TelecomTV *Raw

The best of TelecomTV, plus (un)related junk from the site’s Director of Content

Blog Watch: Forbidden Fruit — How Vodafone Mistook a Blackberry for an Apple

Vodafone has come in for some stick this week. Not for its increased stake in South African operator Vodacom — which is a good if overdue move, especially as rival MTN strengths its warchest and gears up for regional expansion. No, what has the bloggers rattled is its pricing of embedded Mobile Broadband. Although it’s early days for laptop 3G, Dean Bubley has made some “back of the envelope” calculations, based on Vodafone’s reselling of the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 with 3G inside:

taken over a typical laptop’s 3 year life, assuming contracts are continued after 24 months at their current prices, the options are:

– PC from Dell, plus Vodafone dongle = £299 + £15 x 36 = total of £839

– PC from Dell on finance, plus Vodafone dongle = £915

– PC from Vodafone with embedded module = £1080

And what’s with the audio books? £15 each?

Under Vodafone Books on Mobile, books are expected to cost between £5 and £15 and any purchases will be added to monthly Vodafone bills. The service is a partnership between Vodafone and GoSpoken. com, a website dedicated to putting books on mobiles co-founded and co-funded by Andy McNab, the soldier-turned novelist. High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) technology means that a three-hour audio book can be downloaded in three minutes.

“Sometimes we wonder if it’s just us that think this is great and it won’t catch on,” Mr McNab said

Hmmmm…. For a taste of schadenfreude, it looks like some of Vodafone’s marketing people may be in for a visit to the headmaster’s office to receive a damn good thrashing:

In the transition from their notification page to spiffy new Flash minisite, some lazy/sloppy/Apple-inducted marketers really couldn’t be bothered to find some BlackBerry OS pictures and decided to throw the iPhone interface in there instead. Now, we could give these guys the benefit of the doubt and presume that they were actually making a cheeky statement about RIM following in Apple’s footsteps… That is, if it weren’t for the BlackBerryNews watermark still sitting on the BlackBerry Maps screenshot.

Original story and pictures over at Engadget.

However, the news gets worse for Blackberry manufacturer RIM. Mobile Tech Addicts received “an anonymous tip off” and a copy of an internal statement from UK operator Orange, explaining why it has halted sales of the Blackberry Bold:

Following reports of software issues with the BlackBerry Bold handset across a variety of mobile operators, Orange has decided to act in the interest of its customers by suspending shipments of the device in the UK. We are currently awaiting feed back from RIM as to when an industry wide fix for these issues will be in place… BlackBerry/RIM are doing everything they can to resolve this issue and will be completing full testing and validation to ensure future handsets do not have any quality issues.

A question that has been puzzling many of us, is “Why did Nokia really buy out Symbian”? One answer comes from the team at Vision Mobile. They list several factors that could be behind the move, including this one:

to marginalise Microsoft away from consumer phones and ODMs. The zero price point for running royalties also makes Windows Mobile way more expensive (based on $6 per unit price according to Nomura), for both consumer phones, and especially for ODMs who have tiny margins. With Nokia recently licensing Exchange server connectivity across all of its S60 phones, this makes Nokia a credible competitor for the enterprise segment, too.

With Apple now rumored to have passed its goal of shipping 10 million iPhones for the year, and gained a 17% share of the smartphone market, I feel fully vindicated in pitching a couple of wacky iPhone apps.

Mind you, as Tomi Ahonen says, as part of a length but insightful post on his blog:

To put it in context, Nokia sells 10 million new phones every single week of the year. So yes, 10 million is a major milestone for a brand new phone-maker that has just entered the market; but it is still small potatoes. Very very very small potatoes.

But back to the apps. First up, South Park fans can expect a fun application anytime soon. The Boing Boing bloggers visited the South Park studios and got this scoop:

The app functioned beautifully, with the ability to stream clips, grab wallpapers for your device, read news, and browse the complete episode index. Also: choose character likenesses as “contact images” for your iPhone — assign a face to the phone book entry of your choice. An incoming call from best friend displays Kyle or Cartman; your medical marijuana dispensary is Towelie, and so on.

And finally, IntoMobile reports that fans of Brian Eno’s unique music can have a go at emulating their hero, whilst chilling out in the process (obviously):

Touted as a “part instrument, part composition and part artwork,” Bloom creates something what we could call a new instrument designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The idea is to tap a colored screen in various places and produce your own music. After you’ve finished tapping, the newly created track is played in a loop, thus creating a new music on the fly. While music is played, the tones appear as colored spots that slowly fade. In addition to creating your own music, Bloom can also create songs on its own using some form of random algorithm…

And finally…. congratulations to the US city of Monticello, Minnesota (pop: 12,000) whose residents voted overwhelmingly to put in a city-owned and -operated fibre network. The local telco tried to sue them to stop, citing illegal use of municipal bonds, but this week District Court Judge Jonathan Jasper dismissed the suit with prejudice after finding that the city was well within its rights to build the network. Power to the People!

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Friday, 10 October 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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