Archive for the ‘iPhone’ Category
In the beginning there was the PalmOS mobile platform, and then there was Symbian, then Windows Mobile and RIM’s Blackberry OS. Then came the juggernaut iPhone OS from Apple. That was followed by Android from Google. Soon Palm will launch another mobile platform called the WebOS. All these different platforms lead to a question: How many mobile platforms can your company support?
That is just the operating systems. Already the mobile industry is fragmented with dozens of smartphone manufacturers. Add in the different features of the handsets themselves, like accelerometer, GPS, camera, etc, and you have a whole matrix of feature sets that need to be accounted for.
It is amazing how often entrepreneurs and product managers at smaller companies have said to me that this is their strategy. Then I ask them how soon they will be on all these platforms and I get a vague answer of as soon as we can. Given this situation, how long can companies justify developing products for all platforms?
Companies really need to evaluate their strategy against their resources. Building and supporting products on multiple platforms is costly and labor intensive process, just ask all those who build and support PC and Mac products. The complexity increases multiple-fold in the smartphone space. As an entrepreneur or product manager, you don’t have the time to wait until the product has been tested on all the platforms. You need to be out in the market before your competition.
Considering the limited funding and resources, you have to decide on one or two “hero” platforms as Tim Westergren, founder of the popular Pandora music service calls them. He has decided that iPhone is the “hero” platform they will focus on and when WebOS from Palm is available, that will be its second “hero” platform.
There are definite benefits in this strategy: You can develop a product that leverages the various features of that platform. You are able to conserve your resources by developing on few platforms. You can become the “best-in-class” on the specific platforms.
On the flip side, though, you have to weigh how successful are your target platforms going to be. iPhone has done phenomenally well and therefore could be a no-brainer for a lot of us. However, if you were targeting say Android or even the much-anticipated WebOS from Palm, you just have to look back at all those folks who jumped on the PalmOS bandwagon and decide if the rewards outweigh the risk and what is the likelihood of the platform surviving a few years.
Once you have decided on the platforms, like all good strategists, keep evaluating them and your strategy. Tim Westergren did not embark on his strategy right from the get-go. In fact, for two years Pandora was available on AT&T and Verizon Wireless’ application stores where it languished. Only when iPhone came along and Tim decided to launch his product on that platform did he found success.
Listen up, you Best Buy Rewards Zone and Silver Premier members, if you have a hankering for the iPhone 3G, mosey over to the nearest Best Buy store, flash your card and get $50 if you are Rewards Zone member or $100 if you a Silver Premier member. Of course there are catches to this: First, you have to be enrolled in the membership programs before Feb 21st. Second, you still have to sign up for 2-year contract with AT&T to get the iPhone for as low as $99 bucks.
[Via Boy Genius Report]
According to leaked photos and specs, LG is set to announce its first touchscreen media phone with an updated UI that looks very much like the iPhone UI. The phone called LG Arena comes with 5Mpxl camera with DVD quality video recording, DivX playback, WiFi, and built-in GPS. The phone will launch in Europe in March with possible announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in two weeks.
Toshiba is set to announce the launch of its new TG01 phone based on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz chip. This phone is 9mm thick and has a 4.1 inches touchscreen, more than 3mm thinner than iPhone and a whole inch bigger than the iPhone. It runs Windows Mobile with Toshiba’s custom, striped Tosh GUI and comes with Office, Internet Explorer 6 and DivX support. The phone will launch in two weeks at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and will be available sometime in summer. No pricing has been announced yet. Here are some pictures of this hotness.
Here is the unboxing of the new Meizu M8 which will be launched in China soon (maybe by March). It is a sleek looking touchscreen phone with WinCE OS and it looks eerily similar to the iPhone. Yet it has managed to do something that iPhone has not, i.e., cut-and-paste, background task management and video recording, to name a few. And in addition, it has acheived no other touchscreen iPhone competitor has: Give Apple’s legal department IP related headaches and nightmares.
Now, if only, it makes it out to US.
[Via Engadget Mobile]
There has been rumors floating around the blogosphere that Walmart is going to carry the Apple iPhone 3G. Today, Boy Genius Report was able to confirm that Walmart will indeed be carrying the iPhone 3G. However, there is a catch. The phone will not be available until after Christmas, beginning December 28, that too only at select stores. All told there will be 2500 locations where the phones will be available. Also, the phones will be available at 69 Sam’s Club stores too. However, the pricing is not known yet. So, it would be interesting to see if the price will be discounted or not.
The CIO magazine has done a very interesting comparision between the Apple iPhone and the RIM Blackberry Storm. Instead of arguing for one over the other, they have put up reasons in two separate articles outlining the strengths of each phone and letting the readers decide. Though these articles do not break new ground, as one reader mentions, they just help someone, who has already made up their mind about one or the other, articulate the reasons why one is better than other. For reasons why Blackberry Storm is better than Apple iPhone, click here. For reasons why Apple iPhone is better than Blackberry Storm, click here.
In summary, here are the reasons in reverse order, why Storm is better than iPhone:
- Stereo Bluetooth capability
- Removable battery
- Expandable memory
- Video recording
- Works as a tethered modem
- Tactile feedback
- Copy and paste
- It’s now second-generation
- Built-in memory
- iTunes App Store
- iTunes integration
- Full QWERY (virtual) keyboard
- Wi-Fi support
- iPod media player
- Safari browser
I have to disagree with the CIO magazine on one point. According to them, the Apple’s virtual full QWERTY keyboard which is available in both landscape and potrait modes, is one reason in favor of the iPhone. However, I feel that for use with touch, it is difficult to type on a full QWERTY keyboard in potrait mode. There can be numerous errors due to small keys in potrait mode and a new user would not fare any better than using the SureType keyboard found on the Blackberry Storm.
Reuters is reporting today that Apple’s iPhone is making headway into the corporate market. At this point in time, it appears to be a grassroots movement that is happening in small and mid-sized companies, which has led to Apple garnering 10-15% of enterprise market according to various analysts. However, Apple is still having challenges in the large enterprise market even though some big companies have announced that they will support it on their network. The finance, healthcare and government markets will be a tough sell for Apple until it improves its security and device management features.
Yesterday, AT&T announced some stellar performance numbers for the 3rd quarter 2008 led by growth in Apple’s iPhone 3G products. AT&T activiated 2.4 million iPhones during the quarter and their wireless data revenue grew to $2.7 billion. More recently, Apple also announced a great quarter with record sales of 6.9 million iPhones during the quarter. However, the future is very uncertain.
The end of last quarter saw the beginning of the economic downturn. We have already seen the effects of the downturn on Nokia which said its Q3 revenue fell by 7% from previous quarter. Sony Ericsson has also been affected by the downturn with their sales down 10% over previous quarter and profits down 1% over last quarter. No one knows how long it is going to last. As such all three companies mentioned above have lowered their forecast for the next quarter and the new year. That was expected, that is not the big story.
The bigger story is the profit squeeze that the Mobile sector is facing. Take for example AT&T which is considered the bellweather for this sector. As I mentioned earlier, its revenue grew impressively. However, it had to subsidize the iPhones heavily, to the tune of $900 million in the quarter which amounts to a 10¢ reduction in its earnings per share. Clearly, AT&T has to subsidize the iPhones to stay competitive with RIM Blackberry, T-Mobile’s G1 and Microsoft Windows Mobile based phones with various carriers including AT&T. However, it is going to get worse going forward as consumers reduce their spending and shun expensive plans. There is a danger that consumers might shun smartphones all together. As Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett said to BusinessWeek:
you wonder whether the iPhone runs any risk of tilting from being the next cool gadget to suddenly being a symbol of excess.
I have a feeling that not just iPhones, but other smartphones will end up looking like “symbol of excess”. If that happens, RIM will probably be affected the most. Unfortunately for RIM, its Blackberry Storm and Blackberry Bold launches are coming in the first quarter after the major financial crisis and as US heads into a recession. Whether RIM will see the same bounce in sales as Apple did, remains to be seen.
All carriers will see further worsening of their ARPU during Q4 2008, according to the IE Market Research Corp.’s 4Q 2008 United States Mobile Operator Forecast, 2008 – 2010 report. In Q208, the ARPU declined by 1.7% across all carriers. However, Sprint and T-Mobile will be more adversely affected as it takes them longer to get a return on their their investments in WiMax and 3G respectively.
Rumor has it that Verizon and Apple are teaming up to release iPhone on the VZW network in 2009, according to the 9to5Mac. Cleve Nettles, the author of the article has laid out some compelling reasons why that would be the case including, number of job postings on Apple site for EVDO developers, Apple interest in expanding its footprint, Apple just launched an unlocked version of iPhone in Hong Kong and above all the AT&T exclusivity was never confirmed via documentary evidence. So, the exclusivity agreement might be coming to an end or there never was one.
Apparently, negotiations between Apple and Verizon are ongoing and will be completed by end of the year. So, Cleve thinks the announcement will be made during the Macworld next year.
This news is definitely good for Apple, I am not sure whether Verizon gains anything out of it, especially since it will have a highly-anticipated touchscreen phone out soon too and with all the issues the iPhone has with the 3G connection. The only thing I feel that Verizon can get out of this is a boost to their Open Network initiative.