Home | Stories | Reviews | TreoCast | Treo Store | Accessories | Software | Discussion at webOS Nation | Mobile | About | Search
treocentral.com >> Stories >> Business
Talkin' Treo

Fri Feb 2, 2007 - 10:11 AM EST - By Annie Latham

Talkin' Treo Extra

With my column appearing on Ground Hog Day, it crossed my mind that I could have taken the same story and repeated it over and over again (with Sonny & Cher’s "I’ve Got You Babe") streaming in the background.

But that would have gotten old really quick. However, I am going to change things up this week. Since I ended up filing this column early, before jetting to South Florida for a nice mid-Winter’s break, I figured that this would be a great opportunity to talk about some trends that will no-doubt impact the world of Treo.

So without further ado, Let’s Talk Trends!

Mobile Data Spending – Verizon Leads the Pack

IDC research just published a report stating Verizon is now the U.S. market leader on mobile data spending per customer basis among the national carriers.

"Our research found that at $7.27 spent per-customer on data services in 3Q06, Verizon Wireless became the new market leader among the national operators, eclipsing Sprint Nextel, the long-time leader in this metric at $7.15," says Julien Blin, research analyst for IDC's Wireless and Mobile Communications program. "Among the national carriers, Verizon Wireless is today the overall leader in data services in terms of total wireless data revenue, data percentage of ARPU, and data spending, although Sprint Nextel and the other national carriers continue to lead in select services."

To me, Verizon’s leadership position isn’t surprising since their EV-DO has been something touted by Palm and Treo users as a huge plus. It got a big plug when the Treo 700w was announced (Palm and Microsoft Join to Bring the Palm Experience to Windows Mobile: Verizon Wireless First to Market with New Treo Smartphone) in September 2005:

"The Treo smartphone on Windows Mobile is a CDMA-based phone targeted for the U.S. market and takes advantage of Verizon Wireless' BroadbandAccess service on its EV-DO network with download speeds averaging 400-700 kilobits per second. Today, about half the U.S. population, in more than 84 metropolitan areas and in hundreds of airports across the nation, can access download speeds comparable to DSL or cable-modem connections. Verizon Wireless has been expanding its BroadbandAccess service area steadily since its debut in the fall of 2003."

What I did find surprising was the dollar amounts discussed:

  • There are more than 229 million U.S. wireless subscribers who are spending an average of $6.00 per month on data services.
  • Customer spending on data services contributed a total of $4.1 billion in revenue for 3Q06.

    Also, IDC says messaging contributed nearly half the data revenue, while business- and consumer-oriented services and content constituted about 40%, and content and simple application downloads came to about 12%.

    Which brings me to the next trend that keeps making its way into the news: Will Smartphones Make Laptops Obsolete?

    This story, published by The Red Herring, points to several industry analysts who are leaning in that direction.

    One thing for sure is that there will be price pressure. Apple is planning on charging a premium for the iPhone ($499 and $599), and they’ll have plenty of takers. And Microsoft (and partners) have been trying to convince the world that what they need is an Ultra-Mobile PC that’s priced just below $1,000.

    For most of us, sub-$300 is the way to go. As noted in this Seattle Times article:

    "The glory days of the big premium on handsets is over," said Jane Zweig, chief executive of The Shosteck Group, a wireless consultancy. "It's a tough industry."

    The article also notes:

    "Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, LG Electronics, Sony Ericsson, Research In Motion and Palm all continue to battle for the allegiance of lucrative business customers or high-end consumers willing to splurge on a feature-laden mobile device."

    No doubt, there are trade-offs to weigh.

    It’s the Carrier, Stupid!

    The thing I’ve never liked is carrier exclusivity on certain phones. I’m sure AT&T (formerly known as Cingular) is "Snoopy-dancing" about their iPhone deal.

    This week we learned that could have been Verizon , but they opted out. Yeah, and a lot of happy Verizon customers will be looking over the fence in June, pondering life on "the other side."

    Shifting Gears – Thoughts on 2007 Predictions

    Guess I’m not the only one looking at trends 4 weeks into the New Year. A story that appeared in eWeek listed predictions from wireless consulting company inCode (a division of VeriSign) for the 10 most important events in the wireless industry for the coming year.

    I’ve highlighted some of them below. For example, on the top of their list is Social networking, followed by Mobile TV, cheaper and more flexible devices, and GPS. The bottom half includes: mobile advertising, entertainment and security.

    I have to say, those inCode folks are definitely on the right path. And so far, their predictions tie in with other stories that have been circulating.

    Let’s touch upon a few:

    #1: Social Networking goes Mobile

    inCode stated, "Sites such as MySpace and Facebook will add mobile users to their business model, and similar services will gain popularity with professionals and older users."

    James Quintana Pearce of mocoNews.net mentioned social networking in his predictions : "The number of mobile social networks will increase (and by that I mean social networks designed for mobiles from the beginning, not web sites that start offering mobile functions). There’ll be a lot of launches but few will achieve any substantial level of success."

    Here’s an example of a recent social networking launch:

    IceBreaker, Inc. Launches Dating Platform Designed First and Foremost for Cell Phone Users.

    Called Crush or Flush(TM), IceBreaker’s interactive mobile dating platform provides “an easy way to flirt, chat, and meet real people with similar interests in your area -- right from your cell phone.” The less I say about that one, the better. So moving right along, #2 on the predictions was Mobile TV.

    #2: Mobile TV

    Regarding Mobile TV, inCode said, "It's just now making its first entries into the mobile device market, but it will become a primary driver of revenues."

    If the content is compelling, I tend to agree.

    During the CES show, Samsung Electronics announced the development of a new mobile television standard that enables portable devices to receive digital signals from local TV broadcasters. According to The Wall Street Journal the technology operates via existing television infrastructures, including spectrum and transmitting towers, enabling broadcasters to sidestep investments in separate network build-outs or carrier partnerships. This definitely opens up content possibilities.

    And Sarah Jane Tribble of the Mercury News asks in the lead to her article , "What if the entertainment industry spent big bucks to create television shows, movies and games for mobile phones -- and nobody watched?" Technical issues and costs are two huge barriers to acceptance. Which reminds me, Samsung mentioned the possibility of advertiser supported content as a way to keep costs low. If it is compelling and relevant—it could work.

    The mention of advertising brings me to Trend #7…

    #7: Mobile Advertising

    inCode stated, "Mobile advertising will boom. Be prepared for ads with your text messages and elsewhere on your 3G phone, targeted just for you."

    But alas, it won’t be limited to 3G phones. A recent NY Times story (registration required), mentions:

    "Cellular phone carriers like Verizon, Sprint and Cingular, now the new AT&T, are beginning to test and roll out advertising on mobile phone screens, and by next year, cellphone advertising is likely to be more common. In exchange, the companies say, their subscribers will enjoy improved mobile Internet services and content provided free or at reduced prices."

    So Samsung isn’t the only one considering this model.

    Into this mobile advertising category, I’m adding ( "M-Coupons". Per a new JupiterResearch study, while adoption of mobile coupons remains limited, consumer interest is sufficient to add the service to the overall advertising mix:

    "Twenty-four percent of cell phone owners are interested in receiving special offers and coupons on their cell phones, yet barely one percent of cell phone owners have used text messaging for the purposes of obtaining a coupon or discount," Jupiter research director Julie Ask said in a prepared statement. "Cell phones offer advertisers the opportunity to serve highly targeted, just-in-time coupons to their customers, but opt-in requirements require a mindset that more closely resembles e-mail marketing than traditional coupons."

    Now this is a development that will be interesting to watch.

    There’s one more I’d like to cover today – entertainment.

    #8: Entertainment

    inCode said, "Home entertainment will become part of the wireless world. This will include music and video downloads over both high-speed data connections and Wi-Fi. You will be able to play music, watch television or meet other data communications needs with your wireless device."

    You know that’s Apple’s sweet spot. InformationWeek reported global spending on mobile music (from ring tones to full-track downloads) will top $32 billion by 2010. These numbers come from industry research firm, Gartner. They predict that spending on music for cell phones will increase by nearly two and a half times this year's predicted $13.7 billion (and this growth will occur despite competition from digital music players, and a host of challenges faced by telecommunications carriers in delivering these services). Guess there’ll be a lot of "dancing in the streets."

    So let’s shift to an area that didn’t make the trend cut -- Mobile Pay .

    This surprised me because it seems like people have been talking about it forever – the idea of your cell phone becoming your wallet, so that you can, for example, pay for gas by waving your phone by a reader on the pump.

    One company, USA ePay, has already taken huge steps towards making "pay by cell" a reality. They recently announced the release Wireless ePay for Windows Mobile. The company creates software that helps expedite transaction processing from mobile phones. The Windows Mobile version was the third platform they are supporting. They’ve already written Blackberry and Java versions of the program.

    What’s not clear from their press release is the transaction costs involved. No doubt, vendor acceptance of this type of payment is predicated on convenience and profit margins.

    So that’s a quick hop through trends to watch in 2007. And if you are so inclined, you can put yourself through the Groundhog Day experience and [start this column over again](JUMP TO TOP OF PAGE).

    That’s a wrap!

    Treo accessory store
    > Print this page
    > Digg!


    Copyright 1999-2016 TreoCentral. All rights reserved : Terms of Use : Privacy Policy

    TREO and TreoCentral are trademarks or registered trademarks of palm, Inc. in the United States and other countries;
    the TreoCentral mark and domain name are used under license from palm, Inc.
    The views expressed on this website are solely those of the proprietor, or
    contributors to the site, and do not necessarily reflect the views of palm, Inc.
    Read Merciful by Casey Adolfsson