Make calls to landlines and mobile phones worldwide at prices lower than Skype using Viber Out

Make calls to landline and mobile phones worldwide from Viber at prices much lower than that in Skype.


Viber, the famous VoIP call and messaging company has made its Viber Out calling service for all its Android, iOS and desktop app users across any country. The Windows Phone app is yet to be released.

Users need to ‘Buy Credit’ starting from $4.99 (INR 310) using the in-app purchases from Android or iOS apps or from the desktop client of Viber. Viber claims the prices to be cheaper compared to that of Skype. Of course Viber to Viber calls are free.

Here is a comparison chart of call prices to landlines and mobiles across various countries:

Tough competition to Skype

Skype is yet to prove its success of its desktop service in the smartphone arena. However the tough competition being given by several apps including Viber, especially after the cheaper call rates through Viber Out, makes it even tougher for the VoIP giant.

Viber is currently among the top 10 free communication apps in Google Play store, just 2 places below Skype. Its increasing languages support (currently 28) also has been helping Viber expand globally thus making it difficult for the Microsoft owned Skype service.

What is in for Viber ?

This differentiates Viber from its competitors like WhatsApp, WeChat and numerous alternative apps out in the store.

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Android tested on Nokia Lumia handsets before the Microsoft deal

A NewYork Times report, recently, has revealed Nokia’s Android plans in case the Microsoft deal has not taken place.

There have been speculations about Nokia switching to Android operating system on its Lumia handsets instead of Windows Phone sometime late after 2014 if the Microsoft deal has not taken place.


However, it has been found that the company has actually had Android up and running on its handsets and that Microsoft executives too knew about this project.

The 2011 deal between Nokia and Microsoft is about using only the Windows Phone operating system on Nokia smartphones. But Nokia has had a provision to move out of the partnership by the end of 2014.

So, this seems to give strong indications about Nokia reconsidering its partnership with Microsoft.

What would it mean for Microsoft ?

Nokia moving out of Microsoft’s deal and proceeding with Android will actually be a huge setback to the slowly but steadily increasing Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system.

Among all the Windows Phone devices sold, Nokia accounts for about 80%. With other big smart phone makers like Samsung, LG, HTC etc., betting high on Google’s Android OS, it might be difficult for Microsoft to start all over again.

Nokia’s Android phone: Would it be good for Nokia?

Though the market share of Nokia is decreasing in smartphone segment, the customer perception about Nokia’s quality and features is quite high.

With such a positive appeal and having Android run on the device might have given big players like Samsung a run for their money.

But as of now, after the Microsoft takeover of Nokia’s device business, this might never turn out to be a reality.

Android’s latest version named KitKat

The next version of Google’s Android mobile OS will be called KitKat, which is a chocolate produced by the Swiss firm Nestle.

The latest version of Android marks the coming together of a digital giant and a food and confectionary giant for mutual branding purposes.


There are reports floating around saying that there has not been any money transfer involved between the two companies (Google & Nestle) for this co-branding exercise. Traditionnally, Android has been named Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean. The latest version has been called ‘Key Lime Pie’ so far.

The ‘KitKat’ agreement has been maintained under utmost secrecy. The deal has been finalized during the Mobile World Congress in February.

Patrice Bula’s, Nestle's Head of Marketing, words: "We're excited to announce this partnership with Android, the world's most popular mobile platform, which will help us to enable even more KitKat fans to enjoy their break."

Android’s promotion by Nestle

Nestle would be producing more than 50 million “Android” branded Kitkat chocolates which would be sold in 19 countries including USA, UK, India. There are also plans to organize Nexus 7 giveaway contests by Nestle.

[ Do note that except for USA, Nestle owns the Kitkat brand all over the world except in USA where it is licensed to Hersheys ]

What is in for Nestle ?

Nestle is going to leverage on Google’s omnipresence on the online arena. Of late Nestle has been trying to reach out to its customers through the digital media and online content. This feat is possibly the best move they can make to get the maximum publicity without having to spend any money, reportedly.

However, either of the brands could be hit badly if any one of the two products is in news for the wrong reasons.

IRCTC launches it e-commerce shopping website

IRCTC which is mainly handles online ticketing operations of Indian Railways enters the e-commerce race in partnership with – an already existing player.

Surprised ? Yes. After having initially revealed its plans to foray into the ex-commerce space back in March, IRCTC has finally made its e-commerce site operational from today – the URL being


IRCTC has partnered with for the venture and the new website is an exact replica of the actual website. The similarity does not end here. Looks like the prices and discounts are also the same (including part of the URL).


IRCTC has given backlinks to from the actual IRCTC website in order to promote referrals to the fledgling e-com website.

Why the entry into Indian e-commerce ?

In the press release, it has been mentioned by the IRCTC Managing Director, R.K. Tandon, that this is one way to monetize the registered user base of more than 2 crores. However the driving reason for this shift is to milk the huge server capacity of IRCTC (which is relatively free for a large part of the day).

Opinion – is this a good move ?

IRCTC, with its huge user base including their demographic data, has the potential to leverage this database into revenue generation. Though this has been the initial plan, currently the e-commerce website does not seem to be using the IRCTC login details. So, it isn’t using the existing logins.


Regarding the server sharing – even this is not being done currently. The URL points to server.

A ping test to the two URLs shows replies from 2 IPs which belong to

irctc_ecommerce_yebhi_3 Looking up these two IPs on an IP tracker shows that Yebhi’s servers are being used.


So, when none of the claims / reasons cited to justify the IRCTC entry into e-commerce are true, it remains a huge mystery as to what is the rationale behind IRCTC (a government body’s subsidiary) foray into a highly competitive sector.

Made in USA tactic by Google and Apple – why the shift ?

A detailed look at why the tech firms like Apple and Google are looking west – manufacturing in the USA instead of China.

Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.

designed_by_apple_in_california_made_in_usa_1 (picture courtesy : Flickr)

This is one ubiquitous line present across all the Apple devices. Same is the case for other electronic gadgets too.

Of late, tech firms like Google, Apple, GE have been announcing their manufacturing and assembling units in USA. Motorola ran a newspaper advertisement of its Moto X phone by touting its USA origins.


Why China till now ?

Outsourcing the manufacturing process to the east (read China) has been a trend across all industries in the USA. This is obviously due to the lower costs in Asian countries compared to what they are in America.

Who/What all are moving to America ?




Google – Motorola Moto X Fort Worth, Texas (once used for Nokia phones)
Apple Mac Pro In the USA. (Rumoured to be in Texas)
Lenovo ThinkPad North Carolina, USA

Why the sudden interest in USA ?

There are obviously economic, strategic and marketing reasons behind the new ‘look west’ policy being adopted. Here are few of the reasons:

  • China losing its price advantage

A survey by AlixPartners provides an analysis of the cost of manufacturing in east Asian countries plus shipping costs to the US compared to the cost of manufacturing in the US.


The above comparison chart clearly indicates that China has had price advantage over the USA for quite some time. However, it is predicted that the costs associated with assembling in China and shipping to the US would equal the costs of manufacturing in USA by 2015.

National Bureau of Statistics in China indicates that manufacturing wages have increased by 71 percent since 2008. In addition to the rising wages, the transport costs involved in shipping the manufactured items across half the world (from China to USA) are on the rise.

  • Time constraint in shipping from China to USA

There are other strategic constraints involved in shipping every gadget from China to USA. Technology can as well be considered a perishable item. Delay in getting items to the USA can possibly affect the success of a gadget or a technology especially in the fast changing technology era.

  • Tackling the customer perception

Yet another important reason behind this strategy is the identification of new brand positioning by striking a chord among the US customer base.

A survey by BCG has shown that more than 80% of the consumers in USA prefer “Made in USA” brands to those “made in China” and are also ready to spend extra for these products. This perception can be attributed to the low-quality factor associated to Made in China goods.

When the PC maker – Lenovo - moved its customer support center for web and telesales from Bangalore(India) to North Carolina(USA) it lead to a 25 percent increase in satisfaction ratings.

“Made in USA” tag - not sufficient

This Made in USA label itself is not sufficient in having a sustained customer support. Do remember the rise of Japanese automobile manufacturers over USA automobiles. It is always quality/customer satisfaction first in this highly competitive tech space.

In fact, the Apple campaign about its “Designed by Apple in California” label has not been received well by viewers according to a survey explained in detail on Apple Insider. Here below is the video advertisement :

Prediction for the future

Moving out of China completely is definitely not an apt solution especially when there is an ever growing customer base in developing countries around China (like India).

Customers in such countries are price conscious and continuing the current manufacturing in Asian countries makes sense for this target segment. This strategy could as well help in mass customization of products intended for specific markets. For example – imagine a low cost iPhone for customers in India being sourced from China and a premium variant being manufactured in the USA for the customers around America.

This kind of strategy might also help in addressing the operational issues in case of shortage of supply in any of the manufacturing units.

Other articles taking this further:

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