Category Archives: Featured Articles

The featured articles at Techie Buzz

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Giveaway Contest

This contest is only open to residents of India.

Last week Sony Ericsson launched two new exciting phones in India. The two phones; Xperia Arc and Xperia Play are unique, have some great specifications and consist of some great features.  The best part is that they are both based on 2.3 .

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

I have had the chance to play with both these devices and they are definitely worth the money, you can see a hands-on video and pictures of Xperia Arc and a hands-on video and pictures of Xperia Play along with reading the Xperia Arc and Xperia Play specifications. You will also find complete details of the phone at the official Sony Xperia Arc page and official Sony Xperia Play page.

Both these phones are priced at Rs. 32,000 in India, however, they are definitely worth the price considering the specifications they have and features they bring to the table. Now we know that you are excited about these devices and will be looking to buy one for yourself. However, we have some good news for all our Indian readers. Techie Buzz has collaborated with Sony Ericsson India to giveaway the Xperia Arc to one lucky person in India for free.

Yes, we are giving away a Xperia Arc to one lucky person thanks to Sony Ericsson India for answering some simple questions. The contest will run for a period of 7 days where we will ask you 3 questions and you have to answer them to win yourself a Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc worth Rs. 32,000.

So without further ado, here are the contest details (please read full contest details carefully at end of the post):

  1. We will ask you three questions on Friday, April 15, 2011; Sunday, April 17, 2011 and Tuesday, April 19, 2011.
  2. You will have to answer all the three simple questions to be a part of the contest.
  3. You will have to leave a comment on this post to confirm your participation.
  4. Tweet about this contest to your friends. Click here to tweet this to your Friends (tweet button also at top of this post).
  5. You may fulfill optional criteria to earn more goody points.

Xperia Arc Giveaway Questions

Question 1: Which two phones has Sony Ericsson launched in India last week? Name any two cool things about each of these new smartphones.

Please post your answer in the form embedded below. If you can’t access the form on the webpage, please go to this link.

Round 1 is now over, thanks for your responses. We will be putting up the second question for the Xperia Arc giveaway shortly. Stay Tuned.

The answer to the question was very simple. We won’t count it against you if you answered wrong though Winking smile.

Xperia arc and Xperia PLAY. Both are based on Android 2.3, Sony properties Exmor R and Mobile Bravia Engine, PLAY is first PlayStation certified phone; can also be related to other features such as camera resolution, gaming titles, ergonomics et al.

Question 2: What will you do with the all new Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc?

Please use the form below to answer the question. Click here if you can’t view the form. As a hint take a look at the video to see what someone did with the Xperia Arc.

Question Number 2 has now been closed. Please answer question 3 below.

Question 3: What’s bigger technology, entertainment, applications, or experience?

Don’t forget to answer the last question of the giveaway. We will announce one lucky winner for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc on Thursday, April 21, 2011. We will stop accepting responses for the third question on Wednesday, 20 April 2011 at 11:59PM IST. And yes, you can also tweet to your friends that you are waiting for the price announcement by using the tweet link. Tweet that you are waiting for the prize announcement. Click here to tweet this to your Friends.

Contest has now ended. The Sony Xperia Arc is a great technology device which provides great entertainment, applications and a wonderful experience. Well, we know you want it all, so hold your breath till tomorrow, because that is when we announce the winner!

Optional Bonus Love

Since Sony Ericsson India and Techie Buzz are giving away the Xperia Arc worth Rs. 32,000, you can show us some love by performing some additional tasks which will earn you some more goodie points Smile.

These tasks are optional, but you can always earn more brownie points for this.

Full Contest Rules and Details

  • Contest will start on April 15, 2011 and end on April 20, 2011. No entries will be accepted after that.
  • Contest is ONLY open to residents of India. The phone will only be shipped to an address in India.
  • Contestants will have to complete all three questions in order to be eligible to be considered to win a Xperia Arc.
  • Only one entry per person will be accepted.
  • In addition to completing the three questions users will have to leave a comment on this post to confirm their participation. Please use the same name and email you use to answer the questions for the comments too.
  • Winners will be notified on a post on Techie Buzz and through an email from us.
  • We will confirm the shipping dates and other details once the winner has been chosen.

Good luck to everyone, have great fun and hope you enjoy taking part in the contest.

P.S. In past competitions, we have seen some comments go into spam. If your comment does not show up within a few hours, please send us a note using our contact form and we will dig it out from there.

Ultimate List Of Firefox 4 Tips; Tricks And Hacks You Should Learn Right Now

is definitely one of the best versions of Firefox I have seen over the last couple of years. Firefox is one of the browsers I use since it was launched, but there were a few features and annoyances which needed to be fixed. Some of these were high memory hogging, no easy sync of bookmarks, passwords or browser preferences, no feel of a modern browser, unnecessary UI clutter and so on.

Firefox 4 Tips and Tricks

Thankfully, the Mozilla team has learned that this is the age of cloud computing and have introduced some rich features in Firefox 4. This includes Firefox Sync, Site tagging, Instant search, smart folders, tab groups and more.

Last time we tipped you with a comprehensive list of Internet Explorer 9 tips and tricks. Now here is another featuring Firefox 4 tips, tricks, hacks and more which will help you get a better and flawless Firefox experience.

Download, Installation And Getting Started With Firefox 4

Download Firefox 4

If you haven’t tried the newer Firefox 4 yet, we suggest you download Firefox 4 final version or try the RC download here (our review of Firefox 4). Yesterday, along with the final version of Firefox 4, Mozilla also released the RC version of Firefox for Android and Maemo on the Android Market.

Prerequisites For Installing Firefox 4

It’s always a good idea to first check your system requirements and the prerequisites of a software program before installing it on your operating system. This system requirements page at Mozilla details all the software and hardware requirements required for Firefox 4 to run on Windows, Mac or Linux.

Firefox 4 Installation Guide And Screenshot Tour

If you’re no geek and need step by step instructions for installing Firefox 4 on your computer, the screenshot tour by Howtogeek should be a good start.

Ultimate List Of Tips And Tricks For Internet Explorer 9

Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft’s latest browser which was launched on 14th March 2011 has quite a few improvements when compared to it’s previous versions. IE9 has a sleek new interface which is less cluttered and provides rich browsing experience.

IE9 Ultimate List of Tips and Tricks

There are no intrusive toolbars, unnecessary navigation buttons and other eye tiringbuttons or graphical elements. Moreover, Internet Explorer 9 is way faster, has improved performance standards and hardware acceleration support. And yes, Internet Explorer 9 is the latest version of the browser that’s supports HTML5 technology.

We tipped you with a list of tips and tricks for Internet Explorer 8, now here is another comprehensive list of tips and tricks for Internet Explorer 9 which is worth bookmarking. Don’t forget to visit our section to find more such useful and comprehensive lists for different software and browsers.

Note: This list will be regularly updated as we come across new posts.

Download, Installation And Getting Started With IE9

Download Internet Explorer 9

If you haven’t tried the newer Internet Explorer 9 yet, we suggest you download Internet Explorer 9 final version or try the RC download here. There are separate download links for Windows7, Windows Vista and Windows Server, so make sure you download the right setup installer.

You might also want to check out IE9’s brand new website at beautyoftheweb.com

ie9-download

Prerequisites For Installing Internet Explorer 9

When you install Internet Explorer 9, additional prerequisite software and components are also installed. The prerequisites vary, depending on the operating system you use.

Microsoft has put together a support and FAQ page for installation compatibility fixes for Internet Explorer 9, so if you’re having problems installing IE9 on your computer, head over to this support page to learn more about the required software and components required for Internet Explorer 9 installation.

Building A Business Around Someone Else’s Could Mean Disaster

I have had some really big ideas to build around WordPress. I had wireframes ready for them, had all business plans ready and more. However, when I went to an investor to get funding for it, I came back empty handed. The reason was because though my ideas were not innovative, but no one willing to put much money into it because of the fact that it relied on someone else’s business.

Business

This rejection thought me a big lesson in life and there were several things I learnt from the Investors who rejected my idea. One of the most important lessons I learnt was to never build a business based on someone else’s business. There are quite a few problems. I’ll quote some reasons below:

  • You rely on someone else’s business for your own business. This is the cardinal sin of creating a business in the first place.
  • When the business in question builds something you have built, your business is potentially killed rendering all your hard work and marketing useless.
  • There will be competitors who will try to do better (remember first is not always best in startups) and take off and your business may collapse.
  • The business you are building around could just collapse rendering all your hard work useless.
  • The business you built around could change their terms of use rendering all your hard work useless.

Well, these are just some of the lessons I learnt from a brilliant idea which collapsed like a pack of cards. The idea would work, it would have worked great in the short term, but in the end it would collapse because of the fact that I don’t really have control over how things would work out considering all the above problems I listed out.

Also Read: Is Twitter a Reliable Service to Build Your Business Around?

Of course there are success stories which are built upon these businesses, for example on we all came across Farmville at some point of time. The game was created by Zynga, a company which relied solely on Facebook for it’s income before diversifying and becoming a billion dollar company today. There are more examples like these which will lure you into building around someone else, but there are also 100 times more failures.

Quite recently,  asked developers to stop developing new apps to display Tweets because they wanted to control how tweets are displayed and how information is delivered to their users. This new change has caused quite a lot of hue and cry among the developer community, and for valid reasons.

However, the storm will die and developers will stop developing apps for Twitter, but what about people who already put in years of efforts into developing those great clients? Does everything go to waste? Would the folks behind have to shut shop? Well, most likely the popular clients will survive, but the smaller clients would eventually wind up. In the end, Twitter can block your service like they did recently with UberTwitter and twidroyd and render your app/business useless.

Of course, this does not mean that you should not use Twitter or Facebook as part of your business. However, it is better to limit the amount of functionality they bring to your business. Building your business solely around Twitter or Facebook or for that matter any other service would be disastrous in the long run and is definitely best avoided.

I am not a businessman per se, but I have seen enough in the past 10-12 years to really understand that it is always better to build something and then integrate other services as part of it, rather than building a service around something.

I would be more than interested in knowing your thoughts about this and would love to learn your experiences on developing apps and your feelings about Twitter’s recent move. The comments form are all yours.

Image Credit: Contractor Business Profits

Life Without An Android Smartphone

Last July, I purchased my first ever Android phone the Galaxy S. Since then, I have shifted from one Android phone to another after every few months. My Android based smartphone had become a very integral part of my life. I need it for tweeting and checking mails on the move, trying out new apps etc.

I never thought how my life would be without my Android phone. Then one fine morning the microphone on my Desire Z stopped working. I had to give it to the service center for a replacement. HTC promised me that I will get a replacement phone within a week, but it was only after 15 days and tons of phone calls that I got a replacement phone.

image

Nevertheless, when I gave my Desire Z to the service center, I was totally devastated! I had no idea how I was going to spend the upcoming days without my beloved Android handset. Since I did not have any spare Android handset with me, I had to use a Nokia 6681 for the time being. I had all my contacts backed up to Google Contacts, and the 6681 had no option of syncing with it. The only option I was left was with, was to save some important numbers in the phonebook of the handset.

For the next week, what I went through without my beloved Zee phone was nothing short of torture. More than the phone’ itself, I was missing apps like Remote For iTunes, TweetDeck, My Tracks, Google Maps and RunKeeper which I use on a day-to-day basis. The thing I missed the most? Push email and calendar entries reminder!

image

The basic and the most important feature of a phone, the calling part, was something which I did not miss at all. The Nokia 6681 was as good as the Z in network reception and the call quality was above average as well. I do understand that the Nokia 6681 is a smartphone’ in its own right, and I could have simply pimped the phone to make my life a little less miserable.

However, after using phones with speedy 1 GHz processor and tons of RAM, the 6681 felt downright slow! I felt pity on the poor soul, and decided against pimping it for my needs.

All this just proves that with time we, the users, have started expecting much more from our smartphones, than just fulfilling our basic telephony and messaging needs. We need a small device in our hands that can help us find our way through unknown roads, let us know what our friends are having for breakfast, make our day-to-day life much better, and in the end help us to connect to our near and dear ones via phone calls and SMS’s.

Auto Expiring Emails Concept – A Big Step Towards Zero-Inbox

Last week I had about 5890 unread emails in my personal Inbox. I spent a couple of hours and managed to shave off about 2500 of those emails. In the week since then I got approximately around 1000 new emails more, and now my Inbox count stands at a grand 3649 emails.

inbox_count

Mind you, I don’t get lot of spam, but most of these unread emails in my Inbox are months old and in most of the instances have been sent to me more than a year ago. Now you would say that I am a lazy boy, but I am not. I use several devices to read my email and some of them support POP and some support IMAP. While most of the emails I read these days are through IMAP (which is synced with the server), my read emails are also marked as read in .

But what about those emails which are lying around unread for months and years. Some of them may not even be useful to me anymore. Some of them may just be marketing emails which have already expired. So aren’t those emails useless, shouldn’t they just go away?

Well they don’t do it right now, but a new proposal by Joshua Baer, CEO of the e-mail company OtherInBox makes a lot of sense to me. He is pitching for a standard which will allow emails to auto-expire on it’s own without the user having to delete it.

Well, before you raise your eyebrows, let me explain this feature in a little more detail with some examples from Joshua himself. Let’s say a shopping newsletter you have subscribed to sends you an email with offers that are valid from February 26, 2011 – February 28, 2011 – Now you as a user forgot to check that email and those emails remain in your Inbox forever without any use. The offers have expired and you definitely will not be able to get those no matter whether or not you check it later than those dates. So wouldn’t it be good if those emails just disappeared from your Inbox altogether?

Well this is just a use-case example where emails would know till when they are relevant and then automatically delete itself? Yes it would, and it would be more than useful to so many users.

However, implementing this would not be easy. First of all it would have to become a standard which is implemented by all the current email providers for it to make a significant impact. Secondly, there might be a lot of problems which will be associated with features like these. Let me elaborate about them in brief:

  • It would be a severe overhead for email providers to expire emails, they would basically have to run checks every minute on all of your Inbox to find out when emails expire. Unless the Email standards are changed to incorporate a new database structure to quickly query all the existing emails this will not be implemented across the board. This may require modifications to the POP, IMAP, Exchange and other custom protocols in use today.
  • Email providers just can’t delete emails without user consent. If they start doing this they would be in a lot of trouble.
  • You will get lot of spam/hate emails which expire in 15 minutes or so, and if these emails are deleted without consent it could cause a lot of trouble.

Well, these are the few things that pop up in my mind right now, but I do believe that there would be several other things which could cause problems once this is implemented.

However, I also do have some suggestions on how this could be used with user consent and also on just specific emails. Here are my thoughts:

  • Extend the filtering feature in emails to provide an option to expire emails from certain email addresses or “keywords” after a while. This could be done outright or when the email contains the proposed expire headers
  • Add small UI changes to show when an email is expiring so that people can act on them.
  • Allow users to browse expiring emails through an internal folder which populates such kind of emails.

Some of these features are very easy to implement and won’t take much time. I am really looking forward to the expiring emails feature becoming a reality and will be more than happy to test it out.

Do you think that such a feature would increase your productivity? Do you have any other great ideas that could change the way we use emails? Do feel free to let me know your thoughts.

Why We Need HTML5 Apps To Shut The F UP Out of Fanboys

Well, unlike the title, I am really serious about this. There is a big problem amongst people who use devices and then use apps on it and it is more than apparent today with tech evangelists like Robert Scoble saying that apps are the only way into a system.

Being a software developer and now so called app developer (which I hate as a label) I can tell you that you are wrong about it and so is Scoble because you people don’t understand the fact that developing a single app for 3 different platforms require 3 different developers and more investments. This means that if you can develop an app for the , you will have to spend more to develop it for and Windows Phone 7.

In my entire development career of more than 12 years I have developed software and apps which have worked on every platform because of 2 reasons. I used Java and I used web technologies like PHP to develop my apps, both these apps will run anywhere without a user having to do anything (unless their systems don’t have Java).

Coming back to today, I dreaded the day when my boss asked me to develop an app for the iPhone and Android. Why? Because both these systems are not the same and though Objective-C is the best way to develop apps for Apple related devices, it is not one of my favorite languages structurally and syntactically.

So what do I do? Bail out? No, I convinced my boss to switch to . Why? Because we can reuse the same code on an iOS, or an Android device, or a device or a HP Palm or a RIM device or for any other device for that matter. Period. End of discussion.

I don’t know what Robert or the rest of the world thinks, but creating an app is not easy, and creating that for multiple OS is not easy at all. There are thousands of app developers who want to develop apps for multiple systems but the simple reason is that they can’t do it, don’t know it or can’t afford to invest in developing the apps because they need to HIRE specific developers to do the job. The big shots will do it, but not these smaller developers who have put their everything into learning a particular language or platform.

I know you would say, WTF, why not have a developer that does it all. I would say, hell yea, try hiring a developer that does it all and try getting one of your products right.

The way to go ahead is to use HTML5 to develop apps that can run everywhere. As a developer, who follows Object Oriented Coding, I find it difficult to rewrite the same code to work on different platforms. Of course you might call me stupid and ask me to use Web Services and SOAP. Don’t you think that I already did it?

5 Tablets To Look Forward To In 2011

While 2010 was supposed to be the year of tablets, it did not turn out to be. The only two noteworthy tablets that launched in 2010 were the iPad and the . iPad went on to become a runoff success for Apple, just like the iPhone.

However, 2011 will see a lot more new tablets coming into the market and the iPad will definitely have more competition. So which are the tablets that you can look forward to in 2011? Here is a list of top 5 tablets which you can buy in 2011.

Apple iPad 2

Well, iPad was a run-off success; however, it did lack quite a few features including a camera. In 2011 (most likely in April), Apple will announce the . It is rumored to do away with the home button and replace everything with multi-touch gestures, similar to what you would see on a Mac.

Apple_Logo

iPad 2 is also rumored to have a camera which can be used to record videos and video chat using Facetime. Rumors also suggest that the next generation of iPad will feature a Retina Display’. Users should also expect the iPad 2 to sport a dual-core processor which should be easily able to play back 1080p videos.

What users should not expect the iPad 2 to feature is the support for Adobe Flash. The iPad 2 will be running on a new iOS version which might include some basic photo and video editing capabilities as well. Expect Apple to set the bar so high with the iPad 2 that rest of the manufacturers will be playing the catch-up game for the rest of the year.

Enhance Your Facebook Experience In Google Chrome

By now you might have already known that is my favorite browser and I use it day in an day out on my Dell XPS as well as on the dedicated CR-48 netbook Google sent me.

Facebook

I am also a very keen social networking user and use both and extensively. However, there are few things which could be done better with both of these services. Alas, it depends on Facebook or Twitter developers to make those changes, and many things I want in them wouldn’t be considered.

However, there are several out there which can easily enhance your experience with Facebook. In this post, I will try and list out the extensions I use on Facebook to enhance my experience with it. If you are looking for a desktop tool, don’t forget to check out the most Awesome desktop app for Facebook.

Beautify Facebook

Facebook Profile Beautifier

Tired of being forced on how you can view your profile without having the options to change colors or move widgets around? The Beautify Facebook extension will come in handy then.

The Beautify Facebook extension allows you to change the background for Facebook, apply transparency to content and more. It also allows you to tweak Facebook by allowing you to hide requests, Advertisements and more.

It also provides you with handy shortcuts for accessing frequently used pages. For example, you can use the Shift + h shortcut key to quickly go to the Facebook homepage from any other page, or Shift + p to go to your profile or Shift + i to to your inbox and so on. Overall, this extension is definitely worth trying out.

You will find the Options to edit the settings for Beautify Facebook extension when you visit Facebook.com.

Download Beautify Facebook CR Edit. If you want to try out other options check out Facebook Stylist and Facebook Themed extensions.

10 Petabytes Data Tower Higher Than Burj Khalifa; Dwarfs Empire State

For those in the unknown, Burj Khalifa is the the tallest structure every created in the world. It’s height according to recorded stats is 828 meters or 2,717 ft. The next highest man-made tower is the Taipei 101 which stands at 1,671 feet. So can anyone beat the Burj Khalifa as the tallest structure in the world?

Tallest Tower in The World

Yes, but that is if you stack hard drives which account for 10 Petabytes of data. As you can see from the above illustration, which was created by the folks at Backblaze; who provide online backups/cloud storage to customer; after they reached 10 petabytes of backup data. They also stated that the amount of backup data they have is bigger than the internet archive.

So we finally have something to rival the man-made structure with man-made data. What do you think? Can you imagine that someone would create a tower bigger than 10 petabytes now?

Also it would be great to know how much data storage you have online and offline. Make sure to tell me about it through your comments.

(h/t @arpitnext)

Hey Google, Can We Have Some Meaningful Results? Please

You don’t use Google because it’s “Google”. You use “Google” because it offers relevant and meaningful results.

AdSense Scraper Sites Joke

Image credit

Back in the year 2000 – web search was largely dominated by short web queries and the results were very “generalized”, users had to click through multiple links until they were able to find the exact webpage they were looking for. The search volume was fairly low, hence the requirement for a polished algorithm was not laid forward.

Also Read: Hey Google, Here is How You Can Make Google News Spam Free

Then came Google and web search took a significant turn in it’s “relevancy”, “exactness” and “value”. Google changed the way   folks used to find content, people started writing blogs, created information and Google organized all the information in their “index”.

The sad part – Newton’s third law of motion holds true universally.

The reaction: Google’s way of ranking webpages was huge, so big that it gave birth to a giant search marketing industry. The welcome mat for SEO Firms was laid out, which consequently gave birth to content farms, aggregators and scraped websites. Their entire goal of producing content is from the outside in – find the phrases which are profitable, judge the competition, gain a good amount of links and make your way to the SERP’s.

In recent times, there has been much speculation on the way Google search is populated with content aggregators and scraped websites. TechCrunch, Venture Beat and other tech blogs have put down their observations earlier.

It’s not that only we are saying this. Jeff Atwood from Coding Horror recently nailed down their observations

In 2010, our mailboxes suddenly started overflowing with complaints from users complaints that they were doing perfectly reasonable Google searches, and ending up on scraper sites that mirrored Stack Overflow content with added advertisements. Even worse, in some cases, the original Stack Overflow question was nowhere to be found in the search results!

Why Do Content Aggregators Beat The Source In Search Results ?

Let’s take a look on the factors that influence the ranking of a webpage in search results.

Google says that there are more than 200 signals but practice shows that the most important factors which determine whether you page is going to rank well or not are:

1. The quality of the content
2. Number and authority of the links to your content.
3. The Title Of the page.

Let’s say you wrote an informative article on “iPhone cases” and published it on your blog. Since “iPhone cases” is a profitable phrase, this will alert the content aggregators, link farms and scraper sites running AdSense ads. These guys have set up Google Alerts and other ways to get instant notifications whenever a phrase they are targeting, gets found by Google.

They come to your blog, copy an excerpt from your article, publish a new post on their “Aggregation channels” with a link back to your post.

You think it’s cool? ” “Hey Mike, I just got a backlink from xyz.com they have 60,000 RSS readers. I am famous !”

Yes, a lot of people will read your thought but not on your blog. The majority will read it on the “Aggregation channel”.

The Result

Since a large portion of the blogosphere is paying attention to that Aggregation channel, who do you think is going to attract more links?

Social Media Influence Aggregators

As soon as the scraped post hits an “Aggregation channel”, a huge number of blogs will start linking to them (not you). They have an enormous amount of social media subscribers, Twitter followers, newsletter readers and getting 6 dozen backlinks to their own article is child’s play.

Yes, you have written that 900 word article but that doesn’t qualify your post to be linked from other sites. Social media influences search rankings and these content aggregators use huge social media influence to dominate SERP’s.

Conrad Sam from Search Engine Land performed an internal study on profitable keywords, in order to find out which search engine (Google or Bing) returns relevant results. The SEL team followed this convention:

  • 5 points were awarded for a good quality result ranking first, 3 for second and 1 for third.
  • 2 bonus points were added for top 3 results being on a highly authoritative site.
  • 5 points were subtracted if the entire first page didn’t contain any good results.

Search Engine Ranking Authority
It’s no wonder that Google is losing it’s ground on relevancy and exactness. Richard MacManus from Read Write Web puts an interesting comment on why blogs and search engines need to embrace a “change”

I can only hope that Google and other search engines find better ways to surface quality content, for its own sake as well as ours. Because right now Google is being infiltrated on a vast scale by content farms.

That pretty much sums it up. Google has been promoting leechers more than the actual publishers and we ourselves have been victim of this problem. You can read more about it on this post.

What is your opinion of the quality of search results in Google? Are you happy with them? Do you think that they need to improve? Are you a victim of RSS scrapers? Don’t forget to tell me your thoughts through your comments.

Why Is Opera Not Popular?

Lets get this straight. Even though I find browser quite  feature rich when I compare it to other browsers, it is not one of the most popular browser as you know it. As a matter of fact it only has 2% of browser market share. I have been closely following topics related to Opera on Quora (my new love! but more on that later) and found few interesting topics about Opera!

Opera Logo

But let’s discuss Why is Opera not popular?

Xudong Yang, a Web Developer, has jotted down exactly my thoughts in a blog post. To Quote him:

Poor advertisement: IE is the default on Windows, Safari the default on Mac, Firefox/Chromium the default on several Linux distributions. Moreover, we see IE9 ads, Chrome ads, and (rarer these days) Firefox with Google Toolbar ads. I’ve practically never seen Opera ads. Whether this is due to poor finance or bad marketing strategy I’ve no idea, but Opera sure could be much better off if it were in the first place more widely known.

I won’t quote his entire blog post as I’m only interested to concentrate on the advertisement part. But I really suggest you read his blog post. He makes a lot of good points.

Recently, I had a once in lifetime opportunity to meet the founder of Opera; Jon Von Tetzchner, during his Mumbai Meetup. I had always wanted to ask Opera why they did not spend money on advertising and what’s better than asking the man himself. So I did.

Jon Von Tetzchner explained that for spending money, Opera needed money, which they didn’t have. And that word of mouth publicity has worked for them. Bullshit I say. Opera recently announced that Opera had reached a new milestone of 150 million users and here’s the breakdown of it.

For the uninitiated, Opera, for the major part, earns from the search bar on the browser when you make a search query. Assuming 75% of Opera Desktop users use the search bar  at least once a day it’s freaking 37,500,000 searches a day. Now we know that users do not search that freely on their mobile device than they do on desktop. So let’s consider 25% of Opera Mobile and mini users use the search bar daily. That’s again 25,000,000. That makes it a total of 62,500,000 searches EACH DAY! So, don’t tell me you don’t make money!

And if you remember, Mozilla’s Firefox initially rose to popularity because Google promoted it. It has come to the point that Firefox has actually overtaken Internet Explorer as Europe’s dominant browser.  As much as I like Opera browser it really hurts to see the other below standard browsers winning more market share. Opera really needs to do more than Potato videos when it comes to marketing and be more visible to internet users.

Interview: Level Up’s CEO on the Viability of Paid Apps in the Android Market and More

Yesterday, Peter Vesterbacka from Rovio Mobile created a flutter with his remark that "paid content just doesn’t work on Android". Rovio Mobile is the highly acclaimed developer of Angry Birds, which has literally taken the world by storm. However, his comments didn’t sit well with many fans, who have been pointing out that Rovio didn’t even try the premium app route before opting for the ad-supported freeware option.

LevelUp Studio Logo

We reached out to Ludovic Vialle, CEO of LevelUp Studio. LevelUp Studio is one of the very few high quality publishers who have opted to limit themselves to Android. Beautiful Widgets has been consistently topping the Android Market charts (for paid apps), while Plume (previously Touiteur) has won the adoration of many a Twitter user. Having tried both the premium and the freemium business model, Vialle is uniquely qualified to comment on the state of the Android ecosystem.

Ludovic VialleMe: Why Android? Most publishers believe that the real money is in iOS. LevelUp Studio is amongst the very few publishers who have opted for an Android only strategy. What prompted this?

LV: Android was really new when I started to work on it, paid applications were just added to the Market, and I just had a feeling that being the first on a new platform could be a big opportunity. Before that I was an early iPhone user, but I started to dislike Apple’s methods of having everything closed in their eco-system. I was attracted by the different approach from Google with Android.

Me: How big an issue is fragmentation for Android developers? Moving forward, do you see fragmentation getting worse or getting better?

LV: Fragmentation has never been a problem, you just need to think and develop a little more in some rare cases, but otherwise Google did an incredible job to make it possible for everything to work without really paying attention to fragmentation.

Me: In an interview, Peter Vesterbacka from Rovio Mobile (developer of Angry Birds) claimed that Nobody has been successful selling content on Android. I suppose that as a company with multiple paid apps LevelUp Studio will have something to say about that. Vesterbacka also remarked that Paid content just doesn’t work on Android. What is your perspective on paid apps for Android?

LV: I can say that paid applications can be successful, I cannot really compare with iOS because we do not have equivalents applications on the platform. Beautiful Widgets has been the #1 paid application on the market for almost a year (with the exception of a new application occasionally borrowing the first place for a few days), and it certainly helps. Also people do like customizing their devices, and Android is the king of customization. You can make a lot of money from Android, quality and continued support/development is the key.
LevelUp Studio started as a hobby, and now we are an independent software producer, with three employees (two developers + my wife who assists me mid-time in paperwork) and myself. We will probably expand in the future, very soon, at this rate.

Me: Recently you made the full version of Plume (previously Touiteur), supported by advertisements, available for free in the market. What prompted this change? Based on initial results how has this affected the bottom-line?

LV: Previously we were using a Freemiumconcept, a free applications and a Premium version with more features, but to be honest, the revenues were not the same as Beautiful Widgets, very far from it, and developing Plume (Touiteur) was costing more money that it would provide.
So we decided to test advertisements and see how it works, we paid attention not to disturb the users, that was our priority, so we went with 140Proof, which is an incredible partner. In the end, the advertisements are not invasive, and they are providing really interesting content (not ringtones or antivirus advertisements that we are used to seeing). On the other hand, free users with advertisements now benefit from all of the premium features, and premium users don’t get advertisements.
I do not have the numbers yet, but I am confident that it will cover our costs at the very least.

Me: The general perception is that ad-supported free apps work better than paid apps in the Android market. What does your experience suggest?

LV: Unfortunately we do not have enough experience on this yet, but if properly implemented, it can certainly be an interesting model, but not necessarily for everyone. I have feedback from some Android developers who are saying that advertisements are not working at all, and they are going to leave that model. I tend to think that a paid only model with a good application/game could be interesting too (with no lite version).

Me: Both as a developer and a user of Android, what is your take on the recently introduced 15 minute refund window?

LV: As a user and developer: it is too short, sometimes we do not even have the time to understand how an application works within the stipulated time. People are not able to really test and quickly take the decision to refund before the end of the refund window. I think that one or two hours could work, but I understand that it might not be a good solution for game developers. Maybe this could be a developer setting?

Me: What is the one big limitation of the Android Market that you believe is hurting developers?

LV: The lack of a desktop version. I know this is coming, and hope that it will help people to choose applications. Also the limited payment methods (credit card only) .

Me: What is the one thing about Android that you love the most?

LV: Customizations, you can make your phone your own phone. I can even make my phone remain silent when I sleep, automatically! So many possibilities!

Me: Finally, what are you guys currently working on? What can we expect from LevelUp Studio in 2011?

LV: We are working on improving Beautiful Widgets (with some big updates coming soon) and Plume because there is always room for improvement. We will probably be starting a new project in 2011, but we will see how we perform at that moment and if we can afford to do it!

Top 10 Phones Of 2010

The year 2010 was all about phones with 1GHz processor, huge screens, AMOLED displays and loads of internal storage and RAM. Every known hardware manufacturer released a new handset after every 3-4 months. However, only a few of them were good enough to stand out from the crowd.

Also Read: Top 10 Android Phone in the Market

There were some phones which gave Apple’s based a run for it’s money. Microsoft also entered the foray in late 2010 with their Windows Phone 7 platform which introduced some new phones. Even Nokia came up with a good phone using the platform. So which are the top 10 phones than made a mark in 2010? Here is a list of them in my opinion.

10 – LG Optimus One

Phones are not only about high-end hardware and Super-AMOLED screen/Retina Display. Not everyone in this world is rich enough to buy a high-end Android/WP7 handset or an iPhone. While most manufacturers do launch low-end to mid-range Android based handset, they sport either a very low amount of RAM, a weak processor, or an odd resolution (Samsung Galaxy 3). The LG Optimus One is a mid-range handset, but it packs quite a punch. The handset has a 3.2-inch HVGA display and packs 512MB of RAM. The handset is powered by a 600 MHz processor, ensuring that the phone chugs along nicely.

LG Optimus One

While most high-end handsets, including the Samsung Galaxy S series, are still waiting for their Android 2.2 update, the Optimus One runs on Android 2.2 right out of the box. LG has even confirmed that the handset will get the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update. No wonder, the Optimus One is the most popular handset to ever come out from LG’s stable.

9 – Samsung Focus

Samsung Focus

The problem with all Windows Phone 7 based handsets is that they are all too similar, both in hardware and in interface. The only phone which stands out from the WP7 handset crowd is the Samsung Focus. The Samsung Focus uses the awesome 4-inch Super-AMOLED screen found on the Galaxy S line-up of handsets. The Focus is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and has 512MB of RAM as well as ROM along with 8GB of internal storage. The back of the handset sports a 5MP snapper with AF (Auto-Focus) and an LED flash.

The Focus runs on WP7 and is carrier locked to AT&T. The only downside of the phone is the very low internal storage space (8GB). The Focus is the lone WP7 running handset in our Top 10 phones of 2010 and barely makes it to our list at number 9.

8 – Samsung Wave

The Samsung Wave retails for around $370 on Amazon, and that’s what makes it killer. At such a low price, the phone offers top-notch build quality and hardware. The Wave uses the same CPU that powers the Samsung Galaxy S series the 1 GHz Hummingbird processor from Samsung. The phone also packs a brilliant Super-AMOLED display, albeit a small one, at only 3.3-inches.   The Wave was the first handset from Samsung to run its brand new OS Bada.

Samsung Wave

The phone also sports Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 and a decent 5MP camera with Flash. The Wave is still the best handset for users who hardly care about apps and games for their phone.

The stellar hardware and the killer price help the Samsung Wave to make it at number 8 on our Top 10 phones for 2010.

Apple iPad Giveaway – Techie Buzz Christmas Love

Update: Sorry folks but the contest is now over. We appreciate all the entries we got and thank everyone for participating. It will be a tough time for us to pick a winner. We will use a randomizer to pick one person as the winner, it will be announced between 26-27 December, 2010. Commenting is now closed on this post.

Update 2: The winner of the Apple iPad Giveaway has been declared, take a look at the winner announcement.

Hi everyone, as promised we are here with our first Christmas giveaway an Apple . The iPad is currently one of the hottest selling internet tablets and it was also one of our fan favorites for the giveaway.

Apple iPad

In the spirit of Christmas, we want to make our readers happy and one of them will be a lucky winner who will take home the Apple iPad. This is the 1st of our two giveaways. We will also be a few more things to our readers on December 27th, so you have one more big giveaway to look forward to.

We will be giving away a 16GB Wi-Fi version of Apple iPad. If you are looking forward to winning an Apple iPad, here is what you have to do. Some of these options are compulsory so please read carefully.

Example Tweet Message: Yippee @techiebuzzer is giving away an iPad, go get one for yourself http://goo.gl/6m7YD #techiegives

  • Share or like this page on Facebook
  • Leave a comment with your tweet or share link here and tell us why you want to win the iPad.

That’s it. That’s not much efforts right? Well, then go ahead and give it a shot, we’ll pick one winner to receive an iPad shortly. Please read the official rules and regulations below.

Rules and Regulations

  1. Contest is open to everyone 13 years or older
  2. In order to participate, users will have to tweet this link on or share it on and then leave a comment on this post. If users do not leave a comment, we will not accept it as an entry to the competition. Contest participants must complete all the required steps in order to be eligible for the contest
  3. Contest will end on December 25, 2010 at 12 PM 11:59 PM EST. We will pick one entry from the received entries and announce the winner on December 26, 2010
  4. If the Apple iPad does not ship to your country, we will offer an appropriate alternative which is available in your country. In this case, the winner may also choose to have the iPad shipped to them. However, the shipping costs will have to be borne by the winner.

Best of luck.

P.S. In past competitions, we have seen some comments go into spam. If your comment does not show up within a few hours, please send us a note using our contact form and we will dig it out from there.

Note: This contest is not endorsed or sponsored by Apple.