What are you doing to get ready for 2009? Like a lot of people over the past couple weeks, sending people text messages with Greetings such as Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, etc have been zipping around to people’s phones.
With only a few more hours until 01/01/2009 (where I’m at), I’m gearing up my phone to send out a mass of text messages to my Phone Book to join in the well wishing. I’m ready to dump 2008, it’s been a rollercoaster ride for me with more downs than ups.
So get ready 2009, here we come!
2008 is almost over. But it’s still all about the iPhone. The recent announcement from Walmart to begin selling the Apple iPhone yesterday shows that Apple wants a larger chunk of the global handset market share.
While the price is not as good as some might expect (lower by $2.00), it certainly marks a bold move that Apple wants to play seriously in the mobile space. It also marks a seriously competitor to Best Buy Mobile as the two retailers are honing their mobile partnerships to maximize revenue opportunities. Amazon.com, which has been selling mobile phones and service plans now has another serious competitor to contend with.
But not to be outdone by the recent expiration of the exclusive distribution AT&T/Apple partnership, AT&T recently posted on their website a way to woo even more people to buy the iconic iPhone. As I mentioned in a previous post about AT&T offering refurbished iPhones, they have once again tried to spur holiday retail sales by what seems to be a last ditch effort show strong subscriber (line) grow at the end of 2008.
Selling the iPhone for an unheard of $50 after a mail-in rebate, it seems that getting over the initial sticker shock is a no-brainer, but what people must contend with is the roughly $70/month plan for about 2 years. A few years ago, people were paying roughly $40/month for their mobile phone plan and that didn’t include an unlimited data plan. Today, people are paying close to $50/month, so and extra $20/month to get unlimited data and a svelte iPhone, is not so bad. I’m wondering if moms and dads are caving into the cheap initial price for the device, but potentially regretting it later when it comes to paying for a higher monthly plan. And that doesn’t even include text messages.
But at $50, I’m sure the price barrier has made people hold off enough on waiting to get an iPhone.
During the frenzy of holiday shopping, I went to Best Buy to do my part to help out the US Economy and Retail Sales for electronics. Browsing through the Best Buy Mobile section of the store I came across this sign. Best Buy is offering to pair your bluetooth headset to your new mobile phone (purchased through them), by using their Geek Squad service. Great. They are being helpful and provide value-added services.
But what I find amazing is the fact that they are assigning a $9.99 value. I would proposed that pairing a headset to a phone takes about 5 minutes. Based on that they are creating a service that costs $120/hour! I looked on the Geek Squad website and I could not find this service listed. It’s only available at the store at the time of purchase. They won’t go to your home or office and perform the service there. But the closest comparable is the Standard Wireless Networking Service (In Home/Office) for $119.99. So this seems to validate their cost model to charge.
In contrast, I asked Store Reps at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon and they all said that when a customer buys a new phone or even upgrades a phone, they try and ask if they need a bluetooth headset and are willing to pair the devices at no extra cost.
But back to Best Buy. As a public company (NYSE: BBY), I tried to sift through some of the 10Qs to see if there was some mention about this, and not too much detail. Overall Revenue from Services line (Geek Squad) is about 6%. Is this a way to create artificial revenue? Maybe in a few months, I’ll go back to Best Buy and ask them if there has been significant uptake of this service or has it’s been largely ignored.
Many thanks to my readers and those who have posted comments. While 2008 has been a tough year for many, I am happy to say that it’s almost over and looking forward to a fresh start in 2009.
Also, many thanks to those who continue to support my efforts on mobileslate.com, from the conferences to the interviews and briefings, I’m glad that this destination continues to be a source of information about mobile and wireless.
Well, it’s close to the end of December and it’s time to clear out the Apple inventory at the retail stores. And in anticipation of the upcoming MacWorld event in January, I’m sure a new iPhone model should be announced. Perhaps a 32Gb version to follow suit with the iPod Touch? Or maybe just further lowering the price. In any event, one sign that something’s afoot is the Refurbished iPhones that have begun to appear on the AT&T website.
$50.00 USD off the price of an iPhone doesn’t sound like much, but anything to lower the price points and move more mobile phones during this holiday season will help everyone in the mobile ecosystem.
I’m not holding my breath until the Keynote of MacWorld, but discounts for any Apple products should be helpful to push those on the fence over buying one. Too bad the money saved will quickly evaporate when you start paying the required service contract.
Effective yesterday, T-Mobile eliminated the handset upgrade fee for existing customers.
T-Mobile USA announced that it was canceling handset upgrade fees for its customers.
The move came into effect Dec. 17, according to a spokeswoman for T-Mobile. “The elimination of the $18 upgrade fee applies across-the-board to all handsets (including the T-Mobile G1) and in all channels (e.g., retail, online, etc.),” she said in an email message.
Source: Fierce Wireless
Hopefully this is a good motivator for people to upgrade handsets since it seems like every time you want to do something you are assessed a fee, similar to your interactions with a bank. $18 might not seem like a lot, but lots of devices are going of under $50 to $99, so that really starts to impact the relative percentage of the cost of upgrading to a new phone.
My thoughts are they should be able to make up that “lost” revenue by getting more people to sign up for texting packages or data plans which provide higher, long term utility, than the nuisance charge of wanting to buy a new phone.
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But it’s the cell phone, in particular, that seems to be the burial gadget of choice.
Ed Defort, publisher and editorial director for American Funeral Director magazine, says it’s a definite trend.
“I’ve even heard of cases where people are being buried with their iPod. Or one guy who was prepared for his viewing with his Bluetooth (headset) in his ear.”
So maybe we can take it with us…at least to our grave.
Despite downturn, venture capitalists still bullish on mobile. I would certainly agree with that. And if you need further evidence: Continue Reading →
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The SD Forum Gaming Event was one of the better events that I have attend this year. Panelists arguing with each other, poking fun at the companies they worked for, and the interview with Bernie Stolar that was no BS (bullsh*t) was great. Continue Reading →
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I finally got around to installing the upgrade to WordPress 2.6.5. Also, a few of my friends and readers were commenting that I should look at a new theme for my blog. After a few hours surfing for some alternatives, I decided to try out Contender from Bryon Bennett. I’m still tweaking it when I can, but I would love to hear comments from people reading my blog.
Also, I’ll put out another request. If you hear about a good tool that will take my tweets from twitter (@mobileslate) and will create posts on my blog, that would be great. I tried Alex King’s Twitter Tools, but doesn’t quite work with how I have RSS feeds and WordPress pushing links to twitter. I also looked into tumblr, but probably need to spend more time with it to figure out the appropriate configuration.
Today I spoke at the Telematics Update event, Navigation and Location USA 2008, in San Jose. The basic question of “Can LBS Be Free?” can be summed up quickly:
“Yes, but there is no free lunch. Someone will have to pay for it.”
I will be speaking later this week at the Navigation and Location USA 2008 event. Thanks to Puja and the Telematics Update staff for helping to setup this event which I attended and blogged about last year.
Here is the abstract of the panel:
The other people on the panel are:
Dave Daetz, Senior Director – Corporate Development, Palm Inc.
Rich Rudow, Managing Director, Trimble Navigation
Hakan Kostepen, Director of Planning & Innovation, Panasonic
Kate Edwards, CEO, Jentro
I’ll be posting the slides and some commentary from the event later that day.