Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
Today, large companies, especially corporate giants like Samsung, do not surprise users with extraordinary products...
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Spillikins #101. Leaks for all tastes: Nokia, Blackberry and Samsung
If you remember the sentence from Anna Karenina that "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.". Businesswise you can paraphrase it as "all successful companies are alike; each unsuccessful company explains its misfortune differently". I think that the background for every success is an ability to predict where the market is moving and what consumers really want. In the previous Spillikins I mentioned the success of Evernote, which declines the idea of developing a client for Symbian as it requires efforts, while the pay off according to one employee is likely to be questionable. Another example is that of SPB Software. It felt the trend of 2011-2012 and now offers an instrument for migration from Windows Mobile and Symbian (S60 3rd Edition, 5th Edition and above including Symbian^3) to Android phones (starting with 2.1).
How does it work? Visit www.migratetoandroid.com to choose your current phone and the new one. Then you will be offered to download an app ($9.95) to your Android model and you will be able to transfer your calls list, contacts, messages and other info onto your new model. It can be done with the help of a memory card or online. In the second case you will require Internet access for both devices with all data encrypted without any prior registration.
I tested the service myself and everything worked well. It is a convenient tool for a swift migration to Android and the price is right as well. What can I say? Android is gathering momentum and it is turning into an avalanche. Small and mobile companies were the first to understand the trend.
Last week saw information leaks of several products, which happened to have similar features and target corporate clients. I will start from Blackberry codenamed Dakota, which can be easily labeled Bold 3. It becomes obvious when you give it a look.
The model features a traditional QWERTY keypad coupled with a touchscreen. It somehow resembles Touch&Type series from Nokia, but it offers a fully functional QWERTY keypad, which is attractive. This combination embraces usual Blackberry experience with a touchscreen used for viewing web pages, zooming pictures and other activities where the use of fingers provides an advantage. The main problem of Touch&Type is the absence of full keypad when you have to use both the screen and the keypad. Blackberry retains all standard controls and adds a touchscreen. User experience is different from that of Nokia (I compare not features but the combination of touchscreen and keypad).
I think that Bold 3(Dakota) will become quite popular and we have a very short period of time until it is unveiled and we can test the handset in real life.
Another leak was associated with Nokia E6-00 (RM-609). At first sight it looks like Bold3 offering QWERTY keypad with a VGA screen. Judging by the profile the model offers Symbian^3 (Series 60 5.2 (Symbian^3) and browser 7.3 (this update will be released in February for current phones).
The camera boasts 8 MP with EDOF (the absence of full focus similarly to Nokia E7-00 is logical as it is a junior model). In fact we have a continuation of Nokia E72/E73, which even looks similar. It is not the first Symbian model with a VGA screen, because Vertu Quest has the same, albeit it is not a touchscreen.
I think the model will be announced in February, but its price is not clear. Nokia E7-00 delayed until February-March will cost €495, so E6-00 must be more competitively priced. Let's wait and see.
I believe that the price must be around €350 similarly to all other handsets in the series, for example Nokia E72. It is also influenced by other models on Symbian^3. Higher price will lead to competition with them, but if priced lower it will damage the sales of older models and Nokia does not intend to do that.
Specifications are not impressive as we have a standard Symbian^3 platform here: ARM processor of 680 MHz and the same amount of RAM as in N8. Once again I have to mention that this combination of keypad and screen is more attractive than that of Touch&Type.
Who wins in the comparison between Blackberry Bold3 and Nokia E6-00? I think target audiences will not collide. Nokia is strong in Europe and Asia, while Blackberry reins in North America, but comparisons are inevitable. I would like to compare the browser in Blackberry and Nokia E6-00.
By the way, it's funny to see people emotional about VGA screens in the abovementioned models. HTC Touch Diamond had the same screen as early as in 2008, but some individuals have very short memory.
It looks as if somebody lost the roadmap of RIM. There is no other explanation of a massive leak for Blackberry models planned for summer and the third quarter of 2011. Meet new Curve (Apollo), which is a budget version of Blackberry due to an ordinary HVGA screen (480х360) without the touchscreen support. Specifications are also pretty standard – OS 6.1, 512 MB of RAM, an 800 MHz processor, a 5 MP camera with flash and autofocus, NFC, WiFi and 3G+HSPA. The handset will emulate the current Curve offerings.
Torch2 is more impressive and will be available in the third quarter of the year. A 5 MP camera with HD video, flash, NFC and 512 MB of RAM are accompanied by 8 GB of inbuilt memory. A 3.2″ VGA touchscreen, 1.2 GHz processor and a 1300 mAh battery complete the lineup.
Samsung dominance in the segment of touchscreen phones started from Star in spring of 2009 and more than 30 million items of the model have been sold since then. It is a good lifecycle, but the specification looks outdated in 2011. Samsung decided to offer the update with the similar price for Star today. For €125 we get predominantly software updates (another version of TouchWiz and more features), while we still have a 3.2 MP camera. A screen now is 3.1″ instead of 3″ and it also has FM radio among other things. S5260 is not a considerable departure from an original model. A successful handset got a bit of a refurbishment. Will it be as successful as Start I? Sequels sell well, but they are rarely iconic. First pictures of Start II appeared at portablegear.nl.
Another piece of secret information became publicly available courtesy of samfirmware.com. S5830 was somehow called a simplified Galaxy S. In fact any Samsung Android model can be viewed as a cheaper version of Galaxy S. To my mind it is still a separate phone, which replaces the current crop of models in the mid-price range and will be positioned above Samsung i5800. A slightly higher price is still appropriate taking into account rival models. It resembles a scaled down version of Apple iPhone 4. I cannot take this idea out of my head. Inside we find Android 2.2 and a 5 MP camera with HD video recording. Other specifications are still an unknown quantity.
Do you remember rumors that Facebook will get a dedicated handset or even two? This info was confirmed by Bloomberg with INQ Mobile earmarked as the manufacturer. In Bluetooth certification documents we see the description of INQ Cloud Touch. It says this Android smartphone has a distinct feature of Facebook shortcuts located on the desktop together with different widgets displaying activities associated with your account. Nothing else is mentioned there. I think the model is middle of the road and it will not amaze the users. The picture below shows how this phone may look like. Beware it is not a real model.
What is INQ Mobile? This small company adapts other phones to be used in social networks using their expertise in the area. For example INQ Chat 3G appeared at the end of 2009 for €120-130. This entry level QWERTY phone boasted many apps for social networks. Was it competitive? Not really! The sales were far from successful.
INQ Mobile has no serious resources and they cannot develop their own models from scratch. In fact they offer special features for social networks based on ready-made platforms. They don't have a reputation of a serious innovator and the situation is unlikely to change soon. According to Bloomberg Facebook collaborates with INQ Mobile and the end product will appear in Europe in the second part of 2011. It is an intriguing story. Taking into account Facebook resources and their strong position in development of mobile phones apps (the same client on different platforms) there is no doubt they can create a strong software product. Nevertheless, Facebook does not require a special phone. They boast 500 million users and the key point is access from any handset. Subsequently, the main thing for them is the client for all main platforms. Facebook cannot earn money on a dedicated model. The only option is to show their own vision of a model tailored for Facebook. It is only a niche product, but why not to create a working shell for Android or any other OS. In this case without developing a handset they could address many models and win. I have no other explanations. INQ Mobile is clearly interested in the project, but why Facebook should participate here is not clear. May be I am missing or misinterpreting something? Android as a platform for a Facebook model is also against Facebook proper in the long run. An offering from INQ Mobie will not compete against current models on the market as the company lacks expertise in the development of mobile phones.
Nobody doubted that Verizon Wireless will get its iPhone, but details remained unclear. The main question was if the users get a GSM/CDMA or a CDMA version. Unfortunately, customers will only get a pruned down CDMA version. This model is for current Verizon clients and will not attract new people to the company. The monopoly of AT&T remains intact. Moreover, a CDMA phone is a risky purchase when you cannot get any roaming abroad. On the other hand Apple will only benefit from this move as the company gets new users of iPhone 4. Well done!
I would like to analyze another aspect of the story. The arrival of Apple iPhone to Verizon Wireless made Motorola offer its new flagship ATRIX 4G to AT&T. This model will become one of the most popular from March to June for this carrier especially taking into account the price. Until Apple develops iPhone 4G this handset will be the key one for AT&T. Interestingly, it was Verizon which promoted Motorola DROID with hundreds of millions in marketing expenses and created an alternative for iPhone in the USA.
A desire to get iPhone at all costs played against the management of Verizon. Finally, they got the model they craved for, but ruined their efforts from the previous year. The company pushed Motorola to their direct rivals and we have a change now. AT&T gets a Motorola flagship in 2011 together with a top model from Apple. Verizon ends up with a niche iPhone and a much simplified model in the shape of DROID BIONIC from Motorola.
Interestingly, Apple always insists on heavy promotion of its product when they get a new partner, and I don't think Verizon will be an exception. It means that some part of promotion aimed at DROID will work for Apple now. Verizon sales will be diluted even more. Management of AT&T should get the credit for their part in the game, which will maximize the benefits for the company.
Motorola Xoom will be a weak consolation for Verizon. The model is rumored to sell around 700.000-800.000 items in the first quarter, which is excellent as the sales will start only in March.
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Published 17 January 2011
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