Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Day in the Life of a 4G Wireless Mobile Phone Guy

4G wireless networks, launching in the U.S. and elsewhere, will forever change how we communicate with mobile devices, experience multimedia and connect with other mobile users.

Imagine a day in the not-to-distant future… You awake to your favorite music, playing from stereo speakers plugged into your mobile phone. Blurry eyed, you drag your body out of bed, pick up your mobile, press a button and briefly watch the morning news in full-color streaming video.

You press another button and a relaxing voice (Charlene, your mobile’s nickname) reviews your daily schedule. Ah, you forgot to tell your business associate about a change in an important meeting today. “Charlene, send a text message to Suzy at the office and change the client video conference to 10 a.m.” Charlene confirms the text message with “o.k., Brian, sent the IM. Would you like to listen to Pandora Radio?” “Sure,” you respond, “play that latest jazz channel.”

For the rest of the story...

A Day in the Life of a 4G Wireless Mobile Phone Guy

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pandora Internet Radio Gets Personal

The “Music Genome Project,” Internet radio broadcasting on your mobile and PC, personalized music selections using 400 categories? What’s happening to the way we select and enjoy music?

Whether you’re into rock, gospel, classical, hip-hop or jazz, Pandora Internet Radio wants to help you “play all music you like.”

The Oakland, CA based company streams music to your iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and around 40-50 mobile handsets running on AT&T Wireless and Sprint’s “Now” network. As of December, 2008, two million iPhone users had downloaded the Pandora application. More recently, over one million BlackBerry users did the same through the BlackBerry App Store.

Hear an entertaining, informative podcast with Pandora's CTO Tom Conrad on MobileBeyond

Saturday, April 11, 2009

MobileBeyond on Twitter: Join the Conversation

MobileBeyond goes beyond the headlines, beyond the trite and trivial to bring you views on mobile computing not found elsewhere.

I invite you to join me on Twitter or subscribe to the blog posts online.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

J.D. Power & iPhone Business User Satisfaction?: a Statistical Fluke

Apple proudly announced in a full page ad in today's Wall Street Journal that J.D. Power and Associates, which rates consumer satisfaction in numerous markets, "...ranks [Apple's iPhone] highest among business users."

Apple, however, left out two sub-headers in the J.D. Power release. "One-Fourth of Business Smartphone Users Report Experiencing a Software-Related Issue with Their Current Device."

"The study finds that one-fourth of users report experiencing at least one software-related issue or problem with their current smartphone device. The software-related issues reported most often include the need to reboot the phone, application malfunction/freeze and issues related to touch screen malfunction. Among those owners who have experienced a software problem, 44 percent report having to reboot their device at least once on a weekly basis during the past 12 months, while 34 percent report experiencing either an application malfunction or application freeze at least once per week. "

The survey of 1,388 "business smartphone users" rated six smartphone manufacturers: Apple, RIM (BlackBerry), Samsung, Motorola, HTC and Palm. The iPhone was rated 778 on a 1,000 point scale, RIM's BlackBerry's at 703 and Samsung just below RIM at 701.

J.D. Power conducted the survey before the release of RIM's BlackBerry Bold (AT&T) in July, the G1 (T-Mobile/Google) in late August and the BlackBerry Storm, which only recently hit Verizon stores. Other smartphone manufacturers such as Nokia, which holds a 38% share of the world's mobile phone market amd Sony-Ericsson at 23% were noticeably absent from the study, most likely due to low availability rates in the U.S.

J.D. Power and Apple fail to define the "business smartphone" market. Despite the iPhone supporting exchange server syncing and security protocols--mandated by IT managers--neither J.D. Power nor Apple define a "business smartphone user." Most likely, the majority of iPhone users surveyed are self-employed, work for a small business or use the iPhone along with an approved business handset, such as the BlackBerry, in larger companies, where few IT managers have yet to approve the use of iPhones on company servers.

Another statistical fluke not addressed in the survey release is skewed ratings. Apple has only released a single smartphone with fewer than 10 million in use. HTC, Samsung, Nokia and others, on the other hand, have distributed hundreds of millions smartphones worldwide.

As the number of rated smartphone handsets rises, the overall rating of the iPhone, bolstered by Apple's promotions and hype, rises higher than the rest as a whole, because the iphone ratings are based on one handset out of dozens.

I searched Phone Scoop for handsets I consider meet the minimum "business smartphone" requirements for U.S. carriers.

All phones: *
  • have Calendar
  • have Data-Capable
  • have Email Client
  • have Multiple Numbers per Name
  • have Packet Data (EDGE or 1xRTT or 1xEV-DO r0 or 1xEV-DO rA or WCDMA (UMTS) or HSDPA 1.8 or HSDPA 3.6 or HSDPA 7.2)
  • have PC Sync
  • have To-Do List
  • have WAP / Web Browser
More than 20 phones met the minimum requirements. Click here to view them.

As I've written before in MTM and elsewhere, Steve Jobs and Apple are masters of marketing hype. But they can't legitimately escape the laws of statistics. The iPhone, although a breakthrough device in many ways, represents a drop-in-the-bucket in mobile telephony.

* Some phones listed may not be available from U.S. carriers. Check eBay and other sources on the Web.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tired of Prank Phone Calls? Want to Find Lost Relatives or Friends?

This may sound like heresy, because I've run call centers and inside sales departments in my career. But if you're like me, you're tired of telephone solicitation and other unwanted calls. In many cases, you don't know who's calling you before answering because callers have disabled call readout.

Many people, then, refuse to answer calls without a readout on their cell or land line telephone lines, but the calls continue. Quite often, multiple calls from the same person or company flood the same numbers again and again. Trying to obtain information about who's calling is often difficult, if not impossible.

Legitimate telemarketing companies purge their lists of phone numbers registered with the Do Not Call Registry. Not only is this a good business practice, but telemarketing firms and other sellers face significant fines if reported.

Meanwhile, I've been searching for some time to identify unwanted callers, and I finally found one. The service provides the names, addresses, cellular carriers (if mobile), cities, states and additional information about the caller and company.

You can also find names, addresses and other information of long-lost relatives, classmates or business associates, saving you countless hours searching the Internet.

Check out the service here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Google's G1 vs. the iPhone: Major Construction and Design Flaws Emerge (Revised 11/2/08)

Unlike the the V1 iPhone, running on AT&T's slow EDGE data network, T-Mobile/Google's G1 hits the street 3G enabled. (T-Mobile's 3G network is now operational in the San Francisco Bay Area and numerous other metros around the U.S.)

Application developers, who take advantage of Google's open Android OS, is also in question. Currently, over 3,000 applications have been written for the iPhone, and Google and T-Mobile have a strenuous journey ahead to convince developers to write code.

I had an opportunity today to visit a T-Mobile store and check out the G1 more closely. Two concerns immediately came to mind: The G1's flat, non-tactile keyboard and its plastic casing. When I first picked up the G1, its lightness alerted me to potential problems, since I had just come from an AT&T store checking out the 3G iPhone again.