Mobile Phone Predictions

The launch of the gorgeous iPhone seems to have stumbled -- in PR terms -- with a substantial price cut shortly after its introduction and horror stories of 300-page AT&T bills delivered in boxes.

Nokia has responded with a "concept," which looks just like an iPhone, and announcements of new phones focused on premium music and games services rather than Internet communication. Motorola is also heavily publicizing its RAZR2.

Some predictions:

  1. Convergence of phone services and iPod-like services -- music, photos, video -- to a single device is inevitable. However, "universal" iPod ownership means that most users will not pay a premium price for a device to achieve this. In the short term, most users will have both phone and iPod.
  2. External content is well handled by the iPod/Internet model. "Universal" broadband Internet access means that most phone users will not pay premium prices for phone-specific services.
  3. Personal content creation is an important service for a "phone," which is complementary to an iPod. Reasonably priced phones that provide good capabilities for capture and manipulation of photos, video, and voice will do well.
  4. There is a communication opportunity to move from SMS to Internet-based email (based on SMTP/IMAP) and IM (based on XMPP or perhaps SIP/SIMPLE). These are platform-independent and can move incrementally beyond text. Phones that provide these capabilities in an easy-to-use manner will do well, in conjunction with fixed-price plans for Internet access.
  5. Good software provided with the phone will be as important as hardware to achieve points 3 and 4. Apple has a key advantage here.

... Steve Kille

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