Gavin has an interesting post/prediction about the iPhone.
Recently in Cellphones Category
re: birth of a platform
a big little phone
One of the surprising lessons I learned in business school is that entrepreneurship is about execution not ideas. Lots of people come up with good ideas but only a few people are in the right place with the right resources at the right time to capitalize on them.
Three years ago I had to come up with a new product idea and write a marketing plan for it. My idea was a cell phone for an aging population (everyone else is focusing on the young and techno-hip with more features and smaller keys).
A simple but good phone, long battery life, a big screen and big buttons...
And here it is. Someone else is finally executing on this (rather obvious) idea.
Simple Cells: Basic Phones Put to the Test
December 19, 2007
Wall Street Journal
The cellphones that so many of us carry around in our pockets every day are packed with functionality. They can be used for Web browsing, watching TV, purchasing digital music, gaming, Bluetooth synching, capturing photos and videos, instant messaging and GPS navigation. Oh, and they also make phone calls.
It seems that this last attribute -- the ability to make and receive calls on a cellphone -- is overlooked and underestimated by many manufacturers. But believe it or not, there are plenty of people out there who simply want to use their cellphones for calls, period.
These individuals range from college students who frequently damage or lose their phones to wary, first-time buyers to senior citizens whose kids or grandchildren insist they use a cellphone. About a year ago, GreatCall Inc. introduced its Jitterbug cellphones, which were aimed squarely at the senior set with large keys, a free operator service and the phone's own number prominently displayed on a sticker.
It seems that GreatCall was on to something. Verizon Wireless recently followed the company's lead by introducing its straightforward, no frills Coupe, a cellphone that offers many of the helpful traits found on Jitterbug phones, like large screen fonts, but without a lot of extras. Verizon simultaneously unveiled two calling plans designed specifically for seniors, and was followed a month later by AT&T and its own monthly plan for those 65 and over. AT&T also has an uncomplicated phone of its own in the works for 2008.
cell phones grapple with the user interface issue
Ease of use is one those pesky things that a lot of engineers miss when designing new hardware. The fact is, most consumers dont have the patience or inclination to figure out your newest gizmo. Companies just dont have much time to communicate value to busy consumers.
One aspect of ease of use is discoverability, or how easy it is to find things you want or dont even know you want, and it continues to be a huge issue for tech products. Whether it is how to show 300 inventory items in a webpage or how to show all the features of the latest "smart" phone. Discoverability of features through the user interface is both difficult and critical and it is a problem that only increases as devices get smaller and pile on more and more functions.
the music-phone war
Several articles recently about Nokia and others trying to develop a killer music-phone that can steal some of Apple's iPod thunder and raise profit margins. Good luck.
The convergence of camera+MP3 player+phone is much like the convergence of stereo equipment from decades past. Do I get separate components that each do one thing well or do I get a single unit that combines all of the features I need into one package? If the combined-unit experience is "good enough", it will be a hit. If not...
As a consumer, we are all accustomed to advertisments but probably never think about how hard it is to measure the effectiveness of advertising. As a business, you want to pay for results which means you want to know which ads work, who they work on, and why. But this information is surprisingly difficult to get.
Measuring advertising is where Google is making its money and there are a number of other companies that are trying to address this problem. I have said before that I thoguht Tivo could have become such a measurement data company but this article covers some of the companies that are trying to solve this problem, some of which are pretty far-out there.
US cellphones inch forward
Im not a phone guru but I am trying to keep up with how much (and how little) has changed with the cell phone platform. Two articles of note today: one on paying with your phone and the other on search.
One feature I havent seen yet and I think is an example of how far phones have to go: voice messages. I would like to listen to my voicemail with the speakerphone and have the screen show me the time of the message, the caller number/name, and allow me to flag it or categorize it. I think this feature would very helpful, sort of like verbal email, but to do it would combine the voice and data worlds which still seem very far apart.