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Showing posts with label Smartphones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Smartphones. Show all posts

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Internet Trends 2014, by Mary Meeker



Its June, time for the Internet Trends update by Mary Meeker, KPCB. Last year's update has crossed 3 million views on Slideshare. So many interesting slides, difficult to pick up some of the best ones to add here. I have selected a few that I really liked. The first being the growth in Smartphones and Tablets, as compared to PC's and Television's.



The other very interesting point to highlight is that the number of SMS's are decreasing and the number of OTT messages are rising. Just two days back, BITKOM, Germany released the news that SMS's are declining drastically in Germany. OTT's are taking over, rightly so.



Finally, with people doing too much multi-tasking, the above slide highlights what people are doing while watching TV.

Here is the complete set of slides:



Related news on the web:

  • Forbes: Are We In A Tech Bubble? Not Really, According To Mary Meeker's Latest Report
  • Business Insider: Mary Meeker's Stunning 2014 Presentation On The State Of The Web
  • Quartz: Mary Meeker’s 2014 internet trends report: all the slides plus highlights
  • Forbes: Mary Meeker's Web Video Love Affair
  • Guardian: Mary Meeker: 2015 will be about 'findable data' and mobile sensors
  • Business Insider, Australia: In 3 Big Slides, Here's Why Mary Meeker Is Optimistic About The Future Of American Healthcare
  • Tech2: What Mary Meeker’s 2014 trends report says about India’s Internet usage


Monday, 13 January 2014

My observations on Mobiles and OTT Apps in India

What a change 2 years can make. The last time I was in India, people were reluctant to use data, smartphones were far and few and even those smartphones were just status symbols rather than for actual 'smart' use.


This time a lot of things were very different. I found that there was a Phablet craze going on. No sooner were people starting to get used to these big screen devices they realised how many things they could do. The well to do were buying Samsung devices and the people who did not want to spend big bucks were content with the little known brands.


The Domo phablet on the left in the picture above costs around 8000 (£80/$130) and the Maxx on the right is roughly ₹5500 (£55/$90). Both these come with 1 year warranty.


There were also quite a few ads using celebrities promoting Phablets. Its good to see people spending on these devices. Unlike UK where most of these devices are subsidised on a contract, people in India prefer pre-paid option and buying the phone outright.


I have to admit that even though I am a fan of these big screen devices, I find the Samsung Galaxy Tab just a bit too big for the use as a phone (see pic above).

It was also good to see that people have embraced the 3G data usage as well. I got a 6GB package for roughly 1000 (£10/$16). I found that people complained about the speeds and were prepared to pay more for 4G (faster data rates). I also noticed that a few people were not aware of Wi-Fi and the fixed broadband. I was told that the fixed broadband was capped, offered similar prices and could be quite unreliable. I guess Wireless is helping in India where the fixed Infrastructure may still be an issue in many places.

I have to mention here that I did not meet anyone who was using an iPhone. This could be due to iPhone being ridiculously expensive and people may be thinking why pay a high price for such a small screen. A comparison of iPhone prices worldwide showed that the price of iPhone 5S as % of GDP per capita (PPP) is the highest in India. See here.


Another area of observation was SMS and OTT apps. I remember spending a lot of time trying to convince people to use OTT apps for messaging as it would be cheaper for International messages. Well, now it seems everyone has adopted it whole heartedly. One of the problems with SMS in India is that you get too much Spam SMS and sometimes the operators are the culprits. There is no way to send a stop for these SMS messages. With OTT Apps, you know who is sending you messages and you can block the offenders.

There are many OTT Apps which are popular like Hike, Line, WeChat, WhatsApp, etc. The winner though is undoubtedly WhatsApp. I met an acquaintance whose has stopped using emails for business and now relies completely on WhatsApp. Then there were others who loved it because of Group chat facility.

There were many reasons why WhatsApp is a winner. Along with a simple interface and Group chat facility, one of the other reasons pointed out was that the facility to see when the person was last online was very useful. Recently WhatsApp introduced facility to send Voice messages. This helped it acquire some of the WeChat users.

It was good to see the beginnings of the mobile revolution in India. Wonder what my next trip will show me.

Please note that this article is based on what I observed in Mumbai among friends and family. In no way should this be treated as  detailed research.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Relentless Rise of Mobile Technology


Mobiles have been rising and rising. Couple of weeks back I read 'Mobile is considered the first and most important screen by nearly half of the 18- to 34-year-old demographic, according to research commissioned by Weve.'


The finding placed mobile ahead of laptops or PCs (chosen by 30.6 per cent) and way ahead of TV (12.4 per cent) as the first and most important screen in the lives of people between the ages of 18 and 34. 
Just 5.8 per cent of those surveyed in the age group chose a tablet as their "first screen".
The research also found that 45 per cent of 18- to 34-year-olds consider their mobile their first choice of device when interacting with online content, placing the platform just ahead of laptops and PCs, which scored 43 per cent. 
Among the wider 18 to 55 age group surveyed, a PC or laptop was seen as the "first screen" with 39.8 per cent naming either computer as their most important screen, while smartphones came second on 28 per cent. 
TV was in third place with 27 per cent of people naming it as their most important screen. Five per cent of the total group said they considered a tablet their "first screen". 
Only a quarter of the 18 to 55 age group said mobile would be their first choice platform if they wanted to access the internet, while nearly two thirds preferred to use a PC or laptop.
Tomi Ahonen has always been referring to Mobile as the 7th Mass Media.

So when I saw this above picture (and there are more of them) in Ben Evaans slide deck (embedded below), it just reiterated my belief that Mobile will take over the world sooner or later. Anyway, the slides are interesting to go through.



Sunday, 7 July 2013

500 Billion devices by 2030, etc...

Few weeks back in the LTE World Summit 2013, I heard someone from Ericsson mention that internally they think that by 2030 there will be 500 Billion Connected devices on the planet. The population projections for 2030 is somewhere around 8.5 Billion people worldwide. As a result the figure does not come much as a surprise to me.

John Cunliffe from Ericsson is widely credited for making the statement 50 Billion connected devices by 2020. Recently he spoke in the Cambridge Wireless and defended his forecast on the connected devices. He also provided us with the traffic exploration tool to see how the devices market would look up till 2018. Here is one of the pictures using the tool:



In terms of Cellular connectivity, we are looking at 9 Billion devices by 2018. The interesting thing to notice is that in 2017, there are still some 4 Billion feature phones. While in the developed world our focus is completely on Smartphones, its interesting to see new and existing SMS/USSD based services are still popular in the developing world. Some months back I heard about Facebook developing SMS/USSD based experience for Feature phones, I am sure that would attract a lot of users from the developing world.

One thing missing from the above is non-cellular connections which will make bulk of connectivity. Wi-Fi for example is a major connectivity medium for tablets. In fact 90% of the tablets have only WiFi connectivity. Bluetooth is another popular method of connectivity. While its mostly used in conjunction with phones, it is going to be a popular way of connecting devices in the Personal Area Network's (PAN's). So its no surprise that we will see 50 Billion connected devices but maybe not by 2020. My guess would be around 2022-23.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Internet Trends by Mary Meeker at #D11

The last time I posted the presentation by Mary Meeker was back in 2011 but the things have moved on and its amazing to see some of the things that have changed. I think the slide that summarises what I mean is as follows:

Nomophobia and FOMO are a big problem and I see this day in day out working in this industry.

The slide pack which was actually posted yesterday has already crossed 550K as I write this, in just 1 day. So you can understand how eagerly awaited event this has become every year.



To download the above, click on the Slideshare icon and then you can save from Slideshare site.

If you want to watch the video of her presentation, its available on All things digital website here.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Dumbphones, Featurephones, Smartphones, Superphones...

Looks like there is still a lot of confusion in the different types of phones around so here is my take. Please feel free to correct me and I will update accordingly.

Dumb phones: The dumb phones were the original mobile phones whose intention was to allow voice and SMS initially and then later on some kind of data transfer using WAP.

Pic source: iPhaze

A typical dumbphone is as shown above. Dumb phones are no longer available but they can still be used if they are in the working order. Dumbphones were always pre-3G. It wouldnt make sense to have a 3G dumbphone but it is very much possible to have a 2G Featurephone/Smartphone.

Feature Phones: These came next. They allowed more stuff than the basic phones.

Pic source: Gadgetsteria

Featurephones (above) can do much more stuff, for example they may have camera to take photos, they may allow facebook to share the photos, they can have Skype to call, they can even have WiFi for access. Different people have different way of describing the difference between them and smartphones. Some distinguish Featurephones by suggesting that they have a closed operating system (OS) but this may not be necessarily true. Some others suggest that featurephones do not have touch screens while smartphones do, again this may no longer be considered true. There are featurephones available with basic touch functionality. I think an agreeable way to consider a phone a feature phone, in today's terms, can be based on a combination of processor speeds (less than 400MHz), screen size (less than 2inches), presence of physical buttons and pricepoint (less than $50).

Contrary to popular belief, featurephones are still popular and are going strong. See the chart below for example.
Pic source: Seeking Alpha

There is a good article that explains why Feature phone is 'Still the undisputed King' here to interested readers. The main reason according to me is that the reception is much better on Featurephones rather than Smartphones and they consume less battery power in general as compared to the smartphones.

Smartphones: Wikipedia suggests that the term smartphone was used as early as 1997 but what may have been considered as smartphone then is more like a featurephone of today. As per my knowledge, the first true modern smartphone were the Nokia communicators. If you look at the specs now, they may be classified as low end featurephones but they were the foundation for the smartphones.

Picture Source: Droid techy news

The first true modern smartphone that change the mobiles forever is undisputedly the original iPhone. On reflecting back, people had no idea what a phone could do until the arrival of the iPhone. This was soon followed by the iPhone clones and now we have many different ecosystems like Android, Bada, Windows mobile, Blackberry OS, etc. that gives its own flavour to the smartphones.

Superphones: The marketing industry is always thinking of using new terms to sell the products and while there has been terms like smarter-phones, super-smartphones, intelligent phones, etc. being thrown about, I think the industry has now converged on to use Superphones for the next generation devices. Some of the readers may be aware that 'Superphone' is used in Dr. Who series.


Again, there is no defined standards but looks like the superphone should have Quad core and its screen size should be more than 4.1inch. Samsung Galaxy S3 would qualify to be a superphone but its not referred to as one.

Phablets, Tabphones and Phonetabs: So what do you call a hybrid (or a cross between) Tablet and Smartphone? The answer could be any of the terms Phablets, Tabphones or Phonetabs. Again, there is no standard term but people have decided to use whichever term they feel like. Phablet is the most commonly used term.

Pic Source: CNet

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is a good example of Phablet. One of the suggestions is that to qualify for Phablet, the screen size should be between 5 inches and 7 inches. Some of the users who have braved to buy one of the phablets, swear by it and in most cases vow to never go back to just a phone.

Picture Source: FT

FT has an interesting article that suggests the shipment of phablets could be around 200 million by 2015. It should be noted that according to me, WiFi only devices should not be considered as phablets as the phone part is missing. They are just mini-tablets. In case of 7 inch devices capable of phone and tablet functionality, it is a bit of a fuzzy area in cases where the user does not use the SIM card, thereby making the phone part unusable. For simplicity we can consider a device as phablet as long as the mobile functionality is embedded.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Updates from GSMA Asia Mobile Congress 09 - Day 2


Summary of interesting facts from the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress 09, Via Tomi Ahonen's, Communities Dominate Brands:

  • 55% of Japan has migrated past 3G to 3.5G
  • Japanese mobile content industry is worth 14 Billion dollars annually
  • 50% of mobile data in Japan is consumed in the home, the peak time for mobile data consumption is between 9 PM and 10 PM; and smartphone users consume 10 times more data than non-smartphone users.
  • Japan's Softbank will turn off their 2G network already in March of next year, 2010.
  • Allen Lew, Singtel's CEO, said that in Singapore almost 50% of smartphone owners are shifting web surfing activity away from PCs.
  • Jon Fredrik Baksaas, Telenor's President and CEO, spoke about the eco-friendly initiatives they have, such as solar powered cellular network base stations etc, but an interesting tidbit that came out, is that in Europe, Telenor has installed 870,000 household electricity meters that are remote digital meters and operate on the GSM cellular network, in Sweden. As Sweden's population is only about 7 million people that is probably a third of all households.
  • Rajat Mukarji of Idea (one of India's largest mobile operators), told us of the Indian market, where the average price of a voice minute is 1 cent (US). He Mr Mukarji also said that in India mobile is the first screen, not the fourth screen; and mobile is the first internet connectivity opportunity for most people of India.
  • Tony Warren, GM of Regulatory Affairs at Telstra, told that 60% of phones in Australia are 3G already, and over half of mobile data is now non-SMS type of more advanced mobile data. And he said that MMS is experiencing enormous growth, grew 300% in the past year.

You can read the summary of first day here.

Read the complete report here.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

iPhone Apps and the Smartphones's Apps war


Smartphones had done amazing this to the consumers in the past couple of years especially after the launch of iPhone. These days there is immense concentration on the development of quality applications Application which can lure the customers in real time and are useful to them. I remember initially mobile games created similar kind of furore but I personally believe that this is different. These days application are developed not only for fun sake but also providing the customers some really value added service.

iPhone certainly is leading in the race in this regard and application developers are hugely receptive to the ideas which can be translated into a iPhone application.

Lance Stewart is one such person who came up with the idea of latest iPhone application called Tube Exits.
It came to him when he was trying to get out of Oxford Circus tube station in a hurry. Anybody who’s has experience the London’s train station during th rush hours knows very well that you find yourself behind a huge crowd of people blocking the way to the exit.

After experincing similar this Stuart thought that what he needed was to get the jump on the crowds by knowing which carriage he should board to arrive at the platform exit. If he somehow knew, for every station platform on the London Underground network, which carriage would arrive at a station next to the platform exit, he would never be stuck behind foot-dragging tourists or daily commuters again.

He thought it would be good idea to put all this information into the form of an iPhone application for other commuters. Dreaming of making something out of it he compiled the information for more than 700 platforms at London Underground's 268 stations. As he was not the person who can develop the app of his own so together with the collected information he approached an apps developer with his idea.
The outcome of this Stuart’s initiative and idea was the Tube Exits app for iPhone which was launched on 16ht June and has become very popular since then.
The app comes in two versions: One is free but only gives you the information for the Underground's busiest 12 stations; the other costs £1.79 and covers the whole network. This price is probably a price of a zone 1 ticket, but you could use it again and again.

Stewart is now involved in developing a similar app for the Paris Metro and sees no reason why his original idea can't be applied to other metro networks around the world.

Tube Exits is just one of an estimated 100,000 apps that will exist by the end of this year. Most of the apps these days are mobile applications designed to be used on Smartphones such as iPhones or BlackBerrys.

Recently the apps industry has grown exponentially where the total number of Apple's App Store downloads only recently passed the 1.5bn mark.

The App Store's success is huge incentive for Apple and is really giving a tough time to its competitors such as Research in Motion (who make BlackBerrys) and Nokia (the world's biggest mobile phone maker). The App Store's staggering success has led nearly every maker of a smartphone operating system to mimic Apple's business model: make it very easy for smartphone users to buy or freely download software created by from third-party developers.
Indeed Apple has become an icon phone and at the moment Apple has something of a stranglehold on apps e.g. Tube Exits can only be used on Apple mobile hardware (ie iPhones and iPod Touches).

What's especially striking about apps is how quickly they have become popular and are the real money spinners for smartphone companies specially Apple. I remember it very well when the iPhone was launched, there were many sceptical voices. It was too expensive, too readily nickable, too much of a triumph of what techies could do over what customers wanted to be for it to be a success. Apps have changed all that where Apple gets a significant chunk of revenue from the sale of its Apps. Apple is smartly doing what Microsoft has been doing until now, binding the applications and software to its products.

Apple is also not leving any stone unturned in fighting for the superiority of it’s application. This can be best provide by Apple recent victory in front of the advertising watchdog, with a ruling that it is free to claim its iPhone applications store is superior to a rival service offered by Google.
The Advertising Standards Authority rejected complaints from fans of Google's G1 smartphone that a TV ad for Apple's App Store was misleading.

"Yep, there's an app for just about anything," a voiceover in the advert said. "Only on the iPhone."

The days ahead will be interesting and messier in terms Smartphone companies claiming for smart and beautiful apps.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Android as a platfrom is growing fast

In the past year or so Android has shown its credentials and it can be said we are going to see lots of devices based on Android as a platform.

If I don’t want to be too pedantic then Android is a software platform for mobile devices, powered by the Linux kernel, initially developed by Google and later the Open Handset Alliance. It allows developers to write managed code in the Java language, controlling the device via Google-developed Java libraries. Applications written in C and other languages can be compiled to ARM native code and run, but this development path is not officially supported by Google.

Android platform was first unveiled on 5 November 2007 in conjunction with the announcement of the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 48 hardware, software, and telecom companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Google released most of the Android code under the Apache license, a free-software and open source license.

Since the above has taken place a lot has been developed on Android platform in terms of notebooks and mobile phones.

For instance recently Acer said it will produce netbooks based on Google's Android platform. Undoubtedly Android will contribute "significantly" to the growth of the global netbook market just like it will for the Smartphones. The company also revealed that its first Android-based handset would be available in the fourth quarter. Acer had confirmed it would produce an Android phone this year, but had not given a specific time frame.

In other Android news, Garmin-Asus, the smartphone partnership announced in February, said it would produce its first Android phone no later than the first quarter of 2010.

Based on the above developments together with some other, Google’s bullishness is increasingly becoming evident about the growth prospects for Android. Google envisage that that by the end of the year there will be at least 18 handsets on the market running on Android. According to Google this number does not include handset makers using the basic version of Android that have not notified Google of their plans.

Handset manufacturers that have committed to producing Android phones this year include Acer, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola and Samsung.

Indeed, the ramping-up of Android phones intensifies a battle among some of the world’s biggest software companies to create the operating system for the world’s phones. Android goes up against a coming-soon new version of Microsoft’s mobile version of Windows; Apple’s proprietary iPhone system; the BlackBerry platform; a new Palm OS for its Pre, called WebOS; Symbian (mostly proferred by Nokia); and a host of Linux-based systems.

Googles Android has certainly added to the competition which is good for the customers but indeed has given sleepless nights to the likes of Microsoft, Nokia etc. Android has unquestionably won accolades as new alternative software for smartphone makers. The first Smartphones with Android on board came out in the United States late last year, and they were made by Taiwan's High Tech Computer (HTC).

I guess the future of application development is going to get even more interesting.

Monday, 11 May 2009

What actually are Smartphones?



Mobile industry is these days ruled by the word Smartphones. There is no doubt that 2008 was the year of the smartphone. The last 12 months has seen the launch of iconic devices such as the iPhone 3G, Google G1, Blackberry Storm and Nokia N97. Smartphones are by every means driving the mobile market.

I come across this term almost everyday and thought how actually we define a Smartphone or What is a Smartphone?

The word “Smartphone” is a newly minted term that is used to describe a Telephone-capable device that also provides information and data organization capabilities. They are similar in size, shape, and usage to normal cell phone but feature more extensive data organization software and web abilities. Smartphones are equipped with complete operating systems that determine what kinds of functions and applications are available for that device. They provide a convenient way to carry several hand-held digital devices in one body. They provide the data and contact organization of a PDA, connectivity of a cellular phone, along with advanced multimedia like access to email and can in most cases support web browsing.

What Can a Smartphone Do? Unlike traditional cell phones that restrict a user to the applications and features that are originally designed for and then fixed into the phone, Smartphones allow for significant user-customization. These full-fledged operating systems (of which there are several options to choose from) allow a user to customize, install, and configure applications to suit their individual needs. Along with the prerequisite phone capability, Smartphones typically perform all sorts of important and useful tasks.

Smartphones are very smart in personal Information Management (PIM): PIM is a whole category of software functions that organize personal information. A typical PIM suite includes a scheduler for events, and address book for contacts, and to-do list. PIM can also include email, text notes, voice notes, and alarms / reminders.

Syncing with Desktop and Laptop PCs: Many Smartphones are designed to communicate with full-fledged PCs. Aside from just being cool, this feature allows users to easily install, remove, change and configure the software that they choose to equip their Smartphone with. It also allows further synchronization with PIM software both on your phone and on your PC.

Instant Messaging (IM): Not every phone that provides IM capability is a smart phone. But almost every Smartphone has a keyboard that at least allows access to every letter of the alphabet for sending Text messages. Some Smartphones have a key for every letter; others designate several letters per key. Word recognition software and other smart features further improve the speed and accuracy of Text messaging on these kinds of phones.

Email Access: While there are plenty of non-Smartphones that provide internet and email access, this option is more complete (and configurable) on Smartphone devices. You can sync email with your PIM software both on your phone and on your PC, send, read, and organize email, all from your phone. In most cases, you won’t even need to be near a wireless hotspot, either.

Web Browsing: All Smartphones allow for some form of Internet access. Wireless Network Protocols, or the technique in which web information is sent and received over cellular networks, are grouped into different generations.
But the question which remains albeit is what Makes a Smartphone Smart?

Smartphones are capable of so many features normally reserved for the realms of PCs and powerful PDA devices because they are almost PCs and PDAs themselves. There are typically two schools of thought used when designing a Smartphone: Create a PDA with Telephone capabilities, or a Telephone with PDA capabilities. No matter what design elements went into Smartphones developmental stages, there are still two things that set these mobile wonders apart from their regular cellphone cousins.

As mentioned above a Smartphone differs from a regular phone in that it has a processor running inside it, much like a computer does. These processors are currently nowhere near the power of PCs, but with the advent and subsequent redesign of Ultra Portable PCs (sometimes called Micro PCs), we are sure to see great leaps in Smartphone speeds in the future. Current Smartphones commonly use ARM processors; a power-efficient design used in other devices like routers, printers, and advanced MP3 players. A Smartphone processor is aided by computer chips that help perform certain tasks. A Smartphone equipped with a Digital Camera has an Image Processing Sensor inside it, much like a regular digital camera. Features like Playing Digital Music, complex web browsing, and other such access smart functions are all made possible by these computer chips.

If Smartphones have Operating Systems (OS), then it stands to reason that they also have software applications, as well. Applications that are written for a specific Smartphone platform (Platform is a fancy reference to the OS) can run on a Smartphone with that particular platform, regardless of what manufacturer produces the phone.

Based on the above discussion there is no doubt the most important software on a Smartphone is the Operating System. This is because nothing will work without it. A Smartphone operating system manages the hardware and software on the device. Some OS cover the entire access Software Stack while others only provide the lower levels like the Kernel and Middleware. These OS versions rely on third party software platforms to provide User Interface Frameworks.There are several different Operating Systems available for Smartphones. Some are designed for manufacturer-specific Smartphones, others are open and can be used on any Smartphone that meets the minimum requirements. Following are some of the OS for the Smartphones.
  • Symbian OS: Symbian OS is used in over 100 different makes and models of Smartphone. This Operating System contains only the Kernel and Middleware parts of its software stack. This means that users of the Symbian OS will rely upon other software platforms for the AEE and User Interface Frameworks. This allows significant customization by both Wireless retailers and consumers.
  • Linux OS: There is something special about Linux. It is developed and written by the developer community rather than by a single company. This allows for maximum creativity and innovation for developers and those software-savvy consumers, but has one major drawback: it means that software, updates, and other applications written for Linux operating systems differ greatly from each other. This reduces compatibility, and thus originally caused developers to avoid Linux. That is now changing, but many Smartphone manufacturers prefer to stick with more universally accepted OS software.
  • Windows Mobile: This is one of the few Smartphone OS that envelops the entire Software Stack. Much of the strengths of Windows mobile lie in its completeness and full compatibility with other Windows based systems.
  • Java and Garnet OS

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The smartphones war

In the past week there has been a lot of development in the filed of smartphones. Telecomm giants especially in America are gearing up for a fight to launch the best phones in the market.

Apple, Verizon wireless, Microsoft etc are all contributing to the rumours that will shape up the Smartphone future. First came a report in USA Today that Apple was considering making a CDMA version of the iPhone for Verizon. Then, "people familiar with the matter" told BusinessWeek that Apple and Verizon were actually working on an "iPhone Lite" and a WiFi-capable media pad, whatever that may be. Then, word leaked to Wall Street Journal that Microsoft and Verizon were in talks to create a new touch screen Smartphone, codenamed "Pink," that would directly compete with the iPhone. Sounds bit confusing isn’t it?

Last year has been all about Apple and it’s iPhone. Apple made a healthy profit thus beating the recession all thanks to the iphone. There is no doubt however that Apple is not resting on it’s laurels and is already the process of designing i-Phone like products in connection with Verizon.
As far as the Microsoft possible product, I'm with Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt on what the rumours mean. Microsoft regularly develops new iterations of its Windows Mobile platform, and has promised touch screen devices running on Windows Mobile 6.5 sometime late this year. The Microsoft-Verizon talks probably relate to one of these devices. And if the leak came from Microsoft, it does indeed say lot about how much the recent iPhone talk has Microsoft worried.

Although Apple has exclusive agreement with AT&T Mobility regarding the iPhone but as long is it doesn’t violate the agreement, I assume it's free to do whatever it wishes regarding other products that take advantage of wireless services. There are also some rumours that Apple is developing a CDMA version of the iPhone together with Verizon once the carrier switches to LTE 2010 or 2011, which is when AT&T's exclusive agreement for the iPhone is set to expire. If this rumour is true then I must say Apple is all set for i-Phonesque type of LTE devices as well.
So what is true and what is rumour? My guess is that Apple may need AT&T's 3G HSPA technology for the reach it wants, but it also knows AT&T needs the iPhone to keep growing its wireless data revenues. Verizon may be happy to play along with the ruse and get into AT&T's head a little bit.

Apple, AT&T and Verizon are usually pretty tight-lipped about most announcements. Throughout all of this, Apple and AT&T have maintained that their relationship is strong and that nothing has changed. Verizon too has remained mum. Let’s hope that this idle chatter will die down soon and hence we will know more.

However all doesn’t end here when it’s rumoured as per report in Wall Street Journal that Microsoft is in discussions with Verizon Wireless to produce a touch screen multimedia phone running its Windows Mobile platform as a rival to Apple's iPhone.

The device, which is code-named "Pink," will have additional software capabilities and feature Microsoft's Windows Marketplace for Mobile, according to the Journal, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter. A third party is expected to actually produce the hardware for the phone.

I think it’s going to be interesting and I can see only consumers coming out as winners in this war of smartphones.