I love my iPad just as much as the next guy. I love my iPad2 even more. This, in spite of the fact that I ordered it to my brother’s place in Mountain View (Googlepur) and had it FedEx’d here only to have FedEx ask for Rs.12,000 in cash to pay for the customs duty they had just cleared on my behalf. Pissed I was, no doubt. But what really rubbed salt in my wounds was that the iPad2 was launched in India three days later at a cost of Rs. 6,000 less (for the same version) than what I paid for mine including customs and courier. The price one pays for gadget greed, I guess.
BTW, in the two instances above where I use “Rs.” for ‘the-symbol-formerlyknown-as Rs’, it’s because our lawyer told me yesterday that you can’t use the font if you haven’t paid for the license. Bizarre! But I digress...
Coming back to the point, I love my iPad, iPhone, Macbook Pro and BlackBerry for the empowerment and efficiency they bring to my life. But these are obvious contenders for the “Best Pieces of Everyday Technology” awards. They’re superstars. I want to focus on the supporting cast, the unsung heroes.
Let’s start with my Bluetooth headset. It’s a Plantronics Voyager Pro Plus. Firstly, why do I use one? I’d say I’m pretty much in the 99th percentile of heavy phone usage, so if I didn’t use one, I’d either feel one-armed or have a serious neck problem. I’ve been through about five different types of headsets and they’ve all had audio clarity issues, either for me or for the person on the other end of the line. Then I discovered Plantronics. You must believe me when I say the clarity is better than a conversation between two people standing face to face. I’m on my fourth piece because I’ve lost one and snapped two. But it’s all worth it because it keeps my two hands free to type, scroll, hold, drive, etc. while I’m talking. In fact, I’ve even converted those around me. Prashanth from Jack in the Box and my Assistant, Divya, use it. And I’ve even got my eight-month pregnant wife, Tara (better not to have the mobile near the tummy apparently) and my Dad to be Plantronics users. Talk about a movement!
Next up is the Tata Photon Wi-Fi router. How cool is this thing? Thanks to it, I now have a wi-fi enabled car. And that, I assure you, is not a very normal thing to have anywhere in the world. I find it rather impressive that one can have one in India for a pretty reasonable price. I guess that would depend on the price of your car of course. I even carry one in my bag for domestic day trips. And every Bang Bang shoot that’s within an urban area has three of these routers spread across the set to keep the area wi-fi enabled. Thank you, Tata Indicom. While on the subject, I should add that wi-fi in my car meant more to me when I had the wi-fi only iPad. Now that I have the 3G iPad2, I use it with a Vodafone 3G connection. I’m not sure why there’s so much ranting against it on twitter. As far as I’m concerned it downloads like a cheetah on steroids.
A quick honourable mention must be made to recognize the value of a portable charge pack that allows me to refill the juice on my phones. It comes in especially handy for day trips to Delhi and Bangalore for PPMs, presentations or other meetings. Remember, I talk a lot. And neither the Bold 3 nor the iPhone 4 have the greatest batteries.
And finally…the star in the best supporting technology category, perhaps ready to be bumped up to the superstar category at some not-too-distant point in the future….yet another Tata initiative…. Tata Sky+ HD and its trusted companion (more on that ahead). Let me begin by setting the context here. I live in a building in Breach Candy that doesn’t allow you to put up a dish so we’ve had to bear with Hathaway until recently. I’ve been forced to feel like we’re back in nineties India. After longingly admiring the clarity on friends’ HD sets during World Cup matches, a few weeks ago, I found a way. It’s a boring story, so never mind how. Cut to us getting the Tata Sky+ HD at home. Granted there are less than ten HD channels available in India right now. But if you haven’t watched one already, it’s a sight to see. The clarity is so piercing that it’s disturbing. You almost feel like TV shouldn’t be that clear. But the real icing on the cake that I’ve been dying to get to and now we’re here…is the Tata Sky+ iPhone app. You can actually program your DVR from wherever you are. So let’s say the Cricket World Cup final is on and you happen to be in Brazil, Bali or Boston (all places that aren’t likely to show cricket on TV), all you have to do is reach for your phone to ensure the match is ready and waiting for you to watch when you get home.
I could carry on but I think the folks at Campaign are expecting me to mail this in…
Roopak can be followed at http://twitter.com/roopaksaluja