Posts Tagged ‘Blackberry’
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.
Rumors has it that Verizon Wireless is going to launch netbooks starting May 1st . They will begin with the 10-inches, HP Mini which will retail for $99 with 2-year contract and broadband access. In addition, VZW will launch the Blackberry Niagara, which in terms of form factor falls between Curve and Bold. It comes with OS 4.6 and following specs:
[Via Boy Genius Report]
According to a report published by Canalys, a market research company, Apple and RIM are winning market share in the smartphone category from Nokia. By Q3 2008, 40 million smartphones were sold worldwide. This represents a 28% growth YoY compared to 3% growth for the larger mobile phone market.
Nokia lost significant ground YoY in Q3 down from 51.4% in 2007 to 38.9% in 2008. Nokia uses the Symbian platform which as a result also lost significant ground. Here are the top 4 smartphone platforms and their market share:
- Symbian 46.6% down from 68.1% in Q3 2007
- Apple 17.3%
- RIM 15.2%
- Microsoft 13.6%
Since the bottom three vendors are so close, there is going to be continued fight for the second spot. It is likely that RIM might overtake Apple in Q4 with its upcoming release of Blackberry Storm and also the recent release of Blackberry Bold.
Yesterday, RIM made several announcements before and during the keynote by RIM’s co-CEO Jim Balsillie. He announced the Blackberry Unite and BES upgrade with PBX support. He also confirmed AT&T launch of Blackberry Bold sometime in October. Earlier in the week, RIM launched its first consumer focused flip-phone, the Blackberry Pearl Flip 8220.
In addition to that, RIM announced several new partnerships that shows that RIM is serious about playing in the consumer space:
First, RIM and TiVo tied up to allow Blackberry users to control their set-top TiVo boxes from their Blackberry smartphone anytime and anywhere, not just from in front of their TiVos. The first software application from RIM and TiVo is expected to be available later this year.
Second, they announced a tie-up with MySpace to develop an integrated MySpace Mobile experience customized for BlackBerry smartphones which will allow Blackberry and MySpace users to get instant, push-based messages from their MySpace social network on their Blackberry devices. RIM will also develop a community page on MySpace for users to access the latest BlackBerry smartphone news, content, videos, games, ringtones, skins and other unique and engaging features. The MySpace application for Blackberry will be available globally starting October 2008.
Third, RIM annouced a tie-up with Ticketmaster marks the first end-to-end mobile e-commerce solution for smartphone-based ticket purchasing in North America. The two companies will develop a seamless integration that allows BlackBerry smartphone users untethered access to browse and purchase tickets on TicketMaster sites and also tie in to Blackberry Wallet to make purchasing tickets easier. Ticketmaster also named Blackberry, the “Official Smartphone of Ticketmaster”.
Fourth, RIM announced that Slacker will provide a free Slacker Personal Radio application, exclusively for BlackBerry smartphones, that will enable listeners to listen to Slacker radio stations even when not connected to a wireless network.
Fifth, the most important annoucement was a tie-up with Microsoft to launch Live Search on Blackberry smartphones. Under this agreement, MS Live Search will be the default search engine on all Blackberry smartphones and will also provide contextual search in Blackberry Maps application. Live Search for BlackBerry Smartphones is expected to be available later this year with support for multiple languages.
Over the weekend, Kevin Michauluk at Crackberry got hold of some early production photos of the new Blackberry Thunder. This time around, the photos are of the touch screen keyboard. It certainly looks cool, however, it remains to be seen what all the thumb-typers feel about using it in landscape more. The keyboard will be more spaced out and not help the email-addicts who send out thousands of email a day. Will we see increased incidence of the “Blackberry Thumb Syndrome”? In the potrait mode it is a whole different story. All Blackberry addicts will have to relearn using that keyboard as it still uses the QWERTY layout, however, each key is assigned to 2 letters. That is going to hurt. Looking forward to a few mis-typed emails from this Blackberry.
BlackberrySync is reporting a new Blackberry phone named Thunder, This beauty, also called Blackberry 9500, is fantastic, if the photos are to be believed. Huge 360X480 display, touch sensitive, portrait mode for photos and movies certainly takes on iPhone head-on. RIM has also announced a store, a la iPhone store, to accompany this cool phone. No availability date or pricing announced yet.
With Nokia looking to acquire the rest of Symbian that it does not own, and Google readying Android, the Platform Wars are about to begin. So, who will win the Platform War? It is a way early to predict the winners and losers of this war. However, the battlefield has been defined.
With Symbian on 66% of Smartphones, it would seem to have most to lose. So, with this latest announcement from Nokia, they are gearing up for the tough battle ahead. True, Nokia, has ambitions to transform itself from a phone company to an entertainment company.
However, Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum, hit on the real reason, when he was quoted by Paul McDougall of InformationWeek saying:
“The creation of the Symbian Foundation reflects the fact that Symbian’s competitive landscape has started to change rapidly over the past year with new entrants and old competitors increasing their influence,”
They have seen Microsoft, IBM and now Google, make money from the software and services. They want to become a software company. It sees the handset market as a tough market with the Asian manufacturers leading the pack. While Nokia has some great handsets and are the leading provider of phones worldwide, they see the writing on the wall. They want to get out of the handset business. I see them spinning off their handset division in the next year or so and possibly exiting the handset business in 3-5 years.
Nokia will have its work cut out. Now that it is forming the foundation, it will have to tread a careful path so as not to alienate some of the handset providers who are members of the foundation. Also, Microsoft and Google are not going to give in easily. Not to mention upstarts like Apple with iPhone and RIM with Blackberry. Things are just beginning to heat up. Let’s see who remains standing when the dust settles.
With the much ballyhooed announcement of iPhone 3G at $199 starting price, it is going to sell fast like its previous version, when it is released on July 11. However, should businesses care about iPhone? After all, iPhone still accounts for only 6 million of 3billion+ phones worldwide.
With its Exchange support, MS Word, Excel & read-only PowerPoint support, and IT-focused security features, Apple is taking on both RIM Blackberry and Microsoft Mobile. With the new applications store and the rich revenue sharing model for developers, it has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. However, there are still some features that would make it a compelling case for businesses.
First being option of carriers. Granted AT&T is trying very hard to improve its customer service and take care of Apple customers, however, Ma Bell will have to do better to convince businesses to switch carriers just so that they can use iPhone.
Second, of course is the price. Apple did go ways in reducing the price barrier which Steve Jobs said was the number one barrier to adoption of iPhone. But, businesses look for volume discounts for both handsets and calling plans. It appears that AT&T has increased its data plan, while keeping the voice plan same for iPhones. This $10 per month increase combined with no volume discounts on handsets could be a deal-killer for businesses contemplating adopting iPhones.
In spite of these, businesses need to give iPhone the second look it deserves.