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3. Twitter - @jackysuae

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

iPad Mini: Black, White but not Grey

Some things are worth waiting for. 

This is the philosophy we've taken when it comes to the launch of the new iPad Mini.  Instead of indulging into importing the product from the grey market at prices that were relatively more expensive, we've decided to wait and start selling the product when it is officially available in the United Arab Emirates.

We've made no secret of our displeasure with the Apple supply chain in the past but what we have seen with the last few product launches has been a significant improvement from Apple.  For example, with the iPhone 3GS a few years ago, consumers in the UAE had to wait for over a year till the stocks were officially available in the country.  We're now at a stage where this has come down to a few months and hopefully in the future will move into weeks or even days.

The iPad Mini during it's launch event.
Image: perezhilton.com
This is encouraging because various brands in the tech sphere like Samsung and RIM (BlackBerry) have often times planned global launches for their smartphones in the United Arab Emirates or have categorized the UAE as a "Wave 1 country," meaning we've had the products here at the same time as most major countries.

With the waiting period for products to be officially available is reducing in the case of Apple, the need to rely on the grey market has also been gradually reducing to the point that we've decided to call it a day.  With the iPad Mini, we took a conscious decision to wait it out as we found it very difficult to justify why consumers should pay significantly more for a product than it's advertised launch price.

By purchasing from the grey market, we were not only selling the products at higher prices but also buying them at inflated prices.  In most cases in fact, our buying price for a product would've been far higher than Apple's advertised selling price because we were literally buying them from brokers who bought them from Apple Stores in different parts of the world at full retail price.  We would then have to factor in their margin, shipping, duties and a cost of warranty once the products landed into our warehouses before we could determine a selling price.

Going forward, this will change.  By waiting and selling the iPad Mini when it is launched in the UAE, we hope to be in a position to provide better value to our customers as the product would then be more reasonably priced.

If you can't wait, there are options of where you can buy it, whether it be online through various local websites or from kiosk operators in various malls, but understand that you will be paying more.  We don't see the reason in charging more but if you'd like to pay significantly more than the global pricing for the iPad Mini, the choice is yours.

7Days also covered this story in the newspaper today and more can be read at the following link: UAE retailers rule out iPad Mini sales before official launch.

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

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Re-Blog: Film, Digital, Mobile, Social – How Photography Nearly Died

Several years ago, I was sitting at an auditorium in Orlando at the Photo Marketing Association’s (PMA) trade show and was listening to a senior exec from HP talk about the role the company was going to play in taking photography forward.  This was a year after Hurricane Katrina.  The big challenge he said facing the industry was that when pictures went from film to digital, consumers stopped printing pictures but were still taking pictures digitally.  The issue the photography industry faced was that it was largely driven by film, paper and chemical revenues that suddenly disappeared when pictures were taken on a digital camera.  Before the photography industry could get used to the digital age, they suddenly found themselves competing with the likes of Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola as most mobile phone manufacturers had now incorporated lenses into their devices.  It didn’t take long for companies like Nokia were buying more lenses globally than the likes of a Sony, Canon or Nikon.
Kodak: A Blast from the Past

The executive from HP said companies like HP had a solution in getting those pictures off those memory cards and have solutions to get them printed or shared.  HP had just made an investment in a photo sharing service at the time, said they would also have kiosk printing solutions and a cloud-like solution where you could send pictures to be printed professionally.  This was in addition to HP’s core home printing solutions.  This seemed to be the right direction to move as industry incumbent Kodak had been promoting many of the same concepts through their own photo sharing service, kiosk solutions and the introduction of their own home printers.
To read the remainder of this post on the Tech Talk blog, please click here.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Look Before You Leap: iPhone 5 in the UAE

If you're planning to buy an iPhone 5, whether from the official channels or the grey market, please check on the following, especiallyif you're in the UAE.

The Apple iPhone 5. Image: Apple.com
1. LTE Frequency

Apple is marketing three different versions of the iPhone based on three different LTE frequencies (click here to see a link on the Apple website).  Not all the frequencies work in the UAE.  Etisalat works on a GSM frequency of 1,8 00to 2,600 MHz. If you plan on traveling a lot, check also if the countries travel to are on the same frequency as the LTE network infrastructure in the UAE and Saudi Arabia example are different.

2. Nano-SIM

Apple have confirmed that the Apple iPhone 5 will use a Nano SIM.  This is a smaller SIM card than the current Micro SIM you get in the iPhone 4S.  As of date, both carriers in the UAE have said their phones don't have Nano SIM's readily available though we suspect this will roll-out shortly.  

There's no fun in having a new toy that you can't play with so proceed with caution and remember, not every seller of an iPhone 5 on the grey market is going to have a device that works here necessarily.

Update: 7Days have as a result of our blog post contacted du who have now confirmed that Nano SIM's will be available shortly.  Etisalat are yet to respond.  For details, please click on the link to 7Days. (6:43pm, 13 Sept, 2012)

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

iPhone 5 Scorecard: Aesthetics 0, R&D Design 1

During the Apple keynote last night, there were mixed reactions to the launch of the Apple iPhone 5.  While most of us took it for granted that the screen size would get bigger, we also probably expected the design to change quite dramatically.

This sadly didn't happen.  Apple has done a great job till date in impressing us with product designs and people like Jony Ive, Apple's Senior Vice President of Design are today more recognizable than some of the world's top fashion designers, so where Apple drop the ball?

Guts & Glory, a sneak peek inside the iPhone 5
Image: theverge.com
A lot of this comes down to definition of design.  Apple clearly has done a lot of work with the guts of the device and it's always fascinating to see how they've gotten all the critical components packed in so that they can ultimately make the phone lighter and slimmer.  Joshua Topolsky from The Verge, probably said it best when he a described a screen shot of the components inside the phone as "Nerd Porn."

It seems Apple clearly felt the way to go was taller (4" display), slimmer and lighter.  The general feedback though seems to be is that while taller is appreciated, slimmer and lighter weren't as much.  What most consumers wanted to see was an iconic design.  What Apple has given them has been a R&D engineers dream project.
Nokia may be winning their way back into the heart of consumers with
innovative designs as seen in the Lumia 920.

For now, Samsung and Nokia seem to be the innovators on the aesthetic design front whether it be with the Samsung Galaxy SIII or the Lumia 920 so it'll be interesting to see if in the next iteration of the iPhone, we end up seeing an iPhone 5S or Apple decides to jump straight into a wow looking iPhone 6.

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

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Re-Blog: What Happened to Apple's Television?

This blog post originally appeared on the official Blog of GITEX Technology Week, called "Tech Talk."  To view the full blog post, please click here.

Sep 06,2012 - by 

This time last year, any industry analyst could talk about was Apple’s entry into the television business.  A lot of this talk had been fueled by revelations that Steve Jobs had made in his biography that this was an area of business that he saw could be revolutionized.
The rumor mills of course went into overdrive as to what the television would like, what functionality it would provide and who it would wipe out.
This is as close as Apple's come to a television so far.
Image: tech.fortune.cnn.com
There is in truth, a lot that can change in the television industry.  It is still an industry that relies on messy cables and connectors.  It is an industry that launched 3D devices that required the use of ghastly looking glasses.  It is an industry that still relies on content to be delivered through a satellite, cable or antenna.  It is an industry that is fighting for margins because once they have sold the consumer a television, they have got no recurring revenue stream for themselves.  It is an industry that thinks consumers will upgrade their flat screen television just because you now have a “slimmer” flat screen television.  It is an industry that is in many cases stuck in a state of denial.
To read the remainder of this post on the Tech Talk blog, please click here.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Re-Blog: Apple vs. Samsung: Hot Coffee All Over Again?

This blog post originally appeared on the official Blog of GITEX Technology Week, called "Tech Talk."  To view the full blog post, please click here.

Aug 30,2012 - by 

In a previous post wrote I had written about the Apple vs. Samsung case, I asked the question as to whether this lawsuit was a front for a proxy war between Apple and Google.  While we may be no clearer to answering that question at this stage, we have seen the judgment for the trial where Samsung was ordered to pay out just over a billion dollars in damages to Apple.  There is still a lot of legal wrangling that is to come in this case but the post trial reactions have somewhat of a surprise.
Image: hotcoffeethemovie.com
While Apple may have been the victor, there have not been as many commentators slapping Apple on the back for a job well done.  Without passing judgment on this case in particular, we have seen lawsuits wherein the use of lobbyists to fight a case has ultimately influenced the outcome of a court case.  The tobacco industry is probably one of the most notorious for the use of lobbyists. In this case could the Apple victory be seen as a lobbyist victory of sorts?  There is a lot more to a lawsuit that is immediately apparent and it’s better to hold judgment until all the facts are clear.
Many lawsuits at times seem frivolous but there are facts that may not always appear to be as apparent.  The best example that comes to mind is the McDonald’s lawsuit when they got sued by Stella Liebeck after she spilled hot coffee on her lap.  The lawsuit was seen as a joke by many at the time and even till today, most people still don’t’ realize the essence of the case.  

To read the remainder of this post on the Tech Talk blog, please click here.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Re-Blog: Who Will Buy Foursquare?

This blog post originally appeared on the official Blog of GITEX Technology Week, called "Tech Talk."  To view the full blog post, please click here.

Aug 28,2012 - by 
Who will buy foursquare?
Over the past couple of months, we’ve seen some fairly sizable acquisitions in the online space, especially amongst services or apps that are deemed to be “social.”  Whether it be Instagram which Facebook bought for a billion dollars, Twitter acquiring companies Tweetie & Tweetdeck, Microsoft acquiring Yammer for USD 1.2 billion, Salesforce buying Buddy Media for USD 689 million or Google’s recent acquisition of iOS and Mac mail client, Sparrow, it looks like the wave of expensive M&A’s is going to continue,
There was speculation recently as to whether Apple would be bidding for Twitter and this led to fierce reactions from various corners but if we are looking at “social” apps and what most smartphone vendors seem to to be talking about, then location based services seem to be the flavour of the month.

Whether you look at Apple, Microsoft, Google or Facebook, they’ve all played with location based services in some shape or form.  The question then arises that if location based services is the future, who will buy Foursquare, as they are probably the most popular social, location-based service that exists (to learn more about Foursquare, click here).
The contenders have to be the usual suspects, whether it be Google, Apple, Microsoft/Nokia, Facebook or Twitter.
What does each one bring to the table and why should they bother?

To read the remainder of this post on the Tech Talk blog, please click here.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Re-Blog: Apple vs Samsung: Is it a Proxy War?

This blog post originally appeared on the official Blog of GITEX Technology Week, called "Tech Talk."  To view the full blog post, please click here.

Incest is something that has been fairly common in most technology fields.  Most manufacturers behind the smoke screen develop products that use or depend on the work that a competitor has created. In the race of innovation, winning brands file thepatents and competing manufacturers pay the royalties.

Image: AllThingsD

On every Samsung Android smartphone sold, Microsoft allegedly said they deserve $15 per unit, even though Google licenses Android for free.  Why’s that? Because somewhere in the architecture of these Android phones, some Microsoft patents are used.

This is however not new and going back over the years, most consumer electronics companies have benefited from each other’s R&D efforts.  In many cases, the relationships have been deeper amongst even the stiffest of competitors where they would supply components to each other.  Sony for example is one of the largest suppliers of batteries for notebooks so when batteries in Toshiba, Dell or HP laptops were being recalled, the guilty culprit was Sony as they had supplied them all with batteries.

To read the remainder of this post on the Tech Talk blog, please click here.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Re-Blog: The New Tablet Ecosystem War

This blog post originally appeared on the official Blog of GITEX Technology Week, called "Tech Talk."  To view the full blog post, please click here.

Aug 06,2012 - by 

So who exactly sells tablets and what’s the difference between one tablet and another?
 This was a question I was asking myself last week after I sat with an ex-colleague.  It seems that just every brand that manufactures a laptop, smartphone or consumer electronics (like televisions) is in the tablet race.  There are of course a few exceptions to this as we’ve seen Amazon, a non-manufacturer enter the tablet arena last year by introducing the Kindle Fire.

The truth is that there are two categories of tablets.  Category 1 is: The  iPad, category 2 is: the rest. Everyone today knows what an iPad is and can rattle off the features of this tablet effortlessly.   However, the same isn’t necessarily the case with the others.
For one, most of the other tablets look the same.  They are generally of the same size, the same colour or colours and generally run in most cases, the same operating system, Android.  If you were to cover the brand name, most of us wouldn’t be able to distinguish one from the other.
While there have been so many manufacturers who have entered the tablet space, there have been very few that have managed to make a major dent.  The best known Apple-alternatives would be Samsung, Amazon and probably BlackBerry (though they run on their QNX operating system and not Android).
To read the remainder of this post on the Tech Talk blog, please click here.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

42 years later and we're still hungry.

Yesterday, the 21st of July, 2012, marked 42 years since the Jacky's Group of Companies first got incorporated.  The company started in Hong Kong back in 1970 when a keen nineteen year-old, who later became known as Jacky Panjabi decided to open his first business, with the support of his older brother and co-founder, the late Mr. Ishwardas Punjabi.
Mr. Jacky Panjabi,
Group Managing Director,
Jacky's Group of Companies

In that time, the Group has ventured into various business across various countries but certain values remain the same.  We're still a family owned business and Mr. Jacky has always told us that we need to treat everyone who works with us as if they are a part of the Jacky's Family.

As much as things have changed and will change moving forward, we've always prided ourselves on working on certain core values.  A lot of this was articulated by Mr. Jacky himself when we underwent our ISO 9001 certification a few years ago.  The heart is what keeps the human body alive and this is what he referred to when put together our Mission Statement.

"To continuously enhance customer confidence from the heart by providing trusted brands, products and services."

As we move forward and look towards the future, we aim to stick to  these basic principles that our founders instilled into the Group back in 1970 because as much as things have changed, there are certain values that will always remain close to our heart.

Thank you everyone for your support over the years and we look forward to many more years ahead in Jacky's.

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

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Samsung to Challenge Facebook?

Hot on the tails of our post yesterday about how Apple failed in social media space with Ping, it was amusing to read last night that Samsung has now jumped on the bandwagon to create their own social network dubbed "Samsung Facebook."

Image Credit: fareastgizmos.com
Can Samsung succeed where Apple failed?  This is however not the first time Samsung has tried to branch out and do everything in-house.  We've seen attempts at an operating system called Bada, which still exists and an instant-message platform called ChatON.

You can never say never but unless Samsung has got their own Mark Zuckerberg working for them, it would seem highly unlikely that their own social network will be getting too many friend requests for now.

Source Links: Apple Does Fail (Occasionally) and Samsung planning Facebook-like social network, codenamed 'Samsung Facebook'

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

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Apple Does Fail (Occasionally)

If Apple's created, it must be brilliant right?  That's been the common assumption over the years, especially since the iPod's first came out over a decade ago.

The approach Apple has taken is that they control everything.  The hardware, the software, the operating system, the App store, the distribution model, the manufacturing process, the retail stores, the marketing and everything else in between.  However, little is said of Apple's failures when they do occasionally happen.

Case in point: Apple's failure to launch a social network.

A few years ago, Apple introduced us to Ping.  Ping was supposed to be Apple's new social network that ran over iTunes for music buffs.  In fact, Steve Jobs said "It is sort of like Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes."

Few people ever understood it but Apple continued to make attempts at trying to explain to us what it was all about.  Then suddenly at the last two Apple events, we've seen Apple talk about integration with Twitter and then Facebook.  While this was lauded by many, little was said of Ping or why was Apple looking at a third-party tie-up instead of going with their own in-house project.  Then last night stories started emerging that Apple was going to kill off Ping in the next major update to iTunes (click here for a link to a story about this).  Apple for now, has put the nail in the coffin at it's attempts to run a social network.

Personally, I own most of what Apple sells today.  I could even be classified by some as a fanboy.  Did I notice that Apple had failed somewhere along their journey to conquer the world?  Not at first.  Apple does such a great job of making their announcements sound like industry-shattering revolutions that we often lose sight of the fact that not everything runs the way Apple wants to.  I'm sure if I start thinking through it, there may be more cases that Apple has failed of late which has also been forgotten by most but it's good to know at the end of the day, Apple is still human and still makes the occasional mistake.

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

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Smartphones & The Hunt for Red October

With the Samsung Galaxy SIII launching officially today worldwide, we're looking at what should be a busy period in the next few weeks in the smartphone business but the bigger question many of us are asking is what comes next.

The answer to a lot of these questions will most likely be answered come this October as it'll be a manic month as far as smartphone announcements go.  It can be summarized in the following quote from the movie, The Hunt for Red October.

Helicopter Pilot: Fuel status says we turn back now.
Jack Ryan: Wait a minute. Fuel status? You have a reserve, don't you?
Helicopter Pilot: Yes, sir. I've got a ten minute reserve... but I'm not allowed to invade that except in time of war.
Jack Ryan: Listen, mister, if you don't get me on board that goddamn submarine, that just might be what you'll have! You got me? Now you have ten more minutes' worth of fuel, we stay here ten more minutes! 

What do we expect to hear about this October:

1. The launch of BlackBerry OS 10.
RIM is looking to make a comeback under their new CEO and a lot has been promised from the new operating system as RIM has built this from scratch using the QNX interface that those who've used a BlackBerry PlayBook are familiar with.  There will be new hardware as well.  What exactly RIM packs into this new device we don't know yet but many BlackBerry users will probably decide after this launch whether they want to continue to be a part of the BlackBerry eco-system or if they want to migrate to something else.

2. Microsoft's Windows 8 Phone
 Microsoft and Nokia both are desperate themselves as more than just bit players in the smartphone business on the Windows platform.  Currently Windows Phone 7 devices account for between 2 to 3 percent of all smartphone sales depending on where you're getting data from but Microsoft has been talking up Windows 8 as the next big thing for PC's and tablets.  The smartphone version of Windows 8 is also rumored for launch during October and if this happens, you can be sure that both Microsoft and Nokia will be making a lot of noise as well as announcing a slew of new devices.

What we hope for is that Windows-based smartphones will have Arabic enabled on day one and the Windows Marketplace is live so that those who want to consider moving to this platform, have got most boxes ticked.  Whether a dent is made depends largely on how both brands convince us that they've got an eco-system that is easy to migrate to from existing eco-systems.  Sounds simple but it is one complicated task to achieve.

3. Apple iPhone 5
The announcement that so many of us expected last year didn't happen.  We certainly hope like most that Apple will announce their next generation Apple iPhone 5 by this October.  In the mind of many consumers, he likes of Samsung and Nokia/Microsoft may appear to have overtaken Apple as far as smartphone innovation goes so there are a lot of expectations from Apple at their next launch.  Many consumers may have forgiven Apple for the low-key improvements made in the iPhone 4S and New iPad, but they may not be as forgiving if for the third straight product launch Apple disappoints.

4. Samsung / HTC Android devices
The guess is something will come from both these companies that largely hold up the Android camp.   HTC needs a huge device to make a comeback as they've largely ceded a lot of share in the last two years to Apple and Samsung.  Samsung may rely on the Galaxy SIII to carry them forward but a successor to the Galaxy Note or a refresh of some sorts may help them maintain that sense of newness that is required with so many other announcements happening around the same time.

Whatever it is, it looks like October will be a defining month in the smartphone industry.  The fate of companies like Nokia and BlackBerry could be decided during this month.  The dominance of Apple may be questioned and whether the meteoritic rise of Android continues will be determined by how it all plays out this October.

In the meantime, you've got time to watch the movie, The Hunt for Red October.

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

Monday, 16 April 2012

Why we're waiting for the Galaxy SIII...

Remember a few months ago when we were all waiting for the Apple keynote to see whether Apple would indeed introduce an iPad 3 or last year when we expected an iPhone 5?  What happened?  Many of us were disappointed to find out those products never happened despite all the rumours that were circulating.

The revolution we wanted never happened that many wanted but something quite strange has been happened in the smartphone industry in the last few weeks.  There have been people speculating and awaiting what's coming in a new smartphone and for once it's not an Apple product.

Samsung have succeeded in keeping everyone on their toes with what the Samsung Galaxy SIII will be when it is finally announced.  Samsung have given an indication today that we need only wait a few more weeks as they will most likely make the announcement on May 3rd.  Samsung looks to have settled on a roll-out strategy similar to Apple's where they announce one big product every year and to their credit that they've managed to get people this excited.

Samsung has become the de facto standard of what Android is and in the battle with Apple internationally, it has firmly set its sights of what Google Android / Samsung can do to gain mainstream acceptance within the Middle East.

Let's hope Samsung doesn't disappoint us with the Galaxy SIII announcement (if it is indeed called that) like Apple has done because you get a sense that many consumers aren't going to be quite as tolerant as they have been with Apple thus far.

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

Monday, 13 February 2012

Jacky's Valentine's Day Competition draws 400 entries.

Jacky’s hosted its Valentine’s Day competition from 30 Jan to 12 Feb 2012 to celebrate love with a twist of fascination for gadgets and provide a platform of expression and sharing in the form of competition. 

The Jury and team has taken all care to ensure that all the entries were given its due worth however the competition was stiff and there could only be three winners.
The Three most heartiest entries that have been chosen Winners by our JURY are as follows:

Samay Majhi - Winner | 2 * Iphone 4S
Loreamel Bunyi-Vespiras - Runner up 1 | 2 * Sony Tablet
Sanju Scaria - Runner up 2 | 1* Shaver & 1 * Epilator
To all our ardent fans and all the community members who have painstakingly contributed and followed the competition, we would like to share our approach and behind-the-scene work that reinforces our responsibility to our fan community and commitment to conduct in fairness.  

The competition ran over 14 days and drew whopping 400 entries. The Competition was closely monitored on daily basis; for fairness edited entries were NOT considered despite some with higher Likes than other.  While there was community led policing and reporting of the fake likes on our wall, our team engaged in detailed screening of all entries for identifying Fake profiles, Fake Profile likes, no referral likes that eventually were eliminated. All comments were moderated by Jacky’s; certain comments that have been deleted are due to abusive language.

Entries have been shortlisted on the criteria of authenticity, creativity, uniqueness, personal relevance in the message and relevance to gadgets along with public likeability. There have been entries that have been more creative but with lesser likes and couldn’t be considered for shortlist whilst entries with high number of likes but falling short on the other criteria. The Entries that have won the competition have scored well across over all the criteria’s. 

We maintain that the judgment has been fair and believe that most of the participants acknowledge it. 

The Essence of any competition is participation and fun, which undoubtedly has been brought about by each participant and we can’t thank enough for everybody’s contribution. 

Being a competition, we expect most of the people will sport the underlying spirit. While winning remains important, it’s VITAL to play to one’s true potential and take the result in a positive stride.

Hope you have a great Valentine's with your loved ones and spread the Cheer :-)

Post by: Manish Arora, Head- Retail Marketing, Jacky's Electronics