I have never been a big fan of Nandan Nilekani. I came across thewhich aims to profile all the Indians.
It’s easy to see the bias of the author about the “impoverished” Indians but there is too much optimism about targeting the benefits. The fact that the Aadhar scheme doesn’t really address the basic issue of data privacy, it is too much of a gamble.
Nandan also mentions about setting up a massive server farm for the data requests. The lack of Broadband at the peripheral level has hampered the data collection (that was a no brainer); which means that the basics have not been sorted out. The article also mentions about the queries to the database and problems cropping up later to be fixed. If I am not mistaken, this is as dumb assholism as it can get. Reason? All potential issues need to ironed out before data collection on a massive scale is carried out.
In my opinion, having a fault tolerant broadband over fixed line is imperative. The growth of the mobile telephony and hence the crappy 3G implementation is not in the public interest. Given the price structure of the data plans, there is no way that a reliable network geared for the public good is utilized for it’s need.
At the same time, public service networks like BSNL/MTNL need to be flogged for dragging their feet for missing the rural broadband plans. Wimax/LTE etc are good enough in theory but there is a theoretical limit to the extent of the data that can go through wireless.
Aadhar scheme is a hair brained exercise; much like the emperors clothes. Useless in execution with purported benefits not spelled out and absolutely no word on the data privacy.
If you look carefully, bulk of the developing and the underdeveloped countries utilize the mobile web to access social networking sites. US (and some other developed economies) are lower down the scale.
Interestingly, the data transferred per user is a pathetic 7 MB (averaged over the month perhaps?) which means that operators are still being generous with their limits. However, this is a crude approximation. For once, we have a clear proof that mobile internet is definitely a part of their value added services kitty but is NOT the revenue driver for them. They are offering it because there is no alternative.
This also explains their aggressive stance to get the 3G spectrum; primarily to add more voice customers than to offer data services.
If you look at the snapshot of the popular phones, Nokia is still leading the pack but majority of them are NOT smartphones. These java based handsets are pathetic in terms of functionality and at best useful for “checking the status updates” on Facebook.
A surprise entry is that of “Micromax” handset; they have capitalized on aggressive marketing and low price entry point.
Unfortunately, this does not portend good for the broadband initiatives. A cursory glance at the top sites (Google leads the pack) is only indicative. Google has benefited from being the default search engine on the browser and hence the port of call for any search. I barely use my handset for GPRS (or EDGE) for web surfing because smartphones (and their form factor) is basically useless to transact anything useful. For me, the only reason to invest is for email.
Nevertheless, this report can again be questioned in terms of “growth of users”. It is not clear about how the methodology has been arrived at and what has constituted the “growth in real terms”. However, one thing is clear. Most of the web sites focused on Indian content don’t have mobile strategies to counter the growth in the user base. Pathetic.
Indeed, with majority of the young adults unable to read/write or even engage in meaningful conversations on Indian polity, this “dumbification” was expected.
Facebook, although shows some presence (in terms of mobile access), mobile broadband is still “not hot” in US of A. There could be myriad factors but then Opera’s state of web access is best a “snapshot” of the handsets and it’s deal with the OEM‘s to bundle the product.
A lot has been made up for Google Chrome OS and it’s notebook. It transpires that Samsung and Acer would manufacture laptops for chrome OS.
Is cloud computing inherently better than the “offline model” we have come to rely on? If the recent Amazon outage is any indication, I would prefer not to stick with it. In the same vein, I prefer my data to stay with me.
However, there is a huge business opportunity lurking behind such an initiative. Manufacturers in India (for netbooks/laptops/tablets) are dependent on Microsoft for a tapered down version of it’s utterly useless operating system. They could have easily sponsored a home grown “Indian initiative” for Linux and installed it on a bare bones hardware with Wifi and 3G connectivity. I reckon that using ARM processors, a basic display unit with a keyboard would suffice the price limit of around $200-250. It can be done.
One doesn’t need dual cores to run the fancy software; in any case, I hardly use the computing power at my disposal. But there was no choice in the market. Antix (a derivative of SimplyMepis) or even Arch Linux are good enough alternatives (not to forget Fluxbox and XFCE or E17) as the alternative desktop platforms to power the applications.
The telecom companies could have easily subsidized the model, charging it in their monthly bills. A win win situation. An operating system free of any hassles and companies get to spread the hardware with bundled data plans. I had earlier explored the same option but I guess the fancy CEO’s (who are glorified assholes anyway), are not interested in the blurb.
So you’d find the Vodafone Zoozoo enticing people to try out 3G in a market where computing is still a luxury and smartphones market sorely limited.
Thats stupidity compounded by assholism (of the extreme); because crores are being spent on advertising to milk the few customers who venture to buy out the expensive data plans.