Last week Apple confirmed that it had begun manufacturing the iPhone SE in India, marking a key step in its plan to continue the iPhone's domination of the smartphone market.

India is currently vying with the US for the second largest smartphone market in the world, behind China. Unlike the Chinese or US markets however, India's is growing rapidly. And not just in volume, the average selling price of smartphones in India is growing too.

Apple is a small player in the Indian market but by beginning to build locally it opens the door to a much more favourable reception from the Indian Government. Especially when it comes to things like remanufacturing and selling iPhones coming from the rest of the world.

Its the scale of the Indian smartphone market which has really driven this move though. In a country with a population approaching that of China's one quarter the number of smartphones were sold last year. However, whilst the Chinese market has stalled, India's sees significant growth - up 15% year on year in the first quarter of 2017.

The SE is perhaps my favourite iPhone and a model which I think will play well in India. It's much better value than any other iPhone on the market today, without losing any of the premium cachet which will undoubtedly drive sales.

With the Chinese sales in full scale reverse, Apple sees India as an opportunity to boost its static iPhone sales performance in the run up to the release of its anniversary iPhone later this year. 

Expect iPhones to be coming out of Bengaluru in significant numbers over the next few months,

Microsoft might well be winning the battle to be exciting, but the flipside of the coin is that Google is incredibly bad at hardware and as a result is losing the 'exciting' race by miles. How bad, well just take a look at all the skeletons in Google's hardware closet... Glass, Nexus Player, Nexus 10, Pixel C and, very probably, the Pixel.

That's not to say the hardware itself is any worse than the competition, far from it. However Google just doesn't seem to be able to bring together the three legs of any product strategy - building a great product, marketing it well and then distributing it to customers.

For any given Google product, whether its good or bad, Google splits the world in two: the smaller portion is deemed worthy of receiving the latest Google toy, whilst the latter is left wanting. Nobody ever built a successful hardware business by excluding the majority of potential customers from that product.

Then, irony of ironies, when Google has delivered product and made it available to customers, it has done a particularly good job of telling people its out there. A company reliant upon advertising revenue being poor at marketing? Not a good look.

Right now I can think of one Google hardware product which has been an unqualified success, the Chromecast.

For the rest - some notable third-party Nexus products aside - Google has never managed to get the whole package right.

Whilst Microsoft is producing some breathtaking hardware and Apple is iterating its own hardware in small but creative ways, Google appears to be thrashing about blindly looking for something that will work with consumers. And in the end that seems to be part of the problem. In the same way that Google will throw up and tear down services to see if they work, it throws out hardware in the same way.

The difference being that consumers of Google services don't need to invest their hard-earned in getting onboard.


Microsoft is having a hardware event in Beijing tomorrow, where it is expected to reveal a lightly upgraded Surface Pro 4. It will be the most disappointing Microsoft event in years. Not because the product is bad or the upgrade is weak, but because it is an iterative upgrade of an existing product which doesn't move the game on significantly.

If Microsoft doesn't sneak in something which hasn't been previously leaked then the buzz around this event will be small. And that's become unusual for Microsoft as it has continued to deliver suprising new products which garner column inches in both the tech and non-tech press, has people talking about Microsoft more and more often and has raised the profile of the company significantly.

In fact if you review Microsoft's releases over the last few years - Surface 3, Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, Surface Studio, Hololens and Windows 10 in all its versions - you'll find that Microsoft has leapt over both Apple and Google to become the most exciting of the big technology companies. Each one of those products has had an increasing 'wow' factor.

So when the Surface Laptop arrived - and let's face it, other than being Microsoft's first traditional laptop it wasn't an earth shattering product announcement - the reception was hugely positive.

In the same time period Apple has only had one really successful and innovative product - AirPods - and a number of dull iterative updates or complete misses. The Mac Pro has flopped and Apple admitted it had made mistakes, the MacBook asks for an enormous trade off to gain its svelte chassis and the MacBook Pro received a rather hostile reception.

Google has wowed us with a lot of vaporware and the camera software in the Pixel smartphone, but has it really done anything really exciting? Yes there has been the arrival of Assistant and Home, neither of which move the game on, even if they are part of a long term strategy to do so. Android on Chromebooks has been poorly executed and will spend even more time in Beta.

Of course being exciting and getting lots of press doesn't actually drive any profits out of a business, so Microsoft needs to turn excitement in products into greater profitability. And let's face it, Microsoft isn't doing a bad job of that either.


Indycar doesn't have a great track record in recent years, with more driver's killed or seriously injured than most, if not all, other top level motor racing series. That's an inherent danger of cars going very, very quickly around an oval circuit in the company of lots of other cars.

Today's qualifying accident involving Sebastien Bourdais does demonstrate the incredible strides in safety Indycar has made over the years.

Bourdais accident was terrifying to watch for anyone who has been around motor sport for many years, specifically because of the way it so closely mirrors the accident of Gordon Smiley, thirty-five years ago.

In both cases an over correction of a tail slide sent the drivers into the Brickyard's outside retaining wall at unabated speed. For Smiley the mistake was fatal, the accident destroyed the unfortunate driver's body and was described at the time as being of the same severity of an aircraft accident. Smiley was obviously killed instantly.

Bourdais, benefited from the carbon fibre tubs of modern cars, the SAFER barrier which lines the outside of the circuit and, just as importantly, the HANS device and the protection it offers drivers from the violent head movements which used to snap necks and smash brains into skulls. 

Multiple fractures to the pelvis and hips and a year away from racing don't sound like getting off lightly but that is absolutely what this is. 

Bourdais won't be a competitor in this years Indy 500. That he will be around to watch is something to be thankful for.

Google has been promising to fix the major failing of Android for far too long. That's of course the completely haphazard way Android phones get updates.

Recently we've had promises of new commitments to delivering from OEMs around security updates. Google says it will deliver them on a monthly basis, premium OEMs promise to get them on to devices quickly.

So how are they doing? Well I have two devices from premium Android OEMs and their current state is illuminating. My Xperia XZ has Android Nougat 7.0, however it's security firmware update is dated November 2016. Seriously out of date.

My Galaxy Tab S2 tablet is even worse though. This is rocking Android 6 Marshmallow. It's security update is from June 2016. Almost a year out of date.

Now I'm not talking about version upgrades and fragmentation here, we're talking security updates released to reduce the risk of exploitation of known vulnerabilities on these devices. That's an incredibly shoddy state of affairs and clearly shows Google's failure to make progress in getting devices up to date.

As I mentioned last week, when we were all finding out just how easy it is to exploit out of date operating systems, Android is a potential big money earner for hackers who can exploit a weakness.

In fact, now that Android is the biggest platform on the global stage, I'd say its entirely likely that thise hackers will be making Android the main focus of future exploit development.

The Renault Kangoo may be the lest exciting car of all time, but the one you see above is possibly the most important car ever built. That's because its running on a special road which is charging it as it drives at speeds of up to 100kph.

The technology is Qualcomm's and the track is Vedecom's. Between them they have built a solution which can charge multiple vehicles, at speed, at a charge rate of up to 20 kw/h.

Part of a European Union project to investigate the feasibility of dynamic wireless charging (DEVC) this promises to deliver a killer blow for EVs. With no range anxiety and constantly recharged batteries, why would you ever consider something that burns fossil fuel?

It would be good to see this technology embedded in Formula E cars at some stage in the future - even built into a slightly longer track loop which challenges drivers to either top off their battery at the cost of a time penalty or try to eke out a charge with the benefit of the shorter run.

In any case this promises to bring pit stops without the 'stop' to road and race cars.

In the meantime Vedecom will be continuing testing on behalf of the EU at its test track outside of Paris. No word on when this will be available for general consumption, but the sooner the better in my opinion.

More than a few websites are getting excited about an article published by Forbes, claiming the iPhone's share of usage is higher than previously thought. That article references a blog post by Google employee Dave Burke, which reveals that two billion Android devices are in use right now.

The argument runs that as Apple released news that iOS runs on one billion devices recently, one third of phones in use today are iPhones, rather than the one fifth previously accepted.

All good as far as it goes, however there's a rather large hole in the theory. Google only measures active Android phones running Google Play Services - and given that no phones sold in China have these services they can't be counted by Google, so aren't included in those usage numbers.

China has been the biggest smartphone market since 2012, so failing to count these Android devices rather skewers any theory about relative usage in the market. In 2016 almost half a billion smartphones were sold in China and more than 80% of them had non-Google Android installed. The same was true in 2015. For the first six months of 2017 its unlikely that figure will be much changed.

That's a billion Android phones not being considered in Forbes' story. Or rather, non-story.



Air New Zealand is not only the world's favourite airline, it's also one of the most innovative. From completely changing the way in-flight safety briefings are completed (creating a number of viral hits along the way) to this trial of Microsoft's Hololens.

Probably not the most attractive proposition in its current version but if and when Microsoft shrinks it down to a more discrete size this could be the sort of thing that becomes common place in the service industry.

Reliable technology leaker Evan Blass is at it again, this time outing the updated Surface Pro, which Microsoft is expected to announce in Beijing next week.

The pictures show very limited changes to the hybrid's exterior, with the biggest change likely to be the inclusion of new Kaby Lake processors.

That won't be the only change though, Blass reveals Microsoft will rechristen the SP4 to plain old Surface Pro, giving a line up of Surface Laptop, Surface Book and Surface Pro.

Microsoft's Surface accessories (keyboard, mouse and pens) are also up for an upgrade – although this might just be a touch of color to match the Surface Laptop.

Morgan Stanley has completed a survey of current iPhone owners and recorded an impressive 92% intent to make their next purchase another iPhone. With the anniversary iPhone likely to drive unprecedented numbers of upgrades Apple could be soon be back on top of the market as a result.

That 92% loyalty figure has a longer term impact too. Users who move to iPhone mostly never go back. The end result will be a market that swings toward Apple. With smartphone ownership certain to drive consumer technology purchases in other areas, that promises even more opportunities for Apple. 

At this point I don't even think a way exists for other smartphone OEMs to break the grip Apple has on its customers. More technology, more features or more gimmicks won't do the job. And if any turn out to be useful or popular, well they all end up on the iPhone eventually.