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Will iPhone 4G deliver for Apple?

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on June 6, 2010

Ending months of speculation, the fourth version of the Apple iPhone will possibly be unveiled tomorrow by Steve Jobs at San Francisco as a part of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).The iconic iPhone has sold over 50 million units worldwide making it the largest selling phone of all times. The stakes are high at Apple as the iPhone 4G launches. Since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, the iPhone never knew a worthy contender. This time however it does. The Android powered Samsung, Moto and HTC are close at heals of the iPhone. The Android 2.2 Froyo has generated a large amount on Interest and the guys at Google are surely turning up the heat on iPhone now that they have crossed the WinMo in terms of OS market shares. Similarly there are reports of the Sprint HTC EVO 4G taking the game to the iPhone after the Moto Droid almost got their in November last year.

The Apple stock is at an all time high making Apple the No 1 Technology company in the world and tomorrow’s event will be a critical decider which way the stock swings. The iPhone 4G must deliver only on an outstanding note to its audiences (Tech Geeks, Developers and Carriers) to push the stock prices northward. The bid for the iPhone 4G is made tougher with the early success of the iPad tablet computer, which many say has already created a new market. Even a optimal level on-par against expectatios iPhone 4G performance may be dampener to the euphoria around the Apple stock. Thus the iPhone 4G will have to really set new standards in multimedia content and function to wow Wall Street and consumers. Longer-term, investors are squarely focused on the iPhone’s spread into international markets including China, Apple’s pricing strategy, and when the device will be available through another US carrier besides AT&T.

Foxconn, makers of the iPhone 4G will ship 4.5 million units in the first half of 2010 and 19.5 million units in the second half of 2010. If the numbers are any pointers, Apple is seeking to storm 8-10% of the smartphone shares only with the iPhone 4G. The 3GS and 3G will add up more to these figures.

For starters, the iPhone 4G will be double the RAM capacity of 3G at 512 MB and will feature a 960*640 resolution screen. That will boost the multitasking bit from Apple and will put it beyond most of the other phones from the Google Android stable. Over and above, analysts would expect price cuts in the the iPhone 3G, all new Mac OS 10.7, refreshes of the aging Mac hardware, Cloud based version of the iTunes courtesy Lala, Wireless Syncing with Free MobileMe, iPad tethering and Video iChat, iPod touch with Camera, Apple TV and a New carrier besides AT&T. With the iPhone 4G, the idea is to take the bar so far beyond Google and its alliances that it takes them a good 8-10 month to catch up.

As Jobs has promised “You won’t be disappointed”. We sure hope that we are not, Mr Jobs.

Mobile Internet: Gaining mainstream acceptance in India

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on June 6, 2010

In a few earlier posts, i had lamented the lack of data traffic focus in TELCOs in India. Given the tariff war, hyper-competition and the near advent of 3G and the necessity to augment voice incomes, TELCOs in India are changing their focus very ostensibly from Voice to Data Traffic. Ad Mob’s mobile ad requests for India is a surrogate measure but then it carries home the point that internet on Mobile is here and here to stay for good.

Over the last 24 months, Internet requests from Mobiles have registered a 220% CAGR in India. The growth percentage is 3X i.e 660% on a four month basis in 2010. Over the last 2 quarters, Indian Telecom Operators have been trying to make a point with data services and the data tarriffs have now breached the Rs.100 per month mark, which is a critical pricing threshold for mass acceptance. With the coming of 3G and Broadband, this number will become self sustaining given the following factors:

1. The high quality content and delivery systems that 3G will provide will increase traffic volumes
2. Increased traffic volumes will bring in economies of scale reducing prices and making Internet more accessible to more people.
3. The strong eco-system that is beginning to take shape with Telcos, OEMs, ODMs, Developers and Consumers will further drive compelling content that will drive data traffic.

The internet and data habit is quickly becoming mainstream and the TELCOs and other VAS players are pleasantly surprised and are hoping for an extended run into this source of revenues.

The growth registered in the last 4 months in India was also forecasted study by Cisco released in February 2010 projected that India has the highest country mobile data traffic growth rate of any country, with a CAGR of 222% from 2009 to 2014. The study says that annual global mobile data traffic will reach 3.6 exabytes per month or an annual run rate of 40 exabytes by 2014. Such a figure equates to a 39-fold increase from 2009 to 2014, or a CAGR of 108%. If AdMob is to be believed, these numbers are happening already. The same survey also concludes that by 2014, more than 400 million of the world’s Internet users will access the network solely through a mobile connection.

The rapid consumer adoption of smart phones, netbooks, e-readers and Web-ready video cameras as well as machine-to-machine applications like eHealth monitoring and asset-tracking systems, is continuing to place unprecedented demands on mobile networks. In spite of the economic downturn, the demand for mobile services has remained high, posing both challenges and opportunities for service providers worldwide.

I shall be exploring the opportunities and challenges that the proliferation of Mobile Internet will be bringing to the Indian context in my next blog.

Associated content: The Indian Internet User
State of Internet in India

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