Welcome to our second installment of a new weekly series that highlights the major news headlines, stories, and analysis in the mobile market.
As I’m sure all our readers would expect, the biggest news this week was from Apple. At this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, Apple announced the next generation iPhone 3GS to much anticipation by their loyal users. The 3GS is similar in form factor to the older phone but is supposed to be significantly faster and has several new features, plus improvements (yes… there is cut & paste now). Jeff did a good job summarizing the iPhone 3GS in his recent post. Apple also announced that they will offer the existing iPhone 3G for $99, creating significant buzz with Apple-crazed consumers not wanting to spend the $199/$299 for the latest device.
Typical to any Apple event, the WWDC did not disappoint in grabbing the market’s attention and highlighting things to come. Some of the most interesting articles I read this week were about the iPhone, but not its features as you would assume. There were several articles bashing AT&T for their exclusivity, pricing plans, and network features. What’s clear is that both AT&T’s consumers and shareholders are not happy with AT&T’s pricing tiers and their need to pass-through “exclusivity costs” to their subscribers.
With all the Apple noise in the industry, I was really curious to see how the Palm Pre held up in its first week. Initially I thought Palm was nuts for releasing a device the weekend before Apple’s WWDC, but after events this week, they may have proven me wrong. To start off, the Palm Pre sold very well in its debut weekend with analysts estimating between 50K – 100K devices being sold and shelves emptying out at all the stores. That’s a new record for Sprint. Then, Palm announced that their current CEO is being replaced by a former Apple executive, Jon Rubenstein who acted as head of development for the iPod and spearheaded the Pre’s design. Looks like Palm is throwing down a gauntlet and is actually ready to fight. It should be an interesting battle to watch as the smartphone market matures.
For those of you who are interested, there are quite a few side-by-side comparisons done between the iPhone and Palm Pre. I will reserve my opinion until I can play with both devices. Here are a couple links that might interest you:
In other mobile market news, there are always constant announcements of companies jumping into the mobile environment. This week was no difference with two stories catching my attention since they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum:
- On the positive side, American Airlines expands its mobile boarding passes to three more airports. I travel a decent amount and have seen the popularity of mobile boarding passes increase in the major cities and I like this announcement as it shows a positive trend in the marketplace.
- On the negative side, it looks like the IRS is trying to figure out a way to fleece money from people who have company-owned cell phones. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the IRS is proposing that employers assign 25 percent of an employee’s cell phone expenses as a taxable benefit. This is definitely not a trend that I want to see.
As always, if you see anything else interesting or newsworthy in the mobile world, please leave a comment for us as we would love to hear from you.