Business Management

‘Digital’ – Just a new Marketing Gimmick

Now these days, when I surf on technology company websites or in the technology events, I find word ‘Digital’ with so much prominence. Is it something new in the space of IT? I believe that it is just a new way to repackaging the services or solution. Here I have not used the word same services or solutions because IT is continuously evolving stream. So I can safely say that even 30 years back we were doing things digitally as it was the starting point of actual IT revolution.

So what are we doing differently now? I would say that ‘Nothing’. We are coining this term based on only two concepts – Repackaging (that we learned in Marketing School or I would say everybody knows it) and Utilitarianism.

I will discuss here first concept – Repackaging.

It’s very simple concept that says – “Selling old wine in new bottle”. But here we are talking about IT service/solution offerings and there is no bottle or package. You are right. I have used marketing word (Repackaging) so that I can explain my point.

But we will deep dive and understand this marketing gimmick with different stream of knowledge. This would better to be explained it by the concept of Utilitarianism.

 Utilitarianism is philosophical theory that propounds – ‘Maximize the utility (gain) and minimize the pain (investment)’. Jeremy Bentham, described utility as the sum of all pleasure that results from an action, minus the suffering of anyone involved in the action.

Marketers use this philosophy to induce action of CXOs. They promote ‘Digital’ as new wave in IT and enterprises should adopt it within no time. This induced act of utilitarianism, requires us to choose our actions by calculating which action will maximize utility. As a human being, our mind is programed to maximize the gain. Whenever we see someone is selling such a proposition we give it a try. Sometimes we end-up with right IT vendor who actually provides you the value that was demonstrated. Otherwise, it is proved a simple “Marketing Gimmick”.

If you really want to be in that category of gainer, we should accurately define the rules that would actually help us to attain the benefits of real digital change. This change objectives should be dictating our choices of actions rather than fancy jargons. This calculation of utilitarianism is very important as consequences of new technology adoption, are inherently unknowable. This entire exercise can be done on the basis of quantitative analysis.

Digital is unstoppable phenomena and it will keep growing in every sphere of our life. So don’t trap yourself and be rational.

Business Management

Attuning IT with Business Strategy

“A kaleidoscope of IT and Business Strategy can tell us different superlative patterns that are available to attain organizational goals and business objectives.”


1. Overview

We can surely fetch superior results by changing patterns (improvising processes) with existing or incremental IT resources, though organization can determine among different strategies to grow in the same business environment – low-cost leadership strategies, differentiation strategies, and focus strategies. Thus, alignment of IT, is not limited with implementation only. Our IT strategy should be synchronized with organizational growth and complexities. But sometimes our IT function becomes counter-productive because of – legacy systems, complex IT infrastructure and external environmental rejection.

Orchestrating right IT strategy, with self-corrective measures, faces major challenge in order to align insatiable business needs – enhanced productivity, improved workflow, better risk control mechanisms and gain competitive advantage.

2. Tangible Alignment

In business organization, we need to express every aspect – tangibly, to receive wider acceptance of management. CFO or CEO may not be agreeing on any investments that do not have direct correlation with outcomes. CIOs are facing immense pressure to conclude a road-map that could only suffice the future needs of an organization. Bigger organization would pose greater challenges as it could have diversity in culture, processes, people and priorities. It forces CIOs to work like transformer that could transform out-put as per forthcoming challenges at various business units. But in today’s scenario, continual upsurge of new technologies, profoundly revolutionized the approach of businesses to engage with their customers. It also responsible for this dramatic resurgence for the IT department.

We require rational thinking towards contemporary IT strategy. Before we move ahead, we need to ask some fundamental questions:

  1. What all are the future expectations?
  2. What all IT resources do we have now? (and SWOT analysis as well)
  3. What would we require in order to support business strategy?

Now after critical survey and analysis of above questions, we need to find-out tangible area of alignment that would verify real-world feasibility to adopt IT strategy.

3. Action

We should specifically look at creating greater business alignment and defining IT objectives and goals as a function of individual business goals. Here we need to balance short-term goals with long-term organizational strategy. Our alignment process should also decentralize decision-making that allows divisional CIOs and business heads to meet their needs.  At every level, KPIs should be prepared to assess the business impact of IT at the unit level and corporate level. This more precisely measures the benefits of IT spending, and makes it easier to prioritize future investments. Following process should be followed to calibrate IT with your business strategy:

  1. Assess business
  2. Document the workflow
  3. Capture the context
  4. Roadmap Creation
  5. Develop implementation framework
  6. Implementation
  7. Corrective change adoption

4. Conclusion

A well formulated and aligned IT strategy will reap manifold business benefits. Organization can sense risk and prepare future risk mitigation.

By: Rajeev Misra

Business Management, Uncategorized

How Top Salespeople Land Hard-to-Get Meetings by Stu Heinecke

Richard Branson famously said, “Succeeding in business is all about making connections.” Mr. Branson surely has little trouble getting anyone he wants on the phone, but the rest of us could use a little help.

While I was researching my new book, How to Get a Meeting with Anyone, I asked the top 100 sales thought leaders in the world, “When you absolutely must reach someone who is very important but nearly impossible to reach, how do you do it?” What I discovered was a shadow practice that has been extremely effective at breaking through to critical contacts, but no one actually had a name for it.

I dubbed it “contact marketing,” and found it to be a surprisingly effective marketing technique. Based on my interviews, reported response rates averaged from 60% to 80%, with some campaigns actually hitting 100%. What exactly is contact marketing? It’s a fusion of marketing and selling, employing specific campaigns to connect with specific C-level executives and top decision makers. The idea is that you only need a few dozen of the right high-level relationships to change the scale of your business. Contact marketing can take many forms, but there are five takeaways you can use to make your own high-level connections:

Deliver something of value. Here’s your chance to stand out, to be audacious, and to create a meaningful connection. The objective is not to attempt to bribe someone to meet with you, but to deliver something that makes a difference to the recipient. It should express your brand personality but contain absolutely no pitch. Your first mission is simply to create a connection, to establish yourself as someone they’ll want to listen to. While you might use search results and social media postings to try to determine an executive’s specific challenges and desires, there are also some simple assumptions you can use to open doors, based on universal desires shared by most business leaders. We all want more success, recognition, and income, but we also want to do the best job we can and leave a mark. For example, I’m a cartoonist, and I’ve found that my cartoons can touch upon all of these markers in a very personal way. Sending a personalized cartoon, like the one below, has become a can’t-miss way for me to connect with virtually anyone, but anything that recognizes the recipients’ desires, helps them do their job more effectively, or enhances their business in some way can be highly effective.



Offer something of further value. As your request for contact is received, it’s a good idea to include something additional as a reward for taking the proposed meeting or phone call. Some campaigns split a gift in two — a remote-control model sent with a note explaining that the withheld control unit will be delivered during the meeting, for instance. Although this has reportedly worked, it can come off as being too pushy. A far better approach would be to offer relevant research, a white paper, or a free audit of some aspect of the target executive’s business when the meeting takes place, as a way to provide the incentive you may need to actually get the meeting. The point is to continually add value to the connection building between you in a way that helps the executive do their job more effectively.

Include the executive assistant. Many sales reps do their best to avoid, circumvent, or trick the executive assistants they encounter, but that is a fatal mistake. Don’t think of assistants as gatekeepers; think of them as talent scouts, always on watch for extraordinary opportunities their executives would otherwise miss. Once they’ve rendered assistance, be sure to thank them with a modest but meaningful gift. If an assistant has been helpful to me, I often send a card with one of my cartoons personalized in their name and a handwritten note of thanks. Whatever you send, don’t make it look like a bribe; a dozen roses is way too much, but a gift card for a few lattes is perfect. Just make sure it expresses your appreciation for their help.

Secure the meeting. Arranging a call or meeting can be painfully tedious as all parties attempt to coordinate openings in their schedules. You can either suffer the details or use one of many productivity tools on the market to get your meeting on calendars, such as Calendly,, ScheduleOnce, and TimeTrade. I recommend, an artificial intelligence agent that makes the necessary arrangements via email, from the initial request right on through to confirming meeting times on everyone’s calendars.

Connect, don’t pitch. Once you’ve gone through the trouble of arranging the meeting, it would be a waste to ruin it with a misguided pitch of your company’s product or service. So don’t do it. Instead, be ready to have an exploratory but informed conversation about an issue by researching news stories or mentions in their social media feeds. Share other cases in which you’ve helped companies in their industry gain new competitive advantages, but never start the meeting assuming your offer is right for them. Be human, explore, and have a conversation.

Here are two stories of how others have used contact marketing to inspire a few ideas for your own campaign.

Dan Waldschmidt’s swords. Dan Waldschmidt is an extreme athlete, an author, and one of the top sales bloggers in the world. But his core business is turnaround consulting. To connect with prospects, he scours the business news for stories of missed earnings estimates. When he finds one, he has a beautiful sword made with an engraved inscription in the target contact’s name. It’s sent in a fine wooden box with a handwritten letter telling the CEO he’s got his back in the next battle — but says nothing about his turnaround service. This offer has generated a near 100% response rate and numerous multimillion-dollar engagements while beautifully expressing the value Dan delivers and the personality of his brand.

NoWait app launch. The founders of the NoWait app, which allows you to put yourself on the waitlist of your favorite restaurant from anywhere, used Contact Campaign as the basis of their entire launch strategy. They targeted the CEOs of 30 top restaurant chains with a brilliant campaign that used personalized videos delivered on iPads in custom NoWait packaging. Their highly targeted approach allowed the company to focus on the people who could do them the most good, using a minuscule $30,000 marketing budget to achieve their objectives. As a result the NoWait App is already used by more than half of the targeted chains.

I’ve always used my own cartoons to connect with great effect, but you don’t have to be a cartoonist or send expensive gifts to break through to important contacts. Just produce a contact marketing campaign that makes you stand out as someone the recipient really needs to get to know. Do your research and figure out the sweet spot between what your future client needs most and why you’re the best person to help them reach their goals.

This Article Published on (MAY 05, 2016)

Business Management

Collaborative and Advocacy Platform for Healthcare Industry

In the U.S., pharmaceutical companies are spending billions of dollars to promote their drugs and new medical practices through physicians. They usually hire renowned physicians for conducting seminars on specific problem areas or medical innovations. Speakers, in such seminars, provide insight on new treatment methods and medicines. Information is disseminated through neutral platforms that create acceptability for new medical practices.  We can understand the degree of influence by two simple scenarios, which are as follows:

  1. Scenario 1: If a company is promoting drugs through some direct mediums (such as TV and newspaper  ads), it is perceived as advertisement and profit making activity
  2. Scenario 2: On the other hand, if a leading physician is sharing a case study on new medical practice through neutral platform, it will have a greater influence. Here, peer influence plays a vital role

It is evident that second scenario would have greater influence as physicians would follow the leaders of same profession and specialization. Pharmaceutical companies know this fact and they promote medical practices indirectly. They also provide fund for clinical researches, which are carried out by the medical associations.

Every physician is associated with one or more medical associations.  Medical associations promote the art and science of medicine for the betterment of the public health. They also lobby for legislation favorable to physicians and patients. Medical associations provide support for medical education and conduct clinical survey. These medical associations are funded by government or pharmaceutical companies.

In this whole engagement, there is no formal collaborative medium which can engage medical professionals for long time. Eventually, this system becomes ineffective for physicians, medical associations and pharmaceutical companies. Following are the drawbacks of the current system that finally leads to its failure:

  1. Medical professionals are not tightly coupled as there is no connection medium after dispersing
  2. Information is lost after some time as there is no storage medium which could keep the findings and discussions on the central location and reproduce it on demand
  3. No analytical pattern derivation
  4. There is no benchmarking for any action
  5. ROI is immeasurable

Need of Collaborative and Advocacy Platform

As we know that healthcare industry is driven by knowledge and research, so there is the need of collaborative and advocacy platform. In simple words, we can call it ‘online networking platform’ but it is placed differently for medical professionals. However, if some practices are disseminated through a neutral platform and supported by some unbiased opinion leaders, practitioners are likely to more rely on that.

Potential Solution – Collaborative and Advocacy Platform

An online collaborative and advocacy platform can bridge the gap between the formal and informal peer connection and provide a structure to informal collaboration. Physicians can dive into the knowledge pool from any point. In other words, instead of ending up with a deluge of information which a peer (medical professional) needs to sift through to find relevant content, this platform could provide just the right information from in-house experts, thought leaders, and peers.

This collaborative and advocacy platform can help in various ways and few of them are as follows –

  1. Communities of practice could create and join user groups based on topics relevant to their jobs
  2. Dynamic search mechanisms that help users to discover and retain meaningful information
  3. Measurement tools that allow organizations to measure collaboration by assessing each contribution
  4. Mechanisms to incentivize and motivate contributors by using an in-built scoring mechanism for each action (such as blog, forum, audio & video sharing etc.) performed on platform ranging from asking a question to rating someone’s contribution to creating a community focused around a common area of interest. The higher an individual’s ratings, the higher is his/her ‘Thought Leadership Index’
  5. Ability to categorize and present information in different ways—by authors, by popularity of contributions, by the type of media (audio, video, images), and so on
  6. Collaboration in real-time allows instant screen sharing and recording of sessions for future use

The 24/7 connectivity offered by mobile devices are amenable to instant access, real-time search, as well as, storage of information on a ‘need-to’ basis. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense for any collaborative platform to use mobile devices as the media for interaction among peers and experts. Collaborative platform supported on mobile devices certainly have potential in terms of achieving higher levels of satisfaction as their on-the-job needs can be fulfilled just-in-time.


Business Management

What Makes A Good Leader?

When discussing business leadership, the distinction between good management and good leadership is often made. Managers are thought to be the budgeters, the organizers, the controllers — the ants, as one observer puts it — while leaders are the charismatic, big-picture visionaries, the ones who change the whole ant farm. But such a construction, those interviewed for this article agree, erroneously leads to a bimodal way of looking at something that should really be evaluated on two separate scales. “Everybody has got a little bit of each in them,” says John Kotter, who admits he is sometimes guilty of using the dichotomy in an effort at simplification. “It’s much better to think in terms of measuring people on a zero-to-ten scale for each quality.”
HBS professor Joe Badaracco agrees that the traditional manager versus leader argument (“Clark Kent versus Superman,” he jokes) tends to undermine the value of management. “There are lots of people who look and act like managers, who have excellent managerial skills, and who don’t make a lot of noise. Nobody is writing cover stories about them. But after they have been in an organization for a period of time, things are significantly better,” observes Badaracco. “Now, are these mere managers because we can’t compare them with Martin Luther King? Or are they leaders because they accomplished something that needed to be done?”
Some great managers struggle with change and fail to be great leaders, while a great leader might fail to create a sense of stability in an organization and not measure up as a manager. HBS professor David Thomas points out that “increasingly, the people who are the most effective are those who essentially are both managers and leaders.”

Communication Is Key
“Communication is the real work of leadership,” says HBS professor Nitin Nohria, who documented the importance of persuasion in his 1992 book Beyond the Hype: Rediscovering the Essence of Management. Nohria believes effective leaders are masters of the classical elements of rhetoric, as outlined by Aristotle centuries ago. “You can reach people through logos or logic, by appealing to their sense of what is rational,” he explains. “You can use pathos, appealing to their emotions, or you can make an argument based on their sense of values or ethos.” Great leaders, he notes, “spend the bulk of their time communicating, and they know how to employ all three of Aristotle’s rhetorical elements.”

Nohria also feels that leaders are able to distill their message, however complex it may be, to something that is accessible to those who may not share their knowledge or background. Joe Badaracco agrees. “You need a talent for simplicity — for saying things in a few words. General Electric’s Jack Welch is a good example. He is astonishingly articulate and able to convey complicated concepts in just a few phrases.”

Of course, knowing your audience is also essential. “Great communicators have an appreciation for positioning,” states John Kotter. “They understand the people they’re trying to reach and what they can and can’t hear. They send their message in through an open door rather than trying to push it through a wall.” Badaracco believes part of knowing your audience is the ability to listen. “Communication can’t always follow the top-down model,” he says. “With the fluidity of information in business today, leaders need to be masterful listeners; they need to be able to receive as well as send.”

David Thomas stresses the importance of “multimodality” in communication. “What you say is only the beginning,” he states. “Your behavior, your actions, and your decisions are also ways of communicating, and leaders have to learn how to create a consistent message through all of these. It’s been said many times, but leaders lead by example.”

For Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a key question is whether a leader’s personal passion matches his or her aspirations. “There are so many false starts, unexpected obstacles, and surprising turns along the path to change. Daily work often drains energy needed for change,” she says. “Leaders must pick causes they won’t abandon easily, remain committed despite setbacks, and communicate their big ideas over and over again in every encounter.”

Telling the Hard Truths
What happens when leaders must communicate facts that are hard to take? Nitin Nohria reflects on Winston Churchill’s devastating defeat at Gallipoli, which resulted in over 100,000 Allied casualties during World War I. “The campaign was a total fiasco for British military leadership,” he notes. “When it was over, Churchill took complete responsibility. A setback like that could have been paralyzing, but he was able to move forward to lead his country to victory in World War II.”

The lesson, says Nohria, is that Churchill and other great leaders are pragmatists who can deal with difficult realities but still have the optimism and courage to act. “Enduring setbacks while maintaining the ability to show others the way to go forward is a true test of leadership,” he asserts.

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of, has said that one of the key elements of being a good business leader is the capacity to tell the hard truths. “Leaders struggle with this problem all the time,” says David Thomas. “From a leadership point of view, you always want to move toward telling the hard truths and helping people cope with the realities of change. But as a manager, you might be more inclined to minimize the complexity of a situation so things can run smoothly for as long as possible. It’s often a judgment call.”

The ability to render that judgment can sometimes make or break a company. “The phrase ‘public confidence, private doubt’ comes to mind,” observes Joe Badaracco. “If leaders disclosed all their concerns and doubts, stock prices would plummet, their competitors would be all over them, and employees would be jumping ship. But even if you can’t be absolutely open with everyone, leaders have to confront their companies’ problems and, of course, share them with top management.”

John Kotter underscores the positive potential of facing problems head-on. “Great leadership does not mean running away from reality,” he argues. “Sometimes the hard truths might just demoralize the company, but at other times sharing difficulties can inspire people to take action that will make the situation better.”

[This article has been reproduced from Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, the online research journal of University of Harvard Business School]

Business Management

Why Nice Guys Don't Always Make It to the Top

Typically regarded as a common virtue, generosity can also be a sign of weakness for leaders, according to a new study.The research finds that contributing to the public good influences a person’s status on two critical dimensions: prestige and dominance.

“People with high prestige are often regarded as saints, possessing a self-sacrificial quality and strong moral standards,” said Robert Livingston, assistant professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. “However, while these individuals are willing to give their resources to the group, they are not perceived as tough leaders.”

The researchers define dominance as an imposed alpha status whereas prestige is freely conferred admiration from others. Al Capone, for example, characterizes a high-dominance individual, whereas Mother Theresa represents a high-prestige individual.

The study argues that people with high prestige are perceived as desirable leaders in noncompetitive contexts; they are seen as submissive compared to individuals who strive to maximize their personal gains. In times of competition, individuals who are less altruistic are seen as dominant and more appealing as leaders.

“Our findings show that people want respectable and admired group members to lead them at times of peace, but when ‘the going gets tough’ they want a dominant, power-seeking individual to lead the group,” said Nir Halevy, lead author and acting assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Livingston and Halevy coauthored the research with Taya Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business and PhD student Eileen Chou of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Their study highlights the need to distinguish between different types of status in groups, as well as how intergroup conflict shapes followers’ leadership preferences.

“There are numerous academic findings on status but we sought to investigate the antecedents and consequences of two distinct forms of status, depending on the context,” said Livingston.

To test their theory, the researchers conducted three experiments where participants were given the option to keep an initial endowment for themselves or contribute it to a group pool. Contributions either only benefited the contributor’s fellow group members, or simultaneously benefited the contributor’s group members and harmed the members of another group.

The first two experiments found that selfishness and displays of ‘out-group hate’ — unnecessarily depriving the members of another group — boosted dominance but decreased respect and admiration from others. In contrast, showing in-group love — generously sharing resources with fellow group members — increased respect and admiration but decreased dominance.

The third experiment found that “universalism” — that is, sharing one’s resources with both in-group members and outsiders — had the most dire net outcomes on a person’s status. The researchers discovered that universal generosity decreased perceptions of both prestige and dominance compared with those who shared resources only with members of their group.

In short, being generous can boost prestige if an individual is selectively generous to his or her own group; this increases respect and admiration from others. However, being selfish or belligerent (unnecessarily harming members of another group) decreases respect and admiration from others but it increases perceptions of personal dominance.

The intriguing consequence is that dominant individuals were more likely than prestigious individuals to be elected as a representative for the group in a mock competition with another group. Thus, being too nice can have negative consequences for leadership.

“Being too generous often comes at a personal cost to one’s position of strength or power,” Livingston explained.

“This research begins to explore when ‘nice guys’ finish first and when they finish last, depending on the group context,” Halevy said. “Nice guys don’t make it to the top when their group needs a dominant leader to lead them at a time of conflict.”

The study, “Status Conferral in Intergroup Social Dilemmas: Behavioral Antecedents and Consequences of Prestige and Dominance,” will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

 [From Stanford Knowledgebase, a free monthly electronic source of information, ideas, and research published by the Stanford Graduate School of Business.]


How to enrich our creative talents and memory?

Yam medham devaganah pitarashcopasate |Taya mamadya medhayagne medhavinam kuru svaha | | -Yajurveda 32/14

O Fire – God incarnate! Bestow on me the brilliance (of intellect), which is prayed for by the gods and the spirits of the ancestors through devout adoration. Everyone is interested to find some sure – shot formula to increase memory power. The student community, in particular, feels its need more acutely. How to memorize a lesson fast? How to retain and not forget what has been learnt? Such questions keep cropping up in the minds of students. In search of their answers, they indulge in all sorts of tactics, including recourse to some medicines/drugs.
The drug companies, too, on their part exploit this vulnerability of the students. Through attractive and high – power advertisements and false promises of miracles they are ever eager to make a fast buck. It is not known whether the really needy ever derive any benefit or not from the advertised drugs.
This much, however, is certain that the so-called recipe of strong memory remains a much sought after mirage. In this connection, we should know and for certain that such wishful miracles do not happen anywhere in the universe. Every action, every event is defined and regulated by set rules of cosmic order, be they in the realer of physical laws or the spiritual.
The same principle operates with respect to memory.
This has a science of its own, it own techniques. Those who know and understand it are able to derive benefit easily, while the ignorant ones waste their time in futile ventures and feel disappointed on crucial occasions. SO it is better that one should thoroughly understand the correct techniques of firmly committing some thing to memory and use them properly. Those who suffer from memory problems have some standard complaints: What can I do, I just cannot memorize; I had indeed memorized this, but forgot it; I can recollect but only piecemeal, and so on and so forth.
There are contrary claims too – of committing a thing to memory in just one reading, or recollecting exactly every detail of what had been read, or memories of long bygone times being still vivid in the mind etc. There is an instructive anecdote, which will help in understanding these diametrically opposite statements relating to memory function. This anecdote is from the life of Vivekanand. Those days Swami ji was in pravrajya (ascetical wanderings) within India. He had a gurubhai (brother disciple of a common teacher) as companion.
A continuous routine of swadhyaya (self-study), satsang (company of the truth seekers) and rigorous tapa (austerities) was being followed. Whenever he could lay his hand upon a good book, Vivekanand would not miss reading it. In every new place, his first search was a good library, and when he came across one he would make full utilization of its treasures. At one place, in course of this pravrajya, a library impressed him much and he decided to stay at the place for an extended period. His gurubhai would fetch for him a variety of books is Sanskrit and English, which the Swamiji would return the next day after reading them. This routine of issuing fresh books daily  and quite voluminous ones at that- and receiving the same the very next day perplexed the librarian.
He enquired of the gurubhai: ” Do you take all these books daily only to took over them cursorily? If so, I will show them to you here itself, why carry so much weight all the way to your place of stay? Hearing this remark of the librarian, the gurubhai replied in all seriousness: “It is not as you think. My gurubhai does read these books seriously before returning them”. Surprised at this reply, the librarian said: “If it is so, I would very much like to meet the gentleman”. The next day, Swamiji met him and said: “Sir, do not be perplexed. I have not only gone through the books, but have also memorized their contents”. Having said so, he handed him back some previously issued books and repeated verbatim many important passages from them. For the librarian, this spectacle was nothing short of a miracle. Very humbly, he asked Swami ji the secret of his super-human memory. Swami ji laughed and said: “There is no miracle or mystery in this. It is simply a technique of mental concentration”.
This technique has certain stages. The first stage is that whatever is read or listened that should be with a calm, composed and concentrated mind. Indeed, the sense organs are mere doors through which messages are sent to the mind. It is the mind which is the real thing. The more the holding power or capability of the mind, the more the information which can be imprinted on it. In fact, memorizing something or recollecting it is but a mere process, which is called memory (smriti). But the storehouse of memory is talent or intelligence (medha). In each individual, this talent exists in direct proportion to his mental composure, tranquility and concentration. For this very reason, things read, heard or seen in a hurry, or in state of instability, or casually and perfunctorily do not register in the mind.
The more clearly and deeply a thing is imprinted on the substratum of mind, the more vivid and detailed its recollection will be. If for some reason, this imprint is not clear in one attempt, the process should be repeated. It will be helpful if the important points are jotted down, since the process of writing, by itself, generates steadiness and concentration.
The third important point in connection with memory power is that one should be conceptually clear about the subject or points which are sought to be memorized, because it is easy to retain in memory those facts or events which touch our inner chord. Interest in and aptitude for the subject matter is another important consideration; again concentration comes as a matter of course when the topic is of interest to us. In addition to all these, an essential requisite is that our nervous system be stable and strong.
Those who lead a regulated and disciplined life are found to have a sharp memory and they can also absorb information very fast. One cannot lay too much emphasize on the distinct correlation between an orderly and disciplined life style and highly developed and sharpened memory as well as creative abilities.


Know Thyself

It is but natural to enquire about the name, village, address, etc. of a person with whom one has to travel or whom one has to accompany for some time. This acquaintance gives freedom from worry and at the same time paves the way for depending on mutual help in emergencies. A total stranger looks suspicious. Ones own entity always remains with oneself. Its physical and mental aspects are so close that they remain with the self round the clock whether one is awake or asleep. Wife is called by many epithets like life partner, better half of the husband, two bodies-one consciousness, etc. but, she too remains with the husband for a few hours that too at some distance from him.
Children come near once in a while for specific purposes but they are considered ones very own and one has to share their pleasures and pains.
A person is always worried about the future of his children and, as far as possible, plans ahead for it. It is strange that our inseparable instruments of expression like the body and the mind, which are always there with us, are neglected by us. Seldom one enquires about their purpose.
The soul has embodied itself in the material plane with some purpose. Do we understand the purpose and consciously and resolutely pursue it? Whenever a bungalow or a vehicle is given to an officer, he is told that these are to be used for official purposes and not for personal work.
If any officer defaults and rents out a portion of his bungalow or uses his vehicle for private purposes, it would be considered immoral and willful infringement of the rules for personal gain and will attract suitable punishment. Human life is precious. It is a unique, artistic creation of the Creator. Such a boon is not available to any other creature on the earth. No other creature is endowed with the faculty like the human intellect, or with two hands with ten fingers that can be creatively and dexterously used? Which other creatures have the ability to stand erect and walk on two feet? Who is capable of earning their livelihood and accumulating the surplus for later use? Which other creature uses clothes and houses? Who else other than man possesses the wisdom to develop an organized family and social order? Whose senses possess such sensitivity? Who possesses the intricately fashioned living garment like the human body?
The fact that a human being has been blessed with special faculties sets him apart from other creatures. Thus it becomes evident that human life has been given to us for some specific purpose willed by God.
We must concentrate on clearly understanding this purpose and then live life in the light of our true identity as a spark of Divinity. If appropriate efforts are not made to know our true selves through the special faculties and instruments gifted to us for this search by our Creator and we squander away these divine gifts in sense-gratification, it would be a betrayal of our spiritual inheritance leading to endless suffering and pain. In order to get started on this pilgrimage of self-discovery, we will have to wake up out of the stupor of self-forgetfulness  Maya.
Here is what Mahayogi Sri Aurobindo has said about self-effort in the path of self-discovery in his marvelously inspiring words: “In all that is done in the universe, the Divine through his Shakti is behind all action but he is veiled by his Yoga Maya and works through the ego of the jiva in the lower nature. In yoga also it is the Divine who is the sadhak and the sadhana; It is his Shakti with her light, power, knowledge, consciousness, Anand, acting upon the adhara and, when it is opened to her, pouring into it with these divine forces that makes the sadhana possible. But, so long as the lower nature is active the personal effort of the sadhak remains necessary.
The personal effort required is a triple labor of aspiration, rejection and surrender- an aspiration, vigilant, constant, unceasing- the minds will, the hearts seeking, the assent of the vital being, the will to open and make plastic the physical consciousness and nature; rejection of the movements of the lower nature- rejection of the minds ideas, opinions, preferences, habits, constructions, so that the true knowledge may find free room in a silent mind,- rejection of the vital natures desires, demands, cravings, sensations, passions, selfishness, pride, arrogance, lust, greed, jealousy, envy, hostility to the Truth, so that the true power and joy may pour from above into a calm, large, strong and consecrated vital being, – rejection of the physical natures stupidity, doubt , disbelief, obscurity, obstinacy, pettiness, laziness, unwillingness to change, tamas, so that the true stability of Light, Power, Anand may establish itself in a body growing always more divine; surrender of oneself and all one is and has and every plane of the consciousness and every movement of the Divine and the Shakti. In proportion as the surrender and self consecration progress the sadhak becomes conscious of the divine shakti doing the sadhana, pouring into him more and more of herself, founding in him the freedom and perfection of the divine nature.
The more this conscious process replaces his own effort the more rapid and true becomes his progress but it cannot completely replace the necessity of personal effort until the surrender and consecration are pure and complete from top to bottom. Note that a tamasic surrender refusing to fulfill the condition and calling on God to do everything and save one all the trouble and struggle is a deception and does not lead to freedom and perfection.

(From: The Mother p.8-11)
When American philosopher Thoreau was on his deathbed, his aunt came to meet him. She asked whether he had apologized to God for his sins and whether he had prayed for peace.
Thoreau smiled and said that he had never in his life diverted from the path of righteousness, as far as he remembered and that he had never infringed the Divine principles, hence there was no reason for him to tender an apology to God.


Integration of Science and Spirituality

Imbalance or disharmony in any system, any action, generates problems of one kind or the other. Narrow-minded approach or lack of comprehensive considerations eventually leads to inadequate and problematic consequences, even though it might seem to offer some immediate success.
This is because of the incomplete comprehension or negligence of some of the crucial aspects of a situation. In order to achieve an orderly, well-organized, balanced and fulfilling human life, we need to pay due attention and give proper importance to the necessities of its interwoven physical, intellectual, mental and spiritual realms in the individual and social domains. A human being consists of a marvellous amalgam of matter and consciousness force.
The physical or the gross body is made up of the basic elements and their evolved reactions and results, so its healthy sustenance and vigorous functioning largely depend upon the balanced concentrations and activities of these vital constituents.
The subtle or the conscious body, mind and the inner self, which also lies at the base of the living existence of the physical body, receives the transmitting energy from enlightened thinking and virtuous sentiments. The vedic philosophy emphasizes the harmonious growth of both -the gross and the subtle realms. This comprehensive and integral approach lays the foundation of personal, familial, social and global development in an ideal way. Discrepancies, imbalances or disorder in any sphere of life causes different kinds of complications and difficulties of varied nature, which directly or indirectly hinder, retard and even reverse the graph of healthy soul growth and ascent.
A thorough understanding of human life becomes feasible by a comprehensive study of the interrelationship between the human mind, Nature and the Omnipresent Consciousness Force.
The major schools of thought and branches of knowledge that have emanated from the quest for fathoming this relationship have had entirely different approaches. While the material based modern science has designed sophisticated tools and technologies to shape the gross materialistic facets and external structure of progress, the inner foundation of this outer structure is embedded in the indwelling spirit in the individual and the collectively. Science contributes to the civilization and advancement of materialistic resources and spirituality holds the key to the harmonious and virtuous development of personality.
Science reveals the mysteries of Nature in the manifested world, while spirituality unfolds the secrets and objectives of its subtle existence. Analysis of the structure and perceivable properties of things is the subject matter of the different branches of material science. Decipheration and study of the origin and deepest purpose of life pertains to the fields of spirituality. Thus, broadly speaking, the former deals with answering “What and How?” and the latter with “Why and What for?” Both search for truth in their own fields of inquiry. Like the two banks of a river or two invisible edges of the horizon, both are perennially connected with each other but seem to stand far apart. Mutual cooperation and integration of the two is most desired for their relevance and necessity in human life. Unfortunately, these two gigantic streams of search for truth have, because of the way they have been followed and practiced, largely remained compartmentalized and mutually exclusive. Modern science has exhaustively excavated, extracted and exploited the natural resources and gained enormous mastery in the physical world.
However, for want of the guiding light of spirituality, it couldn’t really make a positively constructive, viable and righteous use of its mammoth wealth of knowledge of the principles underlying the physical phenomena. Matter and the visible world became the prominent foci of its advancement and so the objectives of life and its prime purpose got sidetracked and almost lost from sight. What was really needed was, to also search for solutions to the riddles of human psychology and the complexities that entangle the basic aims of life. Scientific research of the physical world enabled man to understand laws of the material world. But the infinite power of the inner self, the consciousness-force of pure sentiments of love and compassion, noble thoughts, etc remained unknown and ignored. As a result, materialistic civilization overtook the charge of life and the key role of sublime consciousness and associated faculties got neglected in the mist of illusions and ignorance.
It was bound to happen. When extrovert hunt for prosperity in terms of materialistic resources and comforts and their possession became the sole objective of life, why would one bother to understand the importance and utility of noble thinking, virtuous character, and altruistic sentiments? The generous attitude of benevolence, selfless cooperation and adoption of ethical conduct emanate from and expand with the support of spiritually evolved emotions. If one is not even aware of the importance of emotions and intrinsic tendencies in human life, why would he care for their refinement?
The mad rush of self-obsession, rat-race for possessions, power and blind progress driven by the ego and selfishness seen everywhere within and around us today reflect the bankruptcy of the human heart (emotional core) and sheer disregard of the inner self. This is the major cause of the ever- increasing agonies, fears and problems the world is facing despite the dazzling scientific advancement, technological development and enormous materialistic strength and wealth today. The grains of scientific research will serve the real purpose and will be beneficial in the true sense only if it opens its barriers and goes beyond “What and How?” to see “Why and What for?” – to encompass the search for the dignity of humanity and ultimate aim of human life. Revered thinkers and philosophers from different parts of the world have been expressing these views on scientific progress ever since its advent. Eminent talents like Leo Tolstoy and Theodore Roosevelt have commented that scientific quest revolves around “what is it?” of every thing, or “why something happens like the way it does in the physical world”. But it does not quite try to find “for what purpose the thing is existing?”, or “for what objective is something happening the way it is?”, etc. Tolstoy further writes at one place that the childhood of modern science has begun with the quest for “what and how?”; the stage of its maturity will be reached when it also begins answering “why and for what purpose?”.
The hidden depths of Nature and life can be plumbed by appropriate and meaningful research on “why and for what purpose?” This type of scientific research in the inner fields of consciousness force will mark the meeting point of science and spirituality. Plato has also observed that the completeness and ultimate progress of science lies in its entry into the spheres of spirituality. Why was this world created? Why the gamut of species of different creatures including human beings produced? Why is the perpetual cycle of Nature running the way it is? For what purpose is every component of the cosmos moving in its specific sphere and order? Who is governing this universal order? Where is the original cause of the manifestation of Nature and the genesis of this ever-expanding cosmic existence?
This basic quest of the existentialists is beyond the scope of the modern material sciences. Leaving aside these rather abstract puzzles, there still remains a plethora of questions concerning the origin, purpose and limitless expressions of human life and evolution of consciousness and the undeciphered layers of mental and emotional cores that are fundamental to the understanding of human life; but are not considered by the modern sciences.
Tolstoy expresses his heartiest appreciation for the constructive contributions of scientific developments to human civilization but he also deplores the near total neglect of moral aspects, value systems and deeper emotional effects, etc in the pursuit of scientific research. In his thorough review-essays in “Science is Not Enough”, the author scientist Vannevar Bush (1890-1974) writes that “the focus and scope of science has largely been confined to the analysis and synthesis of material substances and entities. It cannot claim absolute knowledge of anything with certainty. Its discovery of atom is an evidential example in this regard. It has still not been certain of the structure and functions of the subatomic units and their (further) sub-particulate constituents. Its continual research keeps annulling or deviating its own convictions and thus disapproving the sufficiency of its findings so far”. In the views of the thinkers like Theodore Roosevelt (1933 ) – “Science will be no better than a pool of artificial tools and techniques unless its search begins from metaphysical basis and incorporates the fields of consciousness”. Distinguished scientists like Warsen Beaver also opine that science will have to leave out its prejudices and adopt a broadened attitude for comprehensive research towards revealing the mysteries of Nature and resolving the problems of life. At present its approach is prejudiced in the sense that its search for truth is confined only to the perceivable realities of the world.
Dr. Beaver expresses his views on the reality of sublime consciousness as -” In the moments of deep sorrow, fear or helplessness, we do experience some inner inspiration that induces inexplicable hope and courage. It also gives us strength and light to counter the adversities or find discerning solutions to the acute hardships. This sublime power of inner consciousness is an expression of the Almighty. Each one of us does experience His presence in some form, some time in the course of life”. Science and spirituality have somehow been mutually contradicting in their approaches and have always regarded each other’s principles and objectives as superficial.
This negative competition has deprived both of their complementary roles towards holistic human growth. The convictions and practices of spirituality weaken their authenticity in absence of scientific spirit and openness. The philosophy and teachings of spirituality without having scientific approach lose their relevance and originality in the smog of blind faith and superstitions. Science also remains narrow and incomplete without incorporating spirituality, which is the base of enlightened evolution of the mental and emotional domains. Science without spirituality has no bonds of values and so there is an obvious danger of its becoming amoral and apathetic. This is what we are witnessing today. Science has undoubtedly made grand constructive contributions to the external development of human civilization, but it has unscrupulously invented dreaded products of mass destruction and global devastation. Its unchallenged might and reckless advancement appear to threaten the very existence of life on earth. It is high time the tyranny of this unbridled blind power is controlled and made accountable to humanity. The role of spirituality is self-evident in this regard. Science and technology can generate means of progress but not the means of peaceful co-existence and happiness; neither can these nurture moral values and inner strength. Science and technology may produce material wealth and prosperity but not the nectar of soothing emotions, spring of love and compassion or light of courage, wisdom and sagacity. Unless science is integrated with spirituality to fill-in this gap and both the complementary powers are encouraged to flourish within mutual cooperation, the present trends of progress would be inexorably hurtling towards the suicidal edge of global extinction.
Once a dacoit came to listen to a scholar- preacher’s sermon. The scholar was very eloquent about the virtues of forgiveness and non-violence. The sermon ended. The preacher took the offerings and walked towards his village. There was forest in-between. The dacoit bounced upon the preacher and asked for all the money he was carrying.
The preacher was a brave person and had a bamboo stick in his hands with which he threatened to hit the dacoit. The dacoit got scared and politely asked him that only a shot while ago he was preaching about the virtues of forgiveness and non-violence which he himself was not practicing. The scholar said that the sermon was for law abiding gentle people but for criminals like the dacoit the stick serves the sermon. Looking at the resolutely strong-willed scholar the dacoit took to his heels.

Mobile Technology

Android Vs iOS Vs Windows Phone 7 Vs Symbian ^3

There was a time when buying a smartphone was easy. You had a couple of platforms and a handful of models to choose from. Things have changed a lot today. You now have over half a dozen platforms out there with hundreds of different models between them, priced very close to each other. It doesn’t help matters when several phones are identical to each other but simply running a different brand of operating system.

You can decide what features you want in your phone but what about the operating system? There is no way you can choose between them looking at the spec sheet alone. Being in a position where we get to use all the latest smartphones on all the different platforms, we think we have answers to your operating system related questions.

What follows is a brief comparison of the top four smartphone platforms – iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7 and Symbian ^3 – where we try to find which one is the best, ultimately narrowing down your number of options while buying and helping you choose better.


iOS is the oldest of the four platforms here. Even though it is four-and-a-half-years old now and has barely undergone any major UI makeover, it still looks great. The UI design has a sense of timelessness to it and no matter how many times you look at it it does not look boring. Apple has also designed it in a manner where it is out of your way most of the time so that you can concentrate on your applications. This means there are no unnecessary animations and transition effects and whatever little is there looks natural and is functional.

Android on the other hand has gone through considerable changes since its first iteration and has only got better with age. Having said that, over the years it has lost some of its simplicity and picked up some UI design elements that seem overdone, such as the 3D image gallery or the live wallpapers, which serve no functional value whatsoever and just consume resources for meaningless eye candy. This behavior is at odds with the usual Google way of designing things, where functionality takes precedents over attractiveness. Still, overall it is an attractive OS and although it lacks the timeless beauty of the iOS or the contemporary look of Windows Phone 7, it manages to look pretty good. Too bad you rarely get to see the real Android below the custom skins.

Symbian ^3 borrows the basic UI design of its predecessor and improves upon it. Despite that the end result is not something that one would call modern. You can see the roots of the operating systems, such as the soft keys at the bottom of the screen that were necessary for devices with buttons and a scroll bar for when there was no kinetic scrolling. It does not look bad per se, but it is not in the same league as others. Luckily, it is skinnable, so you can give a new look to it with a custom skin, although don’t expect to make a swan out of a goose.

The latest entrant into the world of smartphones, Windows Phone 7 took the world by surprise when it was first announced, partly because no one expected Microsoft to come up with something that was so fresh and modern. The beauty of the UI design on Windows Phone 7 is unlike anything that you have seen before on other smartphones.

Unlike other operating systems here, especially Android, which borrowed heavily from iOS initially for their UI design, Microsoft came up with something that was completely original and yet incredibly good looking. So good is the UI design that most people would be seduced into buying a Windows Phone 7 device based on the look itself.

Ease of use

Designing a good looking interface is one thing. Designing a good looking interface that is also easy to use is another and no one does this better than Apple. If you don’t believe us just search online for videos where kids are given an iPad or an iPhone and within minutes they manage to figure out the basics.

In our experience iOS has turned out to be the easiest mobile operating system, where everything was so clear and obvious that anyone who used it for the first time, regardless of age, could figure it out without having to refer to a manual. The reason for this is that it does not assume that the user knows how to use it and because of that you can go around doing basic things without any help. It is incredibly intuitive and makes you wonder why others haven’t figured out a way to make their software work this way. It feels as if it was designed with regular human beings in mind, not robots or geeks. We loved the keyboard especially.

Next in line of intuitiveness is Android. It does not have the same level of simplicity as iOS, were you can detach you brain and still manage to work the interface, but it is still very easy nonetheless. Unfortunately, you would rarely get to use stock Android on every phone you use, which means if you are someone who’s not a geek and are used to, say, an HTC Android phone, you will be lost when you pick up a Samsung Android phone.

So even though Google and the OEMs try to make the UI user friendly, the fact that there are so many different types of them is bound to leave a layperson confused.

Using the early versions of Symbian S60 5th Edition was as much fun as amputating your arm with a dull blade. The UI was designed for phones with keypads and Nokia had done little to ensure that it was usable, if not a pleasure. That’s not the case with Symbian ^3, however, which feels miles ahead in terms of usability.

Things now work the way they should and there is no longer a doubt in your mind whether clicking something will just highlight it or launch it. We still don’t like the way the applications are scattered across the menu and the on-screen keyboard could have been better. But overall the latest version of Symbian is pretty user friendly, and unlike Android, you don’t have to worry about different interface layouts on different devices.

Windows Phone 7 may look great but it isn’t the best when it comes to user friendliness. There are some things that aren’t immediately apparent, such as the way you have to press and hold on certain items to display additional options. Then there is also the quirky behavior of the search button or the tiny call/end keys and the need to unlock the screen before you can receive a call. But more than anything, it’s the lack of basic features such as multitasking and copy-paste for text that really makes things difficult for the users. We do love the keyboard though, which is on par with the keyboard on Gingerbread and almost as good as the one on iOS.


Features was never a strong point of iOS, but over the years Apple has added a lot of functionality to the OS, such as the ability to install applications, multitasking, copy-paste, folders, etc. iOS today leaves very little room for complaint. However, there are some things that Apple is yet to take care of such as Bluetooth file transfers, file manager, mass storage, homescreen widgets and FM radio to name a few, but we have a feeling none of these will ever be addressed.

Fortunately, Apple does add additional functionality with every major firmware upgrade but more often than not these are limited to newer devices, whereas the older ones get the short end of the stick.

Android’s biggest advantage over iOS has been the features and with the latest release Android has almost every feature that you could want, whether it is multitasking, widgets, tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot or Adobe Flash support. It feels the most complete out of all the four platforms here in terms of features, and if features are all that you are looking for then you would be happiest with Android.

When it comes to features, Symbian ^3 is no slouch either. You will find almost every feature here that you get on Android, along with some that you don’t, such as FM radio and USB On-the-Go connectivity. You even get multiple homescreens (three, to be exact) and widgets for them, which are very handy. Features like multi-tasking and copy paste, something others have just discovered and others are yet to, have always been part of Symbian since the first iteration several years ago and have been executed perfectly. Symbian ^3 has most of the features that you would want and there wasn’t anything that we felt it should have that it didn’t.

This is one aspect where Windows Phone 7 fails miserably. For an operating system launching in 2010, Microsoft has left out some pretty major things. Although they are saying they will eventually incorporate most of them through updates we feel they should have had them from day one. While it was excusable to leave out on those things back in 2007, Microsoft has no such excuse, considering they were in the smartphone business even before Windows Phone 7. It does have some good features, such as the homescreen tiles, Xbox Live support, Zune pass and Office integration, but we don’t think that will be enough to compete against the rivals.


When iOS first came out, it wowed the world with its fluid interface that ran perfectly even on the modest hardware of the first generation iPhone. Over the years the OS has become heavier and the proof of this is the way the iPhone 3G struggles with iOS 4.0. But try the same OS on an iPhone 4 and you will notice a world of difference. The UI is silky smooth throughout with no noticeable sluggishness. Even when switching between multiple applications, the UI maintains its smoothness without faltering.

Something similar has been observed in case of Android. As long as you provide it with fast hardware, it runs fine but tends to choke on slower devices. However, unlike iOS, even when running on faster hardware, Android is never perfectly smooth. At times you will notice unexpected and inexplicable slowdowns while going through the UI, which deters from the overall experience. Google has also added unnecessary eye candy to the UI, which also tends to bog down devices with less than perfect hardware.

Also, Android does not use the GPU to render the on-screen images, which means the CPU is overburdened, causing further slowdowns. Still, with some optimization, Android can be made to work pretty well on slower devices.
One of the greatest strengths of Symbian is that it has always been a very light operating system that could be run even by weaker hardware. This is why all the Symbian phones have hardware that seem less impressive than what we are used to seeing on high-end devices, but that is absolutely fine as even on that hardware the OS runs perfectly well.

Since the OS is so light, it removes the need to unnecessarily jack up the hardware and burn more battery in the process. This is why Symbian phones have the best battery life among smartphones. Nokia has also made good use of the on-board GPU to render all the on-screen images, leaving the CPU free to handle other tasks.
When it comes to UI smoothness, Windows Phone 7 is unbeatable. That’s mostly because it is always sitting on powerful hardware, but also because the OS is well optimized for it. This is another good example of the kind of performance you get when you know what the weakest device your software would work on and then optimize it accordingly.

This is also why Android does not work well on low-end devices. The UI of Windows Phone 7 is so smooth, it gives you the illusion of moving physical objects around instead of UI elements, an illusion that Android fails to maintain, thanks to the occasional stutter. Unfortunately, the smoothness is only limited to the default applications as third-party applications could not live up to the same standards that Microsoft has set. We have seen Android developers come up with smoother applications even though they had no idea what phone their application would be running on. We hope things get better in future as these applications are updated.


This is one area where iOS pulls out a massive lead ahead of all the other platforms here. Being around the longest has certainly benefitted it and there are millions of applications available on the App Store right now waiting to be downloaded. Granted that more than half of them are not worth a second look but there are some really brilliant apps here. In fact, the general quality of applications available is the highest among all the smartphone platforms. Some of these apps have truly revolutionized the way we use our smartphones and in a way that not even Apple would have imagined when they made the iPhone. If apps are all you care about more than the device, then iOS is the platform to be on right now.

Although Android is fast catching up with iOS in terms of number of applications, we have failed to come across truly compelling apps that would sway us in favor of the Droid. Most of the great apps on Android are already available on iOS and the remaining ones are Google’s own apps. There are very few great apps or games that are exclusive to Android right now. Sure, things would change down the line and once everyone realizes that Android is the better platform to develop for, considering there are no strict restrictions to follow unlike on the App Store, people would eventually make a move towards Android.

With Android already outselling iPhones in the US soon everyone would want to develop for the OS with the most number of users. Right now though, things aren’t that great as such and if it’s apps you want you should be looking at iOS, not Android. Also, remember that even if tomorrow Android Market does get all the great applications that does not mean they will stop making them for iOS.

There was a time when people boasted about the number of applications that Symbian has. Although it does have one of the best libraries of applications available in terms of sheer numbers, a lack of application store meant it was difficult to have access to them. Now that Nokia has the Ovi Store, things are looking better. When we reviewed the N8 we remarked about the number of applications available for it.

Even though the platform was quite new, the store had decent number of apps available for it. Even now it is growing at a steady pace. But the thing about the Ovi Store is that it will just take care of the basics and you won’t be spoilt for choice as on iOS or Android. Want a Twitter client, there is Gravity. Want an IM app, use Nimbuzz. While this does make it easier to choose, at times you wish you had more apps from the same category to choose from.
Windows Phone 7 has the least impressive library of applications available for it and although one can blame this on the short period of time it has been out we must say the Windows Marketplace didn’t flood with great apps the way we expected it to be.

Just like Ovi, it has all the basic applications covered, but there is nothing here that isn’t available on the other platforms as of now. Also, the applications and especially games seemed unreasonably expensive on the Marketplace compared to App Store or Android Market. The same app as on these stores would cost two to three times more on the Marketplace for no reason.

Perhaps developers are seeing Windows Phone 7 as a premium platform, considering all the Windows Phone 7 devices are high-end and think they can get away with pricing their apps high (the same reason why Android developers either choose to go the ad-based way or through OEMs because they know Android buyers aren’t big spenders).


You probably expected Symbian to be at the bottom of the chart when you started reading this article, but as surprising as it may be, it isn’t. That (dis)honor goes to Windows Phone 7, which has a long way to go before it can play with the big boys. Sure it has the potential to be great with a killer interface that would seduce people into buying this phone (and flame me in the comments section for writing bad about it). But right now there are few reasons to consider buying a Windows Phone 7 handset. Perhaps by the time you are ready to buy your next smartphone, it would be ready for you.

Symbian has gone through a lot of changes over the past years and it has never been in a better shape before. But we feel it has reached the end of its potential and it’s about time it hands over the torch to MeeGo, which will take over as the premium operating system on Nokia’s smartphones. While there is nothing bad about it, others just seem a generation ahead and although it still has the one of the best feature list around it’s not enough in today’s world. The fact the Ovi Store isn’t exactly brimming with great quality apps is also another reason why it lags behind.

iOS has had a long and successful journey and it still has a long way to go, but it seems too rigid in today’s world. The interface design is still top notch and Apple’s attention to detail is exemplary. However, you still miss some of those features, such as widgets for the homescreen or a notification system that does not annoy you. More than anything else, iOS’s biggest trump card is the App Store, which is undoubtedly the best in the business. But the fact that you can only enjoy this wonderful OS on two smartphones, both of which are high-end devices, does not bode well for those who don’t have ‘Ambani’ as their last name.

Android today is a completely different animal compared to what it was two years ago. It felt rudimentary, to say the least, and although it showed potential it was difficult to predict back then what it would be today. Google has worked hard on the OS and thanks to a steady stream of updates it has completely transformed into this new OS that can go head-to-head with the best of the business. It’s still far from perfect though and certain issues such as fragmentation would never be solved. But people have accepted them and found ways to make things work regardless of presence.

Today’s Android offers the best combination of features, performance and support from the developer community in terms of application and the fact that it can run on even a sub Rs. 7,000 handset proves that you don’t need big bucks to own a smartphone. And it’s because of all these qualities that it manages to narrowly nudge ahead of iOS, which has so far been the undisputed king of the smartphone segment. So our verdict is simple, if you don’t have the cash to spend on an iPhone 4, get an Android.