Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nokia: Can you count?

Oh Nokia, how we miss seeing you being mentioned in the mobile news sites. Unfortunately for Nokia, nothing ever good comes out of it. Most recently Nokia has decided to go back to its' old number system for their mobile phones. They're attributing this to helping consumers who are mentally challenged to memorize a name. Here is the link to their recent blog: http://conversations.nokia.com/2011/08/01/whats-in-a-name-nokias-product-name-conventions/

I might have rephrased it differently than Nokia did on their recent blog, nevertheless it was implied in their message that consumers need to be treated like children. "People understand the logic behind ‘the bigger the number, the more you get’ philosophy." One thing Nokia needs to do in order to become relevant once again in the mobile community is to stop treating us like children.

If anything has been proven to be memorable in the past 5 years it's that consumers are more likely to remember a name/trademark/color rather than a series of numbers. When we think of the word "iPod" or "Droid", we can attached a phone to that name. Can anyone recall the 3650? No? Don't worry I don't expect anyone to. It was only the first U.S. phone with an integrated camera including the symbian OS (which was revolutionary for it's time).

This move by Nokia is only covering up the real issue here, which is the lack of support by their developers on their OS and inability to take responsibility for segmenting their phone lines. The light at the end of the tunnel for them is the Windows platform that they will be moving towards next quarter. Suggestion to all my readers, come back and see Nokia in one year and watch as they retract this statement and release trendy names for their new Windows powered phones.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Countdown to Blackberry's end!

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of speculation as to the future of the company that produces the popular Blackberry devices known as RIM. I'll sum it up for you in the following:

1) Speculation on Google purchasing RIM.
2) CEO Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie doing some "restructuring".
3) New phones have been heavily delayed.

I'd like to start off by saying that RIM's days are numbered. It is quite clear that there are many things they have to get settled internally as well as getting back into the top of the smartphone category.

As for the rumors/speculation on Google purchasing RIM. It is quite possible that might happen as Google currently only handles the operating system and could venture into mass production of their own branded phones. I personally do NOT want this to happen as this will only confuse the consumers as to the definition of an "Android" phone. For example, how would people differentiate between an Apple iPhone and a Motorola iFone if they both have the same iOS. Clearly the consumers will purchase the Apple iPhone as this is the known standard for iOS device. Word of advice to Google, stick to what you're good at, which is data mining.

I won't even go into the whole "restructuring" fiasco going on at RIM, as those two CEOs have no clue what they're doing or intend to do in the near future. Its fairly simple folks, get your devices out ASAP before more of your loyal BB users leave and get themselves an android or iOS device. Put a lot of money into R&D and have more variety in touch screen devices and deviate from the usual slab style QWERTY phone.

RIM's current situation is very similar to what happened to Palm back in the early 2000s. Being complacent with their position in the smartphone race and making very minimal innovation while others take huge risks. iPhone and Android devices deserve to be where they are now due to their overwhelming amount of money invested towards R&D, marketing, and listening close to what consumers' needs are. It'll take a miracle for RIM to actually live to see 2014 in its current state. I definitely do wish RIM for their efforts, however its too little, and 3 years too late.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sony PSP+Phone: How can two things be so terrible?

1994 was a defining year for the gaming industry. Sony's first jump into the videogame console market proved to be successful and spawned 2 more consoles. Along the way, Sony had the courage to once again challenge the reigning champ Nintendo in the handheld console market with the Sony PSP. Despite what people may say, the Sony PSP has solidified itself as a serious portable console and is widely owned by many teen and adult gamers. Now here is the dilemma, why would you create a new product that will be up against your flagship portable console?

The only outcome I can foresee from experiment is either one of their products failing, if not both. Phone functionality aside, the idea of gaming on a cellphone is widely used on most advanced phones i.e. iPhone, Android devices is nothing new. There is no innovation in terms of graphics or gameplay that will set itself from other similar devices that can play similar, if not the same game.

Luckily, Sony is not calling this device a PSP Phone and have dubbed it the Sony Xperia Play. The last thing Sony would want to do is run the Playstation/PSP name into the mud.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Blackberry got impregnated by Android!! Droid Pro Available NOW!!

My wish has become a reality! A Blackberry-like device with Android OS inside. There are usually 2 different groups of smartphone users, people who can deal with touch screen, and people who needs a QWERTY physical keyboard. With the release of the Droid Pro, people can now have the best of both worlds. It is operated just like a regular touchscreen, however you can start typing to initiate a search or command.

It's pretty clear that Motorola wanted to take what has been working great for RIM, which was the physical keyboard. With that newest addition, along with the 1 GHz processor and 2 gig internal memory, Android is ready to dethrone the QWERTY king. RIM better start working on something new. (hint hint Webkit) This release will definitely snag a few Blackberry users away from RIM.

It is currently being sold for $179.99 after rebate w/ 2 year contract through Verizon Wireless.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Increasing ETFs: Fair or Injustice?

For as long as I can remember, early termination fees were a fee that ensured customers did not break their contacts as well as subsidizing the mobile handset. With the recent increasing number of carriers raising their Early Termination Fees (ETF), we have to wonder if this is justified or are the mobile carriers trying to make a profit by penalizing customers who break their contract terms.

As of this posting, there are currently 2 major carriers in the U.S. that have in the past year increased their ETF to almost double the amount previously. It also has sparked numerous questions by the FCC as this is drawing a lot of attention from consumers.

For this example, we will be looking at a full MSRP price of the Blackberry Curve 8530. It is currently priced at $359.99 without a contract, and FREE with a contract. The Blackberry Curve 8530 is considered a low-mid range smartphone as compared to the Blackberry 9650.

The Blackberry 9650 full MSRP price is $509.99 and $149.99 for a 2 year contract. Given these two phones and if they were both purchased with a 2 year contract, it would be advantageous for Verizon Wireless to sell the Blackberry 9650 as they will be able to collect on the same amount of ETF regardless of which phone is chosen.

Blackberry Curve 8530
0 Initial Phone cost
+350 ETF
= 350 (MSRP = $369.99)
= $19.99 Difference

Blackberry Bold 9650
150 Initial Phone cost
+350 ETF
= 500 (MSRP = $509.99)
= $9.99 Difference

Are the cell phone carriers getting away with raising the ETFs? Yes. Is it a lot? No, because at most they are pocketing is no more than $10-30 dollars and that is only assuming that person cancels within the 2nd month of their 2 year contract.

Honestly, we should be very glad that the carriers even subsidize the phones in the first place. Does anyone need to be reminded of the iPhone's original $600 release? I pray that we never have to go through that again.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Google TV. . . .You can't escape!

Recently the news broke out about the Sony / Google partnership to create what will be called Google TV. I was excited and deeply saddened by the news. In a way, I am disappointed that Google would have to side with TV manufacturers and at the same time see this as a great way to break into the TV/Cable market. Just as they did with their cellphone OS, they intend to do something very similar for televisions. I really don't approve of this as television makers should be flocking to Google, not the other way around.

The original concept of Google TV was that they were going to create a box that will work in conjunction with regular cable providers/content providers in order to bring a new web experience to our television set. This was obviously the most effective way as they will not be stepping on any cable provider's toes as well and providing great content to consumers.

The new information shown at the Google TV website that was very interesting were of course apps. Apps that would definitely be popular would be the social networking apps as well as Netflix for movies. How easily these app will be created remains to be seen. If it is anything like the apps for their android devices, it should steadily increase after the release.

We can all agree that the future of television will in some way be intertwined with the web. It does not mean that people will want to browse websites while watching "The Office", but what it will do is for Google to be able send us relevant ad and or recommendations. Some of this can already be seen on Hulu Plus through their commercials during the program.

Whether you like it or not, Google is coming after your television set and will eventually be part of your living room.

For more information, please visit http://www.google.com/tv/

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cellphone plans: Wallet getting thinner?

I've recently been researching different plans amongst the main 4 nationwide cell phone carriers and have come to a determination that no matter which cell phone carrier you have, you will end up paying $80+ tax included.

We have T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless. In order to make things simple, I am only going to tackle the single line with a text package and additional smartphone data plan. (taxes/fees excluded)

$79.99 Talk Text Web Plan
500 Mins
Unlimited Text/Web
Unlimited N/Wkn Mins

$39.99 Nation 450
$25.00 2 Gig Data
$15.00 1500 Text
= $79.99
450 Mins
5000 N/Wkn Mins
*Rollover mins*

$69.99 Sprint Everything Data
Unlimited Talk*/Text/Data
*Unlimited calls only to mobile phones

Verizon Wireless:
$59.99 Nationwide Talk/Text
$30.00 Unlimited Data
= $89.99
450 Mins
Unlimited Text
Unlimited Data

From what I have listed, it would appear that Sprint does have the best value as it has everything unlimited for lowest monthly fee. While at the top of this list is Verizon Wireless at $90/month. To be very honest, I have to commend Sprint for promoting this type of plan as it is quite clear and in turn less confusing for the consumer. If only other carriers take note of this and make similar changes to their plans as well.

I would like to also suggest an alternative to all of these 4 carriers. I had recently found out about Virgin Mobile's $25 monthly plans which comes with 300 Mins w/ unlimited Text and Data. The phone selections are quite slim, however there are Blackberries ($10 additional) and the soon to be released Samsung Intercept. The best thing about all of this is that there is no contract, except you will have to pay $250 for the price of the phone. It might seem like a lot now, however in a few months you'll easily be saving a lot more than if you had signed up with the other carriers. Link: http://www.virginmobileusa.com/