there is always endless hype around the iPhone and apple’s various offerings and samsung has the hottest mobile of the moment. but nokia should never be counted out. nokia’s stock price is up more than 100% since october 2012 when it hovered around the 2 dollar range. the bbc reports that nokia sold more than 14 M handsets. It sold 4.4 million of its new lumia smartphone as well as 2.2 million symbian smartphones and 9.3 million of its inexpensive asha smartphones.
Archive for the ‘mobiles’ Category
video is the leading driver of data traffic on mobile networks. this number clocks in at 50% and sometimes hits 70%. 2013 will be a game changer for the entertainment and mobile industries. and perhaps will alleviate some of the ongoing headaches of ISPs.
with the introduction of the mpeg dash specification and the h.265 codec. mpeg dash should solve a lot of headaches for compressing video for various data rates so that companies such as netflix, which has been known to encode 100s of files to accomodate the various connection speeds of their customers, can compress 1 for multiple bitrates. h.265 will halve video files sizes of h.264 video. the h.265 codec uses hevc (high efficiencey video coding) that is more efficient than avc and provides a space saving of 50% with higher resolutions.
the lte version of the samsung galaxy s3 was released late november 2012 in germany. since then carriers have had a hard time keeping the new phone in stock. we took stock of this (no pun intended) over the holiday shopping season, visiting various electronic shops such as saturn while also cruising by free standing carrier shops for vodafone, debitel and t-mobile. we were only able to find the phone at a t-mobile phone. the lte version of the s3 comes with 2 gb of RAM (an increase by 500MB from the version released over the summer). both versions have the 16GB and 32GB internal speicherplatz (as it is called in deutschland). samsung has announced that a 64GB version is coming soon.
there was a time when people in the u.s. just wanted a mobile phone that worked and could be used for emergencies. they would hide it in the glove compartment of their automobile, avoid giving the number out to their friends, and immediately forget their own phone number. that was the 90s.
unlike in europe and asia, the cost of having a mobile phone in the u.s. is still incredibly expensive. the u.s. is perhaps the only country in which a consumer pays for incoming and outgoing calls. although phone companies give-a-way around 1000 free minutes a month, once the phone bill comes in, it is beyond possible to separate the credits from the debits.
prior to 2001, only around 40% of americans owned mobile phones. three years ago, that number was 53%. now the number is 73%. while in the uk, a country with a population of 60 million, the saturation rate is 102%. germany, which has a population of 82 million, has a saturation rate of 96%. japan, with a population of 127 million, has a saturation rate of 74%.
in the 1990s in the united states, mobile phones were primarily used by business people and the affluent. at the end of the 90s, with the introduction of a digital system to replace the analogue system which was curiously american, the price of cell phone service (as its known in the u.s.) began to drop.
the relationship americans have with their phones is different than the rest of the western world and parts of asia. basically, americans still own mobile phones for utility reasons. the pager market was huge in the states, but essentially died on the vine everywhere else. in the 1990s and early naughties every kid had a motorola pager so their parents could send them the following message ‘come home now’ or ‘call me.’ and their friends took advantage of the same opportunity. then in the naughties, 2 way pagers were introduced. people could send 1,000 email messages per month for $9.95. no wonder pagers hung around far longer than they should’ve in the states.
while americans were sending pagers messages from their land phones and pay phones, europeans were sending text messages. the finnish company, nokia experimented with sending the first text message between 2 mobile phones in 1993. europeans were immediately hooked.
text messaging just started taking off with teens and tweens in 2004 in the u.s. but it is still a bit slow on the uptake. while attending an international conference, you will see americans on their blackberries and treos. i recently attended an international music convention in france. i sent an american an sms, two days later i saw him on the street and he said ‘i got your text message.’ why don’t americans ‘get’ text messaging? this was explored in an article on business 2.0, which is part of cnnmoney.com.
first we had fingerprints, now according to the economist a firm called VoicePay is hoping that their VoiceVault software sort out what your voice print is and then you can pay for whatever. do we really need this?
if you call the sprint customer service line too much, you just might have to find another mobile phone service provider in the u.s.. get the details
over the past few years, north american record labels have been hoping and praying that ringtones and digital tracks via iTunes would replace declining CD sales. but as we can all see, it hasn’t. what has happened is that the music industry has inadvertently helped to revive the fortunes of apple whose share price in 1998 fell to $1. in 2003, the music industry crawled up steven jobs’s ass (so to speak), offering a-list artists and their hit songs on a platter, when 2 years prior, they refused to do a similar deal with napster.
the difference between napster and jobs? well, jobs is a billionaire with a brilliant house and a way with words oh yeah, and a marketing genius. napster was technology created by a 19 year old. and for some reason, the music industry was more frightened by a middle-class teen than a middle-aged billionaire. go figure.
fastforward 4 years to, well, now. and now that apple is the 3rd biggest music retailer behind walmart and best buy, the record labels are again calling foul. how many times do we have to hear that steven jobs pulled the wool over the industry’s eyes. that he ‘used’ the industry to market the iPod. and that the industry should get a cut of this revenue. doesn’t anyone know anything about patents? the music industry (aside from the pennies deal they made with walkmans and cd/dvd burners) isn’t entitled to anything. the industry has its intellectual property and nobody has to put their tunes on iTunes.
while 4 years ago, it was tough to sell artists on letting their music be sold digitally via iTunes, now it’ll be even harder to explain to artists like u2 or mariah carey or justin timberlake why their songs can’t be sold on iTunes.
has the music industry created a monster? yes and no. i don’t think anyone should blame apple for what’s happened to the music industry. i wrote an article on digital distribution back in 1997 around the time mp3s and CD burners hit the market. this article pre-dated napster by 2 years. the article is still on wired and has been sited in numerous academic papers.
downloading is not a bad thing. the problem with the music industry and with regular retail stores, at least in the u.s. is you can walk into a store and look at a cd. you can touch the album, read the packaging, but you can’t listen to everything in the store. that was always a huge problem. in the past, mom n’ pop stores had an edge over chains like walmart, due to customer service. when i was in college, my best friend and i used to go by our favorite record shop once-a-week (sometimes more) and pick up new stuff. the music buyer at the shop used to pick up special titles especially for us and was constantly introducing us to new music. you can’t get this kind of service on iTunes.
the problem is systemic. yes, the labels crawled up apple’s ass, and forgot about the towers and the arons and the rhinos of the world. –all of which have closed over the past 2 1/2 years. and the music industry didn’t rethink (and still hasn’t rethought) how to reorient itself. why not let shops download tracks from a central server and sell them for 99cents just like iTunes. they can opt to let users burn them to disc in the shop or to load them onto their portable player.
what i’m driving at is, i still think customer service and interracting with people still means something. i used to love going into arons every saturday, chatting with the sales clerks, and looking around to see who was in the shop. one time i saw henry rollins, another time i saw keanu reeves. you still get this with amoeba, but amoeba is so big. i kinda crave the intimacy of arons. but we can’t cry over closed record shops. the world has moved on.
since voice dialing is essentially the only way you can legally use a mobile phone in your car, is the lack of a voice dialing function on the iPhone going to hurt it? according to the economist it will. that along with the fact that it takes about six steps to make one telephone call. the article blames these oversites on apple’s refusal to solicit input from wireless services companies such as AT&T, which has an exclusive lock on the phone in the u.s. over the next 2 years. additionally, the phone isn’t equipped to use 3G cellular networks, so surfing the web is cumbersome.
on tuesday (or was it thursday?) the sarkozy led french government banned the use of the blackberry by government officials out of fear the devices are being monitored by the CIA. or something like that. the financial times published a humorous article entitled ‘blackberry fools’ about politicians and their crackberries.