In the past two months, we reported that the FCC is investigating wireless carriers and their exclusivity practices. Well, this week the FCC officially launched a larger, wider probe of the wireless industry to investigate several issues from handset exclusivity to consumer protection. Their ultimate goal is to ensure the landscape remains competitive and fair for all. I don’t think the investigation will lead to any major formal regulations, but I do think consumers will garner more awareness and force the US carriers to focus on what they are supposed to be … a SERVICE provider (not hardware, not applications, not gimmicks). The carriers should be judged on the service they provide, meaning call quality, data speeds, customer service and pricing.
On a more positive note, smartphones continue gaining volume growth and market share. The NPD group reported that 28% of all new phones purchased are smartphones which is an increase of 47% since last year. According to Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at the NPD Group, “despite the depressed economy, consumers are continuing to invest not only in the handsets themselves, but in pricy data plans.” Recently Forbes named RIM the fastest growing company in the world with its profits rising 84% and revenues 77%. The Forbes report just goes to show how fast and popular smartphones really are becoming worldwide. Although RIM is the fast growing, who is the dominant smartphone vendor in the world? That honor goes to Nokia who still has 44.3% of the global market share of smartphones. With all this news of growth, market share, Apple, RIM, etc… will any handset vendor really be able to keep their market share long-term? I don’t think so and predict that no vendor will have more than 20% market share long-term. The market is only going to get more fragmented as Android and Microsoft continue their push and marketing campaigns.
With all this noise about smartphone growth and consumer spending on mobile, I’m not surprised when I find new articles on new, exciting app store features or how developers can monetize apps. Here are just a few I found this week:
- Palm accepting applications for paid apps on the Pre. They will retain 30% of the purchase price to cover costs. Why don’t any of the handset manufacturers have an original thought? If Palm really wants to have a store and wants to incentivize developers, why not reduce the fee to 5%? I’m sure some developers would love to retain an additional 25%.
- BlackBerry App World can now be browsed from a personal computer. Yippee, I can waste more time searching for useless apps while I’m at home [sarcasm].
- Microsoft is encouraging developers to charge more than 99 cents for their apps. They want developers to charge what the apps are worth instead of what the market demands. Seriously? And I’m sure Microsoft has no ulterior motives like wanting to generate more revenue from the fees they will retain for each (now more expensive) app that gets sold [more sarcasm].
It’s no surprise that these kinds of articles frustrate me, especially if you read our blog often. Repeating myself, I recommend all developers should just revolt against the app stores and create browser-based versions of their apps and charge a license fee to consumers directly and keep all the revenue. One of the funniest articles I found in a while seems to reinforce my sentiments in a very comical, yet convincing manner. The article titled “Steve Jobs hates the App Store” is definitely worth a read. Great stuff!
Here are this week’s other articles, stories or report I thought you would find interesting:
- RIM planning on including full Flash and Silverlight support in browser. This is still in development but a good, positive step.
- North America-bound GSM Palm Pre spied and certified. This will probably end up on AT&T, so another good phone on a crappy network.
- Blockbuster to Offer Movies on Motorola Phones. I guess they don’t want anyone to actually use it or else they would’ve partnered with a real handset manufacturer.
That’s all for this week. As always, please share your opinion below with our other readers.