Sony unveils Android tablet – Source : The Economic Times.

Sony launched its first tablet computers on Tuesday in an ambitious attempt to grab the No.2 spot from Samsung in a fast-growing market dominated by Apple’s year-old iPad. The gadgets, based on Google’s Android 3.0 operating system, could be some of the Japanese company’s most important new products since the Playstation game console made its debut in 1994.

Sony, also the inventor of the Walkman and once a symbol of Japan’s high-tech might, is now struggling to come up with hit devices and improve profit margins as it competes with Apple , Samsung Electronics and Nintendo.

“Expectations are low that any company can present a credible challenge to Apple,” said Jay Defibaugh, director of equity research at MF Global in Tokyo.

Sony’s tablets join more than 100 iPad challengers based on Android, and may struggle to differentiate themselves, although Sony does have the advantage of being able to link the tablets to its gaming and entertainment offerings.

“Being late into the tablet market is not necessarily a bad thing,” said Geoff Blaber, head of mobile device software research at British IT analysis firm CCS Insight.

“If certain manufacturers are taking their time to come to market with something genuinely differentiated from the iPad… that can be good for them in the long run.”

Sony’s black, glossy devices, code-named S1 and S2, will be the first tablets to enable the use of PlayStation games.

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Infosys, Wipro increase focus on verticals to overcome growth challenges. Source: The Economic Times.

Restructuring is disruptive and takes away operational focus,” says Kris Gopalakrishnan , CEO of  Infosys Technologies, after a week of tumult that saw new and old questions being raised on the company’s ability to stay ahead and settle leadership issues. So, if the software-services company is in the midst of its first organisational overhaul in four years, it must have very good reasons. There are.

The first is TCS, the only Indian software company running ahead of Infosys, and running further and further away from it with each passing quarter. The second is Cognizant, one of two companies behind it, and getting bigger and bigger in its mirrors. Gopalakrishnan sidesteps that bait, but senior Infoscians say those two peers provide a context for many internal conversations about growth.

In a sense, the restructuring journey that Infosys has embarked on is one that TCS and Cognizant started a few years ago. The basic premise was how best to compete in the market while keeping their huge employee base engaged. Every Indian software company, while doing business, has to deal with three dimensions-geographies, industries and service lines. And this is where the lines tend to cross-and affect business.

While Infosys kept things centralised and gave importance to all three fronts, TCS and Cognizant regrouped along industry lines, or verticals. TCS, for example, planned to create 23 business divisions, each with a CEO having a high degree of autonomy. Mini-corporations within a large corporation.

For the last seven to eight years, Infosys has been gradually increasing its focus on verticals. It’s now taking it to its natural conclusion. “We are now applying this (verticalisation) to the entire company,” says Gopalakrishnan. It’s a line of thinking that its cross-town rival from Bangalore, Wipro, also embraced in January 2011, after a similar bout of disappointments on the business front threw a poser on how it was doing business.

Partha Iyengar, head of Gartner’s India research, says the companies are responding to deeper market changes, but the transition to a more decentralised structure could be painful. “Not everyone is starting from the same point,” he says. “I don’t look at it as verticalisation, but as an effort to make the organisation more agile and responsive,” says Sudin Apte, founder of outsourcing advisory firm Offshore Insights.

‘One Wipro’

TK Kurien , new CEO of Wipro, likes to use a moniker to summarise what the software services company wants to transform itself into: One Wipro. It is meant to describe a physical state of being where the sprawling parts of its business are organised to run in the same direction, without crossing paths.

In the old structure, before January 2011, they didn’t always. Take the way Wipro did business with a bank like Citibank. Three separate departments in Wipro-banking, sales and software testing-had mandates to sell business to the bank directly.

So, at any point in time, three different teams from Wipro would be making pitches at Citibank. Its banking vertical would be selling a banking software, the sales team might be making a pitching for the bank’s back-office work, and its software testing division would be offerings its testing services.

Phone & PC applications for effective communication – Source: The Economic Times

For heavy SMS users, the costs can sometimes add up to more than half the monthly cellphone bill. No matter what platform you choose, Karan Bajaj and Hitesh Raj Bhagat have details on various free phone applications , the best phones to type long messages on and the most useful chat integrators for Windows, MAC & Linux

Free, For Your Phone

KIK MESSENGER http://www.kik.com

Available for iOS and Android, Kik messenger is the simplest of cross platform messengers out there. You need to sign up and choose a unique name for identification . Kik offers an option to scan through your phone’s contacts to search for friends already using Kik Messenger. The application’s user interface is much like Google talk and allows for chat and transfer of images. The only trouble is that it can only transfer images that you click using the app, and not images that are already stored on the phone.

LIVE PROFILE http://www.liveprofile.com

Available for iOS, Android and BlackBerry, LiveProfile requires a quick signup with your email id and it then scans through your contacts for friends using the messenger and sends an invite. It can also connect with Facebook and Twitter friends. It also offers features such as audio, photo and video sharing.

PINGCHAT http://www.pingchat.com

Available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry, PingChat offers you the choice to use your phone number or create a unique PingChat ID. It then scans your address book for friends using PingChat or connects with friends on Facebook and Twitter. Other than chat and file sharing capabilities, PingChat also allows location sharing with friends as well as file sharing within a group chat.

ROCKETALK http://www.rocketalk.com

Available for iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian & many feature phones, RockeTalk requires a one-time registration that involves selecting a unique username. Much like BlackBerry Messenger, RockeTalk requires friends to add each other via phone number or RockeTalk username. The app allows chat, media sharing & communities based on your interest.

WHATSAPP http://www.whatsapp.com

Available for iOS (iPhone only), Android, Blackberry and Symbian, WhatsApp messenger is the ideal alternative to the BlackBerry messenger . You need to register once with your phone number and the app imports all the people using WhatsApp from within your contact list. It allows unlimited chat and multimedia file sharing; shows delivery notifications and supports push messages too.