Blinkit is selling the Sony PlayStation 5 because we’ve changed how we shop

Do you really need a PlayStation 5 in 10 minutes? Perhaps 10 minutes isn’t etched in stone (it may even be 20 minutes or so), but you get the idea. Just before heading into the weekend past, Zomato owned online grocery platform Blinkit flipped the switch on listing the Sony PlayStation 5 consoles for sale (though specific variants, such as the earlier generation or the slim or digital-only, may vary depending on where you are) along with its important accessories (additional controllers, mostly). Some game discs too are to be found, and not entirely out of place now. Not entirely surprising that a day later, Blinkit was busy restocking the consoles a day later – whatever they had on listing sold out (no numbers on exact units, but I know a few folks who actually bought a PS5 Slim or PS5 Slim Digital Edition, just because their attention had been drawn to the console again. Impulse buying? Likely.

PS5 on Blinkit

It has worked for Blinkit, hasn’t it? More than those specifics, my attention get drawn to our rapidly changing buying habits. In tandem, the rapid pace at which quick commerce platforms are therefore evolving. Vegetables, groceries, Coke Zero, instant food and ice cream, luxury cosmetics, home electronics, toys, kids’ essentials, pet stores and now even high-end gaming consoles – everything’s getting listed on these stores quickly. In the recent months, there has been a momentum. The Apple iPhone 15 series from late last year, and then the Samsung Galaxy S24 series smartphones earlier this year, underline this evolution.

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For quick commerce platforms, important for relevance and recall, is crucial for retaining users. Developments such as the PlayStation 5 sale, are great for brand conversation without having to allocate a marketing budget. This may well have been an experiment (but it isn’t, as the iPhone and Galaxy S24 phones have proved), and a chance for Blinkit to test its own systems to be able to handle orders for a new category of products. This is where it becomes important for these platforms to have support mechanisms in place, to deal with customer communication about faulty gadgets, missing accessories, returns and so on. It is not the same as a packet of crisps or vegetables missing from an order.

There are always pertinent questions – are quick delivery apps spoiling us? Or is it on point, to deliver instant results we feel the need for? There was the conventional effort (to be honest, it isn’t always much), of visiting a Croma or Reliance Digital or Vijay Sales store (I’m focusing on specific electronics and gadgets) to buy the gadget you’ve been eyeing. Or order online (Amazon, Flipkart and a multitude of options), and they’ll usually arrive in a day or two. Some patience is needed but results often are worth it (depending on what you’ve bought). The thing is, ecommerce that we’ve come to expect from most online stores now simply seems too slow. Our Blinkit, Instamart and Zepto experiences have tuned us to expect what we need, on our doorsteps, in anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes. To that point, even Amazon Fresh’ same day delivery seems slow; struggling to break from the shackles from what it has learnt over the years. Why wait a day or two? Food delivery orders take between 20 minutes to 40 minutes. A gaming console clearly is as important.

Value:As I was pondering this evolution, Sony’s PlayStation India announced that with the PlayStation 5 Slim (that’s model group CFI-2000) going on sale in the country, the older (read, bigger in size) PlayStation consoles (those are model group CFI -1208A01R) are now getting a discount of as much as 13,000 (that’s on a market price that’s otherwise around 54,900). That’s across all retail options, online or offline. I asked Sony India about what the “up to” in “up to 13,000” means, but they haven’t come back with a clarification. Unless you are in the market for the very latest console, those discounts might represent good value for anyone who wants to splurge the money now. Before you pay, double-check the discount you’re getting.


Mira Murati
Mira Murati

I’d suggest not holding much hope of a change. It really wouldn’t happen. There was a time when many of us (I always was sceptical about any corrections) believed that big tech would realise the folly of it all, mend its ways and return to us the reality of data privacy we believe we deserved. None of that will happen, as I’ve written about in my latest Tech Tonic column.

Data privacy debacles, leading to lawsuits, have dotted the recent history for most of big tech. They’ve even collected data from user accounts for children, whilst promises of untracked browsing when using a Chrome or Edge web browser in the “private” mode, have proved untrue. The sheer willpower of big tech to push back even when they’ve been caught with a smoking gun deserves to be noted. Subsequent to the posturing, they’re only too happy to pay a fine or settle a lawsuit and get on with life. Money isn’t a problem for big tech, and fines don’t really hurt them. Neither do the hearings that regulators in some countries’ subject tech CEOs or their representatives to. It is all part of the job.

To that point, you may remember my Tech Tonic column from a few weeks ago that specifically talked about the refined art of a poker face.

Tech Tonic | Are we irreparably conditioned to give up privacy, on apps we love?

Do I feel we will ever truly have data privacy on the apps we use? Not a chance. The data that’s being collected relentlessly, is far more valuable than those comparatively paltry penalties. It builds them the all-important virtual profile of a user, and that’s the first step towards monetising the experience being delivered. Ads, specific products, recommendations and nudge them towards new or different apps and platforms, as the logical conclusion to that step. Google, Microsoft, Meta, whatever the ecosystem, they want you to stay within those walls. The new age cross-branding, with an overwhelming cross but non-existent branding. Is there any respite?

I’ve said it before and I stick with that line of recommendation – look for those rare instances of apps and services which are more privacy focused than the apps you may have become habitual to, on your smartphone or computing device. That said, an alternative may not always be possible, but wriggle out of the convenience that’s pitched to keep you within an ecosystem. Try moving away from Gmail or Outlook and try Superhuman Mail or Spark email. Perhaps replace the Chrome web browser with Opera or Vivaldi. It may make sense to use the Proton Drive cloud storage instead of Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive. The less data there is for tech giants to match you with across apps, the lesser you’re at risk.

There’s also the very useful (always an early install on any Android device I’m testing) DuckDuckGo app tracking protection, which blocks trackers on apps – keep an eye on its log, and you get a fair idea of the shenanigans most apps installed on your phone, are up to. That, and a VPN or virtual private network, could also be useful in encrypting your web activities to lock out snooping – the ExpressVPN app that’s available across devices including smartphones, Mac, Windows, Linux and even installable directly on Wi-Fi routers, would be one of my picks. Hold that thought because I must write something on VPNs soon.

Compatibility:In case you are still wondering,USB-C chargers(that is, adapter as well as the cable) bundled with Android phones, are compatible with the Apple iPhone 15 series. The ones ushering in a new era for the iPhone, post the Lightning cable. Well, mostly compatible. Except the SuperVOOC charging tech ones that are bundled with Oppo and OnePlus phones – tech in place is quite closely matched to what these phones have, and an iPhone’s charge is slower than usual. That’s all.



AI company Bronze has the right idea. A track called Jasmine, which they’ve worked with artist Jai Paul on, gets additional input from the Bronze AI engine that “performs a unique and infinite playback of the piece”, on each listen. Then there is artist Arca’s piece Riquiqui, which becomes a “dynamic, ever-transforming representation”. Is evolving sound the real answer to a complicated relationship between artificial intelligence, music and artists? Seems so. I have detailed both sides of the coin, which sees artists annoyed by fake AI creations made to sound like tracks they’ve created (but haven’t) and equally artists using AI tools to rediscover some magic that may otherwise not have been possible.

Read: Music’s complicated tryst with generative AI tools, is only just beginning

As I detailed this, AI company Stability AI released an amazing new text to audio tool Stable Audio 2.0 which can, with a simple text input, generate a music track as long as 3 minutes. I tried, so you don’t have to. As I detailed, a completely obnoxious text prompt (one that most certainly wouldn’t make sense to a human being) saw a track generated that sounded no inferior to most tracks that pass off as “trance” music these days. The tool’s learnings come from the AudioSparx music library, of which around 800,000 audio files were used.

This isn’t the only tool. Meta is working on one. As is Google. And they have similarly capable and diverse data sets to learn from. Adobe’s latest generative AI experiment Project Music GenAI Control is being built quickly, for eventual addition into the company’s Premiere Pro and Audition tools later this year. University of California and Carnegie Mellon University are helping. As Adobe’s Senior Research Scientist Nicholas Bryan says, “one of the exciting things about these new tools is that they aren’t just generating audio—they’re taking it to the level of Photoshop by giving creatives the same kind of deep control to shape, tweak, and edit their audio.” That is true. Even the Stable Audio 2.0 tool allows a user to point it to another 3 second audio track for inspiration, as well as dictate finer elements such as structure and tempo before a generation.

Now that everyone can have a tool and generate music which can also be falsely attributed to real artists (as it has often been, much to their annoyance), frameworks need to be put in place. Universal Music Group is working on one with YouTube and more music partners. AI companies will have to extend the identification labels they’ve planned to integrate into generated images, to music as well to – 1. Distinguish a generated track from one composed by a human and, 2. Know who created it using AI, which tool and when, to keep ownership clear.

Google Deepmind’s experimental Lyria AI music generation model is getting artists on side – Alec Benjamin, Charlie Puth, Charli XCX, Demi Lovato, John Legend and Sia will be providing the “style” choices for generations, and users will have the choice.

The following article was originally published in this week’s HT Wired Wisdom. Subscribe here.

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