As news goes, last week was pretty exciting. There was the iPhone 4g debacle, the leak of details regarding Dell’s new smartphones, and Apple’s quarterly financial release, among others. When it comes to the mobile space, one thing is becoming clear, this is still anyone’s game.
Brilliant Marketing or Colossal Screw-up?
Definitely the biggest tech story last week, and possibly one of the bigger stories we’ll see this year, was around the “finding” of Apple’s next iPhone hardware. The first pictures of the device actually surfaced a couple of weeks ago, but there was little to prove or disprove the authenticity of the device. Well that all changed early last week when Gizmodo started a series of posts about the device, which they actually had in hand.
The details of the story and the posts that made their way to the site, including one surrounding a letter from Apple requesting the phone be returned, seemingly answering any questions about authenticity. For a complete timeline on the whole series of events, PC Magazine has done a great job here.
Of course the big question around all of this; was the phone deliberately left in a San Jose bar, or was this a mistake made by an Apple employee who was just out having a good time? It’s unlikely that the absolute truth in the whole matter will ever come out. While the event certainly generated a lot of press for Apple, millions of people visited Gizmodo over the course of last week to check out the details of the phone and follow the whole story, there is a significant risk in this type of “PR stunt” which goes against the way that Apple has always operated in the past. For their part, Gizmodo believes this wasn’t a leak, but in fact an error on the part of a young employee. Hey, we all make mistakes.
What do you think? Was this truly just an incident that resulted in a major scoop, or was this a brilliant stroke of very high risk PR?
Dell Getting Smart(phones)
While all of the news surrounding the new Apple gadget was dominating the interwebs, another leak, this one containing information from Dell, was starting to trickle out. It’s been question on my mind for a while; when is Dell going to come out with a smartphone? Would Dell acquire Palm and try to raise WebOS out of obscurity? Well, this week we got an early look at how Dell is going to approach smartphones.
Dell will be diving into the smartphone pool in a big way, introducing four new phones to the market. The devices bring along a host of great specs, good looks, and interesting choices in operating systems. Two of the new phones will be running on the next gen Android OS, 2.2 or Froyo. Another, the Dell Thunder, is set to run on the most current version of the Android OS, 2.1. The really interesting move on the part of Dell, releasing a fourth phone which is going to be running the new Windows Phone 7.
By leveraging two different operating systems, Dell is hedging their bets. If either Android or Windows Phone doesn’t meet success, Dell isn’t tied to just one OS and can move in the right direction. Whether Dell will be the next big player in the smartphone market will remain to be seen, but they do have the resources to support their hardware, which looks great, with strong marketing and brand recognition, which can go a long way. It’s hard to say how well Windows Phone 7 will fare, while the operating system itself looks really good, it may be too late. Android on the other hand seems to be seeing tremendous growth, at least if the Android market can be used as a gauge. There are currently over 50,000 Android apps available and that number is growing by thousands every month.
The auto industry in North America has been hit hard, and while they were once powerhouses of industry, North American manufacturers have been seriously damaged by the economic events of the last several years. However one company, Ford, has been doing a great job of recovering and spurring new growth through innovation. Several years ago, Ford introduced their Sync platform. Since then, they have continued to improve the system to bring in-car computing towards a well functioning reality. Last week Ford announced a new Mobile App Developer Network with the goal of having mobile apps created that will work with the Sync system. Using mobile apps on the road through voice commands given to your car – Brilliant!
Apple released their quarterly financial results last week, exceeding expectations and revealing just how much of an impact the iPhone has had on Apple’s success. Shares of the company’s stock closed the week just over $270, about 10% higher than prior to the announcement. In the quarter Apple sold 8.75 million iPhones, 2.9 million Macintosh computers and over 10 million iPods. The last week of the quarter also saw the release of the iPad, which sold over 500,000 units in it’s first week.
Computer manufacturer Lenovo launched an app download store for their mobile phone and showcased a tweaked version of the Android operating system that will be coming with the Lephone handset. The phone is set to launch in China next month, complete details can be found through PC World’s coverage.
Finally, if you want porn on your phone, Steve Jobs says you should buy Android!
That’s all I’ve got time to cover. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and perspective on these or other relevant news. If you find news that you feel others might miss and would like to see it covered in a future recap, connect with me on Twitter @thorrenkoopmans and let me know.