Archive for October 2008
Some time back, I had reported on the Verizon’s pricing of the Blackberry Storm. Today, Crackberry.com, got hold of Vodafone’s pricing. It is a tiered pricing with either higher upfront cost and lower monthly payments or lower upfront cost and higher monthly payments. Three of these plans have additional freebies too. Take a look:
- Under the Perfect Choice Access 100 plan, the Storm handset will retail for €109.99 and will cost €49.99 a month as part of a bundle that will include 100 minutes, 100 texts, 1GB of BlackBerry email, mobile TV and 10 full-track music downloads.
- Under the Perfect Choice Access 200 plan, the Storm handset will retail for €64.99 and will cost €64.99 a month as part of a bundle that will include 200 minutes, 200 texts, 1GB of BlackBerry email, mobile TV and 10 full-track music downloads.
- Under the Perfect Choice Access 400 plan, the Storm handset will retail for €69.99 and will cost €84.99 a month as part of a bundle that will include 400 minutes, 400 texts, 1GB of BlackBerry email, mobile TV and 10 full-track music downloads.
- And under the Perfect Choice Access 600 plan, the Storm handset will retail for €49.99 and will cost €99.99 a month as part of a bundle that will include 600 minutes, 600 texts, 1GB of BlackBerry email, mobile TV and 10 full-track music downloads.
Now, I say, this is a sensible pricing strategy. It gives the customer the flexibility to decide which plan suits their needs and also the device does not cost an arm and a leg, unlike the Verizon pricing of between $300 -$400 with 2-year contract. Also, Vodafone’s contract is for 18 months. Clearly, Vodafone sees that there is competition in the market and the economic times are going to put downward pressure on sales. I predict Vodafone will see robust demand with this pricing plan.
To most of us the name Sharp Aquos brings flat screen TVs to mind. But now, we can add smartphone to that name too. Softbank, the Japanese mobile carrier today announced that it will bring the first Sharp Aquos touchscreen phone to its network. And boy, does the phone scream Aquos. It is the first phone to have 1048X480 resolution on 3.8 inches screen. Its 3G feature set is also decent with 5 Mpxl camera with image stabilizer, accelerometer, 1seg TV tuner, and a media player with microSD expansion. And as you can see in the image below, it has dedicated key for Yahoo instant messenger and messaging. If the software on the phone is decent, this phone could be a true iPhone killer (at least in Japan :)).
Best Buy has begun selling the N96, the flagship N series phone from Nokia. This is a dual slider phone with a large 2.8 inches display, 16GB of memory and 5Mpxl camera. You can read more about this phone here and here. If you have your heart set on this phone, be ready for the sticker shock. Boy Genius Report is saying that the Best Buy is selling the device for $799 in the store. However, online, Best Buy is selling it at $899.99 and is on back order.
Last week at the Symbian Smartphone Show in London, there was the first sighting of Nokia’s E63 smartphone. At first blush, it looks just like the E71. However, E63 is different from E71 in several respect. First of the E63 is thicker than E71. Second, it does not have a front camera for video calls. And also it has an all-plastic body instead of the metal one.
The E63 will come in three flavors: E63-1 for Europe, E63-2 with more memory and no camera potentially, and E63-3 for Americas. Here are the detailed specs as currently known:
- GSM and GPRS + EDGE
- UMTS + HSDPA
- Display: 240 x 320 Pixel, 18bit
- Camera: At least 2MP. No Front Camera.
- Symbian v9.1
- S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 1
- MIDP 2.0 and CLDC 1.1
- Has 3.5 mm jack connector
- Is thicker than E71
- Has a flashlight function (which by pressing the space bar immediately activated and can be disabled)
- No metal construction (plastic only) except Navikey and camera module
- No side buttons
- Left side: microSD slot and micro-USB connector (with hard plastic closure)
- The microphone is on the lower side (not front as E71)
- 2mm mains next to the microphone
- Bottom right (on the corner) is an eyelet
- Menu’s like E71, looks like FP1
No pricing or release dates are known.
[Via Boy Genius Report]
In a major change in strategy, Wall Street Journal is reporting that Motorola’s new CEO Shanjay Jha has decided that going forward it will streamline on three OSs for its phones. He will announce these changes as early as today during the earnings call. Motorola will use Google’s Android platform for its consumer targeted smartphones, ditching Symbian OS. It will uses its own P2K OS for feature phones and for the business focused phones, it will use Microsoft Windows Mobile platform. Also, Motorola is looking to outsource some of its Window Mobile based phone production to third parties. Motorola is expected to release its first Android-based, social networking focused smartphone in Q2, 2009.
Let’s hope the struggling Motorola can find its mojo with these changes. However, I am not optimistic about their chances. As I recently wrote, the mobile industry is starting to face some headwinds which are expected to get stronger in 2009. Just today, BusinessWeek reported that according to a survey by mobile application portal GetJar, 76% of users globally are actively looking to reduce their wireless bills and 78% are delaying their new phone purchase.
ASUS, a member of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), is reportedly working on an Android-based device which it will launch in early next year. This news does not come as a surprise, as Google had recently invited ASUS to join the OHA. The phone will initially launch in Taiwan and will be customized for its clients worldwide. Also, to show its commitment to the OHA, ASUS has indicated that it would phase out the Ericsson Mobile Platform (which is not part of the OHA) in favor of their OHA brethren, Qualcomm and Marvell chipsets.
Blackberry Partners Fund, the $150 million investment vehicle started by RIM, makers of Blackberry devices, today announced that it had made its first investments. After reviewing over 3000 business ideas, Blackberry Partners Fund has decided to invest in the following three companies: Buzzd, WorldMate and Digby.
Buzzd is GPS based application that identifies your location and then shows you what is going on around you. It even gets data from sites like Zagat, Citysearch, etc.
WorldMate is mobile travel application that lets you plan and manage your trips including hotel and airline confirmation, weather information and any flight delays or cancellations.
Digby makes mobile commerce storefront for retailers like Overstock.com, 1-800-Flowers, etc.