Wednesday, April 30, 2014

India became 3rd-largest economy in 2011

In a matter of six years, India emerged as the world's third-largest economy in 2011 from being the 10th largest in 2005, moving ahead of Japan, while the US remained the largest economy closely followed by China, latest figures have revealed.
"The economies of Japan and the UK became smaller relative to the US, while Germany increased slightly and France and Italy remained the same," according to data released today by the International Comparison Program (ICP), hosted by the Development Data Group at the World Bank Group.
"The relative rankings of the three Asian economies -- China, India, and Indonesia -- to the US doubled, while Brazil, Mexico and Russia increased by one-third or more," the report said. The world produced goods and services worth over $90 trillion in 2011 and that almost half of the total output came from low and middle-income countries, it said.
According to the major findings of the ICP, six of the world's 12 largest economies were in the middle-income category (based on the World Bank's definition).
When combined, the 12 largest economies accounted for two-thirds of the world economy and 59 per cent of the population, it said.
The purchasing power parities (PPPs)-based world GDP amounted to $90,647 billion, compared with $70,294 billion measured by exchange rates, it said, adding that the share of middle-income economies in global GDP is 48 per cent when using PPPs and 32 per cent when using exchange rates.
The six largest middle-income economies - China, India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico - account for 32.3 per cent of world GDP, whereas the six largest high-income economies - US, Japan, Germany, France, UK and Italy - account for 32.9 per cent, the report said.
Asia and the Pacific, including China and India, account for 30 per cent of world GDP, Eurostat-OECD 54 per cent, Latin America 5.5 per cent (excluding Mexico, which participates in the OECD and Argentina, which did not participate in the ICP 2011), Africa and Western Asia about 4.5 per cent each.
"China and India make up two-thirds of the Asia and the Pacific economy, excluding Japan and South Korea, which are part of the OECD comparison. Russia accounts for more than 70 per cent of the CIS, and Brazil for 56 per cent of Latin America. South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria account for about half of the African economy," said the report.
"At 27 per cent, China now has the largest share of the world's expenditure for investment (gross fixed capital formation) followed by the US at 13 per cent.
India, Japan and Indonesia follow with 7 per cent, 4 per cent, and 3 per cent, respectively," the report said.
China and India account for about 80 per cent of investment expenditure in the Asia and the Pacific region.
Russia accounts for 77 per cent of CIS, Brazil for 61 per cent of Latin America and Saudi Arabia 40 per cent of Western Asia, it said.
The report said low-income economies, as a share of world GDP, were more than two times larger based on PPPs than respective exchange rate shares in 2011.
Yet, these economies accounted for only 1.5 per cent of the global economy, but nearly 11 per cent of the world population.
Roughly 28 per cent of the world's population lives in economies with GDP per capita expenditure above the $13,460 world average and 72 per cent are below that average.
The approximate median yearly per capita expenditure for the world -- at $10,057 -- means that half of the global population has per capita expenditure above that amount and half below, it said.
The five economies with the highest GDP per capita are Qatar, Macao, Luxembourg, Kuwait and Brunei.
The first two economies have more than $100,000 per capita, the ICP report said.
Eleven economies have more than $50,000 per capita, while they collectively account for less than 0.6 per cent of the world's population. The US has the 12th-highest GDP per capita.
Eight economies -- Malawi, Mozambique, Central African Republic, Niger, Burundi, Congo, Dem. Rep., Comoros and Liberia -- have a GDP per capita of less than $1,000.
The five economies with highest actual individual consumption per capita are Bermuda, US, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong and Luxembourg.
The world average actual individual consumption per capita is approximately $8,647, it said

Saturday, April 26, 2014

California has the world's largest solar array will produce nearly 30 percent of the United States solar thermal energy.

A massive solar plant in the Mojave Desert officially began operation today after years of construction, testing, and development. Co-owned by NRG Energy, BrightSource Energy, and Google, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is said to be ready to generate nearly 30 percent of all solar thermal energy produced in the United States. The plant consists of three 459-foot tall towers each with tens of thousands of robotic, garage-door sized mirrors that angle sunlight toward a water boiler sitting atop them.
NRG says that the nearly 5.5-square-mile plant is the largest solar project of its type in the world, and that it will be able to provide clean energy to 140,000 neighboring California homes. But though its owners see Ivanpah as a beacon for clean energy sources, the plant has not been without its controversies. The Wall Street Journal reports that its more than 300,000 mirrors have been scorching birds that fly through their path, and the Associated Press reports that local protected tortoises had to be relocated during the plant's construction.
While regulators are continuing to look into the plant's environmental impact, it's still a big moment for clean energy in California. "At Google we invest in innovative renewable energy projects that have the potential to transform the energy landscape and help provide more clean power to businesses and homes around the world," Rick Needham, Google's director of energy and sustainability, says in a statement. "Ivanpah is a shining example of such a project and we're delighted to be a part of it."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Blueprint for Building Billion-Dollar Businesses

What is the “sharing economy?” For me, it’s simply connecting latent supply and demand and adding value in the processes.  For example, Uber has built an amazing service connecting riders with drivers (both professional and personal), and in the process has built a multi-billion-dollar business.  Meanwhile,Airbnb has built a shared economy amongst vacation renters and housing suppliers, andAngelList /Crowdfunder have built a shared economy of investors and private companies looking for funding.  So how can we all tap into this massive trend? Here’s a blueprint for building your own billion-dollar business via the sharing economy (experience and capital sold separately).
Step 1: Identify Services (and Products) We All Regularly Use
To leverage the shared economy you need to have “fluidity.” This simply means that if you’re going to monetize brokering supply and demand, there has to be enough demand to tap into.  People take rides and taxis every day, there is a trillion dollar market for vacation rentals and hotel rooms, and they’re millions of people looking for loans for their businesses; this is, in part, why Uber, Airbnb and LendingClub are so successful. They went after markets with huge demand.
Step 2:  Determine If/Where There is Latent Supply
In many cases, the sharing economy creates a new source of supply to meet a current demand. For example, DogVacay helps dog owners find dog sitters. Traditionally, you would put your pet in a kennel, but their model leverages everyday pet-lovers who are willing to open up their home, and in the process can earn $1000+ a month. In this case there was latent supply (pet-friendly homeowners), who were galvanized and matched with the demand for the services they could provide (reliable pet sitting).
Step 3: Technology Should Meaningfully Improve the Process
It’s not enough just to match the supply and demand, you have to add value. For example, Uber adds the value of being able to hail a ride through your phone, track its location and pay without cash or credit cards.  This convenience increases people’s incentive to use the service. In other cases, like Amazon Mechanical Turk, the technology platform provides access to services that we might otherwise not be able to access. Mechanical Turk connects us to people from across the world who will do any number of micro-tasks for micro-payments: data entry, content curation, bug testing, etc. In this case the technology platform helps us complete tasks we otherwise couldn’t.
Step 4: The Key to Attracting the Supply and Demand
These businesses all face the chicken-and-egg dilemma of how to simultaneously scale supply and demand. Meaning, how do you get customers for services that don’t exist, and how do you encourage people to offer these services before the customers exist?  One of the ways to solve this is to have a mechanism to scale one side of the equation quickly. For example, Chegg provides a platform for students to buy and sell their textbooks. In their case, it’s easy to build the supply because there is a group of debt-laden college students looking for any way to make some extra cash (and get rid of old textbooks). When executed best, the supply creates new and excess demand. People are now more likely to get their clothes dry-cleaned with services like Wash.io because of the ease of the experience and transparency in pricing.
Step 5: The Unit Economics and Margins Must Work
Sharing economy businesses can have massive margins, but not all do. Many of these businesses struggle because the costs of customer acquisition, technology and operating expenses eat into the revenue generated from making the match. TaskRabbit evolved from focusing on immediate tasks like errands and pick-ups to services like home cleaning and improvement, presumably because the margins of each connection allow for greater profitability than small errands do. Airbnb is dealing with average purchases of hundreds of dollars apiece, so there’s flexibility to charge enough in fees to make the connection.
Step 6: Scale to Millions of Customers
Like any consumer billion-dollar business, lots of people will need to use your service.  How do you know if your idea is prepared to scale? Go back to step one: sizing demand. If you can find a use case with the potential to keep increasing both supply and demand (without a significant incremental cost), and the potential for that supply and demand is limitless, then you’ve cracked the formula for building your own billion-dollar business.

Apple reports strong iPhone sales

Apple is doling out more of its cash to shareholders and preparing to split its stock for the first time in nine years in an attempt to win back investors fretting about the iPhone maker's slowing sales growth and pace of innovation.
The moves announced Wednesday as part of Apple's fiscal second-quarter earnings report are aimed at boosting the company's stock price, which has been hovering about 25 percent below the peak it reached in September 2012. The bellwether Standard & Poor's 500 has climbed by 28 percent during the same period.
Apple Inc. earmarked an additional $30 billion for buying back its stock through next year, bringing the total to $90 billion during that time frame.
The Cupertino, Calif., company also is raising its quarterly dividend 8 percent to $3.29 per share, up from $3.05 per share.

The moves come amid worries investors have about the future of Apple since Steve Jobs, its co-founder and chief visionary, died in October 2011. Those worries have been compounded by the fierce competition that Apple faces in mobile devices, particularly from Samsung Electronics Co., which has been widening its lead in the smartphone market.
Although many analysts had been expecting Apple to distribute more money to shareholders, the stock split came as a surprise. After the seven-for-one split is completed June 9, the trading price of Apple's shares will fall dramatically. Had the split occurred at Wednesday's closing price of $524.75, the stock would probably begin trading at around $75.

At that level, more people should be able to afford to buy shares - a factor that could, in theory, fuel more demand for Apple's stock and eventually lift the price.
The company's escalating investment in its own stock also could increase the price by reducing the number of outstanding shares. That reduction increases earning per share, a key yardstick on Wall Street to appraise a company's value. Apple's market value currently stands at about $470 billion, more than any other publicly held company.
Since Apple's last split in February 2005, the stock has increased by nearly 12-fold. But CEO Tim Cook told analysts in a conference call that Apple's stock price "does not reflect the full value of the company."
Apple's stock soared $41.40, or almost 8 percent, to $566.15 in extended trading after the news came out.

Activist investor Carl Icahn, who had spent months pressuring Apple to buy back more stock, was among those applauding the company's moves. In a Twitter post, Icahn said he is "extremely pleased" and reiterated his belief that Apple's stock remains "meaningfully undervalued."
The results for the first three months of the year illustrated how Apple Inc. can afford to spend so much money on its own stock while also paying more than $11 billion in dividends annually.
The company ended the quarter with nearly $151 billion in cash, including $132 billion it is keeping overseas to lower its U.S. tax bill. The money being held outside the U.S. isn't available to buy back stock or pay shareholder dividends.

Apple's earnings rose 7 percent to $10.2 billion, or $11.62 per share, an amount that exceeds what most technology companies make in an entire year. Revenue climbed 5 percent to $45.6 billion. It represented the highest revenue that Apple has generated in any quarter occurring outside the holiday shopping season.
Nonetheless, Apple's revenue growth has been stuck between 1 percent and 6 percent for the past year. By contrast, the quarterly revenue of rival Google Inc. has been rising at 12 to 19 percent during the same stretch.
Apple expects its revenue for the current quarter ending in June to come in at about $37 billion, which would be another 5 percent increase from last year.

The quarter was highlighted by a 17 percent increase in iPhone sales from the same time last year to 43.7 million units, boosted by strong demand in China, the U.S., Western Europe and Japan.
But iPad sales fell 16 percent from last year to about 16.4 million tablets. Apple traced the decline to its inability to meet the demand for the iPad Mini during the holiday season of 2012. That prompted Apple to ramp up production in last year's January-March quarter, boosting sales higher than they otherwise would have been. The company said it managed iPad demand better during the 2013 holidays.
Even as Apple faces more competition from Samsung, other rivals have been releasing their own sleek and often cheaper devices. Most of those devices use Google Inc.'s free Android system, which Jobs believed had ripped off Apple's ideas.

Cook, Jobs' hand-picked successor, has repeatedly hinted that the company is putting the finishing touches on its first major breakthrough since the iPad came out four years ago. True to Apple's tight-lipped nature, Cook hasn't provided any details about what's in works.
Speculation has centered on an iPhone with a larger display screen, an Internet-connected watch that would also monitor users' health, a digital wallet built into Apple's devices, and a more sophisticated version of the Apple TV streaming device.
"We're expanding Apple's products and services into new categories and we are not going to underinvest in this business," Cook told analysts as he explained why the company isn't diverting even more cash to stock repurchases and dividends.

With iPhone sales in India doubling, will Apple look at retail for an even bigger push?

Over the last year or so, Apple has been aggressively marketing in India, with full page cover ads in newspapers, television commercials, and numerous buyback schemes and price cuts. Wednesday's earnings call for the quarter ending in March highlighted how this has paid off, and although India remains an Android dominated market, Apple is making steady inroads here as well.
In the earnings call, Luca Maestri - Vice President of Finance and Corporate Controller, Apple said that "iPhone sales grew by strong double-digits year-over-year, and in India and Vietnam sales more than doubled." CEO Tim Cook later revealed that the company has seen 55% growth in India compared to the last quarter. Apple "established a new all-time record for total iPhone sales in the BRIC countries", Cook added.

While many were sceptical about moves such as reintroducing the iPhone 4 in India, and about the efficacy of the iPhone buyback schemes, it would appear that Apple is doing a good job of winning over smartphone users in India.
While a country specific number of handsets were not revealed, in the earnings call, Cook did say that the iPhone sales are at a record high, and attributed this at least partly to the popularity of devices like the iPhone 4s, which is available for just over Rs. 20,000 today.

This still seems like a very high price for a device which was first launched in 2011; in contrast, you can get a new device, such as the Micromax Canvas Knight for less, and you get a bigger and higher resolution screen, a bigger battery, a much more powerful processor and more RAM and more storage as well. You can see a full comparison here.
So why is it that an increasing number of people are buying what amounts to a dated handset? According to Cook, "85% of iPhone 4s buyers are switching from Android."

There are a number of factors at work; primary among which is the brand value that Apple commands. Aside from that, there is no denying that the app ecosystem on the iPhone is still one of the best - both the App Store and Google Play have a problem with clones and misleading apps, but this is much more pronounced on Google Play, where for a while the top selling paid app was an anti-virus app whichactually did nothing at all!
Also, while the brands that are delivering "budget" handsets have been able to make significant improvements in build quality, there's still a huge difference in the feeling of holding one of these handsets, or something from a brand like Nokia, HTC, or Apple.

For Apple in India, the next big challenge is retail - there has been a lot of speculation over the last couple of years that Apple will enter the retail business here, but that has not taken place as yet. However, in the earnings call, Cook mentioned that, "we established an all time quarterly revenue record of almost $10 billion including the results from our retail stores," in China. He added that the new online and retail leader Angela Ahrendts will join Apple's executive team next week.

With a strong presence established in China, and high growth in India, it might actually be possible that Apple looks towards India next; this is a move that could have strong consequences for the brand here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies.

That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Google took a step in that direction this week with the acquisition of Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones that can help boost Internet access to remote areas.

"It's still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring Internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation," said a Google spokesman.

Titan's drones are able to run for five years at an altitude of some 65,000 feet (20,000 meters). They can perform similar functions to geostationary satellites, but are less costly.

Drones are just one of several ideas being explored by Google, Facebook and others that may involve satellites, high-altitude balloons, blimps or other flying machines.

Google has already begun work on Project Loon, which uses large balloons for transmitting Internet signals to regions that are not now connected.

Tests were carried out last year in New Zealand, and one balloon circumnavigated the world in 22 days.

Google's plan is to keep the balloons aloft in the stratosphere for 100 days, with movements guided by an algorithmic formula.

A similar idea comes from Facebook, which last month unveiled its "Connectivity Lab" aimed at spreading the Internet with drones, satellites and solar-powered planes.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said recently that he sees a potential in drones because they "have more endurance than balloons, while also being able to have their location precisely controlled."

"And unlike satellites, drones won't burn up in the atmosphere when their mission is complete," he added.

Facebook is working with global partners, including Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson and Qualcomm, in a group called Internet.org that seeks to improve Internet access to lesser developed regions.

- Question marks -

It's not quite clear if these ideas are merely pie in the sky.

"It's all very interesting but the technology is very unproven," said Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies.

Kay said Google appears to outflank Facebook for Titan and that "it's a bit of a defensive move, but it's also possible that this will not bear practical fruit."

Jack Gold, analyst with J. Gold Associates, was more skeptical.

"People have played with it for years and it is not going anywhere," Gold said.

"I don't think it's cost-effective for companies like Google and others to put up a thousand drones just to get people access."

Gold maintained that Google "can do all kinds of experiments, they've got the cash and money to do that. But I'm not sure I would at this point look at it as a serious way for them to deliver Internet."

Google has a ground game as well as an air game, however. The California giant is expanding its Google Fiber project to dozens of US cities.

And sources familiar with Google's plans say the work in the skies is not merely a pipe dream: Data from Loon and Titan drones may be integrated into other projects, notably efforts to fine-tune services such as Google Maps.

Google, Facebook look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies.
That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.
Google took a step in that direction this week with the acquisition of Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones that can help boost Internet access to remote areas.

"It's still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring Internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation," said a Google spokesman.

Titan's drones are able to run for five years at an altitude of some 65,000 feet (20,000 meters). They can perform similar functions to geostationary satellites, but are less costly.
Drones are just one of several ideas being explored by Google, Facebook and others that may involve satellites, high-altitude balloons, blimps or other flying machines.

Google has already begun work on Project Loon, which uses large balloons for transmitting Internet signals to regions that are not now connected.
Tests were carried out last year in New Zealand, and one balloon circumnavigated the world in 22 days.
Google's plan is to keep the balloons aloft in the stratosphere for 100 days, with movements guided by an algorithmic formula.

A similar idea comes from Facebook, which last month unveiled its "Connectivity Lab" aimed at spreading the Internet with drones, satellites and solar-powered planes.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said recently that he sees a potential in drones because they "have more endurance than balloons, while also being able to have their location precisely controlled."
"And unlike satellites, drones won't burn up in the atmosphere when their mission is complete," he added.
Facebook is working with global partners, including SamsungNokia, Ericsson and Qualcomm, in a group called Internet.org that seeks to improve Internet access to lesser developed regions.

Question marks
It's not quite clear if these ideas are merely pie in the sky.
"It's all very interesting but the technology is very unproven," said Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies.
Kay said Google appears to outflank Facebook for Titan and that "it's a bit of a defensive move, but it's also possible that this will not bear practical fruit."

Jack Gold, analyst with J. Gold Associates, was more skeptical.
"People have played with it for years and it is not going anywhere," Gold said.
"I don't think it's cost-effective for companies like Google and others to put up a thousand drones just to get people access."

Gold maintained that Google "can do all kinds of experiments, they've got the cash and money to do that. But I'm not sure I would at this point look at it as a serious way for them to deliver Internet."
Google has a ground game as well as an air game, however. The California giant is expanding itsGoogle Fiber project to dozens of US cities.

And sources familiar with Google's plans say the work in the skies is not merely a pipe dream: Data from Loon and Titan drones may be integrated into other projects, notably efforts to fine-tune services such as Google Maps.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Google buys high-altitude drone maker

Google is reaching for the clouds, and not the virtual ones.

On Monday, the company said that it had purchased Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude drone satellites, which will be used to take photos of the Earth and to connect people to the Internet.

"Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world," a Google spokesman said in a statement. "It's still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation."

The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

While it may sound like a lofty goal, it's one that Google shares with a competitor. Facebook, recently acquired Ascenta, based in Britain, that makes a similar type of drone. Earlier reports had said that Facebook was in talks to buy Titan Aerospace.

The Titan Aerospace drones are unique because they are solar-powered and can fly for several years, according to the company's website.

Drones that can fly for long periods of time without having to land could be used to offer constant updates of images of the Earth, allowing a company like Google to update the photos in its maps platform.

Both Google and Facebook are also competing to try to connect more people to the Internet that live in places that are too difficult to reach with traditional wires and traditional Internet solutions. While satellites can deliver the Internet to sparsely populated areas, the cost can be very high to use data connections. Drones, in comparison, will be able to do it at a much lower cost.

Faster Wi-Fi on flights leads to battle in the sky

Wi-Fi in the sky is taking off, promising much better connections for travelers and a bonanza for the companies that sell the systems.


With satellite-based Wi-Fi, Internet speeds on jetliners are getting lightning fast. And airlines are finding that travelers expect connections in the air to rival those on the ground - and at lower cost.
But the fast evolution of rival systems and standards, such as Ku band and Ka band, pose a big question for airlines: which one to choose?

Equipping fleets can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and airlines don't want to see their investment quickly become outdated due to newer technology. That's made some cautious about signing up.
"We don't want to end up with a Betamax," said Peter Ingram, chief financial officer of Hawaiian Airlines, referring to the Sony video format that eventually lost out to the VHS standard, leaving many consumers with obsolete systems.

Hawaiian is still considering which system to use.
The drive for in-flight connectivity also has intensified after the disappearance on March 8 of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with 239 people aboard. Search teams are scouring parts of the Indian Ocean for the missing aircraft, and it might have been better tracked if a satellite system capable of streaming cockpit data had been on board.

Global market
The U.S. market for airborne Internet got a big boost last November after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration allowed passengers to use smartphones, tablets and e-readers throughout a flight, ending a long-standing ban on their use during takeoff and landing.

While the change hasn't been adopted worldwide, the FAA's move is expected to lead to greater use of devices, and bandwidth, on planes.
About 40 percent of U.S. jetliners already have some Wi-Fi, but the race is on to wire the rest of a growing global fleet, and to make the existing connections better.

The number of commercial planes worldwide with Wi-Fi, cell service or both is expected to more than triple over the next 10 years, to 14,000 from about 4,000 currently, with much of that growth in Asia, according to research firm IHS.
Even with a tripling, only half of the worldwide fleet will be wired in 2022, suggesting demand for new systems will last longer.

Much of the U.S. fleet will need upgrades to access satellites, since many planes currently are equipped for ground-based transmission, which is typically slower than satellite.
"Passengers of the future want to be connected when they want," Chris Emerson, senior vice president of marketing at Airbus , told Reuters during the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.
"Everyone wants Internet the way they have it on the ground, so it has to be cheap or free."

Greater speed
Satellite technology will speed up onboard connections sevenfold, to about 70 megabits per second next year, fast enough to download a two-hour high-definition movie in about four minutes. Of course, that bandwidth will be shared among all of the users on the flight, which could number 200 or more.
Satellites also will allow service to reach developing markets in Asia and Latin America, and to offer expanded service in the U.S. and European markets.

Investors expect the global expansion and faster speeds will fuel greater use of services, with revenue split between the providers and the airlines.
It also will drive hardware sales, as airlines outfit aircraft with antennas, radios and routers. Honeywell, for example, makes fuselage-top antennas that link to the Global Xpress network provided by Inmarsat PLC, which operates on the Ka band.

In demonstrating the GX system at the Hamburg show, Honeywell said the system can deliver up to 50 megabits per second consistently around most of the globe, and it plans to test it on its own plane this summer, while Air China is expected to start trials with it in late 2014 or early 2015.

"GX is going to be a real game changer for airlines and their passengers from 2015 when the service comes online,"John Broughton, director of product marketing for GX at Honeywell, said in an interview.
A rival standard, Ku band, operates in a lower frequency band. While it may be able to achieve higher bandwidth than Ka band in certain areas, its overall connectivity is not as consistent, especially on long-haul flights over oceans, experts said.

Gogo used the Hamburg show to announce its 2Ku system, that will use a special dual antenna made by ThinKom Solutions Inc to raise the capacity of the Ku band system to 70 mbps, a leap from its current systems that operated at 3 to 10 mbps. Gogo also offers Ka band satellite connectivity and built its business on ground-based cell-tower technologyin the United States.

"Betamax" risk
The improving systems mean customers will demand better connections. Some frequent fliers with status on several airlines say they choose flights based on Wi-Fi availability.
"It becomes an ante at the table," said Jonathan Schildkraut, an analyst at Evercore Partners, which co-managed Gogo's IPO last June.
But the variety of systems poses tough decisions for airlines, which risk choosing a technology that could become outdated.

Ingram, the CFO of Hawaiian Airlines, said the choice and cost of a system is especially important for his fleet since it mostly carries people on vacation - people who don't want to be tethered to the office.
"The technology in the Wi-Fi space for trans-Pacific flying is still evolving," he said, "so we haven't made any final decisions yet."
German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG knows the perils. It originally worked with Connexion, a Boeing unit developing in-flight Wi-Fi that operated a decade ago but failed to attract enough customers.
"We were a little bit unfortunate," CEO Christoph Franz said in an interview. "We had spent millions to equip our aircraft."

Lufthansa has since outfitted more than 90 percent of its long-haul planes with satellite connectivity.
But it is taking a step-by-step approach for other planes, outfitting about 30 Airbus A321 aircraft with a system that can stream content from an onboard server to handheld devices, but doesn't connect to the Internet.
"We need a decent provider for that, but we didn't want our customers to wait," Franz said. He expects a "triple-digit-million" euro investment to outfit the full fleet.
"We are ready to do this," he said. "But we have to look at the bill. We will see which system at the end of the day turns out to be the most affordable and the fastest."

Friday, April 11, 2014

iPhone 6 to sport 5.5-inch full-HD display, 4.7-inch model also coming

Apple might finally enter the screen size battle with the launch of two iPhones rumoured to sport large screen sizes.

KGI Securities analyst, Ming Chi-Kuo believes that Apple will again debut two new iPhone models this year, sporting 5.5-inch and 4.7-inch display.

Apple Insider cites Chi-Kuo who suggested that the high-end 5.5-inch iPhone model will boast a higher screen resolution at 1080x1920 pixels (full-HD), with a pixel density of 401ppi, while the 4.7-inch model is said to pack a lower resolution screen at 750x1334 pixels and will offer a pixel density of 326ppi, very much in-line with earlier reports.

Further, Chi-Kuo claims that both the upcoming iPhone 6 models will pack company's next-generation A8 chips with 1GB RAM; low temperature poly-silicon in-cell touch panels and will sport Touch ID fingerprint security. Both iPhone models anticipated to launch this year will come with NFC and metal casing.
There will be an 8-megapixel rear camera with f/2.2 aperture on both models, already seen on iPhone 5s. Further, Chi-Kuo predicts that newer iPhone 6 models might see adoption of the optical image stabilisation and improved low-light performance.

On the design, the next iPhones' models are said to include bezels that will be 10-20 percent narrow than the the iPhone 5s, while the thickness will be 6.5-7mm.

Notably, Chi-Kuo in his extensive research note has claimed that the newer iPhone models might see the shift in power button to the side of the device to make users' comfortable with one-hand use, as is standard in larger Android phones.

Kuo suggests that the 4.7-inch iPhone model will be company's main handset driver in late 2014 and the shipments can be expected to hit 60 million units.

In addition, a report emerging out from Taiwan points that the rumoured 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model will enter production in July while the bigger 5.5-inch model is expected to enter production later.
It's worth pointing out that a recently leaked internal Apple presentation document gave the clearest indication yet that Apple seems ready to offer an iPhone with a display bigger than the 4-inch screen seen on the iPhone 5iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s.