Posts Tagged ‘Qualcomm’
Rumors have it that Microsoft might be planning to enter the smartphone market with its own device in later half of 2009. If these rumors are correct, then it goes against what Steve Ballmer and others have always said about Microsoft wanting to license the software. However, with its Danger subsidiary and success with XBox and Zune, Microsoft would be tempted to take on Apple and others in the smartphone arena. If it does, I think they need to look at the new Toshiba TG01 and go with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset instead of the NVIDIA’s Tegra chipset. Also, they need to learn from HTC, Samsung and Sony Ericsson to wrap their clunky Windows Mobile in a more user-friendly and up-to-date user interface. I am not holding my breath, but lets see what comes out Redmond.
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.
Citi today announced that it has partnered with Firethorn Holding, LLC, a Qualcomm company to provide a mobile application for its Card holders to access their account information on their cell phones. This rollout is to be on the AT&T and Verizon Wireless networks. The application will allow card holders to check balances in real time, review their transaction history and rewards points on their cell phone via a secured and encrypted connection. You can read the press release from Verizon Wireless here.
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.
Mobile TV is being hyped and pushed agressively by the US operators. Both Verizon and AT&T use the Qualcomm MediaFLO technology to show Mobile TV on phones. According to this estimate last year, MediaFLO will need about 3.17 million subscribers to break-even on their operations costs. This does not include the $800 million it spent on setting up its network. This time last year, MediaFLO had 300,000 subscribers which bring in about $90 million in revenue per quarter. As you can see, MediaFLO and its partners need to build up their subscriber-base to recoup their investments. While the numbers are not available yet on the subscriber base, but it is clear that MediaFLO needs to develop its business model to make money.
However, this post is not about one company. Last week, Korea Times reported on the Mobile TV numbers in Korea and they are not pretty. Korea uses the DMB standard which include terrestrial and satellite and there were 13.9 million DMB-enabled devices sold by June 2008 compared to 9 million devices by December 2007. Of these 13.9 million devices, 48% were mobile phones, 37.8% were car navigation and other DMB-enabled terminals used in vehicles, 9.4% were portable media players, USB devices at 3.8 percent and laptops at 0.9%. Of the mobile phones, 6 million handsets use T-DMB while another 1.31 handsets use the S-DMB standard provided by a SK Telecom subsidiary.
While this is encouraging, when you look at the subscriber numbers, it is not such a pretty picture. According to a survey conducted by TNS Media, a local research firm, only view rating was only 1.172 percent, peaking at 3.585 percent during the commuting hours of 6 to 7 p.m. Also, the majority of the audience were males in their 50s, not the tech-savvy youngsters or the rich 30- and 40-somethings. It is clear that users view this service as a ” brief way to relieve boredom on a long subway ride.”
In addition, lack of effectiveness metrics for mobile advertisements is making advertisers wary of spending money on it. It is no wonder, that the advertisement based model is not working in Korea.
Subscription or pay-per-view services are not faring any better either. According to Mobile Burn, Toshiba-owned Mobile Broadcasting Corporation in Japan is shutting down by March 2009 due to increasing pressure from free services. Similarly, in Germany, the DVB-H licensee Mobile 3 is struggling after operators who lost the licensing auction choose to go with the DVB-T standard.
As you can see, Mobile TV is clearly struggling world over (with the exception of Japan maybe). Both the business models, advertisement-based and pay-services have their drawbacks. So, what do you think? Is Mobile TV dead?