Welcome to ZenUnwired; a blog dedicated to tracking developments in technology and strategy, and to deciphering the impact of these developments on wired and wireless ISP's, device manufacturers, OS and application developers, and most importantly - you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Weekly Roundup - As Of May 11th 2010

First off, I apologize for the delay in my post for the week. I had an extremely busy week last week and I'm just about completing the tasks that I had in my 'to-do' list. So without further ado, here is a recap of the latest happenings in the wireless industry.


Industry News
  •  Since growth in the postpaid segment slowing down, it looks like emerging connected devices are all the rage these days. It looks like wireless providers are getting up for this coming data tsunami. Recently, Gerhard Fettweis, Vodafone chair professor told his audience that he expects that there will be 100 billion cellular enabled devices by 2020. Analysts are busy trying to make sense of this trend and unsure at this point whether this opportunity represents service provider nightmare or nirvana
  • The other big trend in the US wireless market is the emerging dominance of prepaid. It is a well known fact that postpaid growth is slowing down in the US. AT&T and Verizon's recent quarterly reports provide evidence of this fact. Prepaid on the other hand is growing in leaps and bounds as evidenced by quarterly reports from Sprint, Tracfone and more recently from the quarterly reports of MetroPCS and Leap.  Most analysts believe that Sprint is ahead of the pack because the value it brings to the table with its nationwide network and low price point. Sprint is continuing to increase it bets on the prepaid space by announcing enhancements to its Virgin Mobile brand.
  • Smartphones: IDC recently reported that the smartphone market grew by 56.7% YOY in 1Q2010. So which smartphone manufacturers benefited most from this spike in growth? None more than Apple. The company saw sales of its iPhone rise 131.6% YOY for a 16.1% share of the global smartphone market. Motorola and HTC too experienced dramatic increases in sales. Motorola rose 91.7% for a market share of 4.2%; HTCSo which smartphone manufacturers benefited most from this spike in growth? None more than Apple (AAPL). The company saw sales of its iPhone rise 131.6 percent year-over-year for a 16.1 percent share of the global smartphone market. Motorola (MOT) and HTC, too, experienced dramatic increases in sales. Motorola’s rose 91.7 percent for a market share of 4.2 percent; HTC’s rose 73.3 percent for a 4.8 percent share rose 73.3% for a 4.8% share. Perhaps one of the reasons for this dramatic increase is how smartphones make it easy for consumers to consume content on their phones. The other notable trend in smartphones this week is how android devices are outselling iPhone's (per NPD). Honestly I don't think this trend is very noteworthy. The iPhone hasn't had a refresh in quite a while and I'm willing to bet that these numbers will change dramatically when the new version of the iPhone arrives in the marketplace sometime in June this year.
  •  Another worrying trend that seems to be developing is the need for cloud capabilities in the wireless space. Devices like the Palm pre, the iPhone and the plethora of smart devices that we should expect to see in the coming few months or depend on the cloud primarily for data storage. But with access to data dependent on network availability, there is an open question on how quickly you can get your data when you need it. Here is a great article on the need for cloud computing in wireless. And another one on making sense of the cloud from a technical perspective.
  • Other soundbites

Wireless Carriers

Device Manufacturers
  • Both Palm and HP have been surprisingly quiet since they announced the purchase agreement few days ago. The rumor mills have therefore gathered steam in their predictions that HP will be releasing a webOS based tablet in Q3. I hope this is true because this would imply that Palm has the opportunity to not only survive but also thrive under HP's leadership.
  • As expected, Apple's fortunes are growing everyday. With 1M iPads sold, iPad surpasses the original iPhone's sales numbers. We can only expect the iPad sales numbers to grow on the back of the international launch of the iPad. Nine countries are slated to get the iPad on May 28, and nine more will be added to this list in July. In other Apple related news, Apple announced that it is killing Lala shortly. That is also a lot of excitement about the iAd platform and the new features in the iPhone OS 4.0.
  • Nokia's strategy continues to confuse me. On the one hand this stated strategy is to double down on emerging markets, but on the other hand Nokia's CEO has been making the rounds pledging to close the gap on smartphones. While these two goals are not technically in conflict with each other it still makes for a very odd pair.
  • This new device from Motorola brought a smile to my face. While I usually do not write about new device launches the RAZR3 is definitely worth a mention. In the new world order consisting primarily of smartphones, I really don't think that the RAZR3 stands a chance but the goodwill surrounding its predecessors might just make this device click. Here are some more details about the RAZR3
  • In other news Samsung released the Bada SDK this week 

Mobile OS



Industry News

Wireless Carriers:
  • There's been a spate of earnings announcements this week in India. For starters, Idea cellular announced that its net profit went up by 4.5% in 4Q (ending March 2010); and it announced plans for spending Rs 3,000 Crores in capital expenditures going forward. It also announced that it is not open to dynamic pricing which is a newly emerging pricing mechanism in India. Uninor (a joint venture between India based Unitech and  Telenor of Sweden) on the other hand posted losses of over Rs 720 Crores. The company said in an official statement that this loss was driven by costs related to the start up of the business in India. Uninor is also reported to be open to the MVNO business model for a faster roll-out of its services.
  • In service level innovation news, Reliance Mobile launched a new VAS called ‘Mobile Jockey’. No one is really sure how this works or what the value add is, but Reliance is continuing to talk it up. Airtel on the other hand is bringing Radio Mirchi (which is a Times brand) to its customers handsets.


When that's all folks! I'm on vacation for the next couple of weeks so there will be no updates for me during this time. See you on the other side!