Microsoft is buying Nokia’s Devices and Services business for roughly $7 billion. The deal signals the end of an era in the mobile space, with Nokia effectively now pulling out of the mobile phone business. But beyond this era-ending component, Microsoft’s acquisition signals a bold move by the software giant to accelerate its plans in the mobile space by owning, for the first time, both the software and hardware required to grow the Windows Phone operating system, which currently accounts for less than 3% of the smartphone installed base in the US.
Most conversations over the past few days have begun with, “Did you watch ‘Breaking Bad’ Sunday?” Between DVR, Netflix, and HBOGO, it’s been quite a while since I’ve viewed a show during its broadcast. This time I did, kind of, only a mere 15 minutes after its broadcast so that commercials could be skipped.
Mobile phone trade-ins have rapidly moved from being an obscure option to one that is front and center at the major carriers. The shift comes as the carriers look to move away from the subsidy model – led by T-Mobile’s “Uncarrier” initiative, but also by the increased demand for no-contract variations as the market hits a new level of maturity...
This week Verizon and Motorola introduced their new family of Droid phones – the Mini, Ultra, and Maxx. This generation of Droid phones includes the kind of spec upgrades expected in a high-end smartphones. For the most part, all phones in the series have the same hardware such as 2GB of RAM and a 10 mega-pixel camera. Notably different, though, is the 4.3-inch screen in the Mini, the thin form factor of the Ultra (which excludes the wireless charging to reduce the thickness), and the mammoth 3,500 mAh, 48-hour battery in the Maxx.
I’m not an easy-going smartphone user. I seem to make a habit of breaking them one way or another, and never in a typical “whoops I dropped it on the floor” kind of way. I’m more the “huh, why did that fall off” or “where are my shorts anyway” kind of smartphone abuser. And summer time is when I’m more likely to have problems, not least of which is the perennial fear of dunking my phone in water, be it the ocean, a swimming pool, or even a large puddle (it finally stopped raining on the East Coast folks!).
The native apps versus mobile web technologies debate stems from the fact that while apps have become the de facto way for content owners, retailers, brands, and others to extend content experiences, drive commerce, and build brand and loyalty among mobile consumers - delivering consistent app experiences across multiple platforms/OS and device types can be daunting and costly.
In-line with the company’s “data-held-closely-to-the-vest” culture, Netflix did not offer much visibility into smartphone and tablet usage during its first quarter earnings call. However, we know that Netflix usage, particularly on tablet platforms, is significant and growing. Netflix is not only far and away the most popular subscription video app, and second only to YouTube, it also leads in overall in engagement (time spent) on tablets, with usage approaching nearly one-third of total video-viewing time during the month of March, according to Connected Intelligence’s SmartMeter...
Dish shook up the wireless market today with an offer to buy Sprint, arguing that the deal it has put on the table is worth 13% more than the current Softbank offer. But beyond the size of the deal, Dish has a compelling argument in terms of the synergies of both companies. Dish has spectrum waiting to be used – something that Sprint could clearly benefit from – as well as a large customer base in the U.S. market. By contrast, as we noted when Softbank made its initial bid for Sprint, there are fewer obvious benefits of a Sprint/Softbank deal. But more importantly, this is the first case of a Pay TV operator buying into mobile telecom, rather than a telecom company moving into Pay TV, a case of “man bites dog” compared to the more usual outcome.
Debunking widespread speculation that Facebook was planning to launch an actual branded phone, a “Facebook Phone,” the company instead announced the launch of “Facebook Home.” Maybe it’s just semantics – (not to quote the movie “ET”) “phone” or “home” – but Facebook Home essentially achieves the same end-goal, but via different means and wider distribution potential.
Until this year, SXSW always seemed like the cool kids’ show. The show that I looked at longingly from afar, but could never justify attending as a mobile analyst, despite its buzz-worthy tech appeal. This time I finally made it for a private collocated pre-show event, which afforded me a fleeting glimpse into some of the mobile goings-on, and most notably Urban Airship’s “Mobile Saturday” event.