Android ahead
Around 85 per cent of smartphones run on google’s original operating system
These days, people remotely initiated in the Silicon Valley history are watching it repeat itself. Besides the astonishing, and frankly, alarming amounts of money flowing into tech like in the days of the ‘dot com bubble’, a more exhilarating chronicle is that of the mobile operating system wars.

Candles to light up your world
This festive season, designer aromatic candles make for a thoughtful gift and a beautiful decor item

Last year, during Diwali, Shruti and Samir went shopping for candles and the four packets that they carried back home cost over Rs 2,000. Some might suspect a mistake in the billing, but those in the know would not be surprised. In fact, they'd probably say the couple got a bargain.



Android ahead
Around 85 per cent of smartphones run on google’s original operating system
Divyanshu Dutta Roy

These days, people remotely initiated in the Silicon Valley history are watching it repeat itself. Besides the astonishing, and frankly, alarming amounts of money flowing into tech like in the days of the ‘dot com bubble’, a more exhilarating chronicle is that of the mobile operating system wars.
These phones have front and rear cameras, a quad-core processor, micro-SD card slot, ‘all-day’ battery and dual SIM-card support
These phones have front and rear cameras, a quad-core processor, micro-SD card slot, ‘all-day’ battery and dual SIM-card support

For the seers, the resemblance is uncanny. What the 1980s were for the desktop operating system universe, the 2000s were for their mobile counterparts. And by that account we are just in the primetime of the splashy, scandalous and electrifying 1990s.

Once again there are three actors. An overwhelming market-share leader with an offering that is extremely flexible but famous for a bad experience, a niche player for people who are really into appearances, and an underdog that you feel sorry for. Welcome to the era where Windows, Mac OS and Linux are now Android, iOS and Windows Phone — as Steve Jobs would say, “It. Just. Works.”

The real story then would be the amazing blunder by reigning champion Microsoft to let Google take the cake when it came to an operating system for the palm of your hand but in this one we are looking at all that the search pioneer is doing right to ensure it does not become what the Redmond-giant is today.

Once upon a time Apple had failed to realise you cannot be that big a control-freak if you wanted sell your software, allowing Bill Gates to install Windows on everything but toasters. Today, Google understands in a connected age, a mobile OS is not about making money from it at all so they give it out for free and earn by monetising search and all the user data. “Let the sellers deal with patent trolls and customer dissatisfaction issues,” someone with a wicked nerd smile must have said at the Googleplex at some point of time in the last decade, echoing what was said in Redmond just 20 years ago.

And today we see the results of that ruthless ideology. Smartphones have reached far deeper corners of the world than anyone would have ever imagined and most of them run on Android. Around 85 per cent of them to be somewhat exact.

One world

Figures are fickle, but the battle is fascinating. And the latest charge by Google is Android One, announced alongside a string of new developments and an official Android version for wearable devices like smartwatches at its I/O conference this summer.
Android One by Google is aimed at the large number of cellphone users who will soon move to smartphones
Android One by Google is aimed at the large number of cellphone users who will soon move to smartphones Photo: PTI

Android One is a standard low-end device, usually around $100, which meets a bare minimum hardware criteria to run the latest edition of the OS. In this case, it will be an almost pristine version without the gaudy ‘enhancements’ that emerging-market phone-makers are infamous for and regular updates directly from Google purportedly for the next two-years.

These standards, according to the website hosted by Google, includes front and rear cameras, a quad-core processor, micro-SD card slot, ‘all-day’ battery and dual SIM-card support. These specifications are by no means state-of-the-art but of course in the sub-$150 segment what is now a chaotic mess of one device crappier than the next, they will bring a lot of consistency.

These phones are aimed at the ‘next billion’ — the large number of regular cellphone users who will move to smartphones in the coming years and a market that has so far been addressed, if you will, by phones like Nokia’s Asha series and more recently things like Firefox OS.

As promised by Google in June, the first three phones launched under this platform have just hit the store shelves — and all of them are made by Indian manufacturers for the Indian market first. Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1 and Spice Dream UNO not only look identical but if you look at the specification sheet, the only difference notice is a 100-rupee difference in their selling Prices.

These phones will soon be followed up with more starting this December. Google has roped in new partners including Acer, Alcatel OneTouch, HTC, Asus and Lenovo, Xolo, Lava and Intexso they will keep coming.

And even though these phones are abysmal to hold and use, compared to an iPhone or a Lumia, moves like these will make Google appear increasingly unstoppable. Already there is a buzz of an Android Silver program in the works that will replace the Nexus line and bring the same Android One-like uniformity in specifications and performance to top-end devices.

This is Google playing its cards right. The company is already winning the market-share wars in both developed and developing countries but with platforms like One and maybe Silver, Google will also dent the last remaining stronghold of the both Apple and Microsoft — that of a greater symphony of software and hardware.




Candles to light up your world
This festive season, designer aromatic candles make for a thoughtful gift and a beautiful decor item
Divisha Saran

Last year, during Diwali, Shruti and Samir went shopping for candles and the four packets that they carried back home cost over Rs 2,000. Some might suspect a mistake in the billing, but those in the know would not be surprised. In fact, they'd probably say the couple got a bargain.

A decade or so ago four packets containing six candles each would have cost less than Rs 100. Diwali and Christmas celebrations have become grander over the years and white candles have been done away with aromatic, designer alternatives.

Designs for you

Though you would still get the ordinary candles for around the same Price, but it is the ornamental candles that are more expensive, owing to the steep increase in demand. Seen as an attractive version of its boring cousin, the fancy candles, lit or even unlit, are becoming more popular with each festive season.

In fact, buyers these days are also going in for imported candles that go beyond the basic elements of wax, wick and flame. Unlike the usual variety, these are usually hand-poured and do not use the polluting petrol-based paraffin or lead core wicks. Instead these are made of soy wax or the natural bee wax and all-cotton wicks. These fancy candles are not made with any synthetic ingredients but contain pure essential oils. Beautifully packaged in crystal containers or fine glass bell jars, these when lit, fill your house with exotic aromas like bergamot, mimosa, patchouli and amber. It has been observed that there is a discernible shift towards natural fragrances in candles. Those who can afford are shunning strong scents and asking for cleaner and fresher aromas like fresh bamboo and monkey grass.

These aromatic candles add a touch of class to any occasion. These light up the festivals like Diwali and Christmas and add a touch of romance to a cozy dinner. However, before going out to shop for such candles, one must take cost into consideration. A high-end candle imported from France, Italy or England or even exclusive designer variety made in India, can sometimes cost upwards of Rs 5,000.

Exotic varieties

There is an array of exotic varieties that tantalise big-buck buyers. Aromatherapy candles that have healing properties or scented candles that rekindle old memories or even unscented ones that make for beautiful decor pieces are witnessing a spurt in demand.

What began as a cottage industry has become a successful business. Designer candles not just make for excellent gifts but are also a great element of décor. Among the imported luxury-scented candles, which enjoy a high demand include those from the London-based perfumer Amouage and Halcyon Days, California's Dyna Candles, New York's Malin+Goetze and a host of others. Most of the scented candles from these companies can cost upwards of a whopping Rs 6,000 each.

Seeing the rise in demand for candles, even international fashion designers and luxury houses have moved into the space. American luxe-brand Ralph Lauren Home candles are in great demand and can cost a pile. Versace's Vanity candles come for around Rs 6,000 apiece and so does candle Doria by Armani/Casa.

On the platter

Most leading couturiers are launching their collections during festival time. American designer Tom Ford's fragrance candles cost around Rs 5000. Italian designer Roberto Cavalli's start at around Rs 3,000, Michael Aram's lemonwood candles come for around Rs 3,600 apiece and Dolce and Gabbana's scented white luxury jar candles start at a relatively affordable Rs 1,500.

At the same time, cost-effective designer candles are also available, thanks to organisations like the Blind Relief Association in Delhi. Candle maker to the nation for nearly half a century, the association sells its indigenous wax wares and other handicrafts at its annual Diwali Mela in Delhi.

Each year, there are over 40 types of candles ranging from the ordinary to the fancy found at the event. The fact is that there are buyers for all type of candles — be it the ordinary ones or the designer stuff. Be it Rs 18 a dozen or Rs 5,000 a piece, there's always a customer around. And with Diwali approaching, the demand is peaking by the day. You have a variety available at up-market retail stores and online stores. 


Aromatherapy candles have been around for years and these have been used by people of many cultures as an unconventional medicine. However, it is only now that these have started getting popular even as the West gets enamoured with alternate therapies to restore health, enhance beauty and well-being, and treat anxiety and depression.

From soothing to energising, these candles contain fragrant oils distilled from plants and fruits that fill the environment with positive energy flow. These oils positively stimulate the hypothalamus portion of the brain. According to experts, aromatherapy candles act in two beneficial ways. These help the body to relax and soothe the mind. These also relieve you from day-to-day stress and strain.

Candles with lavender aroma are recommended for headaches while a blend of rosemary, lemon and basil is said to promote clarity of thought. Candles made from eucalyptus prevent pimples and are a tonic for a tired body and fatigued mind. Sandalwood helps banish sinus. Pine relaxes muscles. Candles with rose fragrance induce sleep and are recommended for insomniacs and lavender is a great de-stresser and beneficial for people with blood pressure.

So, the next time you have a headache or are stressed out after a tiring day just light up an aromatherapy candle and get rid of your blues away. These stimulating, candles will fill your environment with positive energy.

Out of the box

A perfect gift for someone special, each set of six mini candles by Little Flower is packaged in travel-sized boxes with light-my-flower matches and encased in a sliding decorative display box. With a burn time of 15 hours each, the candles go a long way in lighting up the festive spirit.

Price: Rs 3,900


Sound choice

Flickering flame, rustle of burning wood, and design by Italian designer Brunello Cucinelli all are whipped together to make a great candle. It has a wood wick that creates the soothing sound of a crackling fire. The scented candle comes in an enamelled ceramic container.

Price: Rs 14,725


A scent worth it

A lovely gift for someone special or an indulgent treat to yourself, this soy-wax candle from Halcyon Days will fill your home with enticing hyacinth scents. Its hand-painted and hand-gilded bone-china container with the motif of an Indian elephant can be displayed once the candle has run its full course.

Price: Rs 5,550


A pleasant aroma

Candles by one of the most exotic candle makers, the California-based Dayna Decker's, are richly infused with essences of apple, mandarin, lemon, jasmine, lavender and musk. The candles emit a soothing cracking sound and are made with botanical creamy wax.

Price: Starting at Rs 3,000


Nature’s delight

An exhilarating blend of exotic Turkish tea, amber, blue iris and black orchid, the Vie Luxe Istanbul candle is a skillful blend of all-natural, botanical waxes and fragrance oils. The candle has luxurious components like its signature nickel-plated glass packaging, which makes it a worthy gift.

Price: Rs 3,000


Touch of lime

This lemonwood candle by American metal-ware designer Michael Aram is subtle and yet exuberant. Its rich base notes and fragrances are inspired by bergamot, lime and cypress. The glass and nickel-plated jar has a lemon-shaped gold-plated crown capturing the spirit of the designer's famous creations.

Price: Rs 3,600


Natural flavours

The happy candle by London-based perfumer, Amouge, is a spicy and woody blend that invokes vivid memories. Wonderful aroma of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg mixed with that of rose and almond makes for an instant mood lifter. A part of the proceeds of each candle is donated to charity.

Price: Rs 6,300


Spiced up interiors

Fill your home with the hypnotic aromas of this molten brown Langour candle gift set. From the intriguing wood scent of firefly embers to the heat of black pepper, these small candles will provide you fragrance till many hours. You can burn them together or separately to lend warmth to your environment.

Price: Rs 3,500


A classic piece

This candle by Italian luxury company Fornasetti adds a floral twist to a classic-face design. Its name means flower in the mouth and its another Italian meaning is the best kiss. Once the candle has been used, the ceramic vessel can be displayed as a decoration piece.

Price: Rs 10,800


A heady mix

The Elixir candle from the British perfume house Penhaligon is made with a naturally derived soy-wax and hand-blended for a superior burn time. It has the dark magic of Turkish rose and jasmine and a twist of orange and is packed with essential oils, creating the heady fragrance of a Turkish hammam.

Price: Rs 2,900


Italian connection

Vibrant and sparkling, the Tom Ford candle perfectly captures the cool breezes, sparkling water and lush foliage of an Italian Rivera. The American designer's candle is a reinvention in wax of a classic eau de cologne. It features crisp citrus oils, floral notes and amber undertones and has a burn time of 50 hours.

Price: Rs 5,100


From the artist’s house

The Laguna ocean blue artisan candle is scented with a deliciously sweet citrus fragrance that will capture your heart and ignite your senses. It is an eco-friendly blend of all-natural waxes. A limited edition product, each candle bears the signature of the artist as a testimony of its quality.

Price: Rs 7,500


Beautifully crafted

Add a touch of creative craftsmanship to any setting with this beautiful wooden-candle holder that has an elephant on each side. The handcrafted holder from UK-based wood carving company, Artisan Aree, is made of rain tree wood and has two elephants in a victory stance with candles in the centre.

Price: Rs 2,400


Time on your side

New York-based Malin+Goetz's dark rum candle creates an inviting ambience and has rich top notes of leather, vanilla and amber-patchouli. To top it all, it has an enticing and intoxicating blend of smoky rum. The candle has approximately 60 hours of burn time and could last you for months.

Price: Rs 3,000

A complete package

This exquisite candle by London-based luxury group Amrani Artisan comes in smart packaging. Once you light it, your room will be filled with the subtle fragrance of amber, myrrh, patchouli and sandalwood. With an amazing burn time of 45 hours, it will give you a season full of fragrance.

Price: Rs 3,000 

Best of the lot

Inspired by Victorian-era design, the angel's trumpet candle from British company, DL & Co, comes in an elegant glass bowl, packed in a linen-covered box and topped with a silk ribbon. However, this candle is not a mere showpiece. It is one of the bestselling candles because of its exotic tuberose fragrance.

Price: Rs 3,600

Recycle this well

Each of these fragrant candles comes in a stunning crystal design from Waterford's Illuminology collection. When the candle has been used, you will be left with a petite container, which can be utilised for small bouquets, natural botanicals or as a standalone decoration piece in the drawing room.

Price: Rs 4,900

Simply elegant

Square symbolises balance, stability and truth. Quadro candles appeal to those who believe there is strength in simplicity. These candles with an eye-catching design are for those who are looking for style and substance. These will provide excellent illumination that will also suit your budget.

Price: Rs 895




Here’s some great news for car connoisseurs. The Mercedes-Benz is finally venturing into the challenging sports car segment with the Mercedes-AMG (Ah My God!) to be launched in 2016. The two-seater thoroughbred, which was exhibited at the recent Paris Motor Show, will have two models — the GT and the GTS both flaunting powerful 4.0-litre V-8 twin-turbo engines and an intelligent drive assistance system. The GT will have a horsepower of 456 while the GTS will be more commanding with a horsepower of 503. The unveiling of the GT and GTS models may have formed worry lines on the collective brows of the competitors, it has sent a wave of excitement among car enthusiasts, especially those who love the Merc.
Price: To start around Rs 72 lakh

Though Stella McCartney may be Britain’s fashion designer but she has another calling card. She is the daughter of former Beatle Paul McCartney and his photographer wife Linda. She spent her formative years travelling the world with her parents and has fond memories of her mother capturing moments in photographs with her Canon camera. Now she has collaborated with Canon to design a special camera bag that she has named after her late mother. The striking white bag, which is a part of her Green Carpet Collection, is in a limited edition of 1,000. But ladies who don’t carry cameras need not despair. It also serves as a sophisticated handbag, making an exquisite style statement.
Price: Rs 1.17 lakh

Your sleeping score
The market may be full of wearable devices that track your sleep and tell you how long you went into the deep sleep cycle or when you had a restive night. But a new device called Sense by American company Hello is expected to outsmart all existing sleep sensors. The device to be launched early next year not only promises a better night’s rest but also tracks your sleep behaviour and the environment of your room and wakes you up at the precise moment that works best for your body. The sleep tracker has a small orb that measures the pollution in your room and a clip that attaches to your pillow. Both of these send your sleep data to an app on your smartphone. When you wake up, you are presented with a score of 0 to 100 taking sleep analytics to a whole new level.
Price: Rs 7,800

Next time you want to have coffee on the go, do it with style. Paris-based urban lifestyle company called 'Watch Life with Curiosity' is offering caffeine fanatics a chance to add some oomph to their coffee kick. It has launched an exquisite tumbler that is covered with crocodile skin and barenia calf leather. The tumbler is ideal for those for whom the thought of spilling coffee from flimsy paper cups is a nightmare. And also for the urban coffee snobs who like being served their decaf macchiato in a very special way.
Price: Rs 13,800


Back in the 1970s, it was the vehicle of choice of lakhs of people around the world, including India. And though it may still be seen on the roads, Vespa now has a plethora of competitors. However, the Italian company is not letting go of the legendary two-wheeler in a hurry. It has launched the Vespa 946 Bellissima in a limited edition of just 100 units. Though it has the same features as a normal Vespa, the Bellissma is a stunner as far as looks go thanks to the addition of a special mono-seat that has been created entirely by hand. If you are among the lucky hundred people to get hold of this special Vespa, you can also be rewarded with an extra two-up saddle, including a smartphone holder, coloured jet helmet and a windscreen. Time to pump up the accelerator.
Price: Rs 6. 3 lakh

A game of table tennis is well, just a game. Right? No wrong. That is, if you are playing on a table made by engineering firm Stiga. What really separates this table from others is a 2,800-watt sound system with eight 6x9 speakers, subwoofers underneath the net. It provides an immersive, 360-degree audio experience in the room even as you start playing a game on this massive bluetooth-enabled table weighing more than 350 kg. The coolness continues with vibrant LED down-lighting, letting your funfest take on any hue you like as it pulses to the beat in real-time even as you whack the ping-pong ball at your opponent.
Price: Rs 9 lakh

BEATLES in your hand 
They were the greatest musical stars the world has ever seen. Now the Beatles have become writing icons as well. Acme Studio, the American manufacturer of superior design objects, has collaborated with the Beatles’ multimedia company Apple Corps, to come out with writing instruments that have pictures of band members imprinted on them. The Beatles collection offers a set of four pens featuring John, Paul, George and Ringo. If you are a diehard fan of the Fab Four, you better hurry as the collection comes in a limited edition of only 
600 sets.
Price: Rs 27,000


Are you one of those people who think the iPhone 6 Priced at around Rs 60,000 is way too expensive? Well, here’s some food for thought... there will soon be another iPhone 6 that will be more than 2,700 times costlier! British jeweller Alexander Amosu has been commissioned to design the world’s most expensive iPhone 6. The phone is being made in 18ct gold and meticulously handset with over 6,127 brilliant cut diamonds. The Apple logo will be a 51.29 carat diamond cut-out. Once ready, this special handset will make the new iPhone 6 look like a poor man's mobile as far as the cost goes!
Price: Rs 17 crore


TReasure trunk 
There are many ways of carrying a trunk, but dangling it from your neck is certainly not one of them. However, if you are a Louis Vuitton fan you'll be certainly doing that! The French luxury house has come out with brilliant pendants known as the “Petites Malles” which are an exact copy of the real trunks that company has traditionally been famous for. A part of its fall-winter 2014-15 collection, these miniature trunks have been made from yellow gold and finished with high jewellery craftsmanship with impeccable attention to detail. These include a series of matching chains and ooze sophistication that deserves a round of applause from fashion-conscious people. 
Price: From Rs 3.81 lakh to Rs 4.08 lakh