Archive for December 2008
Here is a nifty service from a company called Rentobile. It offers hot phones like the Blackberry Storm, Nokia N96 and others for rent on a monthly basis for as long as you like for a monthly fee. This is a cool idea especially for those of us who like to play with multiple phones but don’t want to be locked into long-term contracts or pay high fees for contract-fee or unlocked phones. However, there is a down side to this. There is a break-even point for each phone beyond which you might be better off just purchasing the phone at retail price. For example, the Blackberry Storm costs $30/month to rent with membership. So, if you rented it for 12 months, you would end up paying $430 + monthly insurance (varies by phone and type of coverage you opt for). At this price, you might be better off shelling a little bit more and buying the phone outright. So, from a consumer perspective, this would only work if you are planning to keep the phone for fewer than 12 months.
From the business perspective, I am not sure if this will work in the long run. Sure, the company will have takers for its service, but I am not sure, if it will be viable in the long term. I see two problems with this service. First, the company will see heavy turnover of devices, possibly with returned devices in unusable conditions. In which case, the insurance coverage might not be enough to cover it. This will lead to increased insurance premiums which the consumers will have to pay and which in turn would shrink the customer base. Second would be its ability to stock new phones that are in demand quickly. Shortages in high-demand phones will turn a lot of people away from this service. It remains to be seen whether Rentobile is able to successfully negotiate these issues. However, it is definitely a promising service and of great interest to several mobile phone users.
[Via Boy Genius Report]
Here’s wishing you all Happy Holidays and a very prosperous New Year
Yesterday, we found out that FCC has approved the Samsung M8800 Pixon and was heading to AT&T. At that time, we thought that T-Mobile launch rumors were false and it might be left hanging. Today, we find that FCC has approved a similar phone called the Samsung T929, which we have come to know as Leica or Memoir. It is touchscreen phone with 8Mpxl camera with a-GPS, Bluetooth and other features are not known yet. T-Mobile might launch this phone in February 2009 however no pricing has been announced yet.
FCC approved the Samsung Pixon, the 8Mpxl camera-phone. The specs are identical to its European counterpart with addition of the 850 and 1900 MHz WCDMA bands. This means that this device could be heading to AT&T instead of earlier-rumored T-Mobile launch (unless there is another T-Mobile specific device in works). No pricing or launch dates have been announced yet.
[Via Boy Genius Report]
Palm is working on a new OS for mobile phones and plans to launch a new OS, code-named Nova, and device based on it at the Consumer Electronics Show next month in Las Vegas, according to BusinessWeek. Not much is known about the OS at this point, however, Palm is pitching this OS as the “fat middle of the market” between the business-centric Blackberry OS and consumer-centric iPhone OS. From a certain perspective, it makes sense to have control over the OS that runs on your devices. However, Palm is no Apple or Google or Microsoft or Symbian. It needs to focus its energies on developing interesting devices like HTC and not worry about the OS.
This to me and others who have been following this industry for a while is a sense of coming a full circle. It was some 10-12 years back when Palm had to split its OS and device units to survive in face of stiff competition and its failure to adapt to market changes. Lets hope they have learnt their lessons and will execute fast as the company needs it, having lost nearly 80% of its stock price. I am guessing that this is a gamble on part of the management to launch an OS and intice some buyers who might be interested in getting a platform and devices. If that is the case, lets hope for Palm investors’ sake, that it survives long enough to execute this plan.
Nokia, like all strong companies, continues to push forward inspite of the current economic situation and its own lower forecast of mobile market. It is working on the next generation of its flagship N-series phone, the N97 which is slated to be launched in the first half of 2009. Here is an in-depth review of the N97 pre-production model from Mobile Review in which they have not only compared it to various competitors like iPhone, Xperia, HTC Touch Pro, but also put it through its pace having tested the various features of the phone and have tons of pics. Speaking of features, here are some key ones:
- 117.2×55.3×15.9 mm QWERTY slider with tilt stand for screen
- 150 grams
- white and dark-brown colors
- two cameras with the primary camera being a 5 Mpxl standard shooter
- Over 128 MB RAM with 70MB available for apps
- microSD slot with no limit on card capacity
- 3.5 inch diagonal, 16:9 aspect ratio, 16 million colors and 640×360-pixel resolution (43×78 mm)
- micro-USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
- 369 MHz ARM11 CPU
While a lot of these features are standard on other handsets and priced competitively, the N97 is expected to come with a hefty price tag. The reason for this is simple. Nokia is positioning this device as the first device to be very tightly integrated into the various services out of the box. This is a new paradigm and also Nokia’s first product based on its strategic focus to the service-driven concept across its entire portfolio.
[Via Engadget Mobile]