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Andy Sjostrom
07-17-2003, 12:12 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://computertimes.asia1.com.sg/news/story/0,5104,1062,00.html' target='_blank'>http://computertimes.asia1.com.sg/news/story/0,5104,1062,00.html</a><br /><br /></div>The Computer Times article <a href="http://computertimes.asia1.com.sg/news/story/0,5104,1062,00.html">"Get ready for Windows smart phones"</a> lines up a number of relevant aspects of Smartphone benefits as well as challenges. The main theme of the article is the fact that the number of mobile network operators offering Smartphones increases steadily. The two main Smartphone benefits that the article mentions are componentization and enterprise fit.<br /><br />I believe that, in one way or another, we will see the high end mobile phone market move towards a design and manufacturing model similar to that of the PC market. Off the shelves components are put together and made to power one common operating system or another. The article says: "He said Taiwanese manufacturers would offer customisation 'even if you order about 100,000 units'. For the same volume, Nokia would not do the same, he noted." This is the benefit of componentization. The threshold for new players to enter this market has become much lower the last 18 months. The reason is that building a cell phone based on proprietary components and developing a proprietary operating system alone is much more expensive than using more common components and software.<br /><br />The Smartphone is powered by Windows and a programming model known to millions of developers working as consultants or in internal IT-shops of large companies. This will undoubtedly lead to a vast number of Enterprise Smartphone application soon. In my opinion, the main missing piece that needs to fall into place is the .NET Compact Framework for Smartphone. The article says: "The Windows smart phones will attract corporate businesses with a mobile field force, say experts. Microsoft already has extensive back-end software offerings for the enterprise." <!><br /><br />The three challenges working against the Smartphone, that the article brings up, are branding, support and lack of applications: "Branding is one problem. The phones may be marketed as 'SingTel Smartphones' and Singaporeans who like brands such as Nokia or Motorola may take some convincing...". I firmly believe that Microsoft needs to come up with a simple brand name for its Smartphones. Even though most operators would probably want to stick their own name to the phone at first thought, I believe everyone would benefit if all Smartphones carried one common brand element.<br /><br />Support is said to be a problem: "Product support is another problem for operators, he added. Phone makers such as Nokia take care of their own repairs here. When it comes to a SingTel smart phone, the operator may have to offer its own technical support". When operators start selling phones as their own product, support needs to be taken care of. This can be resource intensive and has to be planned for.<br /><br />Finallly, lack of applications: "Mr Andrew Buay, chief operating adviser at Globe Telecom in the Philippines, said that a current lack of applications for the smart phones may slow down their adoption". Applications will come as more and more developers start explore the Smartphone's abilities and potential. And when operators stop the stupidity of locking down phones.<br /><br />All in all, a very interesting article which inspired lots of thoughts!

encece
07-17-2003, 04:29 PM
"Branding is one problem. The phones may be marketed as 'SingTel Smartphones' and Singaporeans who like brands such as Nokia or Motorola may take some convincing...". I firmly believe that Microsoft needs to come up with a simple brand name for its Smartphones. Even though most operators would probably want to stick their own name to the phone at first thought, I believe everyone would benefit if all Smartphones carried one common brand element.

I have thought something somewhat similar to this as well.

If Microsoft marketed/supported the phones as they do PPCs, the Smartphone would be alot further along than it is right now.

One thought would be:
Sell it as a PDA. In stores like CompUSA. Where users can pop-in their own SIM. This would allow them not to be dependent on Network Providers. Though I dont know how this would work with CDMA networks. Nor do I know how well Networks would support the phones.

Another thought would be that Microsoft, to compete in this market, may need to start acting like a Motorola or Nokia. Manufacturing, branding & supporting the phones themselves...AS PHONES and not only as PDAs.

I guess, as I'm thinking while writing this, this would be unprecedented(sp?). Microsoft may need not only to push the OS while subsidising the manufacturing, but may also need to control the manufacturing themselves, branding it as a Microsoft Hardware...not just hardware with MS software.

This would allow them to distribute updates much quicker than the current networks using smartphones (eg. Orange) are doing at the moment. Fixing problems quicker...gaining loyalty faster.

Does that make any sense? (I have to get back to work!)

freitasm
07-18-2003, 02:53 AM
Branding is a big problem. And iMate is here because of iPAQ. So I was told during my sneak peek.

iMate is already sold by PPCW.Net and in some middle eastern countries. It might take some marketing, but I think this will wait for 2003 versions to be available.