Posts tagged 'AT&T'
Apparently, Facebook “Home” is not to be, not yet at least.
The Android application launched by Facebook to create an FB overlay on the Home screen of the phone was supposed to be the big bet by FB to control the first touchpoint screen for a smartphone user. But due to poor reviews by initial analysts, Facebook is said to be revamping the FB Home application. The device which was supposed to launch this was HTC One and in US, AT&T was to be the exclusive carrier for this. In UK, operator EE and Orange were planning to launch it. The social network is said to be encouraging the carriers to delay the launch to give the firm more time to create a more palatable user experience.
The battle for the phone user is becoming more intense as time goes by. With smartphones overtaking web users globally, it is of paramount importance for tech firms to own the phone customer and drive more and more smartphone traffic to these firms’ offerings, in order to attract ad revenue and other commerce monetizations.
Without a doubt, Facebook social network application remains one of the top apps on all mobile systems including Apple iOS and Android. But Google, Facebook, wireless carriers and other media are jostling for more and more of user attention on phones as well as real estate on the limited phone screen, which are the next evolution of internet cycle.
Facebook released the following statement on Thursday evening via Engadget: “Following customer feedback, Facebook has decided to focus on adding new customization features to Facebook Home over the coming months. While they are working to make a better Facebook Home experience, they have recommended holding off launching the HTC First in the UK, and so we will shortly be contacting those who registered their interest with us to let them know of this decision. Rest assured, we remain committed to bringing our customers the latest mobile experiences, and we will continue to build on our strong relationship with Facebook so as to offer customers new opportunities in the future.”
HTC First aka “Facebook Phone” (Photo: Courtesy / HTC)
After extremely disappointing sales of the HTC First, Facebook will reexamine the Facebook Home before expanding its operating system to more phones in more countries.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he would’ve rebuilt Facebook as a mobile exclusive app if he had the chance, so clearly offering a solid mobile experience means a great deal to Facebook. In this regard, the Facebook phone was a brilliant idea and makes a great deal of sense — like Google and Android, a true Facebook phone would allow Zuckerberg & Co. to have complete control over the user experience and ad strategy. The HTC First was the company’s first attempt at such a device — Facebook would focus on software while HTC would focus on hardware — but with the phone failing so soon after its initial release, Facebook will need to take a long look in the mirror.
Failure of the HTC First may be blamed on Facebook’s decision to make Facebook Home features too accessible to other mobile users on Android and iOS, or maybe Facebook will realize that the Facebook Home features were not that stellar to begin with.
Facebook has fumbled on mobile before, when it launched it’s first mobile site using the mobile browser channel – with poor user feedback on that approach, Facebook later changed course and focused on more cleaner mobile apps, but this was much later in it’s lifecycle; Facebook mobile has a history of bouncing back. The early years of Facebook mobile efforts were limited to working on a common mobile website version of it’s platform addressing multiple platforms like iOS and Android with one approach. It later realized that that approach did not augur well and got into building platform specific Facebook apps, which have been superb hits since.
The last note above take one back to mobile site vs mobile app debate, which continues to simmer in the mobile development world. So far, it seems, the Apps are winning with many firms (eg Financial Times) having switched from a common http://m.xyz-firm.com approach to custom mobile apps for each mobile platform. More on this later in this space.
(with extracts and ideas from International Business Times article dated May 24 by Dave Smith)
May 26th, 2013
At the outset, we would like to wish a Very Happy New Year to our readers and Thank You for your continued patronage of CellStrat content. This is the first post of this year and starts with lot of hopes and aspirations for our readers and ourselves in the Year 2013.
As is customary each year, the year kicks off with the massive Consumer Electronics Show or CES in Las Vegas. We are glad to report from the ground there (well, just kidding) – we are hooked to the internet and getting minute by minute news feed from the ground so it is same as being there physically (almost).
Today was the first major day of CES. Some notable news from CES :
Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs opens the event with the “Born Mobile” mantra
Every year, either Bill Gates or Steve Balmer provide the opening keynote at CES but this year it was taken by Qualcomm CEO, a pre-dominantly mobile chip firm. This highlights the importance of Mobile to all things electronic now. With smarter devices and smarter everything, mobile chips are in almost everything we see in the future right from home appliances to mobile devices to industrial equipment, as well as most automotive assets like cars, trucks and containers.
Paul Jacobs explained his “Born Mobile” mantra today and there was a surprise when Steve Ballmer joined him on stage briefly – Paul said that even Microsoft has adopted the Born Mobile mantra. Paul launched Qaulcomm’s new Snapdragon 800 processors, which are the fastest mobile processors on earth as per him. These chips are about 75% faster than previous processors and can deliver HD video seamlessly as well as support Ultra HD television.
Sony launches new signature smartphones
Sony launched new Xperia Z Android smartphones, which have a five-inch screen, HD 1080p Reality Display and 13 megapixel camera. It is powered by a Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon processor. What was unique is the new One Touch functionality that allows the device to wirelessly interact with other Sony devices such as speakers, headphones and TVs. Sony showcased a new Bravia TV which can display the phone content from the new smartphones if the phone is tapped to the TV remote.
Intel launches new smartphone chip family
Intel launched new chips for smartphones and tablets at CES today. Intel has been late to the mobile party and struggled againts ARM Holding and Qualcomm in this space. Now it is trying to get its mobile act together with an array of new smartphone and tablet chips.
The company’s new Atom processors which are in the next-gen category will be available in 2013 holiday period. The new chips assume Touch based interface as a key aspect of the functionality.
Samsung brings smartphone experience to it’s TVs
Samsung announced seamless integration between its smartphones and Smart TVs. The phone functionality of Touch and Speech recognition will be made available in Smart TVs. Samsung is probably the biggest success story of 2012 and has taken market share in almost all categories.
AT&T focuses on Digital Life and Project VIP
AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega showcased the new Digital Life offering which falls in the Connected Devices or M2M category. This solution involves a Connected Home and Security apparatus and applications with remote management and monitoring of the Home by consumers and home owners. Glenn Lurie, head of AT&T’s Connected Devices business said, that less than 20% of US homes have security and less than 1% homes have home automation.
AT&T is pioneering the M2M space and a global leader in evolving and maturing M2M business models around Home and Security.
AT&T also announced APIs for developers to provide advanced call management applications – these probably use the IMS or IP Multimedia Subsystem interface to the wireless network.
AT&T also announced its intentions to deploy its new LTE network to 300 million people by end-2014. Currently, AT&T’s LTE network reaches 170 million people in USA which places it in second ranking behind Verizon in LTE deployments.
Project VIP (Velocity IP) is AT&T’s new $14 billion investment initiative to focus on LTE, Connected Home and other emerging areas.
Other news at CES today included LG announcing special emphasis on NFC as a linking tech to link all its products and providing an ability to put all these devices on the Connected Grid for remote management and control, Nvidia launching the world’s fastest mobile processor (as per its claims at least) and NTT Docomo launching a new M2M platform for global service providers using Jasper Wireless platform.
If one were to summarize, this year’s main themes seem to be Smarter and Faster Mobile Chips, Connectedness, Smart Devices, Digital Television etc. Let’s see what the remaining days of CES offer. We are watching the news in excitement about the up and coming technologies at this event. To get full coverage on this event, visit the event website here.
January 8th, 2013
Since the launch of Apple iOS 6, one is seeing major activity in the world of Digital Maps. Both Apple and Google have been duking it out recently on this front. Before the iOS 6 was released, Google Maps was the default map application installed on the iPhones. But map application in recent times has become perhaps the most popular mobile app and hence substantial customer engagement and media sales get initiated with the map experience. The primary fruits of iPhone mapping app were being enjoyed by Google, until iOS 6 came along. With iOS 6 and iPhone 5, Apple decided to take the Map app internal and worked on Apple Maps for this version of iOS, thereby dropping Google Maps as the default Map app on the new iPhone.
In it’s haste to release the Map App along with iOS 6 launch, Apple mapping team seemed to compromise on reliability and accuracy in Apple Maps. The error proved deadly, as the Apple Maps app was widely criticized after iOS 6 was launched, being that rest of the iOS 6 as well as iPhone 5 was much appreciated. Apple Map Apps shows incorrect placement of landmarks and is frustrating mobile users around the world who rely on smartphone maps to guide them around cities.
This resulted in Tim Cook of Apple issuing an apology to Apple customers. Google, with a guilty pleasure, enjoyed the Apple Map criticism. Google has since announced that they are working on a custom Google Maps app for the iOS 6 platform. It is expected to come out before the end of the year.
Why are Map Apps such a big deal after all ? In an App survey conducted by Wireless Technology Forum, Atlanta, Google Maps was rated as the most popular mobile app. That means that navigation and directions via smartphone maps has become the most key use of these phones. One knew that Mapping Apps were popular and widely used, but who would have guessed that Map App is “the” most popular mobile app out there. Especially Google Maps. Obviously, smartphone users really use this app in their daily movements.
Maps are also used for the most cutting-edge of phone applications, that is Location-Based Services or LBS. LBS refers to finding businesses nearby and guiding customer traffic to those businesses. LBS also enables local advertising and shopping. LBS is key aspect of SoLoMo – Social Local Mobile – a concept referring to convergence between local commerce, mobile phones and social shopping.
Maps also facilitate searches now – Search is more relevant if locational aspects are added to it. Search Advertising has been a revolutionary concept and LBS makes Search even more relevant.
When the iOS 6 Apple Maps app faced ridicule, Tim Cook suggested that iPhone customers download Bing or other Map Apps from App Store. Google, of course, had not planned a iOS 6 compatible Map app, until it realized that iPhone users were clamoring for the Google version, after having experienced the cloogy Apple Map App. Apple Map flap has caused many a casualty at Apple office – with many execs including one of the most senior execs, Scott Forstall, being asked to leave. Just today, Apple fired another manager in charge of Map App.
With the Apple Map app mess, other mapping programs have gained eg Embark and Bing Maps.
Mapping wars are front and centre in the smartphone evolution, the various map providers need to check their coordinates in this new war.
November 29th, 2012
Today Chetan Sharma, prominent Wireless Consultant in US and a friend of CellStrat team, released a great summary of Mobile Data market updates from Q2 2012 quarter (some are US specific stats while others are global stats). The key points from Chetan’s note are :
- US Mobile Data market is $19.3 billion in Q2 2012. Data now accounts for 42% of US mobile industry revenues.
- In terms of Y/Y growth, Connected Devices segment grew 21%, Prepaid 12%, Wholesale 4%, and Postpaid was flat. AT&T, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon are number one respectively in these categories.
- Prepaid subscriptions exceeded 100 million for the first time in the US. This is also indicative of US’s downward economics trends. Postpaid growth is slowing in the US.
- iOS and Android are the two dominant mobile OSes. Windows Mobile may be third but with a very tiny market share.
- Samsung dominates global device unit shipments – however Apple has 70% of global mobile device profits in spite of just 5% of device market share. Samsung now leads in every major unit sale category both on the world stage as well as in the US. However, profits are a different equation where Apple overshadows its rivals like Gulliver on the Lilliput land.
- Apple iPad has 97% of global tablet profits with the remaining tablet players fighting for remaining crumbs.
- Smartphone penetration crossed 50% in the US.
- Ranking for top mobile data profits globally includes China Mobile, Apple, Verizon, AT&T, and NTT DoCoMo, in that order.
- AT&T and Verizon have launched shared data plans (a first – where two or more folks share the same data plan on a family account) in the USA.
- US continues to sell over 40% of the world’s smartphone every quarter thus making it the most attractive market for OEMs.
- The overall data consumption in the US market in 2012 is expected to exceed 2000 Petabytes or 2 Exabytes. The smartphone data consumption at some operators is averaging close to 850 MB/mo. As we move into 1GB range along with the family data plans kicking in, you can expect the data tiers to get bigger both in GBs and dollar amount.
- Globally, one sees a Mobile First approach by firms now evolving into Mobile Only approach. Leading apps and services like Facebook, Twitter, Pandora are already operating in the world where mobile is driving majority of their user engagement. Expedia, Fandango and others are seeing the early signs of migration into the mobile dominated world. Very soon, mCommerce revenues will overtake eCommerce revenues.
- Q2 2012 again saw tremendous activity in the mobile commerce and payments space with a lot of announcements from the operators, Internet players, and startups as well as the retailers and the ecommerce players. All are vying for a piece of the mobile wallet. Much more to come in the next 12 months. On the retail side, Starbucks is a player to watch as it tries to become a more active participant in the digital ecosystem.
- Race to a billion – China is first nation to cross a billion subscriptions. (I guess India is second, massive population helps of course)
You can refer to this Update from Chetan and the other content on his site at http://www.chetansharma.com/.
Chetan Sharma is also organizing his high-end mobile conference Mobile Future Forward on Sept 10th in Seattle. Highly recommended, with a great set of speakers and topics.
August 13th, 2012
News Corp. is forming a partnership with AT&T Inc. to provide tablet-based learning and assessment products for kindergarten through grade 12.
The two companies said Monday they would offer a 4G mobile platform on tablets through a pilot program this coming school year. News Corp. also announced that its education business would be named Amplify.
The media company’s statement on Monday was its most detailed outline of its plans for expanding into the education sector since it spent $360 million in late 2010 to buy 90% of Wireless Generation, an education technology company that makes online tools to evaluate students and personalize instruction. Wireless Generation forms the core of Amplify.
Amplify will take Wireless Generation’s offerings a step further by introducing more original curricula and tools designed for students rather than teachers. In an interview, Joel Klein, News Corp.’s executive vice president in charge of Amplify, said it was critical that students have access to the platform both at school and when they take tablets home. “The idea that you can do this 24-7 can really change the game,” said Mr. Klein, who was chancellor of the New York City Department of Education before joining News Corp. in 2011.
The K-12 e-learning market in the U.S. is roughly $5.4 billion currently, a fraction of the amount spent on traditional educational materials like textbooks. But the digital market is growing about 20% annually, according to Michael Horn of Innosight Institute, a non-profit think tank.
Educational publishers such as Pearson PLC, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co. and McGraw-Hill Cos. education unit are already endeavoring to expand in digital, while technology companies including Apple Inc. also are trying to establish a presence. At the same time, states are cutting back on spending for textbooks.
Most of the content of companies like Pearson, McGraw-Hill and many others for K-12 segment is being digitised and programmed into tablet formats in Bangalore, India too as a cost cutting measure as well as they are also able to find market for their products in India and thus lot of schools and corporates are getting subscription based services for accessing such content on tablets.
(Excerpted from article in WSJ)
August 1st, 2012
The latest news that came out of FMC, Facebook’s event for marketers on Feb 29, was that the social network would be on the verge of upgrading its premium ad product offering. From now onwards, Facebook would also be focusing upon the branded ad unit that performs best in terms of click through rate, conversions and effective CPM, the result of which would be higher effective yields, better advertising performance for brands and superior user experience. It also stated that Facebook would be considering new content strategies in order to enable greater success and scale. Stress will be laid upon the content, not ads and consumers will be considered as better brand advocates than the brands themselves.
It has also been noticed that emphasis will be laid upon “consumer-initiated advertising”. In fact, most of the biggest brands like Unilever, Coca-Cola, Kraft, and AT&T have been working very hard since the launch of Facebook pages in order to deliver a consumer focused social experience. Conclusion drawn from the event stated that, consumers only want to engage themselves in brand “conversations” rather than listen to brand monologues. It is also true that a brand recommended by a friend would always be more attractive than one promoted via impersonal ad.
In actual practice, Facebook’s branding power truly relies on the concept of “contagion”, where the interaction with the brand spreads like a virus across Facebook social graph through word-of-mouth advertising. Posts on Facebook are being turned into ads thus encouraging more users to interact with the brands’ most engaging content.
Sponsored stories are being considered the most in this era of marketing. It is the wave of the future for advertisers looking to build brands, and this new direction from Facebook opens the door to greater engagement and higher quality advertising experiences, thereby yielding an average effective CPM premium of 60 percent.
At the same time Facebook will be creating ability to advertise based upon actions within applications, which will further increase the relevancy of ads on user activities that are relevant to brands beyond “like”. In the near future it is anticipated that advertisers will be able to leverage the actions like “Spotify”,”Hulu”,”Netfix” and “Washington Post” in their campaigns on Facebook, mobile and beyond even if the administrative rights are not with them.
Also, sponsored stories increase the importance of targeting to the most relevant and engaged audience segments, using highly targeted interests, demographics and segments to ensuring the best campaign performance by placing importance on relevant content, thus driving greater success.
But, the researchers anticipate that this directional shift won’t be unique to Facebook and anticipate that all other social network platforms, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ would move in this direction with time.
March 27th, 2012
ISIS is a mobile wallet that consumers with ISIS-ready phones—available through Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile—can use to make payments, redeem offers, and earn loyalty points at participating local businesses starting in mid-2012. The system is compatible with Chase, Barclaycard, Capital One cards and available selected markets like Austin and Salt Lake City. However offering a simplified checkout, ISIS gives merchants a way to engage with customers through integrated loyalty programs and special rewards and offers. ISIS has not disclosed the transaction costs for merchants.
The companies will support the Isis Mobile Commerce Application in current and future products. Consumers who use the Isis app on their phones will be able to tap their phones at point of sale terminals to pay and redeem coupons and enter loyalty information. Retailers will need to upgrade their existing terminals in some cases with hardware add-ons and in other cases, through remote software updates.
The Isis system, like Google Wallet, relies on near field communication (NFC) for contactless payments. That requires NFC chips inside both a handset and at the point of sale terminal. By lining up partnerships with the big POS terminal makers, it makes it easier for retailers to move forward and adopt Isis, which will launch first in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah in this summer.
Isis previously won agreements from hardware manufacturers HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, RIM, Samsung Mobile and Sony and also signed up the four main payments network- Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Last week, it announced its first banking partners: Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard, who will place their credit, debit and pre-paid cards on the Isis app. Isis also showed off the first look of its mobile wallet app.
Isis is not rolling out as fast as chief rival Google Wallet, which launched in September. But it’s methodically lining up all the pieces it needs to make a big push. And since the venture includes three of the four biggest carriers, they have the inside track in pushing an NFC-based wallet, since they can control the NFC secure element. Isis still has a lot more to show off and the launch this summer will help determine how viable the venture will be. But looking at the deals it’s lined up, Isis is serious about being a contender.
March 20th, 2012
The Mobile World Congress is happening in Barcelona, is the world’s largest mobile phone trade show. Where technology companies discuss future of communications and the network society. MWC 2012, offering the world the fastest and most powerful new mobile devices on the planet. This conference has attracted over 3000 chief executive officers from the telecommunications sector around the world and expected to give a platform for players in the mobile industry to make announcements of their latest innovations. This year quad-core processors are likely to be a big theme from all the top manufacturers. On the opening day of Mobile World Congress, Nokia, HTC, Huawei, Samsung, and Sony Mobile announced more than a half dozen new phones.
Nokia Lumia 900: First announced in January for AT&T’s LTE network in the US, the Nokia Lumia 900 will now be available worldwide in an HSPA+ edition. The Dual Carrier HSPA phone will allow for downloads up 42.2 Mbps. With a 4.3-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display.
Nokia Lumia 610: It’s aimed at young people who want access to a smartphone experience at the right price. Offering access to social networking, games, Nokia Maps and navigation, web-browsing and Nokia Music
Nokia 808 PureView: A 41-MegaPixel Nokia smartphone, the 808 Pureview offers enhanced low-light performance as well as sophisticated image compression designed to help users share pictures.
HTC One X: This is a killer phone. The One X features the Tegra 3 quad-core processor. It has four 1.5GHz main cores and a secondary core for low-power tasks. It boasts a 4.7-inch Super LCD display with 1280 x 720 pixels for full HD resolution. The 8-megapixel camera is aided by an ImageChip to help process images faster. It comes with Android 4.0.
HTC One S: This is also a killer phone, but not quite as killer as the One X. The display drops down to 4.3 inches and qHD (960 x 540) resolution, it has a dual-core SnapDragon S4 processor, and substitutes plasma-coated aluminum for the One X’s polycarbonate shell. It has the same camera and same software as the One X. The good news is that the One S will debut on T-Mobile’s network in the coming months with support for 42Mbps HSPA+.
HTC One V: The One V is a middle-of-the-road smartphone from HTC that still offers good looks and solid features at an affordable price point. The phone has a 3.7-inch display with 800 x 480 pixels, a 5-megapixel camera, a 1GHz S2 SnapDragon processor, and Android 4.0.
Huawei Ascend D Quad: Huawei claims that the Ascend D Quad is the fastest smartphone ever built. The company is using its own processor –rather than one from Nvidia or Qualcomm. Other features include a 4.5-inch 1280 x 720 HD display, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture, and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera for those video chats. Huawei plans to introduce several variants of this phone in a number of markets during the second quarter.
Sony Xperia P: Sony added two phones to its Xperia NXT line, and the P is the first of them. It’s not as amazing as the Xperia S, announced at CES earlier this year. It has a 4.0-inch Reality Display with Sony’s BRAVIA Engine and WhiteMagic, a new display technology for an ultra-bright and power efficient viewing experience. It also has a 1GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, 8-megapixel camera with HD video recording, and NFC (near field Communications). Unfortunately, it ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and owners will need to wait until later in the second quarter for Android 4.0 to arrive.
Sony Xperia U: The Xperia U is aimed more at the entry-level range and has the specs to back that up. It has a 3.5-inch Reality Display with BRAVIA Engine, 1GHz dual-core processor, and 5-megapixel camera HD video recording. It also has “xLoud” stereo sound. The Xperia U has the same Android 2.3 OS out of the box as the Xperia P, and will see Android 4.0 later in the year.
February 28th, 2012
2011 saw a lot of excitement over M2M (machine to machine communications) and the Internet of things. That it might also be looked back upon as the year when mobile telcos came to terms with the fact that they wouldn’t and couldn‘t control (monetize) the smartphone and its apps may not be coincidental. M2M is seen as a long-term revenue earner for mobile telcos and a natural fit. They are not going to let this one slip away without a fight.
Why now? Mostly because the cost curves for the necessary embedded modules are going in the right direction and there’s a rising realisation of the scope and value of large scale M2M deployments. That in turn is leading to more optimistic forecasts from market watchers and more excitement in the telco camp over the number of potentially connected devices out there to be joined up and the revenue to be made. According to the wireless analyst firm Berg Insight, the number of cellular network connections worldwide used for M2M communication was 47.7 million in 2008. The company forecasts that the number of M2M connections will grow to 187 million by 2014.
New findings from ABI Research show that operators are offering incentive deals to application developers to stimulate the uptake of the M2M market.
US mobile operators AT&T and Sprint have recently struck deals with wireless embedded module vendors to provide modules for M2M application developer partners at discounted rates.
Small but useful concepts are being developed by both small and big players in India and some that I came across included mobile devices that are connected to tablets through wifi or otherwise over a long distance and being used for monitoring temperature in pharmaceutical manufacturing units in Uttrakhand region of India; similar such devices are being tested to keep a watch on patients/ old age people in hospitals/ old age homes; same devices with little tweaking can be effectively used in defense storage and research too; systems have been developed to control lighting in various parts of buildings or complexes with controlling capabilities through android and iPhone apps over tablets etc.
I believe 2012 is going to be the starting year for increased usage and developments of M2M based systems.
(Ref: Excerpt from telecomtv)
January 2nd, 2012
According to IrishTimes.com, Research In Motion has acquired Ireland-based digital content company NewBay for $100 million:
NewBay staff were informed of the company’s purchase by the Blackberry maker yesterday.
It is understood that RIM intends to keep NewBay’s software development centre in Dublin, which employs about 200 staff. It will be the first facility for the Canadian firm in Ireland.
NewBay develops software for use on mobile phones which enables users to create and share digital content such as pictures and videos, as well as updating social networks.
It signed deals for its software with a number of major networks including T-Mobile USA, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica O2, France Telecom Orange, US Cellular, ATT, Telstra and Verizon.
(Source: Irish Times Newspaper)
October 7th, 2011