This Week (December 03, 2010)

Here is a summary of interesting news in the mobile industry.

Carrier News
Verizon announced that its “4G” LTE service will go live on December 5 in 38 markets (including Boston!). Verizon promises 100% nationwide coverage with LTE by end of 2013. LTE offers much faster download and upload speeds than EV-DO. Speeds can be up to 10x faster than 3G at launch but the technology is capable of much more. Initial tests are showing it to be very fast, but we’ll see how well it holds up when a large volume of users start pounding on the network.

Two USB modems are the only LTE compatible devices Verizon is offering at launch. Expect more devices to follow early in 2011. Several handset manufactures have already said that LTE handsets will appear in early 2011. CES should be quite interesting this year! One big question about LTE handsets will be their battery life. Most 3G smartphones have a hard time running a full day on a charge. 4G will not help that.

Verizon is charging a monthly fee of $50 for 5GB and $80 for 10GB. Overages are $10/GB. That’s not too bad actually.

Verizon LTE Website

Smartphone market share
Reports measuring the mobile market share were recently released by Nielsen and comScore.

Nielsen’s report concluded:

  • Just under 30% of US mobile customers use a smartphone
  • iPhone and BlackBerry each have about 27.5% of the market and Android has 22.7%. As a point of reference, at the beginning of the year iPhone had 28%, BlackBerry 35%, and Android was 9%.
  • iOS and Android are just about tied for most desired OS.

comScore’s report concluded:

  • 25% of US mobile subscribers use a smartphone. This figure of 60.7MM is up 14% from the previous quarter.
  • RIM leads in share of smartphones with 35.8%, but that is down 3.5%.
  • Apple is in second at 24.6% which is a gain of 0.8%.
  • Android is third at 23.5% which is a gain of 6.5%. It should be noted that Android is on pace to pass Apple in marketshare soon.
  • Use of mobile services (sent text message, used browser, downloaded apps, etc.) all rose in the last quarter.

Although the actual numbers are not quite the same, the trends are. Apple is holding steady, RIM is declining, and Android is quickly growing.

iOS 4.2.1 was actually released! iPad owners rejoice!  Although iPhone/iPod users are getting AirPrint and AirPlay, iPad users are getting their first release of iOS 4 with multitasking, folders, and all the other good stuff the iPhone got last summer.

iOS 4.3 is supposedly only weeks away. The rumored new feature is support for magazine subscriptions.

Is Apple stealing RIM enterprise talent? Within the last 18 months, Apple has hired up five people from the RIM enterprise team. It is not only significant that Apple is seeking such talent, but that RIM is losing it quickly.

There were a few items about the new old kid on the mobile block…
A tweet from official Windows Phone 7 Twitter feed (@windowsphone) claims that WP7 devices will hit Verizon “this holiday season”.

Dell is taking orders for its Venue Pro, which got off to a very rocky start. The first devices were only available through Microsoft stores were plagued with problems. Hopefully they fixed the wifi and SIM reading issues because the device looks very nice otherwise.

Microsoft is not paying developers for their shipping apps until Feb 2011. Considering that third party developers will make or break the platform this seems like an odd move. MSFT should know better.

RIM just purchased the Swedish UI design company “The Astonishing Tribe” (or TAT) to build up their PlayBook and smartphone interfaces. This is just the type of move RIM really needed to make because the ancient BlackBerry interface is really starting to hurt their bottom line.

Samsung announced that they sold 3MM Galaxy S phones in the US in Q3 giving it 32% of the total and making it the number one seller of Android phones for the quarter. Having a model on all four major carriers certainly helps.

Mobile Commerce on the rise
Shopping tool provider TheFind claims that mobile shopping trips using their service over the holiday weekend increased by 4.6x over the same period last year. Mobile use of their service accounts for 25% of the total which is up from 15% last year. Another interesting fact is that half of the users of their smartphone app used the barcode scanning feature.

And that’s the news…  Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.

About Lee J.

Mobile Guy!
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