Where else to find Jacky's on the Internet?

Thank you for visiting our Blog page. To keep in touch with us, you can also find us at the following places:

1. Website - http://www.jackys.com
2. Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/jackysuae
3. Twitter - @jackysuae

Monday, 31 January 2011

Mobile Number Portability in the UAE; what'll drive you to change?

The moment a lot of us have been waiting for should be arriving shortly with the announcement that mobile number portability (MNP) will become a reality within the next few weeks.  MNP for those who are unsure what it is, basically allows you to switch from one telecoms carrier to other while maintaining your mobile phone number.  In essence, you own your number now, not the telecoms company (though how this transpires legally is to be verified still).

Stories about MNP coming soon have been floating about for years, especially since the advent of the second telecommunications provider in the country.  However, each and every time a timeframe was given, there was always some reason given for a delay.  Much to our delight, we were glad to see stories such as the one that appeared in The National recently that confirmed that a firm date for the transition to start is upon us.

Our discussions with one of the two telecommunication providers also confirms this and they are busy gearing up in the background for this.  Based on experiences many within our organization have seen in other countries, the introduction of MNP is normally one of the largest instigators for an improvement in calling rates and services a customer can expect.  How much we can expect rates to come down here is to be seen as this would require the involvement of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), but service for sure can be expected to improve.

With a lot of people expected to switch from one network to the other in the coming weeks, it'll be interesting to see how infrastructure the telecommunications companies has holds up.  Whereas earlier it was about managing voice traffic primarily through a mobile network, today the importance of data is probably what drives customers to switch from one network to the other.  Reliability, cost and speed of data connections will probably end up playing a big part as voice data can probably be taken for granted as being OK with both providers.

If you have the chance, think it through once.  If you have more than one number, try moving them one at a time to see how the network holds up and who knows, you may end up realizing you preferred your incumbent provider better.

Posted By: Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics

Sunday, 30 January 2011

What have been the best-selling cameras thus far this DSF?

As we at Jacky's kicked off our 16th edition of Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) deals, we took a few minutes out earlier today to actually have a look at what have been the best selling products thus far since DSF 2011 started and with Valentine's Day just around the corner, we've listed out the best selling cameras thus far in DSF 2011 below.

1. Nikon D3100 DSLR Camera Kit with 18-55mm lens + 55-200mm lens

This DSLR camera is the replacement of the popular D3000 camera, which was one of 2010's best selling cameras.  This new 14.2 megapixel camera had got a 3.0" LCD screen, live view mode, 3 frames per second continuous shooting and a guide mode.  Price attractively at Dhs. 2,999, it comes bundled with the standard 18-55mm lense and an additional 55-200mm lens (which is worth Dhs. 1,499).  Apart from this, we've got many other freebies bundled in which you can find out more about by visiting any of our retail outlets or sending us a message on twitter @jackysuae.

2. Nikon D90 DSLR Camera Kit with 18-105mm lens + 70-300mm lens
This has been one of the top sellers in the DSLR category, especially amongst professionals.  It is a 12.3 megapixel camera which has got live view mode, active-D lighting, 4.5 frames per second continuous shooting and a 3.0" LCD screen for Dhs. 4,999.  Again, many freebies have bundled into this offer as well.

3. Canon EOS550D DSLR Camera with 18-55mm lens
This 18 megapixel DSLR camera has done exceedingly well because it is one of the highest megapixel cameras available on the market.  Priced at Dhs. 3,599, it has shoots continuously at 3.7 frames per second, can record full HD video, has a digic 4 processor, an ISO of upto 6,400 and movie cropping.  It comes with a standard 18-55mm lens and again lots of freebies bundled with it.

4. Canon IXUS-130
This has been a very popular point-and-shoot compact camera since it is very sleek, stylish and is available in many colours like black, silver, pink and orange.  For us, we've found the silver to sell the best with us but the other colours have had their own fans as well.  Considering it is a 14 megapixel camera, it's been very aggresively priced at Dhs. 699.  It has a 28mm wide lens, 4x optical zoom and can record HD movies.

5. Sony DSC-W570

Sony has been the first to launch a 16.1 megapixel compact camera and has some unique features like sweep panorama which allows you to takes several pictures as you make a panoramic sweep and stitches them together to create one panoramic photograph.  With most cameras, you'd take several pictures and have to combine them on your PC using software like Adobe Photoshop (For more details on sweep panorama, click here).  It also has a 5x optical zoom, 2.7" LCD screen, 720p HD movie recording and comes in various colours like black, silver and pink.  This camera is priced currently at Dhs. 699 with many freebies also bundled into this.

With DSF 2011 ending on 20th February, 2011, there is still time to make your purchases whether at Jacky's or the retailer of your choice and whatever you decide, we hope you enjoy capturing all your memories on it.

Posted By: Deepak Kriplani, Assistant Purchase Manager & Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Battery life...why is it never long enough?

Being in an industry like the one we at Jacky's, are in, we're always playing with new toys and gadgets.  These days, it seems we get a lot more to play with than we've done in the past and there's been one gripe we're constantly faced with and that's battery life.

As products have gotten quicker, sleeker and more functional, we've constantly seen battery life become an issue to the point that we know we can probably get more powerful products today if only battery life wasn't an issue, so much so that when a new product is launched, battery life is still a question that gets asked instead of being taken for granted as a non-issue.
When Apple launched the iPhone 4, they made it a point to emphasize they had improved the battery life and this was done by making the rest of electronics in the phone smaller and putting in a bigger battery instead of improving battery technology.
Sure, things have come a long way from the days when we used to sell batteries as an add-on with every mobile phone or when you would need to carry two or three batteries for your video camera during your vacation at Disney World.  However, the rate at which battery technology has evolved hasn't kept pace with the way everything else around has.

Today if we look at it, there are various places where we use batteries with the most obvious being of course our mobile / smartphones, digital cameras, laptops, tablets and MP3 players.  When using many of these products, we find ourselves having to play with the settings of our products just to extend battery life.  For example, while most people have a smartphone that can run on a 3G network, many people still run on a 2G / EDGE / GPRS network setting instead as it can mean all of a sudden that your battery lasts for two days instead of one day.  The same thing happens on our laptops where we change brightness, screen saver or power saving settings in the control panel just to get more juice out of our laptop.

There are many manufacturers who'd I'm sure want to give us all bigger and brighter screens, faster speed processors or even multiple processors who hold back today because of battery life.  There is no point in them releasing a new smartphone with a fantastic 4.3" display and dual processor if the battery life is only good enough to last you till lunch time.

While battery manufacturers catch up, some companies like Intel have been working to do their best.  When the Centrino processors first came out, they ensured we got more speed, better wireless connectivity and longer battery life by re-doing the way they designed their processors.  This meant that the battery in the laptop was better utilized and power required was reduced.  The same has been the case with many other manufacturers in the smartphone, tablet and MP3 business as well but we're still left with situations where we're not using all our products to their fullest potential for fear of the product going kaput before the day's out.

While we do hope to see many innovations in 2011, one thing we should all hope for is for battery technology to improve as we're pretty sure that's only going to lead much more innovation and more toys for us all to play with in the long term!

Posted By: Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Is this PR spin or are Apple users really more up to date than Android users?

There was a headline that caught our attention this morning which said iPhone User? 90% Chance You’re On The Latest OS. Android User? 0.4% Chance which was published by TechCrunch, a reasonably popular technology portal.

At first glance, this was a very powerful statement being made and the story sounded compelling as it immediately gives you the impression that if you're using an Android device, you're probably using a device that's behind the technology curve or dependent on a manufacturer to release a software device for you, which may never come.

However, when you start examining some of the contents of the story, you realize something that glaringly stands out and which could actually mislead you completely.  The story talks about how many users are using Apple's iOS version 4 (without distinguishing between iOS versions 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2) whereas for Android, they compare against individual versions within versions 1 and 2.  In the chart which appears in the story (that you see below) it clearly shows that actually that 87.4 are using an Android 2.x software version on their device and this in that case doesn't compare too badly against the 90% using an iOS 4.x version on an Apple iPhone.

While there is no doubt that it is easier to get upgrades on an Apple iPhone (as there are in essence fewer models of handsets available), it is a much more complicated story on Android devices as each manufacturer has to prepare a customized upgrade for each and every model (due to the fact that most manufacturers don't run "stock" Android and put their own user-interface or skin over the version of Android that's running).

It still makes you think though if TechCrunch, which is by itself a fairly respectable news source meant to purposely mislead us or not, but it's shows that headlines aren't all that make a story and a little understanding of the facts and figures is still required, even if it's from a publication you trust.

Posted By: Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Does a PSP2 form factor make sense?

Rumours are abound this week that Sony is planning to announce a new version of the Sony PlayStation Portable (dubbed PSP2).

While this is no doubt exciting, it makes you wonder given the fact that we've been seeing and hearing rumours about a PlayStation Phone from Sony Ericsson, whether the PSP2 form factor still makes sense.  With Sony seeing PSP sales dipping of late, isn't the problem more the threat being put forward by other portable gaming platforms, i.e. the smartphones?

With smartphones like the Apple iPhone, you need to carry around only one device which serves as your communications centre (that allows you to connect to e-mail, SMS, phone calls, web surfing, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) but which also allows you to move your Apps around with you as well.  Many of these Apps can indeed be games, which are easily downloadable onto your smartphone through App stores like Apple's own iTunes store.

With a PSP, you need to consider carrying around a second device as most people already carry along a phone with them.  To get games on there, you need to buy them physically from a store or download them if you have a product like the PSP GO.  You could argue though that the PSP has its advantages that some of the people who play with it are young kids who you don't want to give a smartphone to yet but that also means Sony would be restricting their audience to kids and possibly hardcore gamers only.

The convenience though is clearly not with you with a PSP like it would be with a smartphone and with developers like Electronics Arts (EA) who are coming out and saying that they expect to see a bigger chunk of their revenues coming from the smartphone segment in the future, you wonder if Sony is looking forwards with the release of the PSP2 or if more efforts should go behind Sony Ericsson's PSP phone the success story it has the potential to be.

With the supposed press launch for the PSP2 coming up on 27th January and Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona coming in February (where supposedly Sony Ericsson could announce the PSP phone), it could be an interesting month to watch ahead for PlayStation fans.

For details on the PSP2, you can click here.
For details and sneak images of the Sony Ericsson PSP phone, you can click here.

Posted By:

Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics 

Sunday, 9 January 2011

What components of my mobile phone can actually be recycled?

We've been talking in the last few weeks about recycling on our blog and it got us thinking about what can actually be recycled on your mobile phone?

While most articles immediately talk about the fact that leaking batteries are what we need to save from mobile phones (as these tend to be toxic, they can leak and are dangerous to simply dump into a landfill), there are many other components that neglected to be spoken off in the meantime.

As per industry leader, Nokia, the typical material content of a mobile phone are as follows:
  • Plastics - 45%
  • Metals - 35%
  • Glass & Ceramics - 10%
  • Battery Electrodes - 9%
  • Precious Metals - 0.11%
  • Other - 0.9%

With the trend moving towards smart phone technology, one thing that has become more prevalent of late has been the use of LCD screens.  What actually does is an LCD screen made up of?  Some of the research we did showed that apart from the actual LCD, which can be re-used, there are layers of metal, glass and / or plastic that make up most LCD screens.  These are all components that any standard recycling facility accepts and re-uses.

Most phones use a lot of plastic in their design as seen in the above data from Nokia.  Recycling plastics can be quite complex depending on the type of plastic used but how do recycled plastic products typically end up being used?  Well, they're used often times to make plastic chairs, tables, stools or buckets.  Think of that next time you're sitting on any garden furniture as it could've been made out of recycled plastic from mobile phones.

In many mobile phones, you also tend to find metals like aluminum, copper, gold, iridium and silver.  In fact one ton of old mobile phones can yield 100KG of copper.  This is more copper than you'd normally be able to extract from a ton of copper ore.  Apart from reducing the carbon footprint of the planet, by recycling, we're also able to be more efficient in the use of these metals.

Even the little SIM card in your phone is made of plastic and metals, which can be recycled when given to a credible recycling plant.

It's up to you to do your bit for the environment and to educate those around you.  Programs like the Jacky's Eco-Exchange program are there to be used.  If you'd like more information, you can click the following link.

Details of more links that were used to compile this post can be found as below:

Posted By:

Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics 

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Does Apple actually spend money on marketing?

Listening to our friends on Dubai Eye's Business Breakfast this morning, we were bemused and amused by the controversy that was created by studio guest, John Hobday, MD of FD Gulf, a communications company, had created this morning.  While talking about marketing / communication trends that we can expect in 2011, Hobday predicted that Apple would be exposed in 2011 for running a "marketing scam" (listen to the interview of John Hobday on Dubai Eye's Business Breakfast and scroll forward 6:25 minutes into the second interview on the webpage).

Interestingly, with Hobday saying that Apple products like the iPad were all marketing scams, led to all sorts of outrage and loads of SMS messages went flying into Dubai Eye, including a few from us at Jacky's.

This then bring about another discussion as to how much does Apple themselves actually spend on marketing in this region?

Think about it.

Have you seen any advertising directly by Apple in the UAE for Macbooks, iPod's, Apple TV or iPad's (which actually has not been officially launched by Apple in the UAE).  The only product you actually see marketed by Apple is the iPhone which by virtue of the fact that it is operator-driven, is seeing it's marketing channelled through du and Etisalat (which no doubt is somewhat subsidized by Apple).

Most of the marketing or advertising done by Apple in the UAE is in fact funded and done by most retailers themselves, with barely any subsidies from Apple.  Apple's marketing has been viral and it is word-of-mouth experiences that have helped it thrive.  The press also loves talking about Apple, though there isn't much press or PR support from Apple in this region.  As retailers, we talk about Apple and advertise it at our own cost in most cases because of the unprecedented demand that Apple has created for themselves.

Considering the amount so many other brands probably spend on marketing, communications and PR, Apple's spend is negligible in fact.  Apple's best marketing tools have been people like you and us who talk about it constantly.  How much does that cost Apple?  Not very much.

It's food for thought and a little something to think about the next time someone says Apple does a great job with their marketing.  Rather, you need to think, how much of your time have you spent marketing for Apple instead?

Posted by: Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics LLC

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

What do you actually use your tablet for?

It's been an interesting few months since Apple introduced their revolutionary Apple iPad during 2010.  A product category that we as retailers thought existed for years but had a very limited potential in business-to-business applications suddenly morph itself into a different being.  What was a sleepy category suddenly became the category of 2010 for us.

So what did make Apple click and what was the difference from earlier generations of tablets?

Well, first and foremost was form factor.  At Jacky's, we'd been selling tablet computers from the likes of HP and LG for a number of years but basically what they were was notebook computers with a touch screen.  They ran the same Microsoft Windows operating system that you found on your regular notebooks and largely ran the same applications as a regular notebook.  We were told that the real potential for that generations of tablet PC's (or rather tablet notebooks as they should've been called), was in segments like car-hire companies (where a person could come out with the tablet PC and inspect the car on the spot) or in the medical sector (where probably medical records, transcripts, X-rays, MRI's, etc. could be kept and instead of moving around a patient file, a tablet PC with the person's records would be used instead).

Honestly, it wasn't a terribly exciting category for us as a retailer and as such always had a muted presence in our outlets.

Then came along Apple and shocked us, our customers and most other manufacturers.  All of a sudden a tablet had become cool.

The user-interface that Apple's been running on the iPad was largely developed for the iPhones and had the "touch" elements integrated as part of the development of the platform.  This immediately stood out as even Microsoft will tell you that Windows is not designed for a touch interface per se.

Apple also had the advantage that they could further leverage on their huge pool of iPod / iPhone family experience.  This included the fact that they now had an App store concept in place, they had experience with wireless radio technology (both GSM/3G and Wifi), a marketing buzz that generally was associated with their products and a huge install-base of loyal customers.

Apple has till now never actually focused too strongly on the business or enterprise capabilities of the iPad.  It is a true consumer device, which then begs the question, what are we actually using tablets for and why do so many men & women in suits carry them around?

Our experience thus far is that tablets have been used for primarily the following:

  • Gaming - there is a huge segment of casual gamers that has been created with the launch of the iPad and the thousands of games that Apple now has on their App store.
  • Music and Videos - compared to the iPhone, the screen size on the iPad is much easier on the eyes and with Apple's experience with the iPod, the audio capabilities of the iPad were never in doubt
  • Browsing - with Wifi and 3G technology now prevalent in most places, it's become a lot more convenient to whip out your iPad to surf the net instead of sitting in front of a desktop PC or waiting for a notebook computer to boot up.
  • Reading - while Amazon's Kindle interface is not available in our region yet, there have been various book and magazine subscription services that have now been launched for reading on the iPad.
  • Email - for those people who used to carry around a notebook or netbook just for e-mails, the iPad has become a convenient alternative now
  • Writing Pad - Many students and business people have started using an iPad instead of a conventional writing pad or paper-based notebook that they would otherwise carry around with them.  
Why then are so many people in suits using an iPad?  Virtually every airport lounge or coffee shop is littered with them and a lot of the people who carry them are business people who obviously can't use it for word processing, spreadsheets or presentations (though Apple's iWork is available for the iPad, it isn't the ideal solution by any means).  

At the heart of it, it probably comes down to the fact that it is just easier to carry it around.  Whether there were once people embarrassed to carry a PSP onto a plane, they are now busying playing away on their iPad.  While it may have once looked awkward to open up your notebook, wait for it to boot up and then watch a couple of TV shows, you now find it very convenient to do the same off your iPad.

With a slew of new tablets to be launched into our region very shortly (we already have the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Dell Streak now available), it'll be interesting to see how the other brands manage to differentiate themselves from Apple.

Even though the heading for this blog post asked the question what do you use your "tablet" for, we've loosely interchanged the word "tablet" for "iPad" throughout this post on purpose.  The iPad has created this category and as we move into 2011, it remains to be seen if it still continues this way.  As brands like Xerox and Coke managed to name entire categories after their brand name, Apple has done much the same with the iPad till now.  Will 2011 turn out to be a game changer?  Whatever we get, we've bucked ourselves in and prepared ourselves for what we hope turns out to be a roller-coaster journey through the world of tablets in 2011.

Posted by: Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics LLC