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October 30, 2009

Wireless zeitgeist

"High Price for iPhone in China Will Test the Appetite for Apple"

The buzz-killer is price. China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd., which will start selling the device Friday, is offering a version of the 32-gigabyte iPhone 3GS for 6,999 yuan ($1,024) without a service contract, which is the most popular way for people to purchase phones in mainland China. That compares with about the $800 consumers pay for the same product in nearby Hong Kong, which has different wireless carriers.

Some stats from this article: China has 710 million wireless subscribers, compared to 217 million in the US; price of the iPhone in China with 2 years of service: $3,120, and $2,600 in the US; smart phones sold in 2008 in China: 11 million versus 33.9 million in the US.

"Unraveling In-Building Wireless Networks"

Mobile workers often complain about wireless connections in the office, while cellular carriers are grappling with a rising flood of traffic. Some technology vendors are betting they can address both problems at once.

One Silicon Valley start-up, SpiderCloud Wireless Inc., is introducing technology next week to take over the job of delivering either cellular or Wi-Fi signals to the smart phones or laptops of workers in the office.

The performance improvement is so dramatic, SpiderCloud executives claim, that some customers might choose to dispense with desk phones—letting employees rely on cellphones alone.

"Sprint Continues to Shed Customers"

Sprint Nextel Corp. posted a wider third-quarter loss as subscribers continued to leave the mobile-phone service provider for other carriers despite the launch of some new handsets.

The number of subscribers slipped 1% from the prior quarter to 48.3 million. The company lost a net of 545,000 wireless subscribers, including 801,000 customers on contracts, putting the total decline in the last eight quarters at about 7.8 million.

I think this will change as Sprint releases more Android phones. Their customer service has vastly improved, and I think they have a good chance for a turnaround.

Speaking of Android: "Motorola Droid Makes Its Debut

The Droid, which will go on sale for $199 starting Nov. 6, is the first device using Google Inc.'s Android software to run on Verizon Wireless' network. The major push from the biggest U.S. wireless carrier underscores the momentum of Google's Android platform, which has seen a number of phones launch in recent months.

Remember, the Google Voice Search is the killer app for mobiles, IMHO. This means that the Android OS becomes a worthy competitor to the iPhone and BlackBerry in the very near future.


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