This week in mobile – April 10, 2011

Here are the important things happening in the mobile industry…

Carriers

AT&T/T-Moible merger to get close scruitiny from lawmakers. See here, here, and here

My Take: A merger like this certainly should be scrutinized closely as T-Mobile did provide lower cost plans than AT&T. However, the reality of the situation is that T-Mobile does not have the resources to compete with the other three carriers in the 4G space. T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network cannot grow like the LTE and Wimax networks being used by its competitors. T-Mobile will have to merge with another carrier to survive. AT&T does make the most sense as they use the same GSM technology as T-Mobile. Along with the technical problems, a T-Mobile/Verizon merge would face the same wrath that the AT&T deal is facing and Sprint isn’t interested.

Verizon iPhone up to 1 million users? comScore is estimating that Verizon has sold over 1 million iPhone 4‘s based upon its own survey data. Not bad for 2 months of sales.

Platforms

Apple

iPhone 5 and iOS 5 delayed?
There have been a bunch of stories this week about iPhone 5 being delayed to the fall or later. These have been countered by others claiming that iPhone 5 will ship in July, like the previous versions.

My Take: It certainly sounds like iPhone 5 is not going to make a debut this summer. The evidence against it happening include Sony’s delay in production of camera sensors and WWDC is about iOS5’s future not its debut.

I think that if iOS5 is not ready to ship shortly after WWDC (Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference) in June, then iPhone 5 won’t be out until the fall. Apple’s hardware and software is so closely tied that I highly doubt they would introduce a new phone before the new OS is ready. Of course, we won’t know when iPhone 5 will actually ship until Apple tells us.

It does seem that there is some wisdom in moving the iDevice debuts to September as that would lead into the holiday buying season.

Delaying too much past September will be a problem as the iPhone 4 will start looking old compared to the new dual core, large screen, LTE handsets coming out.

Personally, I do hope they ship in July. My iPhone 3GS is feeling sluggish running the latest version of iOS.

Microsoft

The one good thing about the Kin was “Kin Studio”, an online backup of your content (pictures, video, text messages). It is nice that your content is constantly synced, but the web interface to browse the content was very nice too. According to TechCrunch, Kin Studio may be coming back as part of Windows Phone 7. That would be welcome indeed and help Microsoft differentiate their platform from Apple’s and Google’s.

Tablets

Apple

iPad 2 sold 2.5 million units in March but I’m sure that Microsoft’s Craig Mundie is correct and tablets are not here to stay. How many cycles can Microsoft miss and stay relevant? See here, here, and here.

RIM

RIM is getting ready to launch its PlayBook tablet in April but it has been confirmed that the 7″ tablet will not include native email, contacts, or calendar application at launch. Until those features will be added later on, you can get access to those features by pairing a BlackBerry with the tablet.

My Take: Really? You’re planning on taking on iPad without email? Really? RIM put itself in an awkward position by announcing PlayBook late last year and needs to deliver a product, but this just seems like it is destined to fail.

Commerce

Lots of mobile payment news this week!

American Express has created a service to compete with PayPal called Serve. Serve will have mobile apps to allows for peer to peer transfers of money. Out of the gate will be an iOS and Android app to allow users to manage their accounts and transfer money. See here and here.

Windows Phone 7 is now  jumping into the NFC game. It isn’t clear if there is a payment system in the works or being endorsed but it sounds like Microsoft is, wisely, adding NFC support into WP7. I would guess it would be part of the big Mango release coming out later this year. This would be consistent with Nokia’s desire to add NFC to all their phones. Also see here.

Sprint is looking to introduce their own mobile payment solution in 2011. I was wondering why Sprint is the only major US carrier not involved in the Isis initiative and now I know why. Sprint’s model is going to be more like the European model where instead of keeping a piece of each transaction, they want to charge a yearly fee based on number of users. This news comes at the same time that we learned that Sprint will be carrying the Samsung Nexus S, Google’s NFC enabled Android phone. Also see here.

Not to be left out, Amazon is said to be looking into its own mobile payments solution also.

The Isis venture announced its intention to build an NFC based payment system with three major carriers and Discover back in November 2010. It looks like we’ll have to wait a while to see it in action though as they announced trials in Salt Lake will start in early 2012.

And that’s the news…

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About Lee J.

Mobile Guy!
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