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Phandroid, now on weekends too!


We’ve got a tradition in India where a newbie has to give an “intro” to his peers and colleagues at a new school or workplace, and answer any question as truthfully as possible. And since I’ve just joined the Phandroid team as a weekend blogger, I thought it’s only fair that I bring it here.

So, here I go. I’m a Computer Science undergrad student in India and spend quite a bit of my time developing Android apps and websites (though my primary interest is in UI design).

 Phone: T-Mobile myTouch 4G running CM7

Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Favorite Apps:

  1. Pulse Reader: A must for anyone who reads a ton of blogs. I love the UI, and the effort that they’re putting into Pulse Me such as synchronizing sources across devices and the desktop browser extension makes it stand out.
  2. Any.Do: I don’t make many to-do lists, so I can’t be certain that this is the best option for a power-user. What made me chose this is an excellent UI  and a good widget. Plus the fact it was Android-first.
  3. AirDroid: This app is always on in the background when I’m working on my PC, primarily for sending and receiving texts from my browser and for transferring files to my phone.

Favorite Games:

  1. Great Little War Game: An extremely addictive strategy game. The only blemish is how much battery it seems to consume.
  2. Homerun Battle HD: I really enjoy the online gameplay, though I don’t spend too much time on it. Add “rb6teen” to your rivals list if you’d like to take me on.

The Geekiest Moment of my life:

When I bumped into Matias Duarte, Android’s Director of User Experience, at a TechCrunch party during my trip to the Bay Area last July.

As for you’re questions, just put them below in the comments, and I’ll try to reply to each over the weekend. You can also follow me on Google+ here.

Raveesh Bhalla
Multifaceted too the highest degree: I'm the co-founder of Apps Culture (an app development studio), an amateur golfer, former sport-blogger, now a tech blogger. And all this, while pursuing an undergrad degree in Computer Science in India.

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  1. Welcome, Raveesh. Hope to read your articles soon!

  2. Welcome dude

  3. Ahhh finally

  4. Welcome aboard. I’m not going to miss the Monday morning things-I-already-read-on-Droid-Life-and-Engadget roundup.

  5. Glad to have a weekend blogger so maybe we won’t miss the next Touchpad Sunday deal

  6. welcome.  how does living in India affect your Android software and services options vis a vis those of us living in the US?  for instance – i hear that Pandora and other services are not officially available.  what are the biggest challenges you’ve run into and how do you overcome them? and are there any advantages to living in India from a technology perspective? are the carriers better? cheaper? thanks.

    1. Thanks, John. I’m gonna break down your question bit by bit to make it easier.

      We barely have any options for streaming content as compared to the US: no Netflix, no Hulu, no Pandora. Pretty much nothing. The only apps I use that stream content is Stitcher Radio and 8track. I haven’t really looked at work-arounds such as VPNs because (a) I’m lazy (b) the internet services provided here just aren’t good enough to use them.

      From a technology perspective, there is next to zero advantage. Carriers charge a ton of money for awful service (I’m on Vodafone, one of the larger carriers here, and their 3G network is such a sham that I don’t even have a data connection). There’s no real unlimited broadband service, with nearly all providers implementing a Fair Usage Policy. My home connection provides 75GB of 2Mbps internet for $40 a month, and once I cross the limited the speed is brought down to 256Kbps.

      As a developer, I’ve learnt that I simply can’t focus on the Indian market to have make a decent living. The apps have to gain serious traction abroad. Why? Because people over here barely pay for apps, which is understandable because $1 here is a significant portion of a majority of people’s monthly expenses. Additional, the click-through-rates for advertisements are dirt-cheap. So, unless you have a huge audience, your India-centric app won’t make you much money.

      You don’t really overcome them: you learn to live with these issues. But, having said all this, there are positives for the future. Our economy is growing really fast, and the middle-class is said to be rapidly increasing in size. People are finally opening up to more internet cash transactions, so hopefully that translates to app-purchases, too, and also an increased value of an Indian user to advertisers. We also have a HUGE mobile userbase, and people are understanding the advantages of smartphones.

      And at the center of this smartphone boom over here is Android. People love Google here, and the steep price of the iPhone (because there aren’t any carrier subsidies) means the only competitors are Symbian (Nokia is big here, though falling very, very fast) and Windows Phone, which is just finding its feet right now.

  7. Bout time there’s a weekend blog!

  8. Welcome! I’ll be looking forward to your posts, especially since you’re a dev, and may have a  different perspective on things.

  9. Finally the weekend isn’t ignored!

  10. Finally “im gonna need you to come in on saturday” /officespace wont be as bad anymore.

  11. Finally

  12. Nice.

  13. Finally, got tired of waiting til Monday to hear some new info

  14. This site Is really starting to grow:)

  15. From what I’ve seen so far I already like your style!

  16. Sweeeeeeet, i can get my fix on the weekends too :D

  17. I’ve been waiting for this forever! Welcome to Phandroid!

  18. Welcome!  Glad to see Phandroid has a weekend man now!

  19. Welcome to Phandroid dude!  I work a lot of weekends so your articles are very much welcome!

  20. Yay! Thank you!! I love check on Phandroid apps everydays!!! I love Phandroid!!

  21. A mytouch…… phandroid why!!!

    1. I know! So what happened was that my sis was visiting me in early Dec ’10 from the US, and I was really hoping I’d get the Nexus S. Unfortunately, despite knowing it existed (with Eric Schmidt showing it off at the Web 2.0 conference), it just didn’t release in time and the myTouch 4G was the best phone at the time (purely from a hardware perspective).

      1. I have a Nexus S and I can’t see where the mytouch would be inferior.

        1. Simply a pure Android experience, and the fact that the Nexus S is already on ICS. The myTouch doesn’t have as large a developer community behind it, and hence the only ICS ROMs I could find are in beta stage lacking functionality such as camera or unstable wifi.

  22. Welcome, Raveesh! How long have you been using android based devices?

    1. The myTouch 4G was my first Android-device, got it in December 2010, so that makes it just 14 months. Although I think I’ve used my phone and my tab so much since then to make up for the lost time.

    2. It’s not a bad phone. What’s with all the mytouch hate?

  23. Welcome to Phandroid, Raveesh!  We’re glad to have you.  

  24. Somebody get him a amaze 4g or galaxy nexus

    1. Yes please, someone, get me the Nexus! Anyway, I’d be getting myself the Galaxy S3 in the summer when it releases. I’ve got an offer to join the Samsung dev team over here, and I just can’t wait to use the employee discount!

      1. :O A Phandroid mole at Samsung!!!

        1. So now you know who our “industry insider at Samsung” is going to be from the second half of this year! But sshhhh, I don’t want my soon-to-be-overlords to know about that.

  25. Hey Raveesh!

    Glad to hear I’ll be getting my fill of weekend Android news now too :)  I agree with what John suggests, it would be interesting to hear how the Android experience in India compares to Europe and the US (where I assume the majority of readers are located), especially given that India is a big emerging market for smartphone developers.

    1. The Android experience definitely is limited over here compared to the US, with the lack of streaming apps and also Google Voice, which I’ve heard so many people rave about. However, things are looking bright for the future as nearly every company knows that India is an important market, with a growing economy and a huge mobile userbase. But it is going to take a significant amount of time for us to catch up with the developed countries.

  26. Finally!!

  27. Welcome aboard.

  28. Welcome to phandroid! Looking forward to some news action on the weekends!

  29. have you ever killed anybody?!

    1. Depends on whether you want a job done.

  30. Yay finally something to do on weekends! 
    Thank you and welcome, Raveesh. =)

  31. Welcome, and thanks for something to read over the weekend.
    Is Android platform very common amongst developers in India? Are there any trends amongst consulting firms, who have offshore teams in India to target Android market?

    1. Android is by far the hottest platform over here, both in terms of user and developer interest. I helped set up a mobile developers’ group in my college recently, and we held a poll to see which platform developers were interested in targeting.

      Android brought in 15 votes, with iOS the distant second with 4. And considering we allowed devs to choose multiple platforms, all 4 who voted for iOS had also voted for Android. In fact, I think there were only two unique votes for any platform, with one for Blackberry and one for the Mobile Web (and PhoneGap).

      There are a ton of firms you can recruit to outsource your development work now, though I can’t vouch for their quality. The primary issue that I’ve seen is a lack of good designers here (something I’ve heard a lot of people in the tech industry here bemoan). But it is a growing field, and a lot of companies have their dev centers here focusing on Android. One such company is Samsung, which is recruiting heavily solely for mobile devs.

  32. Welcome Raveesh. And bless you for having our Great Little War Game as your most favourite. Please get in touch if you want to get the inside line on what’s next…

    1. Thanks for the welcome, Paul! I’ll be getting in touch with your team over the week, really excited to learn more about Great Big War Game.

  33. Welcome, Raveesh. I’m glad we have weekend news finally.

  34. Finally!!!

    This blog should of hired a weeken blogger a year ago.

  35. Welcome to the jungle,Raveesh.Definitely a much appreciated surprise to see new articles in PHANDROID NEWS this evening.
    I hope that you decide to stay for a long time to come,as I’m certain it will just be a matter of time before you are offered a full-time position with A/F.

    All here are sure to welcome a new/fresh perspective of the ANDROID community.
    Again,welcome & hope your stay is a long & enjoyable one.

    Whatever you’re paying this man is not enough,give him a raise already! :-)

    1. Thanks, Kolio. The weekend position is what I opted for since I’m still in college. But I definitely intend to stay on for quite some time, and who knows, maybe I’d take a more frequent gig once I graduate in the summer.

  36. Thank you Raveesh. We are all glad to have you on board.

  37. Great, Welcome aboard R.B.! Now I can be up to speed on the latest Android news everyday!!! Awesome! ;) love Phandroid & Android forums!!!

  38. Finally, I have something to look forward to on my weekends!

  39. I’m waiting for your Sunday blog.

  40. here’s my question… if I set up a task in and then tell it to remind me once a day, it does exactly that. BUT, if I finish that task, and mark it as done. It continues to remind me of that task, the one I finished, every day. I couldn’t figure out a way to make it shut up about that task I finished… so I uninstalled it. Let me know what I should have done differently

  41. Welcome to the team, Raveesh – very glad to have a weekend blogger!

  42. Welcome!!!!

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