Opinion – Kaufman Bros. analyst, Shaw Wu, released an enlightening research note today. Those pricey iPhone service plans may actually be limiting the growth potential of the iPhone, creating an opportunity for AT&T’s rivals. Really? If one looks beyond the splashy iPhone style to see how AT&T may have been able to take advantage of the hype to date, the opportunities afforded to others may soon force AT&T to finally bring its level of service quality and features into parity with what it charges.
Verizon? The iPhone on the Verizon's EVDO/CDMA cellular network? While
some call it Utopian dreaming -- citing AT&T's exclusive multi-year
iPhone distribution deal -- others are convinced Apple is on the
verge of announcing a Verizon deal sooner rather than later. If true, the deal
with Verizon might alter balance of power in the U.S. cellphone
industry while giving Apple the kind of distribution footprint enjoyed
by the big boys. Even if the rumor turns out to be false, it still begs the valid
question of what happens next for Apple's iPhone once the company's
exclusive partnership with AT&T expires?
In spite of predictions that Apple would grace the Mobile World
Congress 2009 (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain this week,
the company instead totally ignored the event. This also means they ignored the mobile industry's call for a universal cellphone charger. Apple's presence is still felt at the show in both tension and excitement over the iPhone -- depending on whether
you're an Apple rival or partner. Steve Ballmer
was bashing Apple's handset once again, while AT&T chief defended
it. Google showed its love via offline Gmail access, while a small developer demoed the first premium turn-by-turn
GPS application for it.
Analyst Opinion - The one thing you typically get when you follow the news coming from the big mobile industry conference currently being held in Barcelona is that the time to buy a new phone is late in the second half of this year. Most of the stuff folks are excitedly talking about will actually be available around that time. Of course, that is also when the second shoe drops and you realize much of the really cool stuff will be hitting Europe or Asia first. Thank goodness for folks like Apple and Palm who tend to favor the U.S. otherwise I'd likely be in terminal phone envy.
An unpublished comment left today on the U.S. Coast Guard not responding to analog distress calls after Feb 1 article has got me thinking. With the huge push away from analog and toward digital, and existing federal authorities like the U.S. Coast Guard announcing they will no longer have equipment capable of monitoring previous analog frequencies - Well, hasn't that left a gaping analog hole available for possible terrorist uses? They could communicate covertly on open frequencies just by doing so with analog equipment.
Analyst Opinion - Over the next 2-3 years, many more applications will
be available for smartphones, which will become increasingly capable
and complex. In fact, we expect smart phones commonly available in
2011/12 to incorporate many of the ey subsystems available in the PC of
today, including enhanced graphics processors, full multimedia
subsystems, complete Internet access and application processing (AJAX,
Dynamic XML, Java, Flash, Silverlight), and connection speeds
approaching current broadband levels. With all this capability and
complexity, will we soon find ourselves in the same dilemma with our
smart phone and Internet access devices that we now face with the PC -
trying to remain secure and prevent system crashes? And if so, is
virtualization a solution?
Analyst Opinion - My first smart phone was a Blackberry and I generally
use Windows Mobile phones myself for two reasons: I type a lot on
phones and I’m connected at the hip to my Exchange server- and Windows
Mobile remains the best platform for both. But I’ve been using the G1
Google Android Phone (now that’s a mouthful) for a week and I’m
actually very impressed with the device. I think it speaks to how we
should pick our phones though because each of these platforms,
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, and Windows Mobile appeals to different
Opinion - It was about time. After months of uncertainty, Sprint’s Xohm unit was
finally ready to roll out WiMax in Baltimore earlier this week. The
network appears to be working as planned, but it seems that the
promises made by the carrier are a bit exaggerated and there are many
variables that need to be pinned down to enable consumers to make a
decision whether they should subscribe to such a service or use 3G or
wait for LTE instead. Right now, I believe there is very little that
makes WiMax a compelling offer for the U.S. consumer. Of course, I
invite you to disagree and join the discussion why WiMax is exactly
what you were waiting or why you can live without it.
Opinion – We had almost given up hope that any of the five largest
cellphone makers would be able to come up with a true iPhone rival that
could match its appeal and functionality. But Nokia’s 5800 came
virtually out of nowhere and seems to have all the right ingredients to
challenge Apple. From what we have seen so far, this is one fantastic,
cool device with very few compromises. It looks great and beats the
iPhone effortlessly in audio and video features. It comes with a full
year of free, unlimited access to songs on the Nokia Music Store
service. It is expected to be available as an unlocked phone that will
cost about 25% less than the iPhone. No doubt about it: This one looks
serious. Apple should be worried.
Opinion – Samantha Rose is the resident cellphone enthusiast here at TG
Daily. Having bought more than 15 cellphone over the last two years,
some might consider her a cellphone addict, but others, like us,
believe that she can compare the value of a cellphone to the user much
better than most of us and her opinion on a new cellphone certainly
carries weight. So we asked her to line up her impressions on
T-Mobile’s Google phone, the G1.
Analyst Opinion - We often talk about an iPhone killer, which clearly
has not arrived yet. To date, the only company that has really put a
crimp in iPhone sales is RIM, which posted strong growth during the
first year the iPhone was available. RIM enjoys a very loyal following
of users that, while they are not as vocal as their Apple counterparts,
they very likely to buy another Blackberry - no matter how compelling
other devices may be. And RIM appeals to the folks who buy most smart
phones - business buyers - while the iPhone is still largely seen as an
expensive consumer device.
Opinion - About 18 months ago Arthur Dula, a space lawyer, patent
attorney and CEO of the private spaceflight company Excalibur Almaz,
filed an international patent application (PCT/US2007/007407) for a
solar system positioning system (SSPS, like a GPS but for the whole
solar system). His patent was granted last month and proposes we send
out dozens of satellites to various points around the solar system so
any space vehicles will know where they are at all times.
Analyst Opinion - When I think about the perfect notebook I often think
back to the Science Fiction series Earth: Final Conflict. This series,
created by Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, did not envision
people carrying notebook computers. People carried a device called a
Global Communicator, which was a blend of a global phone, a tablet
computer, a GPS, a video camera and a thin client device. Perhaps
Rodenberry had the right idea and the Global Communicator is exactly
what we will get within a few years.
Analyst Opinion – Admitted, I am not a huge fan of a screen phone to
begin, with because I can’t live without a keyboard. But in looking in
depth a the three competing offerings currently on the market (you
can’t yet buy the nice HTC Touch Diamond or RIM Thunder in the U.S.)
and the services they are connected to I would put the iPhone la
Analyst Opinion - Symbian today announced that it is essentially
changing its stripes. It is transitioning from a profit making licensor
of the leading mobile device operating system, to an open source
provider of a mobile OS that anyone can use on a royalty free basis.
This is a direct challenge to Google’s Android initiative, although
somewhat belated. I expect this to provide considerable tabulations in
the market, although there are a number of steps that need to take
place before this transition is completed.
Opinion – We have had nearly 24 hours to jump out Steve Jobs’ reality
distortion field and put common sense behind the announcements made
yesterday – especially the company’s iPhone 3G. The software and
hardware behind the device has more potential than what was announced
and we have to admit that we are underwhelmed. There is now a clear
lack of features, including a video camera that is still not part of
the device. So we wonder: Could it really be that Apple just killed the
iPhone with the iPhone 3G?
Opinion - Apple’s confirmation that it would acquire PA Semi prompted a wave of
speculation that Apple has decided to drop the idea of an Intel Atom
iPhone and go instead with PA Semi. But I wonder: How can Apple
consider using a processor design that uses more than 12 times the
power of Atom? Why use a processor design that is not nearly small
enough to fit even in MIDs? And how can Apple drop the idea of an Atom
iPhone, if Atom has never been considered for the iPhone in the first
place? There must be a completely different idea behind the PA Semi
Analyst Opinion - Last week, I was in China and witnessed the launch of
the first generation Mobile Internet Device (MID) platform products
based on Intel’s new Atom processor. This got me thinking back to what
we had before the MID and why some of those products were successful
and others were not. Of course, now we can speculate who will be
successful with the MID.
Opinion - The upcoming iPhone 2.0 software is just around the corner
and we all may be surprised how Apple’s unified communication solution
could merge mobile communication with VoIP, PCs, Macs, iPhones and even
Apple TVs. We took a hard, long look at the information that is
available right now from reports as well as patent filings to give you
an outlook what Apple might be up to, why we are quite certain that
VoIP and videoconferencing will be the iPhone’s new killer applications.
Opinion - American mobile phone buyers endure pushy sales
people, multi-year contracts and high prices, but it’s a completely
different story in Thailand and the rest of the civilized world. Here
cash is king and I’ve just snagged a nice Samsung E250 phone, case and
SIM card for a mere $138. But even more amazing is the time it took –
or, more accurately, didn’t take.