HP seems to be buying a route into the mobile phone market with its purchase of Palm, but it could also plan to emulate Apple’s strategy with tablets and other media devices.
The world’s largest computer maker has now bought a foray into mobile devices with a $1.2 Billion acquisition of the beleaguered Palm. There are many views around what this acquisition means for the new entity of HP and Palm
On one end, the takeover could just involve a change from a Palm that’s struggling in the smartphone business to a Palm with the cash (and the resulting market confidence) to create a successful smartphone business. On the other hand, the acquisition could mean that HP could be more interested in owning its own operating system across phones and mobile devices (and being free of Microsoft in those areas), much like Apple. Web OS certainly holds a promise as far as HP is concerned. Yet another view is that HP needs a strong presence in mobile, but Palm doesn’t deliver that.
This acquisition is of critical importance to both Palm and HP for the synergies that it gets to the table. If HP didn’t have the right products to become a smart phone player, Palm didn’t have the money to compete with Apple and RIM in the US market and to make the brand known outside its home market. This deal takes a good operating system to the right hands and to the next level. HP’s purchase of Palm shows a clear intention to enter the consumer mobile device market. HP brings financial strength and broad reach; Palm brings a set of consumer-focused hardware, OS, application store and intellectual property. HP has made a clear commitment to invest in Palm’s technologies and has hinted at ambitious plans that go beyond smartphones. But neither Palm nor HP have a strong presence in the consumer market. Most significantly, they lack momentum around mobile application stores and a developer ecosystem. It will take time for HP to build up such an ecosystem, and it faces extremely strong competitors like Apple and Android. The consumer smartphone market moves quickly and HP will have to act fast.
In the short-term, the impact of this deal will be felt in the US market and Nokia will be one of the most affected players. When a company has a good product and the money for marketing activities, it creates a problem for its competitors. With money to invest, Palm will be able to leverage its brand, broaden its portfolio, and provide carriers with the money they need to sell devices. Money brings success if you have the right product, as Palm has. Palm’s survival no longer seems to be a problem, for the time being.
It appears that HP intends to use webOS in other device types, much as Apple has extended iPhone OS X to the iPad. However, there are still issues with awareness and applications development, which is paramount to success in the smartphone market. HP will not make Android smartphones and focus solely on webOS devices? This could prove to be a restrictive strategy in the fast growing smartphone market. Distribution is key, as Google recently learned. Traditionally, HP has a very good distribution network that will help channel to market but it will need to work closely with mobile operators, a weakness of Palm’s, in order to succeed
In continuation of my earlier post discussing the key terms of the Mobile VAS and Mobile Apps globally, this is the follow up post on the key terms N to Z.
This list would serve as a reckoner for people associated with Mobile VAS And Apps globally as a glossary. Many of the terms and concepts discussed in this glossary are very profound in there implications and carry the force to alter the way people interact with mobiles and communication itself. Relevant Mobile Apps like Money Transfer, Education, Healthcare can be a very significant change in many regions and economies globally.
The Nokia N8: Is this Nokia’s moment of reckoning
The product page for Nokia N8 proudly greets you with the message “Its not the technology. Its what you do with it”…. Agree! My first impression of the Nokia N8 was visual (as is everyone else’s) but I found this latest Nokia Flagship to be impressive in the first sight. But that’s not enough is it? Nokia N97 also impressed, made people drool and then sank all its expectations. Getting back to N8, the specs impress… Nokia’s first 12MP, 720 dpi video recording, Dolby surround sound, HDMI and Phonebook 2.0, Conversation view for SMSs and Unified email client. Ovi Maps and Navigation are free and N8 sports the same. That’s a good first impression. The rest is the mandatory that you would expect from a high end smartphone at Euro 370. The device would start shipping in 3Q 2010. From the Nokia perspective, N8 is being pitched as a Social Networking, Gaming, HD TV out, Web TV phone and more.. (Nokia N Series “All in One” proposition)
Now this then is Nokia’s Man-of-War and this would be a pivotal device in effort to make Nokia’s high end phones credible again. Nokia has been left far behind the iPhone, Samsung, Blackberry, Sony Ericsson and even HTC in the smartphone fight. The N97 was to address all that and more but it bombed. The N900 made a splash but not the volumes.
However, one was expecting more action on the Nokia – Maemo front and this one sports a Symbian 3. Symbian 3 is evolutionary not revolutionary, but then it is a key first step if it proves reliable.
The absence (???) of the engine details in the Nokia product home page is confounding. If the web reports are to be believed this one sports a 680 MHz processor, which is not too bad, but simply put is not too great either.
Also to be kept under consideration is the fact that the iPhone 4G releases before this one. I expect the iPhone 4G to set the standards high… very high. Android is also becoming a rapidly maturing platform and the HTCs and Motorola’s new lines are coming within a good proximity of the Android. In the battle of platforms, I would still rate the iPhone and Android to be a few many notches above Symbian platform (and I would love it if Symbian 3 can prove me wrong)
The other important factor to be considered are the rapidly surging Apps market numbers. Android and iPhone are making big numbers and one hasnot heard about much about Ovi in this space. A smartphone minus smart apps is not a smart proposition.
So net of all things, Currently the N8 looks and feels good basis the features listed.. but the platform and Ovi Apps are yet to provide the edge. Nokia seems to be packing the N8 with technology and we will wait to see how it helps users do something with it in months to come.
An introductory Video On the N8:
The reviews on this product are already thumbs down basis the YouTube videos and the first viewers are already drubbing this device as being slow, clunky, aweful, dreadful, blocky, really dated, not very exciting, slow and inaccurate UI, bad touch experience. Not quite the start..eh!
More than half of the people globally will access the Internet first time from their mobiles. Applications will lead the way to Internet acceptability by enabling task/purpose specific content and traffic. Here’s my compilation of things that will lead the increasing Mobile VAS/Mobile Internet acceptance. A few of these applications such as Mobile money transfer, Mobile Healthcare, Education Classes through Mobile will be ground breaking in scope and scale.
This list is a good reckoner and starting material to understanding how mobile VAS applications would alter the way of lives for billions. CMOs and CTOs could use this list as a check list to check whether their offerings are close or relevant to this glossary.
Last year, I had blogged about Dell’s first attempt to venture into the smartphone space. The Dell O-Phone as it was then called, (possibly on the lines of the venerated iPhone) did not create any much flutter. I had seen a Chinese white box clone of the O-Phone and that is all I remember of the Dell attempt. So there was nothing to write home about of the Dell O-Phone.
An year later Dell announced another 3 Android based smartphones with impressive names: Smoke, Flash and Thunder.
The Smoke is a QWERTY candybar with a enterprise-business focus. It has a slim 12mm profile and runs on Android 2.2 Froyo and has 2.8-inch QVGA display, 800MHz CPU, 5MP camera, 14.4Mbps HSPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, microSD card slot up to 32GB and dual-mic noise cancelling. The feature list is quite sizzling for its purpose. Smoke is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2011.
Flash, is the Touch phone from Dell running the Android 2.2 Froyo with a slim design and full touchscreen. Flash is touted to be carved out of a ‘curved glass’ and features 800MHz Qualcomm CPU, 3.5-inch WVGA LCD, Stage UI, 14.4Mbps HSPA and 5.6Mbps HSUPA, 5MP camera with autofocus/smile/blink detection, Wi-Fi, TV-out, 512MB RAM and ROM, Bluetooth 3.0, 3.5 audio jack and microSD card slot. Expect this phone to come out sometime in first quarter of next year.
The other touch phone rumored from Dell, Thunder features a 4.1-inch WVGA OLED screen, Android 2.1, Stage UI, 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, social networking friendliness, Flash 10.1 support, integrated Hulu app and 8MP camera. An LTE version of the Thunder is also expected in 2011.
Interesting line up of smartphones from Dell but none being made available before early next year. With its initial device foray that did not cut any much ice, and these three devices that are slated for next year Dell’s smartphone efforts do not sound so convincing anymore.
Excerpts from a report by Internet and Mobile association of India (IAMAI), IMRB and eTech
While India has seen a steady growth in internet usage, Penetration rates continue to be relatively low @ 24% of total urban individuals.The year 2009 saw internet penetrating lower socio economic groups (Sec C,D and E) to the extent that the combined usage in these geographies has overtaken the top cities and higher socio economic classes in numbers. Nearly 25% of Indian Population stay in cities. Out of which, 32% are PC Literate. Of the PC Literate population, 72% have used Internet. Of the universe of Internet users, 73% are actively using Internet (accessed it in atleast once in last 1 month).
A few headlines about Internet, its usage and behavioral charecterestics around the internet:
1.The youth segment drives the internet usage in India and forms major portion of users
2.Internet is primarily used for searching general information and for entertainment
3.Internet is mostly accessed from Cyber Cafés. However mobile phone usages is on the increase
4.Internet is mostly used for entertainment (downloading videos and music), Social Networking (Facebook, Orkut), microblogging (Twitter) and user generated content (Wiki, Youtube)
Check out the detailed report of the state of Internet in Indian context:
Apple, Google and Microsoft are emerging as the top contenders in the hotly contested Tech industry stakes. These three companies are fighting their own battles with each other on different levels at different playing fields,
Microsoft was so long trying to keep everything to the desktop. Lately however it has taken decisive directions towards the cloud.
Apple is all about closed information appliances tied with third-party applications. They thrive on wowing the customer on seamless interfaces through their ultra chic devices.
Google wants everything from them leading to the Internet. In fact Google is trying to be the Internet surrogate.
Between these three tech giants, the uture of internet and mobile communications probably lives. We will watch this space for the action as always.
In an earlier post, i had written about the User Identity Program that the UPA government has undertaken with Nandan Nilekani (Ex CEO Infosys) to drive information access to the vast Indian population. This post details the UID program and what it could be doing to the life of people.
The following would be the first level benefits from the UID for individuals:
• ATM Card (Before transaction the user has to enter its last four digits of virtual Debit card)
• Credit Card (Before transaction the user have to enter its last four digits of virtual card)
• Bank Account opening, will not require any lengthy process and the process will hinge only on the UID.
• NREGA payments will get deposited to the users bank account number by the vendor.
• AN employee will carry all his employment details on his card which can just be updated every time the employee moves office, location of organization.
• UIDs will facilitate Online tax returns and tax deductions will happen online. Thus the government will save interest amounts charged.
• The UID will facilitate shopping transactions just like a normal debit card.
• The card replaces the driving license. It would carry the photograph of the user and his eligibility in driving.
• The UID will carry all biometric information on the user in case of emergencies and accidents.
• The UID will also double up as the voters card and can be used at voting kiosks to register his vote from remote locations.( A Chennai voter can register his vote from Delhi)
• The cards will be mandated at every property sale/purchase. It can thus be useful in tracking the unaccounted deposits and monies besides providing an electronic database of the person’s wealth.
• Government grants would also be planned in accordance of the UID records.
• All individual expenses on the government front such as electricity bill, water bill and utilities will be deducted/added on the UID.
Thus the UID becomes a tool to track an individual’s activities, his income, spends, travels and other details. Given that both systems (NPR and UID) capture biometric data, the effort becomes a 360 degree tracking of the possibly 80-90% of the population of the country digitally.
John (35) is a middle manager in a large corporate. 2 years back, John was diagnosed to be diabetic and he has to visit his physician every Wednesday for a weekly blood check. It is difficult keeping up with the time, manage office and traffic and more. Fortunately, John uses this new application on his mobile phone wherein he sends weekly blood tests data to the computer of his physician. He gets the blood tests done through his glucometer, feeds in the data to his smartphone and sends it over to his physician who does the regular data checks and advises on course of action/course correction. This way John has reduced his monthly visits to the physician to 1-2 per month instead of 4 per month.
Featuring Mobile Healthcare!
Bollywood, Astrology, Cricket and Devotion are the growth engines of mobile VAS industry. However, I strongly believe that value to the consumer will not be so much from the A-B-C-D of mobile VAS as much from the more relevant services, like education and healthcare. It may be due to lack of spectrum for large volume data transfers of legal implications of distance health monitoring, Mobile Healthcare is a nascent market in India. This in spite of the fact that most of the time, people consult their family physicians over phone and get the diagnosis done telephonically.
According to a recent report from Juniper, revenues from remote patient monitoring using mobile networks will rise to almost $1.9 billion globally by 2014, with heart based monitoring in the US accounting for the bulk of early mobile monitoring roll-outs. The Mobile healthcare market also includes health and fitness mobile applications that will thrive and eventually spawn a new market for advanced apps which integrate sensors worn on the body.
So what’s next on the horizon? How about Health care MVNE? A Fortis Healthcare Connection within an Airtel connection that gives the users (mostly Fortis patients) the ability to connect with their doctors on a call. Whats the number of such an MVNE? Well… just estimate the number of Heart patients and diabetics in India….