Posts Tagged ‘Apple’
Over this past weekend the story broke that Google has developed a new phone that it is giving its employees to play. The Nexus One, as it is called, is being positioned as a “innovations lab”, according to Google.
Today, we hear that Google is in serious talks with T-Mobile to introduce Nexus One. This G-Phone is built by HTC and looks strikingly like the HTC Passion without, of course, the HTC logo. All this makes me wonder what Google is thinking?
First off, why does Google see the need to branch out into hardware. Imitating Apple in trying to control the complete user experience is not good enough reason as they are already late to that party having already open-sourced their operating system. If they have some legitimate reason for getting into hardware, starting out with a look-alike phone of a publicly available (or soon to be) phone is not the best strategy to launch a new product that is going to bear your name in such a competitive market.
Also, if Google is going to compete with its Android partners, I wonder how long they will tolerate that. Now, I truly believe that 2010 will be the year of Android, however, this is a fast moving market and both consumers and the hardware makers are fickle. Google will have to tread carefully so as not to antagonize its partners.
Finally, is Google ready to be a hardware company? So far they have been outsourcing the actual manufacturing of the phones. And it will work if they have a handful of devices. But, then they need to think of all the other things that goes with standing behind the hardware from support to logistics to marketing.
Last week at the CTIA, AT&T acknowledged that it is having issues with the bandwidth and how the some users were utilizing lot of data bandwidth and how it was impacting the service. Clearly, AT&T has its hands full satisfying demand for data bandwidth with its existing user base which according to research has increased 5000 times over the last 3 years. Inspite of this, hardware manufacturers continue to launch new products on the AT&T network. We know that Dell is planning to launch its new Android-based mobile phone on the AT&T network. Today, Nokia announced that it will launch its new netbook, the Booklet 3G on the AT&T network for $299.99. Not to mention, RIM launching its new white Blackberry Bold, LG & Samsung continuing to provide additional new products. Given all this, I have just one question: What are they thinking?
From a business sense, it is logical to go where your consumers are. Granted, AT&T has one of the largest customer base in US and have been very successful with iPhone. But, given the bandwidth crunch AT&T is facing, if I am one of the executives making this decision, I would really not want to launch on this network, especially if it is a new product. Ultimately, no matter how good a device, customers buy the complete package: mobile device and the service. And if the customer is not going to have a quality experience on my device because of issues at the service provider, guess what they are going to say: the device is no good, since it keeps dropping the connection. I know this is not the device fault because I am enough of a geek to know what is causing this. Even an average consumer may have heard or know that connection loss may not be the fault of the device. But, if it occurs repeatedly, most consumers will give up on the device, much like I have the iPhone which I use only as a secondary phone. For my business, my primary phone is still a Blackberry 8830 on the Verizon network.
Already, living in Silicon Valley, I am reminded daily of the AT&T bandwidth issue on my iPhone. Sure, AT&T is working on fixing this issue and I know that because I got a mailer from them stating that they have improved the coverage in my area. Guess what, inspite of that, my iPhone keeps dropping the calls atleast 3-5 times a day. I am truly dreading what will the impact be on the AT&T network once the new devices are in consumer hands.
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]
Rumors have it that Microsoft might be planning to enter the smartphone market with its own device in later half of 2009. If these rumors are correct, then it goes against what Steve Ballmer and others have always said about Microsoft wanting to license the software. However, with its Danger subsidiary and success with XBox and Zune, Microsoft would be tempted to take on Apple and others in the smartphone arena. If it does, I think they need to look at the new Toshiba TG01 and go with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset instead of the NVIDIA’s Tegra chipset. Also, they need to learn from HTC, Samsung and Sony Ericsson to wrap their clunky Windows Mobile in a more user-friendly and up-to-date user interface. I am not holding my breath, but lets see what comes out Redmond.
Wall Street Journal, yesterday, reported that Dell is set to enter the smartphone market (subscription required). Dell has been making prototypes based on Android and Windows Mobile platforms for more than a year. The plans are still up in the air and Dell could decide not to enter the market after all. If it does go ahead, the announcement likely to come at the Mobile World Congress next month.
If Delll does decide to enter the market, in my opinion, it should stay for the long haul and innovate to make money.It should also look at some of the Japanese manufacturers, not just look at Apple, as the report suggests. Being just another cell phone provider will not cut it, as Motorola and Palm can attest. Based on Dell’s track record, it will have to be head and shoulders better than in the PC business to survive.
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]
Verizon Wireless and RIM had promised there would be ample Blackberry Storm devices for all customers. However, that was not the case. This morning I went to get the phone at 6:30 am to wait in queue. I was about the 25th in queue. Shortly, before 7 am the store manager was out with a writing pad informing people after about the 15th person or so that they were not going to have enough on hand, another shipment was on its way and he would take down the customers’ phone numbers and call them when it was in. Even then you were not guaranteed the phone. You had to make it out to the store within 15 minutes of receiving the phone call otherwise you were out of luck. So, what gives? Well, Boy Genius Report had some early information yesterday saying that Verizon would not be able to meet the demand. Apparently, according to Verizon, it was RIM’s fault that they were not able to ship enough devices. To me, that just is the Big Red pointing a finger at the manufacturer for its inability to estimate the demand and not having a strategy in place to meet the rush for the device. I have been with Verizon for a while, but right now, I am really pissed at them for bungling perhaps their best opportunity to take on AT&T and Apple iPhone. No matter what success the Storm has, I think, this experience will forever be associated with the launch and perhaps hard to live down for Verizon Wireless and RIM to a degree. And I thought I had it bad, until I read the plight of one of our reader who was lied to twice and is very annoyed at Verizon right now. You can read about his encounter here.
AT&T has been riding the iPhone craze to becoming a leader in the telecom space. However, that exclusivity will not last forever. So, they are looking ahead and trying to be pro-active about their future success. The iPhone development was unprecedented in that the phone was made without AT&T input. They were luckly in that Steve Jobs and company did a fantastic job with the phone. Can you imagine what it would have looked like for AT&T and the rest of the mobile space if iPhone had bombed. It has allowed AT&T to take a $900 million hit on profits while still growing through its voice and data plans.
However, AT&T has learnt from this experience and has decided not to rest on its laurels. Here is an interesting article from CNN Money on what AT&T is doing to keep its leadership position. One of the technologies they are working on is to transfer videos from the iPhone to TV with just a flick of a finger on the iPhone. Now, that would be cool. However, it is going to take some time for that technology to be available.
I am certainly glad that AT&T is taking some concrete steps to insulate its future. I get a feeling that AT&T is looking in its crystal ball and is not liking that it is so tied to the pipes and spectrum. It see Apple capturing a share of revenue through its app store to which AT&T has no access. It also sees that its capital-hungry investments in infrastructure which has laden it with huge debt could become millstone around its ability to grow. Finally, it sees that mobile phone carriers are fast becoming utilities which can have far-reaching consequences. It recognizes the signs of time and wants to diversify into being able to provide a complete experience to the user while at the same time reducing its dependency on the spectrum and other capital intensive investments.
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.
That’s right browser wars are coming. Only this time, they are coming to a mobile phone near you. So far we have Microsoft Mobile IE, Apple’s Safari, Opera, Google’s Chrome and the Blackberry’s proprietary browser. Add to that mix the recently announced and currently undergoing alpha testing, Fennec, the mobile browser from Mozilla, the maker of Firefox open source browser.
Given all these browsers, there is bound to be a shakeup. However, on the flip side of it is the fact that there are so many mobile platforms, Windows Mobile, Apple iPhone OS, Google’s Android, Symbian and Blackberry OS. So, one could argue that each of these are walled gardens and therefore the browsers work in these walled gardens. However, two of the above-named browsers, Opera and Fennec are not tied to any specific platform, though they may not work on all platforms yet. Not to mention, all the big players, except maybe RIM, have the resources to quickly make their browsers platform independent. So, while I don’t expect the browser wars to start right away, I fully expect them in maybe late 2009, early 2010.