Friday, September 28, 2007

An Unforgettable Monday

Yes, it was indeed an "Unforgettable" Monday, reason being that India emerged as Twenty20 champs. That was awesome!!!. We had one more reason to cheer about. No prizes for was the "Mobitop Launch", the same day at MoMo.
To our surprise, we were received by an audience of 35-40 enthusiastic people, inspite of the Twenty20 Finals going on at the same time.Since our platform enables the developers to add features to their mobile application on the server and deploy on web(without re-flashing/installing it on mobile),we capitalized on that and added the "Latest Cricket Score" feature for that "Special Day":), just before the demo(in few seconds).
Watch out this space, as we will be uploading the video of the Mobitop/iContactBook demo soon....

PS: We missed the Twenty20 Finals, but got a chance to see the last 7 balls on the large screen, and that were the ones that mattered most:) Well Done,India.
Oh Boy!!!It was an action packed Monday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

'Mobitop Launch' around the corner...

Dear friends,
It's my pleasure to announce the launch of our much awaited platform, i.e. Mobitop.

“MobiTop, is a mobile phone application development platform with which application developers, device manufacturers and operators can easily develop and deploy new breed of applications with Web 2.0 features. Key challenges faced by today’s mobile application developers are, “Device incompatibilities” and “Ineffective application delivery platforms”. We @ Mobisy are trying to address these major issues by providing a platform to develop applications quickly in standard web technologies like AJAX and limiting the porting issues. Further, we are enabling Internet based deployment of applications, which provides security at the same time avoiding complicated and lengthy, signing procedures. We also provide native device access capabilities(like Call,SMS, Contacts), offline mode and many other key features to watch out for.”

As a first step, we will be giving a demo of our showcase applications on Mobitop in "Mobile Monday(Bangalore Chapter)" event, on 24th Sept,07. Find out more details about this MoMo event "here".
See you on Monday @ MoMo.

"Mobisy's Spam Manager" ROCKS!!

Well, last some days we were really excited to find out response to our first product, i.e. "Mobisy's Spam Manager". Every single morning we used to check our mails, for the number of downloads that happened last nite. It feels great to share with you all, that the response has been simply "awsome":). Till now,Spam Manager has been downloaded for more than 300 times, and that too only from "Handango".
If we sum up downloads from other sites, it can simply be doubled(i.e.600 downloads in just 3 weeks).

We also have uploaded "Spam Manager Ver 1.0 for S60 3rd Edition Devices" at following places:
1. "Nokia Software Market"
2. "MobiHand"

We got nice reviews, another reason to feel proud. We were also contacted by a reporter from 'Selular Magazine', Indonesia. It seems there's going to be an article on our "Spam Manager" in their October Edition.

Do go out, and try "Call and SMS Spam Manager for S60 3rd Edition" from Mobisy. I bet, its 'The Cheapest' and 'The Best'.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mobisy's Call/Sms Spam Manager is Alive n Kickin!!!

We@ Mobisy are proud to annouce the release of our first application, "Spam Manager Ver 1.0 for S60 3rd Edition Devices". Its a nice application to keep spam callers/smsers at bay. Now stopping junk marketing calls and smses is in your own hands. Just add that annoying 'Number' in Spam Manager's Spam List.We will take care of the rest. Peace at last!!!

Lets download "Spam Manager(Trial Version)".

For more info, have a look "here".

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Mobisy's Head Shoulder and Foot

I came across this extremely good blog today. It basically tells you how important it is for a start-up to find a Wise Head to question everything, a Broad shoulder to weep and generally to support you when you need, and a strong foot to kick you in the butt when you need it !!

I agree with almost everything mike says here. It matches quite well with my own experience. It got me thinking about who would be the head , shoulder and foot of Mobisy if we have one and turns out we already have those positions filled ..:-).

Chhavi and sometimes Bhupender act like our wise heads, they want us to cross check everything and assume nothing !! Also we have some nice advisers from the industry who help us keep our own head on the shoulder.
The shoulder job is more divided and is done by all of us from time to time. Obviously it helps that in addition to being co-founders of Mobisy we are firstly great friends of each other and that chemistry helps to pull each other up when things do not look as well as they should.
As far as foot is concerned, similar to mike, our respective spouses do that job extremely well. They will not let us fail or accept failure.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

iPhone, Google gears and Mobisy

Last few weeks have been sort of turning point for Mobile Internet.

iPhone is phenomenal for us in Mobile Industry. I feel it would be awesome for consumers as well.
You may have already heard the hype
1.iPhone means tail wagging the dog means a completely new era in Mobile industry,
3.It is special since it's a laptop convergence device running a full OS X
All of above is true but from our point of view the biggest impact iPhone will have on mobile industry will be as an internet device running a full web browser. A first mobile phone vendor which dares 3rd party developers to develop applications 'only' based on their Safari browser.
“Safari” is the key. BTW like many other innovations in iPhone, iPhone is not the first device running full Safari browser on a mobile device. Nokia has been doing it for more than a year now, what's more they have even open sourced their Symbian port. Steve Jobs declaration in Apple WWDC really changes the rules of the game. To give you an idea, we in Mobile Industry struggled with following application development environments till now

1.Native (Symbian, Microsoft Pocket PC, BREW etc) :- These are extremely powerful in terms of technology but completely un-portable across devices and operating systems
2.Java/J2ME :- This is moderately powerful and moderately portable.
3.Flashlite :- A new entrant in the area and a good competitor for J2ME in games development area.
4.Micro browser based :- These have very limited functionality but are portable provided you do not use any AJAX/ Web 2.0 technologies.

iPhone promises that today we can develop all the AJAX applications we want with the hope that tomorrow Apple will make the browser based environment more powerful by giving it device access.

This brings me to second life changing event in Mobile internet area, advent of Google Gears. Google gears basically enhances your PC browser environment by enabling developers to give cool features like off-line access to application data. And bringing this development to Mobile phones has excited many analysts in the world as you can see here and here. I feel it's only matter of time.

I still haven't talked about how does it all affects Mobisy, I mean why the hell am I ranting about it?
Hmm.. if you don't know us probably you may not know, we started talking about Mobisy with a vision of reinventing Mobile Internet around an year ago. Our whole idea is of a scripting based fully customizable and personalized simple User Interface platform for Mobile Phones(Mobile Easy). No wonder the product we are working on is also in the same area !!! iPhone and Google gear validate our concept today. And that's why we take this opportunity to talk about our product publicly. Not to mention, it also saves us some effort of explaining basics ..:-)
We are working on a product which complements the visions of Apple, Nokia , Google to the core. We are building an application development platform for mobile phones which will enable developers to develop internet applications with capabilities of a native environment with off-line access!! Sounds impossible? Not quite.. We already have some private demos and proof of concepts working, so watch this space for more details in future.. If you can't wait to know more, feel free to drop me a line.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The iPhone vs Infineon

Here is a nice post about how iPhone will impact our ex company Infineon in a positive way. A good read as always from Sramana Mitra.
Main points to be taken are :-
iPhone and it's nearest competitor PRADA are both based on Infineon chips and hence its money for Infineon on both sides of the fence no matter who wins. I find it a little difficult to believe the revenue numbers for Infineon since I do not think modem chips can be sold for that much in today's market. All the same, fact remains that Infineon seems to be turning a corner with iPhone.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hurray !!!

Our first application is ready for Alpha testing. It is the coolest way to keep marketing calls and SMSs at bay.
Here is the link to the demo of the application. So any of you / your friends family etc have a GPRS enabled Symbian Series 60 3rd edition phone, please get in touch with me. It's completely free !!(At least for the time being)
This link may help you find the device compatibility.

Technology vs Business Case

Coming from technical background we all tend to think with our technological spectacles. When someone asks us simple questions like btw who is your customer and how are you going to sell this thing, we tend to fumble. Our thoughts start from cool things we can achieve with technology at hand and tend to end with how users will benefit from it. Which means user perspective is sometimes the last thought on our mind. After talking to plenty of people in the industry I came to realise that this phenomenon is not only limited to us technical people, we have been able to successfully infect all the marketing ,sales and finance guys who work with us as well. You know what if you look at some funded companies in India you may get the feeling that VCs love cool technologies too. (see all the funded companies in the area of IMS, WiMax, and so on...)

BTW here is a nice article explaining the advantages of ignorance in start-ups.(wink)

As usual there is other school of thought from people coming from non technical backgrounds like finance, marketing, sales or people who have really seen the world and know many things.These guys tend to believe that an idea should start from a business case, we need to know what is the market, whom and how we can sell our product and eventually how we can make money from it from the beginning. Like someone told me the other day, you can do a start-up in two ways first, where you do what you love to do and believe in it, this way you may succeed but chances are low. Other way is where you try to know as much as possible in advance and then be flexible enough to start loving something which you know will sell, this way you may not be an outright success, but the chances are more that you will not fail completely.

Now with time, I have come to realise that the later kind of people do have a valid point after all. It is eventually how you want to do your start-up. If you do it as a business, you should listen to these guys and should create something which you know will sell from the beginning. But if you are doing it for your own pleasure, you can have a luxury of venturing in to something completely unknown.Here is a nice read about mindset of current bunch of entrepreneurs from Sramana Mitra.

Obviously the best case scenario is that these two kind of people converge on something they are both really convinced about and that's when you get the Woz and Jobs combination.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Programming is beautiful

So, I am coding again. Trying to learn all the things which I somehow unlearned in recent past.
That's one of the things you get to do as a part of working for a start-up even better when you have co-founded it. You get to do everything in fact you 'have to' do everything. In last few months, I got to clean my office ..:-), Got to talk to some investment bankers, Some VCs, Got to participate in the long term and mid term strategy of our company and products, did a demo to a customer, and most importantly for a good part of last few months I spent in designing ,coding and debugging software.
Software is my passion especially when I am doing it for mobile phones. Debugging is something I like to do even more. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I still get the 'kick' out of fixing difficult issues or designing something cool as I used to get when I was a young engineer. It is an amazing experience.
It was really a breath of fresh air for me after 2-3 years while I was away from actual implementation details.
Coding is where my roots lie. As much as I love managing teams, evangelising our products and ideas, trying to get feedback from other people about our direction, etc, I do not get the complete feeling till I have actually implemented something on my own , however small it is.
For me it is like poetry or music, a way of expressing myself. No amount of processes will make it mundane for me. I am not sure how many people are left in the industry like me. But I think there are plenty otherwise the open source communities would not be thriving so much. I am also very lucky to have found my co-founders who share similar passions about work.
I loved this industry from the first month of me joining Wipro as a young programmer. Till then I was not really aware that this is something I am so much passionate about. Going back to the days where I am part of building something from scratch, I cannot describe the pleasure in words.
May you all find a way to experience similar pleasure.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mobile Market

A must read for everyone dealing with Mobile industry.
It just gives a perspective on Mobile Phone industry and can break some popular myths ..:-)
Especially the one I like is Mobile Internet is "Not the dumb little brother of the Internet". Something we all know in Mobile industry but especially people coming from PC Internet background find hard to digest.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Start-ups and Open source

In December last year, when we started with the idea of Mobisy, we had little knowledge about open source revolution that is happening. In our Mobile Handset Embedded software world, everything is proprietary and there is little or no talk about open source. Chhavi having worked on LwIP, was our only source of information. Personally, my information was limited to Linux kernel. But then, it all changed when I downloaded Open Office in Feb 2007. I was amazed by the amount of functionality offered by an open source product , it was running smooth on my Windows XP and for converting docs to pdfs I now did not have to buy Adobe acrobat writer. For converting images to SVG I did not have to pay huge money to Adobe. To convert documents, I did not need to use slow and crappy Microsoft office. What more for our new laptop, we decided to not even install Microsoft office. And then we came across this whole wave of Open utilities. One of our first projects is based on an Open source browser for mobile phones, S60Webkit by Nokia. There is even one more open source browser available from Mozilla called as Minimo. Imagine if this was not available we had to start from writing/porting our own browser setting us back by at least 6 months and god knows how much money. Now even a key component like J2ME which provides most deployed applications execution environment to Mobile Developers all over the world is getting open sourced.
Purely from technical perspective, it has never been easier to run a successful start up. Open source community is a huge boost to the entrepreneurial spirit.
If you look carefully around your product, you will find multitude of open source projects which you can simply re use. And this also encourages the start ups to open source their own code to get more and more developers contributing to your platform to make it richer.
We are really entering an era where not only the internet is maturing with Web 2.0, software is really becoming a service as the open source community once envisaged.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Forget Eyeballs, it's all about Eardrums !!

When we talk about Mobile technologies, monetising data platforms and lowering the walled gardens, we all conveniently forget that killer application of Mobile Phone is "call". This thought is also supported by Steve Jobs in iPhone launch who arguably came up with coolest phone on the planet. I also heard it from Dr. Aditya Dev Sood of CKS consulting recently.

So what are the call based applications we can come up with for Indian market which is hugely multilingual, multicultural but ready to pay?
I think following should be some basic characteristics of such applications

1. It should be easy and intuitive to use.
2. Literacy should not be a barrier to entry.
3. It should be localised to the audiences tastes ,wishes and languages?

So I am more and more becoming of the opinion that, in Indian Mobile world, it is not about how many eyeballs you can attract, it is about how many eardrums are listening to what you have to say/ provide.
How you can achieve easy to use voice based applications which can network those for whom reading and writing is not at all convenient / desirable?
How can you bring Mobile 2.0 with innovative applications of Voice/ Call?

Now that's a thought which will keep me awake for a few nights !

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Highlights from Open C conference

Today I attended the Open C conference arranged by Forum Nokia. It was refreshing. First of all I really like Nokia and Symbian’s fresh attempt to attract more developer base. They are going to need that while competing with Microsoft Pocket PC, Embedded Linux and more recently, OS X from Apple. All the other operating system run their full version on the PCs and have a developer base they can draw from. Symbian’s user base till now is only from Mobile C++ development community. Today, I heard that there are approximately 2 million registrations on forum Nokia website. This is extremely big number compared to the Linux developer community. But I feel the Linux developer community is much bigger and actually majority of 29 million of their users prefer Linux as a development environment !
Another thing to note is that if today’s mobiles are converging towards becoming a replacement for laptops as Sramana Mitra suggests, Symbian & Nokia have to find a way to offset the advantage Microsoft, Linux and Apple have in their existing development community.

What could they do more?

I feel if Nokia decides to give device access on S60 via Open C, it would be even better. My suggestion to them would be to use LiMo foundation API to do that. It would eventually mean that applications developed for LiMo version of embedded Linux can work on Symbian series 60 as well! That would mean two of the three major mobile operating systems would be inter-operable leaving Microsoft to fight for its own survival. Another fact to note is that these two operating systems have backing of the three biggest OEMs in Nokia, Motorola and Samsung.

I would like Nokia to address another drawback. Some of these cool features they have developed for S60 3rd edition need to be back ported. For example, it’s a pity that their cool open source browser is not available for existing S60 2nd edition devices. Similarly they seem to have no plans to back port Open C, which again I feel is a poor choice by Nokia. This makes life of S60 application developers extremely difficult. And the target market for potential Open C developers is not 100 million as Nokia suggests, it is much lesser and limited to around ten million 3rd edition devices.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Learning To Fly

Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction holding me fast, how
Can I escape this irresistible grasp?
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted Just an earth-bound misfit, I
Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything
No navigator to guide my way home
Unladened, empty and turned to stone
A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I
Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night
There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, A state of bliss
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

Thanks, Pink Floyd.