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Mr. Pop Culture | Exploring the World of Pop Culture Pop culture is everywhere. You know it when you come to the Internet, listen to music, watch television, app-gaming or go to a movie, concert, or stage show. You know the artists, the actors and actresses, sports personalities and the games they play. Today, anything with a buzz is deemed pop culture. The book definition says pop culture is a collection of thoughts, ideas, attitudes, perspectives, images (you name it) preferred by the mainstream population, which is a sort of common denominator. The most common pop culture categories are entertainment (movies, music, TV), sports, news (as in people/places in news), politics, fashion/clothes, and technology. Slang has also become popular in our culture as each year seems to have its own slang signature, especially with tweens and teens. Terms such as "going viral" are new pop culture – not only the term but the viral product itself. Each one of us has our own pop-culture menu. Look at your apps, your bookmarks, your songs playlist, TV shows, movies: what you 're saying on your favorite social networks. Smartphones today are the center of your pop culture. If you want to know more about pop culture, read on as we are going to give you its history and different definitions. History of Pop Culture It was in the 19th century when the term "popular culture" was coined. Traditionally, it was associated with poor education and with the lower classes, which is the opposite of the "official culture" and higher education of the upper classes. During the Victorian-era, Britain experienced social changes with the rise of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, which caused an increase in literacy rates. And with the growth of capitalism and industrialization, people started spending their money on entertainment, such as sports and the commercial idea of pubs. Reading also gained traction, and the Penny serials were published. These were cheap popular serial literature in the United Kingdom. Those were like the Victorian equivalent of video games. It was the first taste of mass-produced popular culture for the young in Britain. With the growing consumer culture and increased capacity for travel via the newly built railway that opened in 1825 in north-east England, a market for cheap popular literature was created with an ability to distribute on a large scale. With this, the first Penny serials were published in the 1830s due to the growing demand. Towards the end of the 19th century, the stress in the distinction from "official culture" became more pronounced. It is a usage that became established by the interbellum period or the period between wars. The meaning of popular culture began to be connected with those of mass culture, consumer culture, media culture, image culture, and culture for mass consumption from the end of World War II, following major cultural and social changes, which were brought by mass media innovations. The abbreviated form "pop" for popular, like in pop music, dates back from the late 1950s. Although not used in our lexicon back then, modern pop culture (as we know it) began with the baby boomer generation and "buying power." As boomers came of age with their disposable incomes – that influence led to the pop culture revolution. It began during the 1950s with rock n' roll, TV, Dick Clark and the hoola hoop, transistor radios, into the 1960s and beyond. The term "pop culture" became mainstream during the 1980s. Before this, we used "popular" to describe things such as top song playlists or "pop" as in art or "best" or "top" selling, as in books. Different Definitions of Pop Culture Based on the author of Cultural Theory and Popular Culture named John Storey, popular culture has different definitions. The quantifiable definition of culture has the problem that much "high culture", such as television dramatizations of Jane Austen, is also "popular." Aside from that, "pop culture" is also defined as the culture that is "leftover" when we have decided what high culture is. But many works overlap the boundaries, such as William Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy, George Orwell, and Charles Dickens. The third definition of pop culture associates it with "mass culture" and ideas. This is seen as a commercial culture, which is mass-produced for mass consumption by mass media. If you take it from a Western European viewpoint, this can be compared to American culture. Pop culture can also be defined otherwise as an authentic culture of the people. However, this can be challenging because there are a lot of ways to define the "people." According to John Storey, popular culture emerged from the urbanization of the Industrial Revolution. For example, studies of Shakespeare locate much of the characteristic vitality of his drama in its participation in Renaissance popular culture. Other examples are contemporary practitioners like Dario Fo and John McGrath, who use popular culture in a sense that links to ancient folk traditions. Folk culture is at the opposite end of one spectrum from mass culture. As mentioned earlier, mass culture is mass-produced and mass-marketed on a large societal scale. Folk culture, on the other hand, is typically crafted individually, and it is produced and distributed on a local level. This can include folk art, folk music, folk crafts, and folklore. They usually originate from small, regional, or local groups of people, and are considered as representing only those small groups, and are propagating by word of mouth and not via mass media. Pop Culture Through the Decades Pop Culture is like a unifying bridge across time, which brings together generations of diverse backgrounds. Whether looking at the rock 'n' roll revolution of the 1960s or the thriving social networking websites of today, each period in America's cultural history develops its own exceptional take on the qualities that define our lives. Here's an overview of the pop culture from the 1950s to the 2010s: The 1950s Pop Culture The 1950s were a decade marked by the post-World War II boom. It was also the dawn of the Cold War and the Civil Rights movement in the United States. And during these times, the United States was the world's strongest military power. The economy was booming, which led to the availability of new cars, suburban houses, and other consumer goods. Also, in this decade, televisions became something that the average family could afford. With this, the Golden Age of Television was marked by different shows, including "The Twilight Zone," "I Love Lucy," and "The Honeymooners." Aside from television, many important films were also shown in the 1950s that not many people talked about. The major rise of cinemas in the 50s was because of narrative storytelling and amazing directors. Some of the best films of the 1950s were "Cinderella," "Sunset Boulevard," and "All About Eve," to name a few. It was also the decade when rock and roll music was created along with other popular genres like swing, pop, blues, and jazz. The 1950s decade was also referred to as the century of literature because many writers and novelists emerged and gave the world amazing creations. Some of the popular books published in the 50s include "The Catcher in the Rye," "Invisible Man," and "The Fellowship of the Ring," to name a few. To know more about the 1950s pop culture, you can read our detailed post: Highlights of the Major Pop Culture Trends of the 1950s. The 1960s Pop Culture The 1960s is more of a cultural decade because a lot of changes and happenings in these times were more significant in terms of culture and aesthetics. This decade is also filled with a youth-driven cultural revolution that is focused on the relaxation of the various types of social taboos. Those are some of the reasons why it's called the "Swinging Sixties." The 1960s was the decade when the Hollywood and film industry changed and evolved. Top films were released, such as "The Sound of Music" and "Easy Rider," which were quite helpful in reshaping Hollywood and experience for the audience. It was also the decade when the first films having sensitive contents were publicly released. Music was also in revolution during this decade. From pop and folk music, everything changed to a wide range of music that was more in the Rock 'N' Roll genre. One of the most important phenomena of the 1960s was The Beatles Revolution, as they were most influential for the decade. Aside from that, introspective music, like those of Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, became new music. Elvis Presley was also one of the most famous singers of the 1960s. Aside from these, there are many other popular events and things that happened and were introduced in the 1960s, which includes Science and Technology, Sports, Fashion, Television, Dance, and News. To know more about the 1960s pop culture, you can read our detailed post: Highlights of the Major Pop Culture Trends of the 1960s. The 1970s Pop Culture The 1970s was a decade marked by the activism of all sorts. The society during these times has become more awakened, free to the individual sense, and more politically driven. It was in this decade when Hollywood became the brand it is today. It saw the rise of different male and female performers who dominated the world of acting. Some of the best movies released in the 70s include"A Clockwork Orange," "The Godfather," and "Rocky," to name a few. The 1970s was also an iconic age for the American music industry. Progressive rock became popular and saw different bands and solo artists create mayhem through this genre. Listeners also had a range to choose from, and there were different genres available for all types of music listeners. Some of the most popular bands and artists in this decade include Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, and more. The American television industry also gained success on sitcoms and family shows in the 70s. Some of these shows were "All in the Family,""Happy Days," and "Bridget Loves Bernie," to name a few. If you are looking for information about the pop culture in the 1970s about fashion, art, science and technology, cars, sports, and more, you can read our detailed post: Highlights of the Major Pop Culture Trends of the 1970s. The 1980s Pop Culture The 1980s is a decade that is difficult to forget. In fact, television shows during this decade were being rebooted in the present time, and remakes of some 80s movies are out or in the works. Aside from these, fashions, styles, and other aspects of the 80s are also attractive to a lot of people. It was a simple decade that everyone enjoyed. That's why looking back on the 80s is always fun. The 80s was the decade when MTV or music television was launched, which was one of the most iconic moments in music history. Madonna has been very popular in this decade, and as well as Michael Jackson, whose career was at its peak in the 80s. When it comes to fashion, the big hair of the 80s was a symbol. Aside from that, other fashionable items during this decade include jelly shoes, shoulder pads, leather and denim jackets, and parachute pants. The workout videos of Jane Fonda also contributed to the popularity of aerobics outfits. The 1980s also saw the popularity of the arcade game Pac-Man. Aside from that, the Rubik's Cube also debuted in this decade, which became a worldwide craze. The Sony Walkman also first appeared during the 80s. To know more about the popular things and events that occurred in the 1980s, read our detailed post: Highlights of the Major Pop Culture Trends of the 1980s. The 1990s Pop Culture There were many important events that happened in the last decade of the 20th century. In fact, it is still considered an essential part of the current standards and modern era we live in. It was considered to be the decade of relative peace and prosperity largely because of the fall of the Soviet Union, which was having a long drawn Cold War for decades. Aside from that, the use of the internet also contributed to the significance of the 1990s. During the 1990s, the Hollywood industry became more fascinating. It focused on the different types of multicultural as well as action and thriller films. It was a time when fun-filled adventure films became popular. Some of the best movies that were released in the 1990s include "The Titanic" and "The Armageddon," to name a few. In the 1990s, music was more in the grunge, "gangsta" rap, teen pop, R&B, and electronic dance genres. These were brought by different types of musicians in the decade, such as Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Fatboy Slim, Whitney Houston, Dr. Dre, D'Angelo, and more. But the most famous group of the 1990s were the Spice Girls. If you want to know more about the 1990s pop culture, read our detailed post: Highlights of the Major Pop Culture Trends of the 1990s. The 2000s Pop Culture The 2000s decade was filled with iconic pop stars, fashion statements, trends, technology, and unforgettable films and music. It was the era when pop culture was on peak. During this decade, there was lots of news and gossips about Hollywood, and American Idol was also very popular. When it comes to music, the 2000s saw a rise in rap songs, making it the best decade of music and beats. During this decade, Eminem won an Oscar, and Lady Gaga entered the industry. It was also in 2000 when Britney Spears released her second album titled "Oops!... I Did It Again." The rise in filmmaking was also seen by the 2000s. It was the era when the film industry flourished and produced great movies, such as "28 Days," "Monster Inc.." and "102 Dalmatians." It was also in the 2000s when bookcrossing was introduced. It was the practice of leaving the books you don't need in one place to be picked up by others. A very popular novel titled "Life of Pi" was also published in this decade, which was later made in a Hollywood film. To know more about the 2000s pop culture, read our detailed post: Pop Culture in Review for the Years 2000 to 2009. The 2010s Pop Culture The 2010s was the decade where technology surpassed the human imagination. It created new ways for artists to share their music with listeners and fans. Aside from that, the Television and Film industries have spent the most amount of money on their projects. In the world of music in the 2010s, some of the most popular artists at the start of the decade include Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Kesha, and Lady Antebellum. But 2012 was the major year for music in this decadewhen Katy Perry emerged, followed by Adele. Other artists that became famous in the 2010s include Justine Timberlake, Beyonce, Kanye West, Camilla Cabello, Kendrick Lamar, and more. The popularity of the film industry in the 2010s started with the "Twilight Saga: Eclipse," which continued till "Alice in Wonderland." For those who love animation, "Frozen" and "Despicable Me 2" were released in this decade, too. And for action movies, "Fast & Furious 6" and "Man of Steel" and "Thor: The Dark World" were released. If you want to look back on everything that became a trend in the 2010s, read our detailed post: Highlights of the Major Pop Culture Trends of the 2010s. Pop Culture and Technology Pop culture played a crucial role in the advancement of technology in each decade. In fact, technology is becoming more and more important and prevalent in all aspects of our culture. Pop culture has inspired and continues to inspire technological innovation. It draws connections between interpretations of technologies from the past and their modern counterparts. With this, let us look into the technologies that became prevalent from the 1950s to the 2010s. Technology in the 1950s When it comes to technology, the 1950s was a crucial period, especially in the world of radio and television. It has brought about the advancement in the viewing and listening experience of people at home. This decade was a breakthrough year for television. It was this time when the first commercially available color TV was introduced. Aside from that, the first commercially available computer in the world was also presented in the 1950s. In the music industry, the 45rpm vinyl records became as common as 78rpm records. In fact, it became popular due to its compact size and durability. The 33rpm vinyl record also became popular, and it replaced the 78rpm as the most common vinyl record size in the world. Aside from these, many other innovations were introduced in the 1950s, such as the first accurate atomic clock, the videotape, stereo vinyl records, and more. To know more about the technology in the 1950s, you can read our 1950s Technology News In Review. Technology in the 1960s The 1960s was also a great decade for television, as there were also many enhancements done to make the experience of watching TV shows at home better. Even though this decade was dominated by television, there were also improvements done to the radio industry. During the 1960s, the television served as the gateway for Americans to know the presidential election candidates, which were Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Their debates were broadcasted, which helped the people decide who they'll vote to be the next US president. It was also in the 60s when the push-button telephone was invented and introduced by the Bell System. This replaced rotary phonesand was faster and easier to use. The first compact cassette was also released in this decade. Radios with transistors also became more popular in this decade. Their durability helped the radio industry have a surge in listeners in the same era where the British Invasion was at the peak of its popularity. FM radio was also becoming the number one choice of listeners who were looking into listening to classical music. To know more about the technologies introduced in the 1960s, read our 1960s Technology News In Review. Technology in the 1970s The 1970s was a prime period for television because a lot of manufacturers tried to push the boundaries of color TV to produce better reception and clearer resolution. But aside from television, computers also had a significant advancement in this decade. It is because of the introduction to the Xerox PARC, which was the first computer that was designed to support an operating system or OS based on a graphical user interface. This computer would later become the inspiration behind some of the most iconic computers in the history of technology. It was also in this same decade when Microsoft was formed by Bill Gates and researcher Paul Allen. Another important creation in the 1970s was the Universal Product Code or UPC. It allowed systematic pricing and tracking for products in grocery stores and other establishments. The first product to be UPC scanned was a pack of Wrigley's chewing gum in Ohio. If you're craving to know more about the technologies invented and introduced in the 1970s, then you should read our 1970s Technology News In Review. Technology in the 1980s The 1980s, when it comes to technology, has been a great decade for the computer and the music industry. Both of these fields have benefitted from the technological advancements brought by engineers and scientists who wanted to make life more convenient. It was in the 80s when Bill Gates agreed to provide the operating system for IBM's personal computer. That operating system was the PC DOS 1.0, which was modified to be compatible with the IBM Personal Computer. Aside from that, this decade was also important for the creation of the internet. Tim Berners-Lee, a previous independent contractor at CERN, started experimenting on improving the communication between researchers from different places. His experimentation led to ENQUIRE, which was a software project that serves as the predecessor for the World Wide Web. Aside from these, many other developments for the computer were introduced in the 1980s. Some of these include the creation of Apple computers, Macintosh personal computer, and the introduction of the Power Windows by Microsoft. To know more about these, you can read our 1980s Technology News In Review. Technology in the 1990s The 1990s has been a turning point in the computer industry. This decade brought major technological advancements to the personal computer. Aside from that, it also showed how Microsoft became a powerhouse in the world of software. At the start of the decade, Adobe Inc. released the Adobe Photoshop 1.0 software. It was a graphics editor programmed by Thomas Knoll. The third iteration of the Windows OS, Windows 3.0, was also released by Microsoft in the 1990s, together with a new presentation program called Microsoft PowerPoint, bundled with Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word. The World Wide Web was also formed after Tim Berners-Lee utilized and tweaked the ENQUIRE system. This was considered to be the first web browser. The first Pentium chip was also released in this decade by the Inter Corporation. It would eventually include some of their best-selling microprocessors. In 1994, Amazon was launched by Jeff Bezos, and would eventually become one of the biggest companies in the world. In the same year, Sony released its first home video game console, the PlayStation, first in Japan, and in the US after a year. There are many other wonderful technological creations that were introduced in the 1990s. If you are curious about them, read our 1990s Technology News In Review. Technology in the 2000s When it comes to technology, the 2000s was a groundbreaking decade. It was the time where certain inventions have revolutionized the different sectors of technology, such as web browsing, gaming, and as well as mobile communications. Before the year 2000 came, people were afraid of the Y2K Problem. This was a proposed event wherein computers may not be able to handle the change from 1999 to 2000 because of an error in the algorithm. With this, people believed there would be a collapse in the economy as most companies and agencies rely on computers. Fortunately, a lot of organizations were able to upgrade their computer systems, which eliminated the threat. This decade was great for gaming because Sony released the PlayStation 2 and the PlayStation 3, while Microsoft launched the Xbox and the Xbox 360. People also had a new way to listen to music when Apple Inc. successfully launched iTunes, which was a media player and library. After that, Apple also released the first-generation iPod. During these times, Google was becoming a big company, but Yahoo was still at the top as the number one search engine in the world. There are also media services providers who were experiencing a rise in profits, and one of those is Netflix. It was also in the 2000s when YouTube was established. There are many other innovations that were introduced in the 2000s. If you want to know more about them, read our 2000s Technology News In Review. Technology in the 2010s The 2010s decade was not as impactful as the previous decades when it comes to technology, but there were still a few breakthroughs that have been introduced. At the start of the decade, Apple was already selling over 250 million Apple iPods. Google, on the other hand, started expanding its business when they announced that they'd be selling their own mobile phones. Social media has been prevalent in the 2010s, and Facebook has surpassed Google when it comes to website visits per year. But Facebook eventually found its competitors when Instagram and Pinterest were launched in the same year. In the world of mobile phones, the 4G broadband cellular network became popular. Cloud services were also becoming popular in 2011. With this, Apple released its own Cloud service called iCloud. But it was also in the same year when Apple's co-founder, Steve Jobs, passed away. In the gaming industry, Sony released the PlayStation 4 in 2013and eventually became the second best-selling video game console of all time next to PlayStation 2. There are many other developments in technology that have been done in the 2010s, aside from what we've mentioned here. To know more about them, read our 2010s Technology News In Review. Conclusion Pop culture is something that constantly evolves and occurs uniquely in place and time. It forms currents and swirls and represents a complex of equally inter-reliant perspectives and values that influence society and its institutions in different ways. Pop culture has affected and is continuously affecting all of us. We may not think about it that much, but it is everywhere around us. From the way we dress, the gadgets and technologies we use every day, the books we read, the movies we watch, the music we listen to, and more.Pop culture is fun, fascinating, and is at the center of our lives. Test yourself. The last time you spoke to your good friend, wasn't pop culture part of that conversation?
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Mobile World | Bulk Whatsapp Marketing Malaysia Mobile World is a leading Asian mobile technology portal. We have readers from Malaysia and Singapore. Mobile World Magazine is published monthly. Interactive websites and mobile communities add to the print presence. We now branched out to mobile, mobile TV site and is experimenting with a mobile version too. MobileWorld is all about the mobile lifestyle. We cover stuff like mobile phones, smartphones, mobile marketing, mobile gadgets and everything else to do with the mobile industry. The Future May Not Be Wireless For the last 10 years or so, wireless technologies have been the darlings of the communications industry – and rightfully so. Wired technologies have struggled to bring services to the whole world. Wireless technologies on the other hand seem unstoppable; there are more than 4 billion mobile phone users in the world today and their reach is truly global. But in a twist of poetic justice, it looks to be time for wired technologies to lord it over their wireless counterparts. The reason for this is the explosion of data consumption by internet users. There is an unbelievable amount of data being consumed these days by users accessing media rich sites like YouTube, Flickr and Facebook. One statistic will put this all into perspective: every minute, 20 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Data consumption rates have naturally been crashing through the roof. Cisco estimates in a study that the average data consumed per household is 11.4 GB per month. That’s global figures, mind you, which includes countries with slow first generation Internet infrastructure. Now mobile Internet usage is booming and that is sure to add even more strain to the networks. Wireless service providers are beginning to realize that they will not be able to provide the bandwidth that will be required going forward in the short to medium term. The wireless spectrum has limits and there are limits to how much one can cram frequencies with data. This is why mobile users have connectivity problems. When mobile users access the Internet from the same base station, they are sharing the bandwidth available and as more and more users connect to the Internet, the speed slows and at times, there are outages. So wired technologies like Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) have to come to the fore. They will be able to cope with the demand for today’s data hungry applications and tomorrow’s cloud computing. Now you understand why the High Speed Broadband (HSBB) is crucial to this country (and also why it is long overdue). I am not saying that mobile operators will go away – far from that. Mobile lifestyle is a megatrend and that will continue. It’s just that the realization has come that mobile won’t be able to meet all the demand and the better strategy may be for it to provide truly mobile Internet access; leaving the job of providing main Internet usage to its wired counterpart. There’s going to be another consequence to this boom in data consumption that consumers won’t like. The days of unlimited access – in wireless for sure and probably in wired – will come to an end. The world has been lucky because a lot of infrastructure was laid during the dotcom boom days and the glut kept prices very low. Those days are coming to an end and be prepared to pay for data usage like you pay for electricity. Maxis has already put in place its wireless/wired strategy. The idea is that in the future, one company will provide Internet access per se to a consumer. At home or the office, that access will be over wire and when on the move it will be wireless. It will be a single account–multi technologies package. The other mobile operators will have to have similar strategies. TM of course is nicely placed in this area. It can combine with Celcom to provide a complete package. So don’t just cut your wires just yet. They will be vital to your Internet experience very soon. Motorola launches Android smartphone DEFY Motorola has launched the Motorola DEFY, an Android smartphone that is water and scratch resistant, as well as dust proof. That is especially true for the 3.7-inch touchscreen made from Corning Gorilla Glass which can resist impact and scratch damage. The phone also has CrystalTalk PLUS that cuts down noise with two microphones which filter out background noise and amplify the voice. The installed browser supports Flash video, and the 5-megapixel camera shoots with flash, digital zoom and auto focus. The phone uses DEFY or Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) to stream, store and share content with devices like HDTVs, game consoles and PCs. DEFY can also be a 3G mobile hotspot to connect up to five WiFi enabled devices. As for music, the phone can display a song's lyrics using Connected Music Player, which can also discover, stream and identify music from the phone. The Motorola DEFY will be selling for RM1,599 before this Christmas but you can get it for RM999 with Maxis Value Plus plans and a data bundle. Samsung to launch four more phones in by year end Samsung Electronics will launch four more phones in Malaysia, Colin Hew, its assistant manager for Services & Solutions, Mobile Phones, told an informal media gathering at Starbucks, Bangsar Village II in Kuala Lumpur on 15 December. They are the Wave 533 2G phone, the Wave 723 3G phone, the Ch@t 322 dual-SIM 2G phone and the single-SIM Ch@t 335 with WiFi. Both Ch@t devices have a QWERTY keyboard below its screen in BlackBerry-style, while the Wave 533's QWERTY keyboard slides out sideways. Wave is Samsung's name for its bada OS phones and with these two new models, Samsung would have launched a total of four Wave phones this year. The other two are the first Samsung Wave (S8500) announced in February and the Wave 575 announced in October. Both are already available in Malaysia. Galaxy are its Android phones, while Omnia are its Windows phones. “So far we have sold over one million bada OS phones as of July,” said Hew. Samsung intends its open sourced bada OS to provide smartphone features on feature phones at affordable prices. The two Ch@t devices run Samsung's proprietary firmware. A premium device, the Wave 723 has a unique leather flap which protects its screen. It's a 900/2,100 MHz 3G/HSDPA and a quadband GSM/ GPRS/EDGE phone, with a 3.2in WQVGA TFT-LCD touchscreen, TouchWiz 3.0 UI, A-GPS, WiFi b, g & n, 5MP auto-focus camera with LED flash with smile-shot, panorama shot, geo-tagging and image editor, Dolfin 2.0 browser with multi-touch zoom and accepts a microSD card of up to 32GB and has a 1,200 mAh battery. Measuring 109.5 x 53.9 x 11.8mm, the 723 retails at RM939. Besides its slide-out QWERTY keyboard, the Wave 533 is slightly less well appointed with a 3.2MP camera without flash and accepts up to 16GB microSD card but otherwise shares the same features as the 723. The Wave 533 is slightly bigger at 109.5 x 55 x 15.15mm and retails for RM699. Meanwhile, the Ch@t 322 has a `1.3MP camera, 2.2in TFT display, measures 109.5 x 60 x 12.3mm, weighs 95g and is priced at RM449, while the Ch@t 335 has a 2.4in QVGA display, a 2MP camera, measures 111.2 x 61.2 x 11.9mm, weighs 100g and retails for RM359. Both have an optical Trackpad. These basic models still are Samsung's biggest earners and these Ch@t phones are aimed at teenagers and those in their early 20s. As to whether prices of Android phones having drooped below the RM1,000 mark competing with its bada OS handsets, Hew said that just as with netbooks which all cost more or less the same now, Samsung is banking on its physical and software features to sell. Apps the way forward While Samsung phones already come integrated with Twitter and Facebook apps, it actively works with apps developers, including big boys such as Gameloft, Electronic Arts (EA) and location-based navigation app provider Route 66 to provide apps on its phones and it splits the revenue 70:30 in the developers' favour, which is straight revenue, since buyers pay the Samsung Apps store by credit card, with no revenue to operators. “Apps is the way forward,” said Hew. “The popular ones are games, social networking apps or even trivial apps such as Hit my Boss, where users take a picture of their boss, put it in an avatar and punch it, or one where the screen apparently cracks when you touch it.” The Samsung Apps store began carrying paid apps since September, with prices ranging from around RM4 to RM40. Currently 80% of apps on the App store are free apps. However, Malaysia isn't the best market for developers to make money, since while Malaysians download around 100,000 per month from the Samsung App store, which is the second highest; they mostly are free apps, while more Singaporeans are willing to pay for apps, so Malaysian developers should look overseas if they want to make money from apps. High Priced High Speed Broadband The topic of the moment has got to be HSBB. It is certainly telling of the state of our broadband today that the arrival of what we are going to call high speed broadband for the next few years has generatedso much buzz. I, of course, welcome Unifi, the brand name of Telekom Malaysia’s fibre optic offering. If everything goes well, our office area will have this service before the end of the year and we do plan to sign up for it. But it is important that we – as with all Malaysians – do not get too caught up in the hype and in the process, overlook several key points. First, the pricing is high. We’re already paying very high prices for Streamyx and now, we’re being asked to pay RM149 for 5 Mbps, RM199 for 10 Mbps and RM249 for 20 Mbps for home packages. Business packages are even crazier. Only the 5 Mbps package priced at RM199 is barely affordable to average sized businesses.The RM599 package for 10 Mbps and RM899 for 20 Mbps, I believe, could only be afforded by public listed companies. The smallest businesses will have to stick to Streamyx, the way I see it. For comparison, Singaporeans pay about S per month for 10 Mbps and a bit more that S for 15 Mbps. Don’t even try to explain this off by pointing to exchange rates. The fact is that Singaporeans earn dollar for dollar the same as us, meaning that an executive who earns RM1800 in Malaysia would earn SG00 if he worked in Singapore. That makes our high speed broadband three times more expensive than Singapore! Malaysian blogger Ariff Shah lamented on his blog that broadband in Russia is cheap too, at RM50 for 5 Mbps and RM73 for 10 Mbps Malaysians badly need low-cost high-speed broadband. Already faced with mounting costs of almost all items, average Malaysian consumers will be crippled with these package prices. If no action is taken to reduce prices, HSBB will, I fear, be taken up only by the wellheeled.That will just widen the digital divide and go counter against the government’s aspirations of equal access for all Malaysians. Beyond pricing, another area to keep in mind is the speeds being offered. While 10 Megs up and 10 Megs down will be incredibly fast to consumers long surviving on 500 Kbps down and 100 Kbps up, how are we going to compete when Singapore introduces their Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN) which will offer speeds up to 1GB and beyond. 1GB, if I can stress, is another way of writing 1000 Mbps, a hundred times faster than our 10 Mbps. Singapore’s communications services regulator IDA says on its website that “As early as 2010, users will be able to enjoy a myriad of services delivered over Singapore’s ultra-high speed Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN)”. Frightening? I hope so because we need to redouble our efforts to bring ultra high-speed networks to Malaysia and at the same time, I do apologise for not talking about wireless this month but this topic is too important to be ignored. Broadband affects everyone these days. Time For Free Voice Calls? It’s a cliché often repeated by mobile industry followers; that voice would one day become a commodity and even possibly free. I’ve been hearing such statements for years now and it hasn’t happened yet. Phone bill has remained relatively stable all this while and I don’t expect to wake up any day soon to learn that my service provider has made all calls free. It would be a dream come true but there’s no way that Maxis, Celcom, DiGi or UMobile will do this anytime soon. Not unless they want to commit suicide. Right to this day, most of their revenues (and profits) come from voice calls. But that long awaited moment, widely predicted by many industry followers worldwide, may not be too far way. Tectonic shifts taking place in the mobile industry are heralding the days when voice will become a commodity. It may be completely free or almost free. Consider the evidence. Last year, UK’s mobile operator, 3 UK announced that its subscribers would be able to make unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls and messages ‘forever’. All they needed was a compatible handset and a SIM card. The calls are truly free and users do not even need to pay data charges for making these calls. Then, earlier this year, US operator, Verizon Wireless partnered with Skype to bring free Skype-to-Skype calls to its subscribers. Their only condition: these subscribers need to have a data plan. I had been expecting something like this. Competition (and price pressures) has become very fierce, especially in areas where mobile penetration have reached 100%. Mobile operators need to do something drastic if they want to shake up the incumbents. Of course, I just told you that most of their profits come from voice. So won’t they be killing themselves? I think not. For proof, let’s examine some financial data. ARPU stands for Average Revenue Per User. Financial analysts look at three ARPU figures when evaluating the performance of these companies. These are Postpaid ARPU, which is what an operator would be collecting monthly from an average postpaid subscriber, prepaid ARPU, which is the monthly revenue from a prepaid user and blended ARPU, which is the amount that an average subscriber pays monthly to the operator, when all subscribers are lumped together. The idea, of course, is to maintain or grow ARPU figures. In Malaysia, postpaid ARPU is around RM107 for Maxis, RM101 for Celcom and RM84 for DiGi. Prepaid ARPU is RM40 for Maxis, RM41 for Celcom and RM50 for DiGi. Blended ARPU, to me, is the most revealing because it shows how much an average subscriber – when both prepaid and postpaid customers are added together – pays per month. The big three Malaysian mobile operators receive on average, give or take one Ringgit, RM55 for every subscriber on their records. Here’s where it gets interesting. By getting RM55 per month from a mobile subscriber, our three telcos have been wildly profitable. Maxis, for instance, made more than RM2 billion in profits in 2009. We all know, of course, that the current battle is about mobile internet. Telcos want their subscribers to take up data plans on top of their voice plans. Early adopters and power users might do that but the average subscriber is going to balk at paying higher mobile phone bills. An average postpaid user is already paying RM100 per month on phone calls. Now telcos want him to take up a data plan that will add RM50 to RM100 per month to his bill. That’s going to raise his bill by at least 50%. Well, I think that many users are not going to let their bills go up by that much. The only way to get them to take up data plans would be to sweeten the deal by bringing down their voice bills. Imagine a scenario where a telco announces a RM150 plan that consists of unlimited data, local calls and text messages. Such an offer would immediately attract a lot of consumers as they would save money on calls and SMSes. Telcos will benefit because they will now be getting RM150 a month from that consumer, which is higher than the RM100 they are making from an average postpaid user today. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it? I’ll even go out on a limb and predict that we will see something like this in Malaysia by 2012 latest. Don’t bet against me; I predicted an iPad-like device years before Steve Job came up with it. Dig up old copies of MW and you’ll see that prediction. Little Birds Beat News Sites This Sunday, We joined what must have been the majority of Malaysians in following the results of the Hulu Selangor by-election. The whole day long, I sought out reports of how the polling was going on. After 5 pm, I eagerly consumed every report that I found which shared updates of unofficial vote counts as they trickled into the counting station. As I did that I was reminded of that magical night of March 8, 2008 when I did the same thing albeit on a much larger scale. I was struck then by how much things have changed since then. No, I’m not referring to the voter swing that took place in Hulu Selangor; this is a technology magazine, remember? I’m referring to the way I obtained my information this time around compared to last time around. To get the General Elections results two years ago, I set up a scratch command centre that consisted of two PCs and a mobile phone. Since internet traffic was at a peak then, most of the sites that had the latest information were pretty much inaccessible. I opened up multiple tabs of sites like Malaysiakini each one pointing to different mirror sites. I also pointed my browser towards many other sites. That way, I ensured that I got updates from one page even if the others crashed. It was chaotic and the internet connection barely held steady that day. Those websites coupled with lots of text messages received from friends all over Malaysia ensured that I knew relatively early that a political tsunami had struck the nation. This time around, it was completely different. We did not go online on my PC. Thanks to TM, my Streamyx was down for most of the day. But even if it was working, I wasn’t really planning on using it except as a backup. My updates this time around came solely through my mobile phone and not even one of the updates came as a text message. Neither did I access Malaysiakini or the Malaysian Insider on my mobile the way I did back in 2008. I occasionally went to those sites mainly to keep up with other breaking news. But my election updates were exclusively delivered over Twitter. Not only did I get vote updates in almost real time, Twitter did not crash because it is designed to bear heavy traffic. This, I realized, was a perfect example of a trend I have spoken a lot about over the last few years. As mobile wireless broadband becomes increasingly prevalent, people will move away from PCs and do more and more stuff on mobile devices – even things that may seem at this point in time as better done on a personal computer. Getting election results on my phone was a perfect example of this. Without a mobile device, it would have been easy to conclude that a PC was the better alternative but in actual use, the Twitter-Mobile combination proved better. The other interesting point you may have noticed is that the apps changed as I moved this task onto my mobile. I moved from blogs and news sites to Twitter simply because it was the best tool. The lesson here is that innovation will always ensure that new technologies will rise and eclipse current dominant technologies. As a user, I was simply delighted that Twitter made it very easy and enjoyable. From a developer perspective, the implications are enormous. We’re still doing a lot of stuff on PCs. People who figure out how to move those tasks onto mobile devices stand to win big in the next few years. Or developers could just focus on improving existing solutions. For instance, there’s no way I will place any bets on how I will be accessing the results of the next General Elections. By next year, something completely different may emerge which could eclipse Twitter. Isn’t mobile technology wonderful? Youtube Music is a Boomer When I was doing my degree in IT, I sort of developed a sense of how would you call it, affection for all things Unix. Partially because the university that I was in did pretty much everything in Unix. From the first thing you saw in the computer labs, right down to the assignments that you were given, there was no way to escape from it, unless you were one of those die-hards who believed that Windows was the be-all, end-all. As a home user, it seemed to fulfill quite a bit of my daily needs, with the exception of perhaps, games. Nevertheless, it was the overall style of Unix that kind of drew me to using it as often as I could. Minimalist programs, one separate application for every function, and the fact that since it’s so different from the rest of the world, protection from your non-nerdish friends snooping around on your PC because they don’t know how to use the damn command-line. Unless you’re into Ubuntu, which I don’t really have a liking for. But it is because of these factors that have caused me to turn cynical, especially towards programs that seem to suck your computer’s resources, rather than utilizing them properly. Programs such as Youtube Music and Ovi, which in my opinion, do a lot more harm than good. At least, if you tend to use your memory and/or CPU from frugally. Sure, they’re full of functions and features, enough to keep you interested for as long as possible. But there were times when I wondered if I really needed all these extra bells and whistles. I just installed Youtube Music, and by the powers of Greyskull, it ticks off at 93MB. Ovi is hardly any better, which is quite bemusing really, especially when all you intend for is the syncing of your mobile phone. I start to sneer whenever an installation file starts off at more than 75MB in size. Chances are that they’re probably going to expand in excesses of 200MB or so. And let’s not forget that each time some of these applications are started up, they end up using every resource possible. So much so that if you try to multi-task, you’re going to end up being more than a little frustrated. That’s as big as some OSes go, seriously. Now, I can understand if it was a graphics rendering thingy, or a proper sound editing tool, because most everyone knows that they need all the power and memory that they can get. But a program that lists the music in your iPod, plays them, uploads them from your computer? Sure, it has the additional stuff like podcasts, radio and yada yada, but you can’t help but feel overwhelmed at times by some of these things. Especially if you don’t use them, now or in the future. Of course, Linux distributions aren’t without their own forms of bloatware. I’ve seen my fair share of bumbling programs; stuff that should have been revamped totally, or just coded by someone else altogether. Firefox falls into this category especially. Once a fast and light piece of work, it’s now so big and unwieldly, that it should probably audition as a stunt double for a Boomer. And I don’t mean the Grace Park kind too. Some of you are going to argue that with the way things are going for computers, worrying about application sizes shouldn’t be a problem. With Moore’s Law in place, today’s computer powerhouses should be as fast as tomorrow’s calculators. But does that mean that tomorrow’s music players should take the same amount of resources as a graphics renderer today would? If so, I’m a little worried. Note: Sure, I don’t use Unix as much as I used to. In fact, I actually use Windows 7 a lot these days. Largely because my primary computer happens to be a netbook, to which supporting drivers tend to be at times, insufficient. And I’m also too lazy to install a Linux system on my netbook. Talk about whinging, eh? But then again, I want to play games without worrying about how to get it working on Wine. Spam, spam, glorious spam It was said in Sun Tzu’s Art of War that knowing is half the battle won. Although it has to be said that there may be times when you can happen to know a bit too much. "Sun-Tzu. Bad-ass." source: realestateradiousa.com As much as we’d like to believe that we’re more advanced or intelligent than our Middle-Age/Iron-Age counterparts, it has to be said that we’re no more human than they were. And that means we’re finite, limited to a certain amount of physical (or in this case, mental) capacity. Some have even coined up a term for it, calling it information overload. "Paper Mountain. Lady not included." source: acit.lbcc.edu I couldn’t agree more, although it’s not surprising, given the world that we live in. Never in human history has the power of the media been at the fingertips of the receiver, where a viewer can expect to tune into Al-Jazeera over satellite television, open up his Twitter or Facebook and have a little banter with his friends. And that’s not taking into account other sources, such as newspapers, SMSes, and if you’re old enough to remember them, pagers. "The future!" source: inetengineers.com Not a problem for me, considering that I don’t follow that many people, and that I tend to choose my information sources, rather than have them come to me on a plate. Nevertheless, there may be some of you who happen to have taken in more than you expected. Of course, the other way to go about it is to just remain aloof and practice a form of selective reading/information-gathering. It’s actually a lot easier than it seems, unless you have a sentimental attachment to those that you follow. 1) Have a ‘no info’ periods where you’ll ignore or close your mail client/Twitter/Facebook/whatever. 2) Categorize your information into groups. Make lists, mail folders. 3) Unfollow people who don’t really matter. Yes, it may seem like you’re shutting them out of your lives, but you could do without all the clutter. 4) Cut back on your podcasts or news stories. Decide on a few high-quality blogs or websites instead of the whole lot, and then let the rest go. 5) Don’t feel pressured to reply to every single tweet/FB-note that you receive. Read, and then move on. Reply only if you have to. "Unless you're of course, some sort of troller." source: redwing.hutman.net (Flame Warriors by Mike Reed) For those of you who find hard to deal with your information overload, there are some tools, such as TwitCleaner. Which kind of helps, if you’ve got more than a few people on your Twitter lists. Mobile Operating System Woes I have difficulty comprehending this. I get developers complaining all the time about why there are so many mobile operating systems. They say it’s difficult to code for so many operating systems. It makes their job harder and they cannot reach all mobile users easily as they have to create different versions of their apps for each operating system. Some users too, aren’t exactly ecstatic about the bewildering options that face them when they hunt for a new phone. One told me that he dreads having to learn how to use an unfamiliar phone, which is why he has happily stuck to his trusty old three year old device. I can understand where both of these sentiments are coming from but I have to say that I don’t agree with them. In fact, I strongly believe that consumers and yes, developers too, should celebrate the many operating systems that are flourishing now.Any economist will tell you that we are witnessing competition in action. And as we all learnt in our Commerce classes in secondary schools or MBA sessions ,competition is good for the consumers. Apple IOS and Samsung Android are the future Think about it, if Apple did not decide to come up with the iPhone, we would all still be carrying Nokia Nseries phones or BlackBerry devices. Believe it or not, Nokia launched the Nseries in 2005. A full five years later, that series is still around. Only when it felt the heat did Nokia awake from its slumber and work at coming up with better devices. Google’s roll out of the Android operating system is keeping Apple on its feet. The reason why we are seeing rapid launches of new iPhone models is because Apple can see Android looming in its rearview mirror (some say it’s even overtaken Apple but that’s a topic for another day). With the smartphone side of the business exploding like no one’s business, even behemoths like Microsoft is reentering the market. Whether Windows Mobile 7 will cut it or not is immaterial. The point is that all this competition is benefiting us users like crazy. We get amazing mobile devices at very competitive prices. Developers too should be prostrating themselves before every single mobile operating system. The way I look at it, the more shops I have available to sell my products, the better it is. Apple’s App Store is notoriously difficult to gain access to. Developers have to wait months to get apps approved and if their app is rejected, Apple does not tell them why. Plus it is terribly crowded, which means that apps will find it hard to get noticed. Along comes Android Marketplace and now developers have a brand new, less crowded (at least for now) store to sell their apps. There’s also the fact that each operating system reaches unique segments of users. A developer who only develops iPhone apps will never be able to reach users who don’t like Apple products. Or take Samsung’s operating system, bada. By the end of this year, I fully expect to see bada powered smartphones selling for around RM500. At that price range, millions of people all across the world who would never be able to afford an iPhone will be able to enter the smartphone owners club. So I say, let us all rejoice that we have so many operating systems to choose from. Consumers get to choose from so many car brands, soft drink makers and television manufacturers, so why should the mobile phone industry be any different? Got anything to share about the mobile industry in general and the Malaysian mobile scene in particular? We’d love to hear from you.