A Free Smartphone Would Mean Selling Your Soul To Amazon

first_imgdan rowinski Tags:#Amazon#Carriers#free#smartphones Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Everybody loves a free gadget. Or at least a very cheap one. E-commerce king Amazon is well aware of this fact and according to a recent report, could launch its own smartphone for free to the public. A free smartphone? There has to be a catch. And of course there will be—if it ever happens at all, that is.See also: Amazon Reportedly Working On A 3D SmartphonePeople “familiar with Amazon’s effort” told tech reporters Amir Efrati and Jessica Lessin that Amazon has been mulling the idea of giving away its long-rumored smartphone. The general notion is that Amazon would make the phone available without a carrier contract for … nothing.Amazon has a long history of trying to undercut its competitors on price, often in hopes of convincing customers to buy more stuff from Amazon.com. But a straight up free smartphone would be extreme. Many Android smartphones are very cheap these days, but not many of them are sold for nothing.Efrati and Lessin hedge their bets quite a bit in the report, as their sources told them that the free strategy may never happen:The free strategy isn’t set in stone and depends on several factors, including Amazon’s ability to work out financial arrangements with hardware partners, said one of the people who is familiar with Amazon’s smartphone effort. This person and others expressed skepticism about Amazon’s ability to pull off a free device.Amazon, of course, would most likely give away a smartphone only after tying it to all of the company’s services. Want music? You have to get it from Amazon. Movies? Amazon’s Video On Demand. Books, TV shows, apps … Amazon has all those, too. A paid subscription to Amazon Prime (at $79 a year) might also be in order.Essentially, a free smartphone would mean selling your soul to Amazon.Amazon Has Gone Down This Road BeforeSee also: What The Kindle Fire Says About Amazon’s Rumored PhoneFor instance, look at Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets. They are cheap (by comparison to other major tablet makers) and they are restrictive. If you want an app, you have to use the Amazon Appstore for Android. Want to get something from Google Play? Not going to happen. Amazon completely blocks the ability to access Google Play—even the Google Play website—through the Kindle Fire.The company makes its own browser, has its own cloud storage services and content. If Amazon is giving you a smartphone, you are basically consenting to do nothing but purchase anything and everything from Amazon.This might not be an entirely bad arrangement, especially if you buy most of your stuff through Amazon anyway. And Amazon could make it even sweeter.Right now, even if you get a cheap smartphone, you have to pay the gatekeepers: the cellular operators. That cabal includes the likes of AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and many other second and third tier operators in the United States. One way or another, you have to pay for voice and data plans and texts. Often you are getting sucked into a two-year contract with these companies and the operators know exactly how to wrench every last cent out of their users. Amazon’s Secret Weapon: Free Data!But what if you didn’t need a contract? Or even to pay for data? Amazon might be able to pull that off.Amazon has kicked around the idea of becoming a MVNO, a mobile virtual network operator. A MVNO is an entity that basically resells service from one of the established cellular carriers. MVNOs are often independent SIM card sellers like Simple Mobile or H2O Wireless.Sometimes, though, MVNOs operate specifically to serve up limited connections that deliver a small amount of wireless data from one point to another. In this way, Amazon already kind of works like an MVNO. If you have a Kindle e-reader with cellular connectivity, you’ve experienced it already.Amazon has relationships with carriers across the world to provide data for users wanting to download books or newspapers on their Kindle readers (not the Kindle Fire tablets, though—just the e-ink variety). Users don’t pay for this service, and Amazon recoups the cost when a consumer buys a book on their Kindle. Amazon has already kicked around the idea of becoming a MVNO in markets like Japan.Theoretically, Amazon could extend this capability to a free smartphone. It would mean becoming a full blown MVNO, as opposed to just buying some carrier data capacity for e-books, and Amazon doesn’t really have much experience in that market.But, say you get a free Amazon smartphone that gives you free or very cheap data and voice service up to a certain point—say, 1GB per month. Wouldn’t that be an enticing deal? Amazon could pull it off and completely disrupt both the smartphone manufacturing industry and the carrier model in one blow. Amazon then recoups the cost when you buy anything with the device. It might be a far-fetched plan, but so is the idea of a free smartphone. Jeff Bezos’s company has shown that it is crazy enough, and ambitious enough, to try it.  Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Hills party representatives to fast unto death for Gorkhaland

first_imgAn all-party meeting in Darjeeling on Tuesday concluded that one representative of each political party in the hills will undertake a fast unto death from July 15 to take forward the demand of Gorkhaland.Announcing the decision, Benoy Tamang, Assistant General Secretary of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), said the ongoing indefinite strike that began on June 15 will continue.In addition, the parties also decided to lay seige to the offices of the District Magistrate and Sub Divisional Officers with the help of Gorkhaland supporters from July 14.The Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC), convened by the representatives of all the political parties in the hills, decided that all awards received from West Bengal Government would be returned on July 13. The chairman and vice chairman of the development boards set up by the State government has been asked to resign at 6pm on July 14.Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who addressed a public gathering at Digha in Purba Medinipur assured people that her government would restore peace in the hills.While she urged the people in the hills to give peace a chance and not play with fire, she accused the Centre of creating tension in the Darjeeling hills.last_img read more

No cricket minus justice for 26/11

first_imgWar minus the shooting is how author Mike Marqusee painted the complex portrait of a sub-continent in ferment, set against the backdrop of the 1996 cricket World Cup, the most extravagant and controversial event in the history of the game.The title is most apt for India-Pakistan cricket jousts. Agreed that a gladiatorial contest between the two nations on the playing field – irrespective of whether the sport is hockey or cricket, it gives the viewer strange sort of adrenaline rush, pumping up emotions and transporting them into a different zone – it is also a synonym for a proxy war.No sporting rivalry can replace this feeling, this level of intensity, this junoon . I know that every time sporting relations between the two nations are normalised, the fires are stoked in this debate. It gets ugly, people get nasty and words are exchanged. The reality sadly is that while sport transcends political barriers, impediments and imponderables, India and Pakistan are a completely different kettle of fish. So, am I one of the faithful who are going to argue for restoration of sporting ties? Far from it. Bah!This is not akin to anything, anywhere else in the world. The Ashes don’t compare. Germany playing Greece in the recent Euro Cup was a one-off. It had the necessary edge because of the recent politics in the Euro Zone, but it was a one-off. For sheer continuity, sheer magnetism and as a spectator sport, it is singular. The contests have an edge, the players raise the level of their game, the ridiculous and the sublime are all part of the tamasha.advertisementAt the same time, all this hype and hoopla notwithstanding, India should not play Pakistan, certainly not now. This is not the time. India wants the perps of 26/ 11 to be brought to book, we sound as if we have a bellyache, but a recalcitrant Pakistan couldn’t care too hoots for our pain and suffering.India’s history with Pakistan, recent and otherwise, is too violent to be recounted here. They are two conjoined twins, inseparable since birth, their fates and destinies in one way or the other intertwined forever. Pakistan’s bloody and turbulent history doesn’t end within its own boundaries, more often than not it spills over into India. This is the scary part; while wars have been fought repeatedly, Pakistan’s naked obsession with Kashmir pushes the jihadi element to make repeated attempts to destabilise India by using the terror factory.Sunil Gavaskar, a cricketer whom I have great regard for, called it right on the day this decision to host Pakistan was taken. He clearly articulated that as a Mumbaikar he had strong objections to India playing Pakistan. Pakistan is duplicitous, Janus faced, it heaps scorn on us, obfuscates, lies and twists facts to suit its own ends.Pak dodges the bulletThe 26/ 11 terror attack has seen no closure. We have captured one of the gunmen from that fateful night – Ajmal Kasab, we have added one of the architects and planners – Abu Jundal in the bag now, and yet Pakistan continues to dodge the bullet. And it does so with so much ease, it remains blase about its involvement in what would be most significant terror attack in recent memory. Probably as well coordinated as the infamous 9/ 11 attack on New York.Four years have passed and what does India have to show in terms of naming and convicting the perpetrators of that bloody interlude? Nothing very much.Pakistan is like Teflon, nothing sticks to it. They make bloody sure that it doesn’t stick. They are glib talkers. Dossiers, transcripts, tapes, pictures are all meaningless as they laugh off their involvement in the vicious attack. Non-state actors, they say, oblivious and yet impervious to our hurt.The Taj and Oberoi in Mumbai were symbols of a new India, a rising India that Pakistan is extremely unhappy about. Pakistan continues to target Mumbai, in many ways the face of the same emerging India. The March 12, 1993, serial blasts and the 26/ 11 terror attack have assumed iconic proportions in the history of the terror network that targets the megalopolis. Pakistan’s eyes are fixated on India’s financial nerve centre.Fortunately they have failed to cripple it. The travesty is that it is not about India preventing an attack, but the ability of Pakistan and its jihad factory to willfully target India. The scale and magnitude of their attack stratagems are getting bigger, the designs fuelled by their innate hatred for India. Their psyche brutalised by the vivisection in 1971.advertisementDespite all this we want to play Pakistan in India. Why? Yes, it is a marvellous spectacle, crowds gather in the coliseums and decibel levels and passions run high, and jingoism gets a free run on both sides. But nationalism should prevail and India should step forward to take the lead in ostracising Pakistan from international sport. Sporting segregation on the lines of the sporting boycott of South Africa during the apartheid years is the only way forward instead of falling over ourselves to play with them. The rules of engagement should be delineated and strict enforceability should be ensured.Islolating South AfricaThe International Olympic Committee (IOC) withdrew its invitation to South Africa for the 1964 Summer Games because it realised that the team would not be racially integrated. In 1968, there was a move to readmit South Africa, but the threat of a boycott by African nations loomed large and the IOC changed its mind.In 1970, IOC formally expelled SA from the Olympics. Flashpoint was reached in the Montreal Games in 1976, when African nations raised Cain over the repression in South Africa and threatened a boycott if New Zealand was allowed to compete. Mind you, the Kiwi All Blacks rugby team had continued contact with South Africa. IOC didn’t relent, and the African nations pulled out of the Games. This brought matters to a head.Commonwealth nations signed on the dotted line ushering in the Gleneagles Agreement in 1977. The charter held that as part of their support for the international campaign against apartheid, they were uniting to discourage contact and competition between their sportsmen and sporting organisations with teams or individuals from South Africa.The Commonwealth was seen as a relevant body to impose a sporting ban on South Africa because several of the sports most popular among white South Africans were dominated by Commonwealth member-states – for example, cricket and rugby. This was a defining moment in South Africa’s history for it began the process of sporting isolation of the white supremacists in the country. The next big step came when the IOC adopted a declaration against ” apartheid in sport” on June 21, 1988, for the total isolation of apartheid sport. The ICC had imposed a moratorium on cricket tours to South Africa back in 1970.But lure of the krugerrand meant that cricketers trooped into South Africa, ban or no ban. From ‘ private teams’ replete with mercenaries under the banner of Derrick Robbins XI bankrolled by a millionaire of the same name, essentially made up of English cricketers, followed by the International Wanderers led by Greg Chappell, the embargo was breached repeatedly and with disdain. Till the Soweto Uprising and civil strife in South Africa.In the early 1980s, the rand once again became the flavour of the season.South African rebel tours, as many as seven of them, came at a rapid pace between 1982 and 1990. The first tour saw Graham Gooch captain a strong English contingent. In a veritable coup, a Sri Lankan XI was cobbled up under the leadership of Bandula Waranapura only to be summarily thrashed by the South Africans. But to bring a Sri Lankan team to SA in those tumultuous days was a staggering achievement. What followed was mayhem.advertisementLure of the KrugerrandTop-of-the-line West Indian cricketers rebelled and toured South Africa for anything between $ 100,000-120,000 each. Star cricketers such Lawrence Rowe, Collis King, Sylvester Clarke, Colin Croft and Bernard Julien showed SA spectators their prowess, matching their star cricketers punch for punch. The first series, again organised in secret and conducted on the hoof, set up a fierce battle when the West Indians returned for a full tour the following season. Clarke was by now the dominant player on either side, claiming four five-wicket hauls in the 2-1 ‘ Test’ series win. The West Indian XI also won the one- day series 4-2 with the Springboks looking ragged and on the run.Such was the intensity of battle that the South African batsmen had to wear helmets for the first time as the Windies pacers pounded them with shortpitched bowling. This wasn’t all. Two tours by Australian teams followed under the leadership of Kim Hughes. Top Oz cricketers such as Terry Alderman, Rodney Hogg and Carl Rackemaan were present on these tours. England under Mike Gatting became the last team to tour South Africa before their return to international cricket in 1991.One can argue that the power of pelf triumphed over the moratorium. Cricket too triumphed, particularly during the tough, unrelenting series against the West Indian rebels. But the message had gone home loud and clear to sport-loving South Africans. They were dried out, krugerrand or no rand.The BCCI’s love for lucre is well-known. That it is an autonomous body is also known, but to give in to pressure from PCB chief Zaka Ashraf is not the right thing to do. Mumbaikars, nay Indians, cannot remove the embedded images of the 26/ 11 carnage being played out in the corridors of their mind. The masterminds of the attack, the handlers, the assailants are all Pakistani and this is an inescapable fact. Sweat them out, play them only on international platforms. Isolate them, that is the only language they understand.last_img read more