Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’
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.
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]
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.
Yesterday, I visited the local Verizon Wireless store. While talking to the salesperson about the Blackberry Storm, he indicated that the phone will be available by mid-November, possibly as late as Black Friday. That is understandable. However, given the delays with Blackberry Bold, one has to wonder whether RIM will ever get its act together and launch the Storm on time. Of course, they have been careful with not committing any specific dates for the launch but rumors have been for early November launch and Best Buy is preparing to launch it November 16.
The other piece of information was the pricing. According to the salesperson, the phone would cost somewhere between $300 and $400 with 2 year contract and contract free it is somewhere around $750. If this is accurate, I have only one thing to say to both RIM and Verizon Wireless: What are you thinking?
With iPhone starting at $199 with contract and the HTC Dream G1 slated to cost between $150 and $250, why would anyone shell out $300 or more for the Blackberry Storm, especially when its features are on par with some of these phone and way below the phones like the Nokia N96 or Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X1 which fall in the $700+ price range. It is even more insane when Vodafone, Verizon Wireless’ parent is giving it away for free with 18 month contract.
Given this economy, pricing it high is a sure recipe for lower sales. No wonder than that Microsoft is lurking and playing a waiting game. Lets hope some saner minds prevail and the pricing is more competitive!
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.