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.

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