowed a user to browse porn even over safe filtered internet connections gave Blackberry an edge over the rest. Like the DVD industry, it was no surprise what was propelling sales of BB devices to users who were not going to use it for secure corporate email communication. All this was soon to change, what with OTT apps like whatsapp and the Opera mobile browser, which obliterated the USP of the Blackberry.
Cheaper Android based devices and the more stylish iOS tablets and phablets ate steadily into the market share of Blackberry. The BB playbook tablet, an ill conceived keeping up with the jonses, device did not manage to revive its fortunes.
A rechristening of RIM to Blackberry was supposed to give it a new energy, but it only saw the company sacking over 4500 people, fat it had gained at its peak. New investors have now taken over the company, and without the infusion of a new spirit, which will see the release of new and innovative services and products it is hard to see where the company is headed.
BB surely has patents and 1.6 billion $ cash in hand and this corpus may see it through for a few more months.
The future is bleak and soon the Blackberry will be relegated to the annals of history, if they dont come out with new solutions besides nicer looking hardware, and a renewed focus on the corporate market!
Leave the chatting and porn to the consumer products, for the kids, and stick with the corporates to carve out a niche.


It’s one of those WTF moments, when you hear on the radio, while you are driving, that a case has been slapped on an actor because he appears on a poster smoking. 

Sure, cinema plays a very important role in Indian life. Actors are treated next to God, or rather the other way around, where even gods take a second place. The industry has yielded a lot of gems which form the Diamond Necklace that the Indian Cinema industry is. That automatically leads to a bit of imitation of style by some easily impressionable young minds and we can hope that this will be for the greater good of society. The movie itself carries a good message, if you look beyond the story, of living within your means, and now; dont smoke too!

The case slapped against Fahad Fasil an upcoming actor, who has been doing an excellent job so far, proving he is no rough diamond, is because he is portrayed as smoking in a movie poster. The rules (whose? god knows) states that there should be a statutory warning placed on smoking and drinking scenes. This must be to deter those who are considering taking up either or both as a past time or hobby. However, movies can depict violence, sexual violence and any other genre of violence against all genders without placing a statutory warning that it is a health hazard for the victim and punishable by law. Thats not done because everyone knows it would be as effective as lighting a cigarette under water. 

If the government or authorities or anyone is serious about banning smoking, because it is a health hazard, the first thing they should do is ban cigarettes (without which a certain actor would not be able to perform his trademark move) and not attack an artist. The censor board should have taken care of that. A ban on tobacco will definitely deter anyone from taking up smoking, but again it needs to be seen if cinema or tobacco and its products are the bigger contributor to the economy.

Any publicity is good publicity and that may be the case here, as the public will definitely sit up and take notice of the poster, the movie and the actor on it. 

Those who smoke and plan to start smoking…sadly…will always continue to do so…inspite of a poster, a warning or anything, as long as they can get their hands on a ciggie!

A few years ago, Asianet launched a Radio station, which was probably the first malayalam radio station in the Gulf. I went out a bought a SONY SW receiver in the hopes of listening to some Malayalam radio, as that station was being broadcast out of the UAE. My hopes were dashed when all I heard was faint sounds, in between a lot of static. The radio was stashed away. Expensive, non performing asset. Internet radio gave me access to 96.7 FM also being broadcast out of Dubai, which was small relief. 

The radio has found new life, with the launch of a Malayalam Channel in Kuwait. Yes, you read that right. Its been launched and they have a web page which is still being developed. The station is being broadcast on 98.4 FM. This might be seen as not such a big deal, but for the Malayalee expat, who can’t be separated from his Malayali movie music, this is IT. 

Now to tune my AV receiver and my car’s radio….

A recent trip to New Delhi, the Capitol of the second and latest member of the Billion plus club, India, had me wondering. What is the motivation behind releiving ones self, by answering the call of nature in the middle of the street or on the side of the highway in plain view of passersby, both pedestrian as well as motorists. What is this primal urge that still resides in Indians, that is common with animals, that has not been discarded along the path of evolution.
From Moraji Desai, former PM, famed to have consumed his own urine, ayurvedic treatments that prescribe mixing herbal concoctions with cow urine to bumper stickers which proudly proclaim ‘Maruti ne SUSU ki’, the Indians fascination with golden showers are evident.
I bear witness to this act of public display of excreta in other cities in India too, where the sanitation network leaves a lot to be desired. To see this in a city built a 100 years ago, developed to house the rulers of the colonies and then the colonial houses of the rulers, leaves me wondering, why can’t one wait till they reach a toilet.
Twice daily, every day for three days, that was the frequency, and at one point the driver of my cab stopped on the highway for a ‘pit stop’ and then zipped away, like it was the right thing to do.
Paintball, so far, has been a game of warfare and strategy, where plastic pouches of brightly colored paint are shot from high powered pneumatic pistols, to mark the opponent as killed in action, rendering them disqualified and ineligible to continue. It leaves a slight sting and a big splotch of paint.
An army of sharp shooters, trained in stealth tactics, roaming the streets and manning highways, creeping up behind these offenders who have their backs turned to decency and shame, and marking them as offenders with a shot of paint. Yellow, Yellow, dirty fellow…thats the color! Shock and awe, shame and maim. This might solve the problem or at least intimidate them.

The opposition must realize that more FDI means more jobs for Indians. Big chains are not going to destroy the small retailer. If anything, it presses them, to improve their quality of service, and perhaps this is what they are against. To provide a low standard of service and choice which we will be forced to accept. At the end of the day, its the customer who decides where he should spend his money. No one, no party or no government and definitely not the small retailer should oppose giving the customer a choice of goods or where he should purchase his needs from.

Established local retail chains such as Westside, Reliance or Big Bazar, dont seem to have an opposition to more competition and they have definitely not wiped out any of the pop and mom stores. Or is the opposition dancing to the tunes of these local chains by opposing more international competition which would up the ante forthe former and force them to improve their standards. This bill only presents more opportunities for these local chains so that theory can be dispelled.

It would seem that there are no Chinese goods in India now. Look around your own house, take 10 items, 7 will be made in China. The Chinese have moved ahead and dominated ouur homes, while India struggles to dominate its own. Lets stop blaming China for all pur woes.
They are ahead of the curve, we are not and need’nt catch up. We should develop our own curve.

If the opposition is against the bill, perhaps they should come up with an alternate idea which could develop as many jobs, the infrastructure and rejuvenate spending in the biggest middle class in the world. This FDI bill will result in leaner supply chains and better quality, which will be evident in the agricultural sector also.

The opposition is being irresponsible by blocking development, so that they can pass this bill, if and when they come to power and claim they did it.
Its time to look beyond partisan politics and work towards a better India.