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Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Google’s Nexus One – What are they thinking?

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Over this past weekend the story broke that Google has developed a new phone that it is giving its employees to play. The Nexus One, as it is called, is being positioned as a “innovations lab”, according to Google.

Today, we hear that Google is in serious talks with T-Mobile to introduce Nexus One. This G-Phone is built by HTC and looks strikingly like the HTC Passion without, of course, the HTC logo. All this makes me wonder what Google is thinking?

First off, why does Google see the need to branch out into hardware. Imitating Apple in trying to control the complete user experience is not good enough reason as they are already late to that party having already open-sourced their operating system. If they have some legitimate reason for getting into hardware, starting out with a look-alike phone of a publicly available (or soon to be) phone is not the best strategy to launch a new product that is going to bear your name in such a competitive market.

Also, if Google is going to compete with its Android partners, I wonder how long they will tolerate that. Now, I truly believe that 2010 will be the year of Android, however, this is a fast moving market and both consumers and the hardware makers are fickle. Google will have to tread carefully so as not to antagonize its partners.

Finally, is Google ready to be a hardware company? So far they have been outsourcing the actual manufacturing of the phones. And it will work if they have a handful of devices. But, then they need to think of all the other things that goes with standing behind the hardware from support to logistics to marketing.

Written by dvdand

December 15, 2009 at 8:40 am

Posted in Android, Google, HTC

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Nokia’s flirtation with Android raises questions about Symbian investment, again.

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nokia-android

Here we go again. Recently, Nokia and Google announced that they were going to collaborate on Android to develop new Intel-chipset based mobile devices. This has led to many in the industry to question Nokia’s commitment to its Symbian operating system. Adding fuel to fire is the news by the Guardian newspaper indicating that Nokia is going to announce an Android based, touchscreen mobile phone at its Nokia World Conference in September 2009. 

I truly doubt that Nokia has given up on Symbian just yet. It was only a little over a year ago that Nokia spent millions of dollars to buy out its partners in the OS and made it open source. Secondly, Nokia has been saying since February that they were going to develop Android based devices. I have to agree with Om Malik of GigaOm:

It is quite possible that the company is using Android as a basis for a 3G- or 4G-enabled netbook-type device that’s powered by Intel’s chips.

Finally, while it may be true that Nokia might be losing share of the smartphone market, you have to remember that Nokia is still the largest maker of mobile phones and almost all its phones are based on the Symbian OS.

Written by dvdand

July 6, 2009 at 5:00 am

Posted in Android, Google, Nokia, Symbian

Tagged with , , ,

Samsung to launch the Android powered I7500 in June

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Samsung today announced that it will launch its first Android powered phone, the i7500 in Europe beginning in June 2009 for €300 ($398). This phone will have a 3.2 inches, 320 x 480 pixel AMOLED touchscreen and will operate on tri-band GSM with HSDPA support. Additional specs include:

  • HSDPA 7.2Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps (900 / 1700/ 2100MHz) EDGE / GPRS (850/ 900/1800/1900)
  • 3.2″ HVGA(320×480) AMOLED
  • 5 MP Camera (Auto Focus), Power LED
  • Video: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV, Audio: MP3, AAC, AAC+, e-AAC+, WMA, RA
  • Full Web Browser Google Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Android Market Connectivity
  • Bluetooth® 2.0, USB 2.0, WiFi, MicroUSB, 3.5mm ear jack
  • Internal memory: 8GB External memory: Micro SD (Up to 32GB)
  • Size 115 x 56 x 11.9mm

While the US launch has not been announced, the 1700 GHz support could make it possible for a future T-Mobile USA launch.

[Via Engadget Mobile, Unwired View]

Written by dvdand

April 27, 2009 at 5:39 am

What is your mobile platform strategy?

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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.

Location tracking raises privacy concerns.

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Can you think back to a time when you didn’t have a mobile phone? Or when you didn’t have a GPS system in your car? Well, those were the good times. Ah the joy of getting lost and no way to get in touch with your friend to help you out. You had your privacy and you had an excuse to show up late for a meeting or avoid your partner’s wrath with a simple “I got lost”. Today, mobile phones and GPS systems are ubiquitous. Now you no longer have that excuse. With new location tracking technologies, now not only you don’t have an excuse but your boss or your partner knows you don’t have one. Google recently released Latitude that allows you to share your location with your friends. This is all fair if you are the one in control. However, what happens when on your next job you get handed a Blackberry with Latitude loaded. What will you do: a) return the Blackberry, b) turn Latitude off, c) do nothing?

Or, take Sense Networks. This company got year’s worth of GPS tracking records of 4 million users in San Francisco from one of its partners and plotted where the various users were at any given time. Though the company did not have user name or address, it could based on where the phone was at night, assign zip codes based GPS co-ordinates and comparing them with other real estate data. Initially the company was focused on making this technology available to consumers but it quickly realized it had a bigger market with businesses who would like nothing better than to provide you with location based information related to their products. It even did a project with a advertising company Kinetic wherein they tracked a group of consumers with common behavior – which Sense Networks calls a tribe – like say visiting a particular bar with a beer promotion. Based on the data, Kinetic managed to convince its brewing client to extend the promotion to other establishment which the tribe also visited. The early results according to Sense Networks are promising.

This is just one example and Sense on purpose did not get the users’ demographic and personal details. However, they are able to “sense” the demographic data based on the patterns they notice by following a user’s GPS trail. But, if Sense could track a person, though anonymous, through just their cell phone tracking software, consider what would happen if marketers and other companies are able to get to not just your GPS trail, but also your demographic and personal details. So, next time you forget your cell phone somewhere, just think that you are in stealth mode and enjoy your freedom, because sooner or later they will track you down :).

You can read more about how Sense Networks track and uses the data in this article on Business Week.

Written by dvdand

March 6, 2009 at 5:00 am

MWC Day 2 Recap: Android, Android Everywhere!

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vodafone-htc-magicIt was day 2 (almost on its way to day 3)  of the MWC in Barcelona and it was Android’s day to shine. Several carriers and smartphone makers announced today that they will be launching devices powered by Google’s Android OS. First up, Vodafone announced that it will launch HTC’s Magic, the keyboard-less G1. Following up on Vodafone’s announcement with 1-2-3 punches, Heuwei launched its sleek-looking Android device; Acer is working on 2 Android based devices while Samsung does one better by launching 3 Android devices and potentially a Linux Mobile phone too.

In other news, Nokia announced that it will bundle Skype software on all its N-series phones starting with the N97.  Also, a group of 17 phone manufacturers and carriers, under  the auspices of GSM, adopted the universal charger standard. Phone manufacturers including LG, Samsung, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and operators like AT&T, Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Telefonica agreed to use the microUSB socket as the standard power sockets on all their phones by 2012. Key holdouts include Apple, RIM and Palm, though RIM already uses MiniUSB on its Blackberry devices.

Written by dvdand

February 17, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Dell eyeing the smartphone market

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Wall Street Journal, yesterday, reported that Dell is set to enter the smartphone market (subscription required).  Dell has been making prototypes based on Android and Windows Mobile platforms for more than a year.  The plans are still up in the air and Dell could decide not to enter the market after all. If it does go ahead, the announcement likely to come at the Mobile World Congress next month.

If Delll does decide to enter the market, in my opinion, it should stay for the long haul and innovate to make money.It should also look at some of the Japanese manufacturers, not just look at Apple, as the report suggests.  Being just another cell phone provider will not cut it, as Motorola and Palm can attest. Based on Dell’s track record, it will have to be head and shoulders better than in the PC business to survive.

Written by dvdand

January 30, 2009 at 8:21 am