Posts Tagged ‘Verizon Wireless’
With the economy slowly on the mend and the industry struggling with bandwidth, there is a merger mania going on in the mobile industry. Orange & T-Mobile over in UK have kicked things off and Sprint-Nextel followed it by acquiring the Virgin Mobile MVNO that operates on Sprint’s network. In addition, Bharti Airtell merger with MTN was stopped by Indian Government. There are more rumors which are making the investment bankers salivate. So what are they pushing?
First up is the perrenial favorite, Microsoft & RIM merger. Henry Blodget, CEO of Business Insider, thinks that Microsoft should buy RIM even though it might be expensive. On paper, this match is made in heaven with Microsoft’s strong engineering, deep pockets and large, loyal commercial customer base and RIM’s strength in enterprise email and hardware. This has been talked about for two years or more now but Microsoft has indicated that they are not interested. It remains to be seen how long it takes the talking heads and the investment types to convince MS otherwise.
This next one is intriguing and if it comes to fruition, this could shake the worldwide mobile industry up and at the same time give some joy to its competitors. There are rumors coming out of UK over the weekend that Vodafone might be considering merging with Verizon Communication so that it can get some benefits from its investment in their joint venture Verizon Wireless. Now, if this were to happen, it could be big news as two of the most popular wireless brands would merge and can become truly a worldwide behemoth. However, there are dangers in this for both companies as the integration could take their focus away from growing and fighting off the competition. From timing perspective, this might be a now or never moment. Given that the industry is slowing and worldwide economy is not expected to expand until after Q3 of 2010, it might be tempting to roll the dice. However, there are significant hurdles to this deal as regulators in Europe, Asia and US will have to approve the deal which alone could take up well over a year. In the meantime, the two companies must keeping moving forward. Vodafone needs to continue to focus on growth in Western Europe and India while Verizon needs to build out its LTE network and not give up ground to AT&T. If the two companies can pull this off with any form of succcess, it would be a significant coup and feather in the cap of the leadership team. But, all this is conjecture until the deal is announced.
Finally, this deal seems to be equally long-shot. Deutche Telecom, is considering acquiring Sprint-Nextel and merging it with its T-Mobile Unit. While regulators should not have hard time approving it, the merger process would be insane with Sprint still trying to clean up after its Nextel acquisition. In addition, Sprint needs to decide what to do with its Clearwire investment.
Best Buy is now taking pre-orders for the LG EnV Touch, which is headed to Verizon Wireless, with a $50 deposit, though the final retail price is not known yet. However, it is a good guess that VZW will probably sell it for around $200 with 2-year contract. As far as the launch goes, while VZW has not yet announced the launch date, it is rumored to be June 5th. In case you are interested in this phone, here are the specs for it again:
- Dual WVGA screen with a full QWERTY keyboard.
- Full touchscreen on the front.
- 3.2 Mpxl camera with autofocus with Schneider Kreuznach lens
- Stereo speakers
- Micro-SDHC card slot which can work with 16GB cards.
[Via Unwired View]
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.
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]
Last week, we saw some images and artistic representation of the XV9600, the modular mobile phone that Verizon Wireless and LG had been working on stealthily. Today, Best Buy Mobile has indicated that it will have the phone in house to sell on February 22nd. If this is true, than VZW should also have it in its stores around that time, if not earlier. Now, after all the speculation, it is not too long a wait to see how this phone performs, given all the mystery and hype around it.
[Via Boy Genius Report]
Verizon Wireless and LG have been stealthly working on a mysterious new device called VX9600. This device apparently is a touchscreen phone that has detachable modules. Amongst the modules known so far are keyboard module, gaming module and a projector module. Both LG and VZW are keeping mum on the development and existence of this device. However, here are some pictures of the user interface for the device that Engadget Mobile was able to dig up. While they are early drafts, bit jagged and in Spanish, I am sure they will be more polished and in English by the time this phone is launched. Also, I have included a graphic which shows how this phone and its modules are suppose to work.
HTC has always had a stellar lineup in the years past and this year is no exception, according to the leaked images. There are 25 devices in all including second Android based device called Hero, updates to existing devices like Touch Diamond and Diamond Pro and some new devices. Some of them are going to make it to the 4 US carriers. Here is the list:
[Via Boy Genius Report]
After a month long hiatus and attending CES, I am back. Here is a quick round-up of the mobile related news from CES. First off, this year the CES was decidedly low key. The focus was more on personalization and content. Hence there were not many ground-breaking devices unvieled at the show. Rather, there were numerous services and new content being presented. Also, from an overall show perspective, there were a lot of thin LED and Plasma TVs from numerous vendors including Samsung, Panasonic and Sony. Of these, the Sony OLED and the thin LEDs from Panasonic were truly jaw-dropping. One thing that was not jaw-dropping were the numerous bad acts that the exhibitors had to entertain the audience in the expo center with Casio having perhaps the worst act, a single dude who could barely play the piano, let alone sing.
Coming back to the mobile scene, Sony unveiled several devices including camcorders, TVs and a couple of new phones as part of its joint venture with Ericsson on the opening day of the show. SE unveiled a Walkman and two Cybershot branded phones, the W508, C510 & C905 respectively. The W508 is a flip phone and the C510 is a candybar with a slider for the camera lens and flash. Both these phones are middle of the line products focusing on their respective strengths, namely the music aspects for Walkman which includes FM radio, SensMe, TrackID, Shake/Gesture control and PlayNow, while the C510 focuses on picture taking with features like 3.2 Mpxl camera (incidently, the W508 also has the same camera), Shutter Smile, Face Detection, Photo Fix, and autofocus. Both phones have the quad-band EGDE/GRPS and tri-band HSPDA for worldwide roaming. These phones because of the HSPDA capabilities will likely be launched on the AT&T network with the C510 slated for release in Q1 and W508 in Q2.
The C905 is a 8.1Mpxl camera-phone with quad-band GSM, HSPDA, and WiFi capabilities. The camera has autofocus, geotagging, smile detection, face detection, a self timer, and a digital zoom capabilities. The unlocked phone is expected to be released in Q2 in USA and is currently available in Europe for €499.
Perhaps, the biggest announcement from mobile phones perspective was the Palm Pre announcement alongwith its new OS the WebOS and its Touchstone charging center for the Pre. The Pre is Palm’s curvy, touchscreen competitor to Apple iPhone. It has a full QWERTY keyboard that slides out underneath and runs on the EV-DO Rev A and will be launched in first half of 2009 exclusively on Sprint. The touchscreen is a 3.1-inch 320 x 480 multitouch display with a single silver button at the bottom and lower half of the screen capable of interpreting gestures. It also has a 3.2Mpxl camera, 802.11b/g WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth with A2DP and 8GB of built-in flash storage. Palm also launched a cool looking wireless charger for the Pre called the Touchstone. This hockey-puck shaped and sized charger holds on to the Pre magnetically in whatever position it is put on.
Steve Ballmer of Microsoft announced that its partners had sold 20 million Windows Mobile based devices in 2008. Also, Microsoft and Verizon Wireless announced an important deal where in Microsoft Live Search will be the default search engine on all VZW phones for the next 5 years. Going forward, Microsoft plans on focusing on fewer than the 140 different devices that currently run Windows Mobile to better compete with other operating systems.
Three phones from LG, namely the Dare, Vu and Invision were awarded the CES Innovation Awards by CNET at the CES 2009. Dare with its 3 inches touchscreen was also awarded the Best of Innovation. The Vu and Invision were awarded for their mobile TV capabilities. The big announcement for LG was the phone watch which is a watch with a large (for a watch) screen which displays incoming phone numbers, 7.2-Mbps HSDPA, voice recognition, Bluetooth, speakerphone, an integrated music player, video calling, and a touchscreen. Users can talk using Bluetooth headset. However, there is no word on how long the battery will last and the LG person in the booth was very evasive about it.
Samsung introduced the Pico projector for mobile phones which can project content from your mobile phone on any surface.
Nokia did have one new device, 1006, which was designed at its San Diego facility and features large, bright color display, voice memo, speakerphone, as well as a phonebook capable of holding 500 entries. The new curved sleek device will be made available in blue and silver. Other than that, it also announced that several of its devices including its vaunted N97, the award-winning E71, the E63 and 7510 will be launched in the North American market during the year.