My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: November 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Qualcomm, Intel and Dell to invest in SHARP of Japan - The Rescuers need smartphones, Tablets and Cash Registers

It appears the news of the coming demise of SHARP Corporation of Japan as stated in the article “Sharp warns that it may not survive”, published Thursday 1 November 2012 09.36 GMT, The UK Guardian and “Sharp issues survival warning as it forecasts huge loss”, published 1 November 2012 Last updated at 09:46 GMT, BBC News has been greatly exaggerated.

True, both Panasonic and SHARP Corporation of Japan are having problems. Mainly due, of course, to their focus on Consumer Electronics products such as the AQUOS Line of Flat Screen TV‘s and Microwaves, which its Chinese and Korean competitors such as Haier, Samsung and LG respectively make more cheaply. Japan’s Brand Name dominance is Consumer Electronics is now being challenged by the swifter, cheaper and more nimble competitors.

This is evidence of the weakening influence of such well-known brands as Panasonic, Sharp and Sony as stated in article “The era of Japanese consumer electronics giants is dead”, published November 9, 2012 2:25 PM PST by Roger Cheng, CNET News. They’ve been caught napping when it comes to making their own Smartphones and Tablets while they focused heavily on capitalizing on higher margin Consumer Electronics Products and Component for the Emergent Mobile Computing Market.

In essence, they’re the makers of their own demise at the hands of the Chinese and Koreans.

But help’s on the way it appears.

This as the Silicon Valley Triplet combo of Qualcomm, Intel  and Dell are in discussions with SHARP Corporation of Japan with the intention to invest some US$375 million as stated in the article “Qualcomm, Intel consider $375 M investment in Sharp”, published November 13, 2012 11:49 PM PST by Brooke Crothers, CNET News and “Sharp 'close to Intel investment”, published 15 November 2012 Last updated at 01:52 GMT, BBC News to further their operations and thus guarantee supplies of their key components.

SHARP, as you may recall, is the maker of two (2) key component technologies to improve screen resolution to 1080p on smaller devices such as smartphones and Tablet.

These are:

1.      LTPS (Low-Temperature polysilicon)
2.      IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide), which SHARP’s already using in their new Tablet, the AQUOS Pad SHT 21 as chronicled in my blog article entitled “SHARP Launches the Aquos Pad SHT 21 sporting IGZO Technology - Paranormal Activity 4 Portable AQUOS TV, Cash Registers and Apple iPad 4

Already, SHARP’s a supplier of the Screen Technology for the Apple iPhone 5 as stated in the article “Apple finally receiving iPhone 5 screens from Sharp, says report”, published September 13, 2012 9:32 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News and “As iPhone 5 looms, Sharp's screen production falters”, published August 31, 2012 4:23 AM PDT by Charlie Osborne, CNET News.

So the interest of these three (3) tech titans in ensuring that SHARP Corporation of Japan remains a going concern is paramount as stated in “Sharp in Talks With U.S. Firms”, published November 29, 2012, 12:36 a.m. ET, By ATSUKO FUKASE And DAISUKE WAKABAYASHI, The Wall Street Journal. The trend’s towards Mobile Computing means Power-efficient Screens and Batteries that last longer as stated in my Geezam blog article entitled “Kyoto University’s Water-powered Smartphone Batteries and SHARP’s IGZO power Efficient Screen for 2013”.

The Smartphone world’s set to be dominated by 5” screens as stated in my blog article entitled SHARP and JDI making 5-inch 1080p Smartphone Screens -  Here Comes the Boom  as 1080p Screens, Quad-Core the next Big Thing for Apple iPhone”, a market which Intel, Dell and Qualcomm have considerable interest in exploiting.

It’s hoped that SHARP will be successful in its negotiations, the results of which are slated to be announced at the end of November 2012 or late December 2012. Hopefully, it’ll mean SHARP will have a renewed focus on the following new markets that are showing explosive growth:

1.      Mobile Computing, specifically Tablets and Smartphones, as SHARP’s yet to have a solid smartphone or Tablet strategy and line of products

2.      A revamp of their Cash Registers and other products lacking in serious development to integrate the use of Tablets, Smartphones and Internet based e-commerce as described in my blog article entitled SHARP and JDI making 5-inch 1080p Smartphone Screens -  Here Comes the Boom  as 1080p Screens, Quad-Core the next Big Thing for Apple iPhone”.

The Rescuers (1977) of SHARP need to come with a Strategy for smartphones, Tablets and Cash Registers to tap into these globally expanding markets.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nissan Debuts the 2013 Nissan Leaf - 228 km range good for commute to The House at the End of the Street

 “People who try out the Leaf are moved. But they are worried about cruise range.”

Excerpts of Senior Vice President Masaaki Nishizawa speech to the Press at the Tokyo Hotel Launch of the 2013 Nissan Leaf

Japanese Automaker Nissan’s unwavering faith in All-Electric Vehicles is on display again. This time with the launch of the 2013 Nissan Leaf Model as stated in the article “Nissan upgrades Leaf electric car, lowers price”, published Tuesday, November 20, 2012 6:41 PM, The Jamaica Observer. An improvement on the original 2011 Nissan Leaf as mentioned in my Geezam Blog article entitled “The American Race towards Alternative Energy”.

The newly redesigned 2013 Nissan Leaf addresses Japanese and American Driver’s worry about running out of Battery charge as stated in the article “Nissan upgrades Leaf electric car, lowers price”, published Tuesday, November 20, 2012 6:41 PM, The Jamaica Observer and “Nissan lowers electric car price”, published Wednesday, November 21, 2012, The Jamaica Observer.

And why not?

It’s a modest success for the world’s most popular All-Electric Vehicle, based on Nissan’s own Stats:
1.      50% of all All-Electric Vehicle sales are comprised of the 2011 Nissan Leaf
2.      43,000 vehicles sold globally since launch in 2010
3.      17,000 2011 Nissan Leaf sold in the United States alone
4.      1,500 vehicles sold each month since then

At 2.5 million yen (JA$2.8 million or US$31,000), it isn’t cheap but it’s worth it. Depending, of course, on how much you love the Environment and relish the idea of not paying for Gasoline. And it’s not a Range Extenders design like General Motors 2011 Chevy Volt, with a Gasoline-powered Generator to juice the batteries when they run out; straight battery power akin to a smartphone!

So what’s new under the hood?  The specs for the new model addresses the above concerns voiced in the comments of Senior Vice President Masaaki Nishizawa:

1.      Range increased to 228 km (142 miles) on a single charge. An increase of 28 km from 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the 2010 model
2.      Streamlined lighter Li-Ion Battery System
3.      Reduced vehicle weight by an increased use of Aluminum in the Chassis. This use of aluminium in All-Electric Vehicle Design is explained in my blog article entitled “US Automobile Industry Resurgence and Jamaica's Bauxite Industry - Scrap Metal Industry Renaissance
4.      More space for luggage with the movement of the now smaller Regenerative Braking Gear to the front
5.      A Charge Meter to indicate how much juice is left in the Li-ion Batteries (what! So you mean this was missing from the first model?)
6.      Improved GPS Navigation system that recommends best driving route to save on Battery power
7.      Electric Motors use 40% less Rare Earth Minerals in their design

It’s sure to sell among City Dwellers with short commutes, Garage space and willing to have a 500V recharging port installed in their house. They’re a bit too small for Jamaican Politicians who apparently love their Gas-guzzling SUV’s despite setting a bad example to the public as noted in my blog article entitled “GOJ buys SUV's for Ministers of Government from Toyota Jamaica - All-Electric Vehicle Importation Support is needed from GOJ to be The Master of our Fuel Consumption”.

Still, if the growing popularity of Metis Motor’s 2nd Generation Tata Nano as predicted in my Geezam Blog article entitled “Metis Motors intro’s 2nd Generation Tata Nano to Ja signaling Black and Yellow for All-Electric Vehicles” is any gauge for the coming popularity of smaller vehicles. As Gas prices go upwards and the Jamaican people get restive about higher fuel prices, it’ll only be a matter of time before the GOJ realizes they’ll have to “fly the gate” for All-Electric and Flex-fuel Vehicles in Jamaica.

This is a lot like our American Cousins, Jamaicans are a commuting lot, travelling great distances bridged by the highways that’s slowly but surely being built to make travel in Jamaica faster. But if you watch the commuting patterns of persons working and even living in New Kingston, as an example, the distances they commute are really small treks in the blazing noonday Sun.

Just as well I walk with an umbrella or even better, the KSAC (Kingston and St. Andrew Council) make covered pathways out of the sidewalks to make walking not only safer but Tourist-friendly in the Sun!Thus All-Electric Vehicles are perfect for such short commutes.

With this improved range, I’m now confident that they’ll start appearing in Jamaica, despite the lack of any Range Extender Technology like the Chevy Volt, which would be more suitable for Jamaica as noted in my blog article entitled “Alternative Energy and Range Extender Technology - Jamaica to Rhaatid”. Recharging is fairly easily achieved at home via the installation of an inductive charging bar in the driveway and trickle charging via Solar Panels installed at one’s home.

During the day, the Nissan Leaf then disengages from the house as the homeowner goes on his regular commute to return back in the Evening to be recharged and also act as Backup Auxiliary Batteries to power the House. No need to go to the Gas Station and JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company) will never get a chance to overbill you for Electricity usage.

This as the batteries in the 2012 Nissan Leaf can act as an Auxiliary Set of Rechargeable Batteries to be connected to the homeowner’s Alternative Energy Gear to support the existing set of Backup Batteries and thus get trickle charged at night. In essence, you’ve become like a Turtle, travelling with your house on you back in the form of your Li-Ion Battery pack.

The prices of photovoltaic (Solar Panels) have been falling to the point that an entire system can be fabricated from components shipped to Jamaica. This works out cheaper than shipping entire units due to less wear and tear as argued by Dwight Cousins, Energy Solutions Department Manager at Isratech Jamaica Limited in his letter to Editor entitled “More on Isratech's solar operation” published Sunday November 11, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner.

In summary, the homeowner will save on Gasoline usage and electricity usage, as theoretically the Li-Ion Batteries could even replace the need to have Backup Batteries in such an Alternative Energy powered house. Jamaicans with 2012 Nissan Leaf’s would literally be like Turtles, traveling with the very Batteries that power their homes in their Vehicles, consolidating their Energy Bill into a single Electricity Bill instead of being split between Electricity and Motor Vehicle Fuel!

That is, once the GOJ (Government of Jamaica heeds wise council and removes the import duty on All-Electric Vehicles and Flex-Fuel Vehicles, with the Ministers of Government driving them as examples to the Jamaican Motoring Public as per my blog article entitled “GOJ buys SUV's for Ministers of Government from Toyota Jamaica - All-Electric Vehicle Importation Support is needed from GOJ to be The Master of our Fuel Consumption”.

Monday, November 26, 2012

JPS Co to introduce Prepaid Power and other Services by 2013 - Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn 2 Signals Coming Competition from Alternative Energy

“Jamaicans already have a Pre-paid Psychology”

President and CEO of JPS Co Kelly Tomblin at The Jamaica Observer’s Monday Exchange dated Monday 12th November 2012

JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company) is finally seeing the light, pun oh-so very much intended. This as by early 2013, Jamaica may soon be able to pay for their electricity in much the same way they currently top up their phones as stated in the article “Time to top-up your power”, published Wednesday, November 14, 2012 BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter, The Jamaica Observer

JPS Co, it seems, is in tune with the season and is still in a giving mood after they’ve been given the green light for their parents, Marubeni of Japan and EWP (East West Power) of South Korea to procure the LNG and build said LNG Plant as noted in my blog article entitled “JPS Co parents Marubeni and EWP mull decision to supply LNG - GOJ to eat Humble Pie to avoid an Ice Age Continental Drift”.

Their investment in UTECH’s 100 KW Solar Plant to power the Campus as note in my blog article entitled “JPS Co to build 100 KW Solar Plant at UTECH - Marubeni of Japan and EWP (East West Power) Benevolence as LNG Project now Taken 2 the next Level for 2015AD” has been their first act of benevolence post-LNG agreement.

The Catch: you have to upgrade to a Digital Meter. JPS Co is currently installing \these new Digital Meter islandwide. However, the software for their NOC (Network Operation Center) is not yet in place to facilitate Remote Billing. That is to say, Prepaid Electricity instead of Postpaid as currently is the case for most Telecom Providers.

The fact that JPS Co is considering Prepaid as is the case in the Telecoms world is the main reason why this article ended up on for perusal and analysis in my blog. This, along with the above quote would close this article nicely.

If you remember, JPS Co was cleared of wrongdoing as relates to overbilling back in October 2011 as noted in my blog article entitled “JPS Co cleared  on Digital SmartMeters but chastized on 10-year backbilling - Future Plans from the Penguins of Madagascar”. JPS Co is clearly moving ahead with this project, which should make many Jamaican cheer as such a flexible facility for paying for Electricity should have long been introduced in a country that has “Pre-paid Psychology”!

I did predict this coming service before in my blog article as explained in my blog article entitled JPS Co New Digital Meters are all Smart Meters - Winsome Callum's A Simple Twist of Fatepointing out that the JPS Digital Meters are in fact Smartmeters and they’ll be billable over Telecom Provider LIME’s Network. Still sticking to that prediction.

Ditto too in my Geezam blog article entitled JPS Co Analog Meter upgrade heralds Remote Billing Revolutionwhich points out that now only are the new Digital Meters to facilitate Remote Bill. JPSCo’ll also introduce other services as well, with Prepaid Power being among them as reprinted from my blog article and listed below:

1.      Pay-as-You-Go Electricity - pay for electricity in much the same way that you top up you Mobile phone
2.      Prepaid Electricity - pay for electricity in one (1) day, seven (7) day, fourteen (14) day or fortnightly or thirty (30) day usage
3.      Flat Rate Postpaid Electricity - pay one flat monthly payment based on a power audit to determine what you Class of Electricity Usage
4.      Power Audits – Provider accurate remote power auditing services for Business Customers
5.      Residential Solar PUC – as described in my blog article entitled “Google invests US$75 million in Residential Solar PUC - Aliens in future Energy Market Shakeup” to provide all the above services, minus transmission costs
6.      MPU (Mobile Power Units) – Diesel Generators, Solar Power or Wind Turbine Mobile sited in a vehicle that can travel to a location to provide power for a large even in remote locations

Looks like JPS Co fears the steady drumbeat of competition coming to Jamaica that the ruling on Tuesday, July 31st 2012 as detailed in my blog article entitled Justice Brian Sykes says JPS Co exclusive license invalid - Energy Sector Liberalization CURE and Bourne Legacy for Phillip Paulwellsuggests. Even as they appeal the ruling in Court, it’s already beginning to have a negative effect on them.

This as aside from facing Electricity theft, there is also wastage in their Network due to inherent inefficiencies in both the Power Distribution Network as well as the devices that connect to that Network drawing power even when off. This phenomenon, the so-called Vampire Power as described in my blog article entitledAd Valorem Gas, 10 percent GCT on Electricity and Alternative Energy - Night and Day” , is a major reason why a lot of Jamaican’s electricity bill is so high, as we mostly leave of Appliances and gadgets plugged in when not in use.

Within the State’s Public Infrastructure, another example of Vampire Power is Street-lighting that’s turning on in the day time when they should be off at night for which a contract is needed to upgrade them all to Solar Powered LED as suggested in my blog article entitledAlternative Energy Contract for JPS Co Streetlight Upgrade Coming - JPS Co Winsome Callum's Bourne Supremacy”.

The other is the devices that are still being imported into the island that are Energy inefficient. To this end, GOJ (Government of Jamaica) needs to support more Electricity Efficient Devices coming into Jamaica as follows:

1.      Air Conditioning Units that are not Inverter based AND Solar Powered
2.      Solar Panels manufactured Jamaica. Cheaper due to the reduced damaged and transportation costs as argued by Dwight Cousins, Energy Solutions Department Manager at Isratech Jamaica Limited in his letter to Editor entitled “More on Isratech's solar operation” published Sunday November 11, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner
3.      Incandescent Bulbs. They should have been banned a long time ago and replaced with LED (Light Emitting Diodes) and Fluorescent Bulbs as suggested in my blog article entitled JPS CEO Damian Obiglio wants Incandescent Bulb ban - Jamaican in the Twilight Zone
4.      Removal of Duties on the importation of Wind Turbines and Solar Panels, the price of which has been falling thanks to Economy-of-scale production in China as explained in “Solar power comes of age”, published Wednesday, April 11, 2012 BY PAUL RODGERS Business Editor, The Jamaica Observer

Jamaicans are holding its politicians to Vision 2030 demands for increased usage of Alternative Energy to lower the cost of Electricity as summed up in my blog article entitled Ministry of Energy Clive Mullings alters the JPS Co License for Energy Sector Liberalization - Jamaica and The Sun Salutes You”.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell is fulfilling that promise of reducing Electricity costs via investments in Alternative Energy as announced in the article “Paulwell steps up bid for cheaper electricity”, published Sunday November 25, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner.

To this end, the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) has issued a RFP (Request for Proposals) on Monday November 19th 2012 for Alternative Energy projects to fill the gap of some 115 MW of Electricity for the Grid as stated in the article “OUR to issue RFP for renewable energy plants”, published Saturday, November 24, 2012 11:44 AM, The Jamaica Observer.

Thus ultimate prize awaits Jamaica via the liberalization of the Energy Sector; A transition to a Hydrogen-Electron Economy as stated in my blog article entitled “JPS Co parents Marubeni and EWP mull decision to supply LNG - GOJ to eat Humble Pie to avoid an Ice Age Continental Drift”.  

So folks, dry your tears if you’ll be facing heavy Electricity Bills this Christmas as summed up in the article “Dry your tears and wipe those bills”, published Sunday November 25 2012 by Camilo Thame Business Co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer. This as aside from plugging everything out after you’re done using it as the above article suggests to avoid Vampire Power, relief is coming in the form of JPS Co The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 2 (2012) introduction of Prepaid Power Come next year in 2013.

And all you have to do is upgrade to a JPS Co Digital Meter.