Category Archives: Smartphones

It’s a Smart World After All

The “Internet of Things” is exploding.  It’s made up of billions of “smart” devices — from minuscule chips to mammoth machines — that use wireless technology to talk to each other.  Our IoT world is growing at a breathtaking pace–from 2 billion objects in 2006 to a projected 200 billion by 202.  SOURCES: IDC, Intel, United nations:

VIDEO: The Smart Work in 2020

In his post, When Things Matter More than People, author and marketer, Geoff Livingston shared that:

The Internet of Things is beginning to drive the tech industry and soon the marketing and media sector. You need look no further than this year’s CES to see the trend unfold. At the same time, social media is losing luster in the eyes of traditional technologists and marketers.

The Internet of Things incorporates Internet capable sensors into many objects in day-to-day life, including current electronics but also new unthought of ones (like refrigerator magnets).

iStrategy LabsPeter Corbett recently noted that Internet of Things trend was becoming a powerhouse in marketing: “If you’re a communicator and you’re not at least conversant in what’s going on in that space you’re at a dramatic disadvantage. With this technology, you can build anything from a James Bond style bookshelf opener to a Spongebob Skill Crane that you can play with over the Internet.”

Silicon Valley investors like Marc Andressen are focusing on start-ups that leverage sensors. And with good reason. The market opportunity for this new layer of smart things is huge.

From a marketing perspective, the Internet of Things allows incredible new possibilities for precision. Connected ads allow brands to serve content based on someone’s demographics as determined by their physical body or the data they willingly surrender via social media, mobile phones, and web cookies. Unique applications can be created (like pizza delivery by pressing the aforementioned refrigerator magnet) or apps like Nike’s sensor-driven Fuelband.

He goes on to share: It’s not that businesses won’t continue spending on social or that PR people/community managers will be out of work. Far from it. Social isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s a primary driver of data needed for contextual media and word of mouth trust. Social remains a valuable asset for companies.

It’s not that businesses won’t continue spending on social or that PR people/community managers will be out of work. Far from it. Social isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s a primary driver of data needed for contextual media and word-of-mouth trust. Social remains a valuable asset for companies.

It’s just that, well, social media marketing is not new anymore. You could argue that companies are in the learning phase, but last I checked they were still determining how to build a decent website, too.

Although I agree with Livingston that social isn’t going anywhere, I do wonder how companies can keep up with the trends and yet still stay true to our Brand Promise. How are we able to continue to make those personal connections; to remain change agents.  I asked Livingston, “what can you share with current social media marketing experts who may have no clue how to wrap their brains around the concepts you shared in your blog?  You say “social” isn’t going away but surely strategist will need to think about how they continue to market.  What should they be doing now to stay relevant and on top of things for their clients?”  Livingston replied:

I think social media marketers need to focus on how and where their interactions impact the customer acquisition life-cycle. We know now that social is not just top of the funnel, but an actual medium that touches various points. Where do you fit in, and how do you make sales increase?

I think social media marketers need to focus on how and where their interactions impact the customer acquisition life-cycle. We know now that social is not just top of the funnel, but really a medium that touches various points. Where do you fit in, and how do you make sales increase?

 

This post originally appeared in AllThingsE.  Read the full story here.

Apple Sends Ripples Through Tech World

According to Wired.com, Apples earnings are “staggering”. They reported “Apple posted March-quarter revenue of $24.67 billion — meaning the company is well on its way toward exceeding $100 billion in sales for the full-year. In the last three months, Apple earned a whopping $5.99 billion. Both the revenue and earnings figures were new records for Apple.”

“With quarterly revenue growth of 83 percent and profit growth of 95 percent, we’re firing on all cylinders,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. “We will continue to innovate on all fronts throughout the remainder of the year.”

Apple is clearly the one to beat and just in case you are keeping score, below is a look at how some of the other companies are doing in comparison.

Amplify’d from m.apnews.com

NEW YORK (AP) – Consumer technology companies reporting financial results this week are looking like rowboats bobbing in the wake of Apple Inc.’s supertanker.

Close to oblivion in 1997, Apple is now the world’s second-most valuable company, after Exxon Mobil Corp. On April 20, it reported net income of $5.99 billion for the January-to-March period, nearly double that of a year ago. It shipped a record 18.65 million iPhones during the quarter. Its iPad tablet computers are so popular, the company couldn’t make enough.

Apple’s ascendancy has produced many losers and a few winners, as underscored over the past two weeks:

– Microsoft Corp.: loser.

Apple dethroned Microsoft as the world’s most valuable technology company a year ago. In its mid-fall report, it surpassed Microsoft in quarterly revenue. In the January-March period this year, it surpassed Microsoft in net income, too.

On Thursday, Microsoft reported that revenue from the Windows operating system declined for the second straight quarter because people are buying fewer Windows computers.

Some prospective buyers are going to Macs instead – Apple reported that it sold 28 percent more units. Others are going to iPads. Goldman Sachs now believes that more than 30 percent of iPads sold may be replacing PC sales. In the 90s, the trend was the opposite, as Windows PCs were crowding out Macs.

– Nokia Corp.: loser.

Nokia said this week that it will slash 7,000 jobs through layoffs and outsourcing. It still sells more phones than anyone else, but it’s losing share to Apple, especially when it comes to smartphones.

Research firm Strategy Analytics also said revenue from Apple’s iPhone sales surpassed that of Nokia’s phones in the January-to-March period, as iPhones are much more expensive than the average Nokia phone. That makes Apple the world’s largest phone maker by revenue.

To better compete with the iPhone, Nokia is ditching its old Symbian software and adopting Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. But the transition will take time; the first Windows-powered Nokia phones aren’t expected until late 2011 or early 2012.

– Research In Motion Ltd.: loser.

The maker of the BlackBerry is in a predicament that’s similar to Nokia’s. RIM warned Thursday that net income, revenue and unit sales for the quarter ending in May will come in below its previous forecast.

The company’s high-end phones are looking old compared with the iPhone and ones running Google Inc.’s Android software. They aren’t selling as well as the company expected.

RIM promised investors that new phones with revamped software will bring sales roaring back in the latter half of the year, but investors are skeptical, sending RIM’s stock down Friday.

– HTC Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.: winners, indirectly.

Although all three companies compete with Apple’s iPhone, they are doing well. Unlike Nokia and RIM, the three are betting on Google’s Android system, which comes the closest to mimicking the look, feel and functions of the iPhone.

Motorola Mobility is a shadow of the old Motorola, once the world’s second-largest maker of phones. But its focus on Android-powered smartphones is showing signs of success. It reported on Thursday a near-doubling of smartphone sales in the first quarter.

HTC of Taiwan has been making smartphones for a decade, and sales are really taking off with the help of Android. On Friday, it reported selling 9.7 million in the first quarter.

For South Korea’s Samsung, smartphone sales were a bright spot in the first quarter as overall phone sales declined and other electronics were weak. The company is embroiled in patent litigation with Apple.

– Verizon Wireless: winner.

The No. 1 U.S. cellphone carrier posted a jump in new contract-signing customers – the more profitable kind – after it introduced its version of the iPhone on Feb. 10, which ended AT&T Inc.’s exclusive grip on the device in the U.S.

(Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. of New York and Vodafone Group PLC of Britain.)

– AT&T and Sprint Nextel Corp: mixed.

Verizon’s new subscribers came at the expense of AT&T and Sprint Nextel Corp. But neither carrier saw signs of current customers moving to Verizon for the sake of the iPhone. Rather, it seems customers weighing between carriers were more likely to go to Verizon because of the iPhone.

AT&T appeared to be splitting new iPhone customers evenly with Verizon Wireless.

Read more at m.apnews.com

 

The iPhone vs. Android: What’s the Big Difference?

Look, I’m Team Apple all the way and my Droid geeky friends get sick of posting about Mac products all the time. I’m not paid by Apple and I don’t get paid to blog about gadgets (although, if you know of a gig like that opening up can you PLEASE let me know!). I’m just a power user and a Geek Diva Gadget Girl who likes her techie toys. I’m in love with my iPhone, my Mac Pro and I can hardly contain myself waiting for the new iPad 2. But, if you’re still on the fence and want a comparison between the two hottest smartphone options on the planet (sorry Blackberry, I abandoned you in 2009… RIM sucks the big one… OK, truth be told I still have a Blackberry but that’s beside the point) then this article may help you decide.

Amplify’d from manofthehouse.com
 Thesmartphone has become the Swiss Army knife of the 21st century: endlessly useful, cool, and a necessary tool that every man should carry. The difference is that smart phones carry a hefty cost, and they’re not all designed equally well.Two of the most popular smartphones are the ubiquitous Apple iPhone and its new challenger, Google’s Android platform. Here’s a look at how the two phone giants stack up.

Usability

First, we need to be clear about something. There’s no official “Android” phone, just as there’s no official “Windows” computer. Android is simply the name for Google’s mobile operating system, and as such, it’s somewhat difficult to compare the iPhone to Android without being biased. Many functions of the iPhone seem to work more intuitively than those on Android phones, but that’s mainly because the iPhone and its operating system were designed to work together, while Android was designed to be used on a variety of phones made by a variety of manufacturers.

Therefore, if you’re looking for that “wow, cool!” factor, you’re probably going to be more impressed with what the iPhone has to offer. Every function of the iPhone seems to work effortlessly, with intuitive touch-screen controls that have made it the weapon of choice for countless hipsters in coffee shops everywhere. However, most of what the iPhone offers is available on Android phones. You want the web? The Android phones can get you there. You want a touch screen? Android phones have that, too. In fact, the best Android phone currently available, the Nexus One, feels completely natural.

The big difference is that the iPhone is a single device, while Android is a software platform. That makes a straight comparison difficult but not impossible; it’s like comparing Macs to PCs, as many bloggers have noted. Apple carefully controls everything available on its iPhone. Google’s Android, on the other hand, offers its adherents something else: freedom to do whatever you’d like with your phone.

Read more at manofthehouse.com

5 Biggest Losers as Smartphone Sales Surpass PCs

According to research firm Gartner, last quarters impressive personal computer sales pale in comparison to an even faster growing Smartphone market. So, again I ask, to Macbook Pro or do I hold out for the iPad 2?

Amplify’d from gigaom.com

More than 93.4 million personal computers shipped around the globe in the final quarter of 2010, with HP leading the pack of vendors and holding 18.8 percent of the market. Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba rounded out the top five, combining for 58.3 percent of the overall PC market last quarter, according to research firm Gartner. Such sales numbers might be cause for celebration except for one problem: Not one of these companies has a significant presence in the even faster growing smartphone market.

Just how big is the market for pocketable computers — a market the computer industry has had a three-decade head start on? I haven’t yet seen fourth quarter smartphone sales estimates, so we can’t make a direct comparison, but Gartner’s third quarter numbers from last year show that 80.5 million smartphones were sold. That’s nearly equal to the 88.3 million computers shipped in the third quarter, just about 10 percent higher than that of smartphones.

Another startling datapoint to illustrate the challenge faced by PC makers: The up-and-coming Taiwanese company, HTC, expects to sell 60 million smartphones in 2011, which alone would rival the entire 62.7 million computers Gartner says HP sold in 2010. And of course, one can point to nearly 40 million iPhones sold by Apple in its 2010 fiscal year, or roughly three times the 13.6 million Mac computers sold during by Apple in the same period, showing that Apple has a clearer understanding that the future is mobile. Apple has devoted much effort towards iOS devices and is even bringing iOS concepts to its upcoming desktop upgrade called OS X Lion.

These sales trends have been in the works for a few years now, so it’s not surprising that smartphones are about to surpass PC sales, if they actually haven’t already. What is surprising however, is that those top five computer manufacturers aren’t even in the conversation when discussing smartphones. Sure, Dell is starting to get in the game with both Android smartphones and tablets, but it’s not a top-tier brand in either yet. Toshiba and Acer have been in and out of the smartphone game in the past, both using Microsoft Windows Mobile at the time, and that hasn’t worked out either. Acer has since tried to use Android, but its name isn’t on the tip of my tongue when talking about hot phones.

That leaves Lenovo and HP, each of which has their own potential plan to remain relevant in a mobile future. Lenovo is leveraging its home base in China, an area ripe for handset growth, even after it sold its smartphone division in 2008 and then paid double to buy it back 18 months later. But the company hasn’t yet pushed its smartphone strategy beyond the borders of China, where it faces competition from a growing number of cheap Android handsets.

Meanwhile, HP purchased Palm in April of last year for $1.2 billion to get a foot in the door for smartphones, tablets and other devices running on the Palm webOS platform. No new webOS products have come from the purchase yet, but next month, HP is holding an event where it’s expected to debut updated mobile gadgets. Even so, the webOS platform is still far behind the bigger players, such as Android and iOS, when it comes to available apps.

Ultimately, all five of these traditional computer makers are big losers when it comes to the smartphone market right now, although some still have slivers of opportunity available. The longer they cling to lower-margin desktops and laptops, however, the more they risk irrelevancy in the future. And if the comparison in device sales numbers don’t wake them up, maybe innovative accessories that turn smartphones into little laptops, such as the Motorola Atrix 4G dock shown above, will sound the warning bells.

Read more at gigaom.com

 

Why the Verizon iPhone Doesn’t Spell Disaster for AT&T

Could it be true? Is Verizon REALLY fianally getting the iPhone this time… really? According to Mashable.com, even if they do, it won’t mean the end for AT&T. Some customers won’t be able to afford to jump ship and others may not want to do so. As for me, I’m not getting out of my contract until AT&T gets the iPhone 5 and launches their 4G network! If they make it worth my while and one has to assume that a Verizon competition will do just that, I could come out ahead. Oh, and if AT&T gets their 4G network right, it’s a wrap for me… I’m staying put. All eyes are on this new deal… let’s see what happens.

Amplify’d from mashable.com

Verizon is about to deliver a blow to AT&T when it ends the network’s exclusive hold on the iPhone, but it definitely won’t be the end of the world for the second largest carrier in the U.S.

Earlier this week, Verizon announced a press event next Tuesday in New York City. All signs indicate that Verizon will introduce the iPhone on its network and launch it in the next few weeks. At this point, nobody should be surprised: it’s Apple’s worst-kept secret.

Since the news broke about Verizon’s event, there has been no shortage of media reports about the potential negative impact of the Verizon iPhone on AT&T. Some of it has devolved into (justifiable) AT&T bashing, and some predict that it’ll be a major or even mortal blow to the nation’s second largest network.

Let’s take a step back and keep some objective perspective, though. While the Verizon iPhone will have a negative impact on AT&T, it’s not going to break AT&T’s back. The network has been preparing itself for the loss of its iPhone exclusivity contract for a long time. It’s ready to do battle with Verizon.


Huge Switching Fees


While a group of early adopters are likely to burn their contracts and switch to Verizon on day one, the vast majority of people will not. The reason is that the switching costs are simply too high.

AT&T made a smart business decision last year: they bumped up the iPhone’s early termination fee. If consumers want to switch, the first fee they will have to pay is the ETF, giving AT&T even more money to pad its profits.

The second fee is the cost of the Verizon iPhone. The AT&T iPhone 4 is based on UMTS 3G technology, while the Verizon iPhone will be based on Verizon’s CDMA 3G tech. The result is that consumers will have to buy a new iPhone and a new contract. While they can sell their AT&T iPhones, it won’t offset the cost of a new contract and it definitely won’t offset the cost of that early termination fee.

While some consumers can afford to switch, the vast majority don’t have that kind of money and are on family plans that they won’t abandon immediately.

There is at least one more switching fee for AT&T users who want to jump to Verizon: the switch from UMTS to CDMA. UMTS is a more prevalent 3G standard for a simple reason: it’s a better technology. AT&T actually does have the fastest 3G network in the U.S. and it does have the advantage of being able to send and receive data and voice at the same time, while the Verizon iPhone will not be able to do data while on a phone call.


We May Hate AT&T, but It Has a Response Plan


Of course, people will rightly point out that a faster 3G network means nothing if you can’t even connect to 3G in the first place.

Verizon has a lot of advantages over AT&T. It has the largest 3G network coverage in the U.S. More importantly, it doesn’t have the distinction of being the nation’s most despised wireless carrier. I basically gave up on my iPhone at CES in Las Vegas this week and relied on my Verizon Droid 2 instead. It’s utterly embarrassing that AT&T still has these kinds of problems over three years since the iPhone’s debut.

Oh, and the Verizon iPhone will reportedly offer unlimited data as a slap in AT&T’s fast.

That’s not enough to take down AT&T though, and the carrier is ready to fight back against the Verizon iPhone threat. When the iPhone 5 rolls out sometime this summer, both networks will pull out all the stops in order to get consumers. Price cuts, heavy advertising and incentive offerings will be plentiful later this year. Verizon is going to take some AT&T customers, but it won’t get them without a fight.

At the same time, AT&T is stocking up on some powerful phones to complement the iPhone. Motorola debuted the ATRIX 4G at CES last week, a 1GHz dual-core processing beast that sports a 960×540 qHD screen, a 1,930mAH battery and a full GB of RAM. It even has a dock that lets you use your Android phone and a full version of Firefox on the same screen.

It was the best phone to debut at CES, and it is exclusive to AT&T.

The carrier will try to pull away happy Android phone users from Verizon and other networks with competitive contracts and a new line of ridiculously powerful phones. With phones like the ATRIX, Verizon won’t be having all the Android fun.


The Bottom Line


The bottom line is that AT&T isn’t going to be hemorrhaging users on Verizon iPhone launch day due to switching costs, and AT&T has strong profits and a strong line of phones coming to market this year that will keep it competitive, including the iPhone.

The Verizon iPhone isn’t likely to change the fate of either company. Instead, the future of both carriers will depend on the speed and strength of their 4G network rollouts. Verizon has started its 4G rollout and AT&T will begin its 4G launch later this year. AT&T’s past sins could be forgiven if it succeeds in rolling out a reliable 4G network, but failure could cement its rather poor reputation.

Yes, the Verizon iPhone will negatively impact AT&T. However, to say that it will put AT&T on the ropes is just silly. The intense battle between these two carriers is going to play out for years to come, and both have tricks up their sleeves that will continually change the rules of engagement.

Read more at mashable.com

 

iPhone Fingerprint and Face Recognition Add-On for Law Enforcement

iPhone add-on that’s a bit out of the ordinary offering law enforcement fiingerprint, face and iris recognition. I like my iPhone more and more every day!

Amplify’d from www.mediabistro.com
 Here’s something that qualifies as an iPhone accessory that is a bit out of the ordinary. MORIS from BI(2) Technologies is a hardware add-on for the iPhone that provide law enforcement personnel the ability to perform:

– Iris recognition
– Facial recognition
– Fingerprint identification

See more at www.mediabistro.com

 

Video courtesy of BI2Technologies

iPhone users are the most loyal smartphone owners

The smartphone war continues! Worldwide, it seems iPhone users are sticking with their Apple smartphone. For me, I love the Apple interface of the Mac Book Pro, iPhone, iPod(s) and iPad. I’m not so sure that I’m loyal to the product line as much as I want an seemless interaction between my most used devises and therefore I stick with Apple. Well, that and the fact that Apple offers great products. Either way, we’re winning customer loyalty… for now.

Amplify’d from www.mobile-ent.biz
iPhone users are the most loyal smartphone owners

59% say they’re sticking with iOS

New research from GfK claims that nearly six in ten iPhone owners plan to stay loyal to iOS – well ahead of rival smartphone operating systems.

35% of BlackBerry owners say they’ll stay loyal to RIM, while the results for Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile are 28%, 24% and 21% respectively.

The stats are important: they show how rapidly the smartphone market is changing. Symbian remains the most popular OS, but if 76% of those users are eyeing rival platforms, its share may slide fast in the next 12-18 months.

That said, Android’s low loyalty score is also surprising. Google is activating hundreds of thousands of devices a day, but it seems it has yet to engender Apple-level loyalty in its new users.

GfK’s research is based on an online survey of 2,653 mobile users in Brazil, Germany, Spain, the UK, the US and China.

Read more at www.mobile-ent.biz

iPhone Users Download Average of 40 Apps, Android 25, BlackBerry 14

I don’t know what is more interesting to me… that iPhone users are only downloading an average of 40 apps, or that the Nielsen company is did the research for this article. Things that make you go… hmmmm…

Amplify’d from www.intomobile.com

Nielsen AppCategories Study: iPhone Users Download Average of 40 Apps, Android 25, BlackBerry 14The last we had heard in mobile app research was a forecast that there would be 25 billion downloads by 2015, and along the same vein, Nielsen has released the results of a survey of some 4,000 mobile users about their application downloading habits. As you’d expect, iPhone users were the most active, with an average of 40 apps installed, while those with an Android phone had 25. BlackBerry trailed significantly with an average of 14 applications, and across all platforms, the average worked out to 27 applications. Those numbers are all up from December,  showing that even on BlackBerry, interest in mobile apps is growing. No surprise there.

There was also a categorical breakdown of the kinds of apps people were downloading; games were at the forefront, with 61% of smartphone-owning respondents having downloaded one in the last month, followed by weather, maps, social networking, and music. Facebook, Pandora, the Weather Channel, and Google Maps ranked among the top five used applications across all platforms.

I wish there was more usage data published, as I would like to see how often downloaded apps are used on a platform-by-platform basis. I know that on BlackBerry, I have a select few apps, but I make use of them pretty regularly, while my iPod Touch is loaded to the gills with applications that I’ll use maybe once every two months (if that). My brief experience with Android is somewhere in between; maybe half I’ll use with any consistency, and the others are highly situational.

Average per-device application downloads rank in the same order as the size of their respective app stores. At last count, the iTunes App Store had a buxom 250,000 iOS apps, the Android Market sat comfortably in the middle with 80,000 titles, and BlackBerry App World recently broke 10,000.  Obviously if user activity is high, developers will be more interested in getting into the app store, overcrowding be damned.

Read more at www.intomobile.com

Why Skiing Made a Magazine App … for Your Desktop Computer

Bonnier’s Skiing magazine has introduced a new app that runs on your regular desktop or laptop computer. And yes, the people behind it have heard of the iPad. They just don’t think the frenzy over magazines on iPads or other tablets is all that justified yet.

 

All that snow is clearly messing with their brain cells. QUICK… get these people to the beach so they can thaw out!!

Amplify’d from adage.com
The debut of Skiing Interactive.

 

The debut of Skiing Interactive.

It’s not that they’ve got anything against tablets. Skiing Interactive will actually also run on any Android tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab. But because the app uses Flash, it won’t, at least for now, run on the iPad. And that’s OK with them, because they think the untapped market is on the desktop or laptop you’re very likely using to read this article.

They also think magazines’ iPad editions aren’t interactive enough. So most editorial and advertising units in the debut issue are interactive in some way, beyond a “press play” button on a video that’s been added to an article. Many ask consumers about themselves, then provide a tailored graphic, particular advice or a certain recommendation. One ad unit, for example, asks users to tell it how many days they might ski each of several resorts this winter and tells them which package of passes might be best for them. An interactive editorial infographic displays total acres, vertical drop and peak elevation at various mountains.

The Skiing Interactive app doesn’t include content from the print edition; it’s almost all about snack-sized items and graphics. And it doesn’t follow the monthly print schedule either; it comes out twice a month.

Read more at adage.com

 

Move over Apple, you may not be the sexiest phone afterall!

As the smartphone wars continue, it looks like the iPhone (my preference for it’s integration into all my other Apple products) is getting some stiffer competition. Will Apple’s culture hurt the iPhone?

Amplify’d from www.nytimes.com

If you want a smartphone powered by Google’s Android software, you could get Motorola’s Droid 2 or its cousin, the Droid X. Then there is the Droid Incredible from HTC, the Fascinate from Samsung and the Ally from LG.

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press -Steven P. Jobs, in 1984, presented the new Macintosh personal computer.

 

That’s just on Verizon Wireless. An additional 20 or so phones running Android are available in the United States, and there are about 90 worldwide.

But if your preference is an Apple-powered phone, you can buy — an iPhone.

That very short list explains in part why, for all its success in the phone business, Apple suddenly has a real fight on its hands.

Americans now are buying more Android phones than iPhones. If that trend continues, analysts say that in little more than a year, Android will have erased the iPhone’s once enormous lead in the high end of the smartphone market.

But this is not the first time Apple has found itself in this kind of fight, where its flagship product is under siege from a loose alliance of rivals selling dozens of competing gadgets.

In the early 1980s, the Macintosh faced an onslaught of competition from an army of PC makers whose products ran Microsoft software. The fight did not end well for Apple. In a few years, Microsoft all but sidelined Apple, and the company almost went out of business.

Can Apple, which insists on tight control of its devices, win in an intensely competitive market against rivals that are openly licensing their software to scores of companies? It faces that challenge not only in phones, but also in the market for tablet computers, where the iPad is about to take on a similar set of rivals.

“This is a really big strategic question,” said Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein and Company. “No one knows whether openness will ultimately prevail as it did on the PC.”

Apple declined to comment on the issue.

By some measures, the competition Apple faces this time is even more formidable than it was in PCs. In addition to the Android family, Apple already competes with Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry.

And the iPhone will soon have one more powerful, and familiar, foe: Microsoft. That company’s well-reviewed Windows Phone 7 software will appear in as many as nine new smartphones beginning next month. Others like Nokia cannot be counted out.

Read more at www.nytimes.com

Steve Jobs’s Android Obsession Analyzed

Could Google’s Android be keeping Steve Job’s up at night and if so, what is he going to do about it? Leave to Fastcompany.com to put a great spin on the topic.

Amplify’d from www.fastcompany.com

Yesterday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made a surprise appearance on Apple’s earnings call, largely to offer a rant about why the iPhone is superior to the “fragmented” Android platform. Since rants are always ripe treatment for word clouds, we made one (above).

What sort of glimpse into Jobs’s psyche does the cloud offer (besides the fact that he’s apparently much more articulate than Mark Zuckerberg)?

No sense ignoring the elephant in the cloud: “Android” clearly made more appearances than any other word, by far. One might be tempted to read fear or obsession into the repetition of his rival’s name — self-possessed politicians usually settle for “my opponent,” after all — until we scrutinize some of the other words that made prominent appearances.

“Integrated” and “fragmented” were buzzwords, as we noted yesterday, since these were the adjectives Jobs favors over “closed” and “open,” words used by Google’s CEO to describe the iPhone versus the Android. Jobs’s central point is that Apple devices, by working more or less the same way across the board, ensure simplicty for app developers and users — a point reinforced by three other prominent words: “developers,” “software,” and “apps.”

So yes, the Android weighs heavily upon Jobs’s mind; and his dreams are more than likely populated with ravenous green robots consuming everything in their path.

Meanwhile, Google’s Android guru Andy Rubin has fired off a tweet, apparently in code, making the point that Android is the very definition of open. “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make,” Rubin wrote.

What do Rubin’s word cloud dreams look like, I wonder?

Earlier: Jobs Takes a Swing at Android, BlackBerry

Read more at www.fastcompany.com

Verizon iPhone 4 March 2011 debut stales Verizon iPhone 5 launch date

I am gonna need the arrival of the Verizon iPhone 4 (which I’ll believe when it actually arrives in the store) to NOT stop the roll out of the iPhone 5 on Verizon, AT&T or anywhere else.

It could be Apple is waiting for the roll out of the 4G network on both carriers. Then of course there are rumors that Verizon will be the only carrier to have the iPhone 5. Let’s not even talk about how unhappy that little rumor will make me should it come to fruition. I only came back to AT&T to get the iPhone 3Gs. Either way, can we please move past the iPhone 4? The bigger, better iPhone 5 is right around the corner and I WANT IT!

Amplify’d from www.beatweek.com

The Verizon iPhone 4’s early 2011 arrival, which many had interpreted to mean January 2011, is now being pegged as March 2011 by at least one analyst. This new date, if accurate, raises questions about the future of the iPhone roadmap. Apple has historically released a new iPhone model each June or July, going back to 2007. If that pattern holds, the iPhone 5 will arrive in June or July of 2011. In such a case, a Verizon iPhone 4 in January makes sense, as it would allow Apple to begin selling the iPhone to Verizon customers a good six months earlier than if it simply waited for the arrival for the iPhone 5 to do so. But a March arrival date for the Verizon iPhone would raise the question of whether the iPhone 5 is indeed on track for early summer release.

Sure, Apple wants to stop the rise of Verizon’s Droid platform in its tracks sooner rather than later, particularly seeing as how many of those Droid buyers freely admit that they actually want an iPhone but aren’t willing to leave Verizon. But the idea that Apple would take the trouble to put a Verizon-compatible iPhone 4 on the market for a mere three months, particularly with so much of the public aware that Apple releases new-generation iPhones in the summer, would border on overreaction.

Unless, of course, the iPhone 5 isn’t coming this summer after all.

What could be the holdup? The most obvious candidate would be the impending arrival of the 4G network on both Verizon and AT&T. If Apple plans to build the iPhone 5 to be 4G-compatible, then it could hold the iPhone 5’s release until the 4G network has been built out sufficiently on both carriers. Or Apple could opt to release the iPhone 5 at separate times on separate carriers, depending on each carrier’s 4G progress. In other words, the arrival of a Verizon iPhone 4 in March, followed by the arrival of the AT&T iPhone 5 in say, June, and then the arrival of a Verizon iPhone 5 sometime after that, is entirely possible. Apple has never rolled out an iPhone in that manner before. But then again, Apple has never previously had the iPhone available on multiple U.S. carriers.

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