Analyst: iPhone service plans too pricey. Duh!

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.

UPDATED: Verizon Wireless to welcome iPhone on its network?

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?

Apple absent from MWC, but iPhone still on everyone's lips

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.

Cell phone battles in Barcelona

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.

Push for digital leaves analog hole open for terrorists

 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.

Virtualization: Coming soon to a mobile phone near you?

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?

The T-Mobile G1 phone: Who will love it

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 audiences. 

Five reasons why WiMax is not convincing just yet

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.

Suddenly, the iPhone looks really old

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.

T-Mobile G1 - The Good, the bad and the ugly

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.

RIM + Slacker = Real iPhone threat

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. 

A useless GPS

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.

The perfect portable computing device of 2015

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.

iPhone 3G: LG Dare or simply waiting may be better choices

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

Symbian throws down the gauntlet at Android

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.

WWDC 2008: Will the iPhone 3G kill the iPhone?

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?

Apple to build a PA Semi iPhone? Not so fast.

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 acquisition.

From the PMC to the iPhone and beyond: The evolution of the MID and Linux’ big break

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. 

The iPhone's next killer apps: VoIP and videoconferencing

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.

Slap down the cash and grab a phone in Thailand

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.