The Neo-Luddite Cometh?

The last year or so has seen the beginning of a subtle trend towards disconnecting from the always-on world that we live in. Some hipsters have embraced the not-so-smart flip phone, along with film-based cameras and other such curiosities from the technological past. We even got temporarily swept up in it a couple of years ago when I put my smartphone away for a week or so and dusted off my old Motorola Razr. It was an interesting experience, but hardly life-changing. What I learned most was the value of self-control: I didn’t HAVE to check my email as soon as it arrived. It could wait.

Apple Takes Another Big Bite from the Smartphone Market

Tuesday’s Apple event proved, once again, that the industry should never underestimate how successfully Apple can break the mold or flaunt conventional wisdom. Everyone knew two new iPhones were coming – and that they would be 4.7” and 5.5” and that they would look nice, and that they would fit neatly into the current buying, stocking, and usage trends for smartphones in the U.S. (as we discussed in our press release last week). But seeing a mock-up, or sketching something out as a model, or examining a pirated photograph is a poor substitute for seeing something in person. And it is impossible to express how slick both new iPhone models are until you see them in person and hold them in your hand.

AT&T Buys DirecTV: The Merger Market Evolves

It’s official: AT&T plans to plunk down nearly $50 billion to purchase DirecTV in a deal that, on the face of it, is a head-scratcher. Why exactly would AT&T be interested in the satellite TV business when u-Verse delivers a next generation solution? And at a time when the cable companies are seeing most of their growth come from broadband services, not new TV subscribers.

Subsidization and Free Data: The Ultimate Tablet Carrot?

Just six months after launching its free tablet data (200MB) offer, T-Mobile is back, pushing the boundaries further. Dubbed Tablet Freedom, the new offer gives tablet customers an extra 1GB of 4G LTE data for free until the end of the year. And there’s more: to help boost tablet sales, T-Mobile is subsidizing the price of 4G-enabled tablets, creating price parity with the Wi-Fi only versions (in the case with the iPad Air 16GB, customers will be able to purchase the 4GB version of the tablet for $499 versus the regular price of $629) with a zero-down installment plan. Moreover, customers will be able to trade in their old tablet (including Wi-Fi only tablets) and upgrade to a new tablet. And as a little more icing on the cake, T-Mobile will pay the ETF (Early Termination Fee) for those customers churning their tablet data subscriptions from rival carriers.

Generation Me: Disrupting the Living Room

I recently participated in a panel debate at the NPD DisplaySearch US FPD conference on the future of the smartphone and tablet, considering which, if either was more likely to drive greater market disruption moving forward. My inclination was to back the sure thing: the smartphone has already disrupted so many surrounding technologies and I see no reason why it will slow down any time soon.

AT&T Takes First Step in Toll Free Data World

AT&T has taken the first significant step towards toll free data services today, launching a service dubbed the “Sponsored Data” solution. The basic premise of such a service is that the consumer should not necessarily need to pay for the underlying data consumed to access a service. In other words, this has the potential to replicate what 1-800 numbers did for voice calls once upon a time.