Sun’s JavaFX

[via Thejo] Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz writes:

It’s a software product from Sun that allows any consumer electronics manufacturer to accelerate the delivery of Java/Linux based devices, from phones to set tops and dashboards and everything else imaginable. Without fear of format lock-in or disintermediation from a competitor. JavaFX is a product (not simply a technology), built on Java Standard Edition (the Java platform running on your desktop computer), that unites billions of Java SE and Java Micro Edition devices (Java Micro Edition is what runs on most of the world’s mobile handsets).

JavaFX provides a complete and fully open source platform for device manufacturers, content owners and service operators wanting to reach consumers with interactive content – and control their own destiny.

Broadband in India

Sramana Mitra has a post by Sujai Karampuri:

The drivers [for growth] will be-

* Decreasing cost per line
* Decreasing operating expense
* Decreasing cost of PC (or similar device)
* Social attitudes and habits embracing broadband facilities
* More Indian content

With the decreasing cost of PCs to under Rs. 10,000 and then to under Rs. 5000 soon, and with increasing in content for Indian masses, the broadband penetration will be going through a revolution, and I call it the Broadband Revolution in India. The cost per line will dramatically reduce from the current Rs. 7000-10,000 per line to around Rs. 1500-2500 per line by 2010.

The pieces of puzzle are falling into place. With advent of wireless broadband (such as WiMAX and WiFi), with decreasing costs of PC, we will see the penetration grow slow and suddenly, when the price points have achieved that critical milestone, it will take a dramatic upswing and go on an exponential path for the next few years.

Mobile Web 2.0 Needs

mocoNews.net writes: “The mobile industry desperately needs an agreed upon framework of open standards to ensure the next generation of mobile applications are winners with customers, according to a panel at the Web 2.0 Expo. The panel included Paola Tonelli from the Open Mobile Alliance, Illkka Raiskinen, the senior VP of Multimedia Experiences at Nokia, Ajit Joakar of Open Gardens and Mike McCune from Tellme, reports Information Week. Unsurprisingly the big recommendation was open standards, and also expanding services that are independent of networks and live on the edge of the network, ubiquitous connectivity, and fixed and predictable pricing.”

Mobile OS of the Future

Erik Starck writes that it will be the Internet.

The majority of mobile applications will be web, web, web and then maybe some Java, XHTML or Flash Lite on top. Developers used to developing for the PC web browser might think of them as thin clients. Mobile phones on the other hand are ultrathin clients. This means the server has to do more work and there has to be two different GUIs to the same service: one thin and one ultrathin.

The problem with todays phones is not about access to the native OS, but rather how the web or downloaded applications are second grade citizens within the phone GUI. This, however, will change.

TECH TALK: Doing Education Right: Freeing Education

By Atanu Dey

By liberalizing the education sector I mean that it has to be made totally free of government control and involvement. Whoever wants to provide educational services must be free to do so, be it domestic or international, for profit or not for profit, at the primary, secondary, or tertiary level. What would be the expected benefits of doing so?

The supply of educational services will increase, the quality will improve, and prices will come down. These are all everyday first-order efficiency effects of letting markets work. The second-order effects will be increased productivity, increased production, and better allocative efficiency within the sector. The third-order effects will arise from the increasing returns to scale associated with the production of education. Finally, there are very important forward and backward linkages that bind the sector with the overall economy. One of them is the use of information and communications technology (ICT) tools. It will give a boost to the IT sector in a way that is unthinkable in any other endeavor.

Increase in the supply of education is a natural outcome of removing all barriers to entry. Domestic and foreign institutions will invest in educational institutions. One can imagine corporations such as Tata, Reliance, Harvard, and Stanford opening shops in India, all eager to make a profit. This is no different from a large number of automotive companies starting manufacturing in India to supply the domestic market. The effect is predictable: an increase in the variety and therefore expanded choice for the consumers.

No longer will one have to fight to get into a good school or college. Instead of a sellers market, we would have a buyers market where the consumer is king and therefore the producers will be ever eager to reduce their costs and deliver a quality product. The best part is that with competition, even the incumbents the public sector institutions will wake up from their lack of competition induced slumber. Competition for students will force institutions to be nimble on their feet and therefore provide education that is relevant. No longer will the education system be producing graduates the majority of whom are unemployable.

Think about the waste of resources that accompanies the current supply-constrained system. Just one example: each year hundreds of thousands of students spend incredible amounts preparing for the entrance exam for IITs. That is directly unproductive use of time and money. That spending would be sufficient to fund a dozen IITs every year. Or think of the estimated US$10 billion that Indians spend in getting an education abroad.

In todays world, an educated population is more valuable than any natural resource. Yes, India has a large population with favorable demographics. But only the private sector has the resources to provide the investment required for educating them. The operative word is investment. Firms dont invest unless they expect to make a profit. And yes, there is profit to be made from providing education because education itself has positive returns and therefore people will pay for education.

Servicing such a large domestic population necessarily implies a very large installed base. That results in the industry learning by doing, and the economy gains what is called a comparative advantage in producing educational services. Which means that education in India will have a quality/price ratio that would attract foreign students. That would make India the education capital of the world, if India plays its cards properly. Indias income from producing education could dwarf what it earns from IT and IT enabled services today.

Which brings us to a very important point. Producing education will be massively dependent on the use of IT to reduce costs and improve quality. Private firms will use it intensively and effectively to produce education. Meaning that instead of a few computers sitting around in a dusty room in your average school, you will find the best technologies being used in schools and colleges. Students will be learning to use the IT tools while learning other things. More importantly, one will not have to worry about the much lamented digital divide: whoever attends an educational institution will become a digital native.

And who, you may ask, will be attending schools and colleges? My answer is: everyone. If India liberalizes the education sector, then everyone rich poor, minority, majority, this caste, that caste, this religion, that religion, you name it will be able to get an education. Only problem will be: the politicians will have to figure out some other way of dividing the country. But that is their problem, not ours.

In the next bit, I will explore why everyone will be able to attend school if they so wish.

Write to atanudey at gmail.com if you have questions or comments.

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