January 13, 2011 § 1 Comment
Daggers drawn, here we go again. With the recent and totally “unexpected and surprise” announcement that the iPhone is heading the Big Red way, we now have a battle on our hands. Until recently, the battle between the two operating systems was fought as a proxy war between the two largest carriers, Verizon and AT&T. With the iPhone now soon to be available on both networks, it makes things a tad fuzzy. Added to the mix is the fact that some of the upcoming Android big hitters are also headed the AT&T way. Until the iPhone exclusivity existed, AT&T either chose or was forced to pick up second grade Androids. That has been changing the last few months and will become obvious with the upcoming Motorola Atrix, Samsung 4G Android devices, Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc and more. On a smaller note, AT&T is also courting Microsoft by being the premier launch partner for Windows Phone 7 devices and also RIM with the exclusive Torch.
The coming months will hopefully provide answer for the following questions:
1. Was Android’s rise only due to lack of iPhone on Verizon?
2. Is AT&T doomed, now that it has the “perceived” poorer network and the iPhone is no longer exclusive?
4. Will Verizon stop or significantly reduce its An”droid” ads?
5. Is the Google-Verizon honeymoon over?
6. What happens to Motorola now that the big ad dollars are probably not there from Verizon?
We are all set for an interesting 2011 on the mobile OS wars. Get ready folks. Its going to be one heck of a battle between the behemoths!
May 12, 2010 § 1 Comment
The iPad is about to have some serious competition. In the marketplace today, the iPad is numero uno when it comes to a must have tablet computer. That might soon change if Google, HP, Lenovo and a myriad of competitors have their way. It is public knowledge that Google is working on a tablet that runs one of its Chromium/Android OS. This much was revealed a few weeks back here. There is even a cool video with a mockup of a tablet running the OS. Fast forward to today where there is tremendous anticipation for an iPhone that runs on Verizon. For everyone complaining about ATT’s network being an impediment to using the iPhone, this was going to be the Holy Grail. Engadget dug up the ATT-iPhone contract details that confirmed that the exclusivity expired not in 2010 as many had predicted but in 2012. This implied that Verizon would have to wait to get the iPhone.
In the meantime, the Verizon – Google partnership on the Droid handsets is flourishing. All the Android devices on Verizon are selling extremely well and are proving to be a cash cow to Verizon. All of a sudden, for haters of ATT network, there is a lot of smartphone love with The Big Red. So it was no surprise when WSJ and Bloomberg leaked information yesterday of a collaboration between Verizon and Google to bring the Google tablet on their network. This makes sense in a lot of ways. Google gets to continue its oneupmanship battle with Apple. Verizon gets to call a tablet its own and the consumer has choice in the tablet segment.TechCrunch breaks this equation down here.
Eventually HP will get into the tablet business with a webOS based Hurricane tablet. Microsoft is already in the tablet business to retain its competitive edge in the OS segment. So a bevy of vendors will tote out Win7 tablets in the coming months. The Lenovo U1 IdeaPad met with good initial response when unveiled at CES. It remains to be seen if it ends up as a meaningful competitor. The iPad will now have to fight it out with multiple tablets featuring different OS’s each with its pros and cons. It will also have to keep upping the ante on the e-Reader front against the Kindle, Nook and the upcoming Kobo from Borders.
For the consumer, it is a win-win. Competition as always forces innovation and price wars. It also means there is an alternative. Bring on the tablets!
April 18, 2010 § Leave a comment
Since its announcement on Jan 8, 2009, the Palm webOS mobile operating system has garnered quite a bit of attention in the mobile world and why not. Being the pioneer in the PDA segment with the original Palm Pilot, Palm’s fortunes had dwindled in recent years. The webOS was destined to be the knight in shining armor for a once beacon and now wounded warrior in the industry. Early reviews of the Palm Pre were generally positive and those of the webOS were extremely positive. But the simultaneous assault of the tremendously popular iPhone OS and the rapidly growing Android ecosystem not to mention the millions of Crackberry faithful, has put the future of the promising webOS in question.
The last few months have seen the stock plummet (chart) and some high profile executive changes. With disappointing 2Q results, there is tremendous pressure on the management to sell the company to the highest bidder (link1)(link 2). Analysts are all over the place running their calculations to compute the fair value per share if there was a buyout. Amidst all this, Palm has announced that it is coming to ATT in the US and Vodafone and O2 in Europe. It has also announced in recent months, a foray into 3D gaming on its platform. All this is heartening to see when there is so much confusion and speculation surrounding its future.
One only hopes that Palm manages to survive and provide meaningful competition to the iPhone and Android OS. The webOS is a very innovative mobile OS that has forced Google and Apple to rethink some key features in their road-maps and such innovation is good for the industry and the user community as a whole. Everyone benefits!