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
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3. Twitter - @jackysuae

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Comment Away...

It's now been a few months since we started our blog and we've been receiving a lot of encouraging feedback on it thus far, however, as it seems, not enough feedback.

It seems many people were unable to leave comments on our blog and this was due to the fact that we'd set up the blog such that to leave a comment, you needed to have a Google ID or Open ID.  It seems this wasn't entirely clear and we've thus opened up our comments section to now accept all comments without having to sign up to any other service.

Thank you to all of you who made us aware of this problem, it's greatly appreciated.

We hope this will make things easier going forward and we'd love to hear back from you, whether you agree or disagree with our view on how we see things.

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

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Phone that Powers Your Life

There's been so much going on in the world of technology of late and so many innovations appearing constantly, it sometimes gets difficult to actually understand what is the way forward.  We get so engrossed everything gadget related, we're late to spot or realize trends of where we're heading.  It's only when we take a deep breath, step back and slow ourselves down so we can comprehend where exactly things are moving.

Even then, you don't fully understand it, however, I've attempted to take a crack at one area of technology that I feel will end up driving a lot more of our lives moving forward and that is our mobile phone.

We've certainly come a long way from the days of
rotary phones.

Whether you it's a mobile phone, smart phone or a phone that's one day embedded under your skin (as in our previous post about Skinput), one thing is for sure, the processor in here is probably what is going to drive a lot of what we do or how we work.

In some senses we've already seen this happen with way we use our BlackBerry, Apple iPhone or Android-powered smartphone.  We use the phone to check our messages on Facebook or Twitter, SMS, chat over BBM or What'sApp, browse the web, play games, check stock market updates or weather forecasts, get restaurant reviews or even, make phone calls (what, you use your phone to call people?).

However, inspite of using a mobile phone, we still end up using during the course of a normal day, other devices like a computer of some sort, a TV screen and increasingly a tablet.  In essence, most people are moving towards towards the stage that they've got four screens in front of them at most times and more often than not, they're using more than one screen at at time (e.g. watching TV and checking Facebook on your laptop or smartphone).

How long do we expect to use all four screens and why are all the four screens not connected?

As much as we say we've managed to integrate everything and synchronize things, we're still essentially running all four screens independently.  We can move forward if we power all four screens from one source and have the data for all four screens reside in one source.  Out of the four screens, the one that's most personal to us is our mobile phone and this is most likely the one we'd want to power everything else for us.  So it doesn't seem unlikely that the direction we're moving in is that the mobile phone, the processor inside it and the memory that's contained within it is what is used to operate our computer, tablet or TV in the future.

Why save data on four separate sources or why have your Apps loaded in four different places when it can be stored in one place and appear automatically on the other screens?

For the mobile phone to be the single unifying source though, there would have to be great advancements in terms of mobile processor technology, mobile memory technology and mobile battery technology life.

One development also that we've started to see is operating systems that move across platforms.  Google has been busy working on Android for smartphones and tablets, Chrome OS for notebooks and Google TV for our television (not sure what Google TV is, have a look at the video below).  Apple has also got iOS for smartphones and tablets, Mac OS for their notebooks and Apple TV, though this is not technically an operating system that resides on a TV.  HP's been talking the same language with WebOS and they've all got visions of pumping their OS onto as many devices as possible.

With also the likes of Etisalat and du rolling high speed wireless internet through the deployment of their latest generation LTE networks, the speed and bandwidth required to combine the requirements all these four devices onto one network could be a reality before we know it.

This could also mean that some products that we consider to be "personal" today may not be as personal moving forward such as a notebook computer or a tablet.  Today, most people don't want to share these devices but wouldn't mind sharing them if they know all the processing power and data resides within their mobile phone only.  Sharing a tablet or notebook computer could essentially be no different to sharing a TV screen.

Motorola's Atrix comes with a netbook dock
(Image from zdnet.co.uk)
We've already started seeing evidence of how the mobile phone will start to power or connect with other devices with products like Motorola's Atrix, BlackBerry's PlayBook or HP's TouchPad which are coming on the market very soon.

Have Doc Stevens and Marty McFly got you thinking
about the future?
What I've discussed here is just one possible avenue that the mobile phone industry could take.  There are limitless ways in how it could mutate itself but with the likes of Apple, Acer, Dell or HP today entering the mobile, tablet and computing space, seeing all of this combined with your TV could well become a reality.

If and when any of this happens, the next question will be "what next?"  I'll leave that to you to think about as you ponder on think about what you saw in the Back to the Future trilogy is something that we could be seeing soon.

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

Sunday, 20 March 2011

A note on iPad 2 Pricing

This Thursday (18th March, 2011), we got our first shipment of Apple iPad 2's in stock and we rushed them straight to our retail outlets as soon as they landed.

While there's been a lot of excitement regarding the iPad 2, the fact of the matter is that there is a severe shortage and demand far exceeds supply at this stage.

The current scenario with regards the supply of iPad 2's is as follows:

  • Till date the iPad 2 has only been officially released in the United States (launch day was March 11, 2011).
  • Apple will release the iPad 2 in 26 more countries on March 25, 2011, however, the UAE is not one of those countries that we can expect to see it in at that time.
  • The only way to procure an iPad 2 at the moment is either from an Apple Store in the US, an official Apple retailer in the US or from Apple's online store in the US (which is currently mentioning a three to four week lead time on any orders placed today).
  • The above three methods of getting stocks are the only way we can procure stocks.
  • Currently we're buying stocks from traders in the US who are literally lining up outside Apple Store's in the US and buying stocks at full retail price.  Due to the unprecedented demand for the iPad 2, we're buying these stocks at whatever price they'll sell them to us at, which at the moment is at prices much higher than Apple's official retail selling prices. (Gulf News had a story on this which can be seen here).
  • In addition to this, we're having to factor in costs of shipping, customs duties and warranty which all play a part in determining our selling price.
Are we happy with the current pricing of the iPad 2?  No.  However, we had the option of either not selling the iPad 2 right now or buying it at ridiculously high prices and onward selling it here.  We figured that most people who wanted an iPad 2, even at these prices, would procure through any means, so why not get it through us.

Our buying team is working extremely hard to scout out the best deals on iPad 2's at the moment and the hope is as supply increases, we can see prices come to more realistic levels but until then we're trying our best to cope with the situation.  This is also why we're unable to advertise prices for the iPad 2 as we honestly don't know what our costing is like until each shipment lands and it could be cheaper or more expensive than the next one that comes in, so prices are likely to fluctuate at the moment.

Until then we can understand the frustration that many of you are feeling.  We do appreciate all the feedback we're getting, whether it be positive or negative.  Please do share your experiences with us and where we've had to take up issues based on your feedback over the weekend with our individual retail outlets, we've been doing that immediately.

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

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Nokia's trump card in the battle against Apple

Ever since Nokia and Microsoft announced in January that they'd be working together going forward, they've been people essentially camped out on two sides.  One who see it as a win-win, where hopefully the two giants re-emerge as a credible player in the smartphone race again and others who it as the final nail on the coffin of two has-beens.

For all the talk that's been going on about the lack of innovation that Microsoft or Nokia's had, I've got one word for you: SKINPUT.

What is Skinput?

Simple, this could be very easily be Nokia's trump card in regaining their foothold in the smartphone race and this could at the very same time make you feel the touch-interface on your current smartphone is grossly outdated.

Skinput is essentially "a system that would allow you to control devices simply by hitting specific points on your arm. Not a device on your arm. Just your arm itself."  

If you've seen the Microsoft Kinect, you can understand just where Microsoft can come in and play a vital role here.

All that R&D and know-how that Microsoft put into creating their next generation Xbox is probably going to be vital to their overall strategy in the mobile computing and smartphone race as well.  Keypads, touch screens, mice and joysticks could all be devices of the past if all that you need is your arm or your body to control devices around you.

Skinput is something that already exists in the prototype stage today as can be seen in the video below.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Recycle or Re-use your old iPad

With so many people expected to switch over and buy the iPad 2 in the next few weeks, there's a question that many people have started asking and which MacWorld's Middle East edition asked this week in their story "What to do with your old iPad."

One point that the author makes is that you can always look at the option of recycling but this story being US-centric doesn't actually share options of where you can recycle your iPad in the UAE.  If you can't find anyone to gift your old iPad to or to re-sell it to, take a look at local recycling programs like the Jacky's Eco-Exchange program (click here for details).  This program exists so that you can do your bit for the environment locally.  As a bonus, you do get store credit which means you can also get some money back for your old iPad.

Jacky's aren't the only people who can recycle your iPad and do feel free to look around but please do your bit and don't let it just end up in a drawer gathering dust.  

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

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Cloud Computing and your iPad

There was a story that appeared on MacWorld's Middle East website recently headlined "Will the cloud curb interest in the 64GB iPad 2?"  My answer in short is no.

Image courtesy: macworldme.net
While the story goes on to make compelling arguments about what services you can get on a cloud today and explaining in great detail how memory prices fluctuate as you increase capacity, the fact of the matter is that in this region, we don't have most of those cloud services available.

While Pandora is often highlighted in the US, it is largely unavailable here.  The same goes for a lot of other services due to copyright or regional restrictions that rights holders have got.

In fact, even Apple iTunes is limited in terms of what it offers in this region so most people with MP3 music on an iPod, iPhone or iPad have downloaded these through other means.

Keeping all this in mind, it's been little wonder that the 64GB models have in fact been our best selling models of iPad's at Jacky's thus far and we expect the same to continue going forward when the much awaited iPad 2 hits our shelves.

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

Monday, 7 March 2011

Steve Jobs Appearance = Millions more units sold

Without wanting to turn this into an Apple-fanboy blog, we can't help but talk about Steve Jobs and his appearance at the iPad 2 launch last week.

With all the rumours and stories that have been circulating of late about his health or who would step up and take the mantle at this launch, everyone was in shock to see Steve Jobs up on stage, in person, giving us a 70-minute presentation.

Image courtesy: theappera.com
As John Gruber mentioned in his post on The Daring Fireball, "Have you ever noticed that Steve Jobs is not introduced at Apple’s events? Music plays while the audience fills the room. (Well-chosen popular rock, some new, some old, often Dylan. Now, it’s all Beatles, all the time. It’s as though Apple now treats the Beatles catalog as the company’s official soundtrack.) Eventually, a few minutes before the start of the show, there’s an announcement asking everyone to silence their phones. Then, one or two more songs, and then there simply is no next song. A few seconds later, Jobs strides out, unheralded."

Gruber further goes on to say "One difference between this year and last is that Jobs’s presence was not expected. The ovation that greeted him yesterday was loud, almost raucous. We were, simply, happy to see him."

Why Did Steve Jobs Appear?

Making an appearance did keep the stock price up, but this was far more than keeping investors who're looking at short term gains happy.  The bottom line is sales.  Apart from all that's been said about Jobs being a great CEO or visionary, he's also their brand ambassador.

While Coke, Pepsi or Nike may pay millions to sign up celebrities like Michael Jordan, Shakira, Tiger Woods, Christiano Ronaldo or Nancy Ajram to be the face of their brand, Apple don't because they've got Steve Jobs.

The fact that Steve Jobs presented the iPad as opposed to any other executive in the company means they'll sell that many more millions of units.  The power of his presence is unheralded and Apple knows that.  Apart waiting for iPad 2 stocks to come in, the next thing we can only hope for is that Jobs gives us another great presentation when it's time to announce the launch of the iPhone 5.

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

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Mobile Number Portability: Is it Happening?

Back in January, we put out a blog post (Mobile Number Portability in the UAE; what'll drive you to change?) stating how excited we were that Mobile Number Portability, would be coming to our shores.  The much-talked about launch date was March 1, 2011, but that date has come and gone.

Upon checking with our contacts with both telephone companies, we've not been given any indication yet as to when this can be expected to start, except to be told it'll be "soon."  What we do know, is that there are some ambitious plans both telco's have got and some even more eager customers waiting for the switch to happen.

At the moment your guess is as good as ours for when we can start but fingers crossed, it won't be too long away.

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

Strap on your seatbelts for a Post-PC world ride

During the iPad 2 announcement last week, Steve Jobs and Apple got everyone thinking about what direction the industry is moving in when he spoke about the 'post-PC' world.  Engadget's Joshua Topolsky, who's become a media-startlet in his own way with his appearances on Jimmy Kimmel's talk show in the US, wrote about this further in an editorial on the technology publication's website.

We're now in a 'Post-PC' world.  Image courtesy engadget.com.

In essence, Topolsky made the the point that Apple moved into the "post-PC" era of computing where they've gravely changed the rules and definitions of the game being played.  As Topolsky said in his editorial that "Apple has changed the rules of the game, and made the competition's efforts not just an uphill battle, but -- at least in the eyes of Steve Jobs and co. -- essentially moot."

This is a big statement to make.  Topolsky quantifies this statement by saying "Apple no longer has to compete on specs and features, not does it want to. There is no Mac vs. PC here -- only 'the future' versus 'the past.'"

Topolsky goes on to say that it's all about experience, not specifications.  Any discussion on displays, memory, processor speeds, etc. will be irrelevant.  The same is somewhat true already today if you consider the fact that many tablets out there are technically stronger than Apple's iPad family but have failed as far as sales have gone.  Even a strong PR and marketing engine won't be enough to compete with Apple argues Topolsky unless the brand can match the Apple experience or as Topolsky says "find a way to delight the average consumer."

The one brand that Topolsky highlights that could come close to matching Apple in some way, shape or form, is HP because along with WebOS, their Touch-to-Share does pit it differently against the other tablets out there.  While I would also echo Topolsky's sentiments on HP, a lot of HP in our region depends on how they're able to execute their overall smartphone and tablet strategy.  Whereas in many other parts of the world where HP can bank upon the equity Palm may have carried once upon a time, in the UAE, Palm was sliding downhill for a number of years so there isn't really much left for Palm here in terms of brand equity or infrastructure.  HP however does have a formidable presence in the Middle East but their success till date in the mobile space has been limited.

By bringing more Apps onto the tablet, Apple has also worked to break away the lines of differentiation between what a PC did versus a tablet.  Admittedly, it isn't as easy to do everything on a tablet as it would be on a notebook PC, the fact is Apple has found certain components of the iPad to be so powerful, it's porting them onto the Macbooks, hence the birth of the Mac App Store.  Topolsky goes on in his editorial to say "Apple isn't just challenging perceptions of the PC -- they're saying that the age of the PC is over (at least for most people).  The company is forcing consumers to ask if they even still want or need something called a PC."

His concluding remarks go back to the days of the iPod and echo a conversation I had with an industry executive here in Dubai two nights ago.  He says "There was a time before the iPod too, when companies like HP, Samsung, and even Microsoft fought against Apple for the hearts and minds of the consumer -- but I'll be damned if anyone can remember it."

To read Joshua Topolsky's full editorial, click here.

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