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End Of The Road For Social Site Bebo?

Posted by surfingall on April 7, 2010

AOL Inc, the floundering Internet company, is planning to either sell or shut down the social networking community Bebo, nearly two years after paying $850 million for its acquisition in an attempt to include social networking within its ambit.

Yesterday Jon Brod, in charge of AOL’s start-up acquisition and investment unit, AOL Ventures, sent an e-mail to employees saying Bebo would require “significant investment” to pose any sort of challenge to its competitors. Though Bebo has long been overtaken by rivals such as Facebook, it retains a strong presence in foreign markets, including the United Kingdom.

But it is fast losing its market share in the United States. ComScore Inc estimates Bebo had 5.1 million American users in February 2010, a steep drop from the 5.8 million it boasted of a year earlier. Facebook, in comparison, has a staggering 210 million users, reports Yahoo! News. Brod ventured that AOL is scouting for potential buyers and may prepare a final report by May end.

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Posted by surfingall on April 3, 2010

Spice Mobiles To Make Handsets In India

Spice Mobiles, one of the fastest growing mobile handset brands in India, will start manufacturing its handsets at its plant at Baddi, Himachal Pradesh by the year end. However, the trial production began last month. The company presently has a handset market share of about 5 per cent in India and an annual volume of 5 million units. The company had been outsourcing production activities of mobiles phones to various EMS providers in other countries, particularly China.

Benefits of manufacturing in India

Multinational handset companies like Nokia, Motorola and Samsung already have their manufacturing units in India. Spice, being a relative newcomer, began its manufacturing facility rather latish in India despite its good sales record in Rajasthan, Assam and Haryana where the company ranks second in sales. It also sells well in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra (except Mumbai), Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Commenting on the cost benefit in India, Mr Ahuja director and CEO, Spice Mobiles says, “Since we have just started manufacturing handsets in India, we are not looking for any cost benefit now because the tariffs for components are same in India as in other countries. In fact, we are a little uncertain about their quality in India. Moreover, there is a dearth of popular brands manufacturing these components in India. But being an Indian company, it was our moral responsibility to set up our own manufacturing unit in India.”

Hiccups for manufacturers:

The Indian manufacturing scenario has always been poor, something that manufacturers regret. Despite immense potential in various segments, companies don’t find the Indian manufacturing environment feasible enough to set up their manufacturing bases.  The main concern of the manufacturers is lack of availability of raw materials, poor infrastructure, inadequate transportation, poor power facility and higher tariff rates.

While speaking on the purchase of components, Ahuja says, “We are sourcing all the components from outside India. There are limited component suppliers in India.” He further explains, “Government should make a conducive atmosphere to invite top tier component manufacturers in the country. In this regard, the Indian Cellular Association (ICA) presented a white paper to the government wherein we have raised points as to how to create a robust hub for component manufacturers.”

National Solar Mission Targets Achievable But Challenging

The recently launched Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission has successive three stages leading up to an installed capacity of 20,000 MW by the end of the Five Year Plan in 2022. The solar mission states to achieve off grid solar applications of 200 MW by 2013, 1000 MW by 2017, and 2000 MW by 2022. In utility grid power including rooftop it targets 1000-2000 MW by 2013, 4k-10k MW by 2017, and 20k MW by 2022.

During the first phase the mission aims to achieve rapid scale up to drive down costs, spur domestic manufacturing, and to validate the technological and economic viability of different solar applications. This will be done by promoting solar water heating and rooftop PV applications/PV panels and establishing pilot demonstration projects to promote technology development and cost reduction. This would include both solar PV utility and solar thermal utility plants explains.

The second and third phase of the mission would focus on scaling up validated applications. This would include pilot deployment of next generation technologies like dish stirling, concentrated solar power, thin-film PV and storage systems. This will further enable achievement of tariff parity with conventional grid power reaching an installed capacity of 20 GW by 2020.

Scientist develops low-cost cancer detector

An Indian scientist has developed a blood-based cancer biomarker which can potentially work as a low-cost diagnostic tool to detect different human cancers. It is perhaps the world’s first low-cost diagnostic tool for detection of cancer in the human body.

Early cancer detection can significantly enhance chances of a patient’s recovery. It is a simple blood-test kit, much like a pregnancy or diabetes test. The bio-molecular tool has passed preliminary trials and is now being vetted through multi-centre tests in the US and Japan. The kit may be ready for mass production in about two to three years’ time.

The test can be performed by any individual at home and it should not cost more than Rs.100-150. What it requires is a small amount of blood, which can be drawn from a finger tip.

Sharan, a leading biochemist said it took him and his team of PhD students over two decades to develop the bio-molecular marker of cancer. Numerous scientific aspects need to be looked into and understood in mouse and cell culture models before a sound hypothesis can be put forward, he informed.

We have now developed and standardized a minimally invasive, non-radioactive and highly sensitive immunoassay to quantify the bio-marker in blood samples of patients the biochemist said. Eighteen different types of cancer were covered in this study and the results support the hypothesis fully.

As per procedures clinical phase 2 a multi-centric study is being initiated in India in collaboration with the Global Discovery Centre of a US-based multinational company covering cancer patients from 3-4 cancer and general hospitals in Delhi. It is proposed that over 350 human samples from patients with almost all types of cancer will be analyzed in this phase. Potentially, the whole test can be packaged in a simple kit.

The test can be conducted by following simple procedures by anyone in primary health centers or even at home. The diagnostic kit can be used for regular screening of population for cancer, who are visiting a hospital, health clinic, or a primary health center for any other medical conditions.

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