Mobile Quick Thoughts: AT&T, Symbian and Palm
Okay, a bunch of interesting stuff. Probably all need to be written about in depth, but I don't have time. So here's some quick thoughts:
AT&T launches EDGE Nationwide: This is incredible news and I'd love to have the cash flow enough to sign up for the $80/month unlimited data accounts. I wrote about AT&T's rollout of GSM a while ago, and in that article they talked about how the move to EDGE was simply a software upgrade - so even though this shouldn't be a surprise, it really is neat to see AT&T being so aggressive. This news is a clear indicator that the U.S. has caught up to where Europe is in terms of mobile data service and functionality. Like I said before, the quality of the connections here still lags *way* behind Europe, and the prices here for cellular are much more expensive. But when it comes to next generation data-access, T-Mobile showed the way with their $19.99 all you can eat GPRS access and now AT&T launches way ahead of Europe with nationwide EDGE - a true 3G technology. Cool news. The U.S. technology world is focusing on wireless and mobile technologies now, similar to how it focused on Internet technologies a decade ago - you can feel the buzz.
While I'm talking about AT&T Wireless, they are also relaunching their mMode portal after a dismal first try. Vodafone Live and to some extent, i-mode in Europe have both shown how successful mobile data offerings can be in the West, AT&T just needs to figure out how to package and market it more efficiently to Americans. And it'll be all XHTML baby. WAP is dead, long live WAP(2). The mMode relaunch will also include a mobile Real Video service which will include "ABC News, CBS MarketWatch, FOX Sports, The Weather Channel and other content providers". Very much like MobiTV, though I'm not sure if these channels are streamed or not. My only thought is that if they're thinking about doing that on the 3650's integrated Real player, I'll believe it when I see it.
3.91m Symbian phones shipped in 2003: This is not bad, but it's not the ramp-up that I was expecting. IDC had predicted 8 to 12 million Symbian phones shipped by the end of the year, which means they'll have to have one hell of a Q4 to meet those numbers. However, the amazing news from the press release is that there are now 31 new Symbian phones in the pipeline. That's definitely great news: More phones will mean more momentum and more developers will have a chance to get the device in their hands and start making compelling applications.
Synergix is launching Mophun runtimes for Symbian phones. The only reason Mophun even exists today is because of their stellar effort to get their runtime on the SonyEricsson phones. There are other "game platforms" out there, but when compared to J2ME or BREW there just doesn't seem to be enough room for them. Especially since developers have to *pay* in order to develop for the system. But now porting their runtime to the Symbian platform is definitely a smart idea. It'll allow more developers to target that "platform" and allow the games that are already out there another place to be played. It should be interesting to see what the results are for Synergix... Like I said, I can't believe they've gotten this far on such a wacky model - I guess it pays to be based in Sweden...
PalmSource launches MobileWorld for developers and teams up with PalmGear and PinPoint for an online application catalog and OTA delivery system of new apps. First, I have to say that PinPoint gives me fits because it was started and is run by some 21yo whiz kid and despite all my wonderful little ideas I don't have my killer company and he does. I want to see it fail just see this whippersnapper have his come-uppance. Okay, that bit of evil off my chest, it's nice to see PalmSource get their act together and notice that the growth in portable OSes is all in the mobile space. However, until I hear that they're targeting Palm OS 6 to mobile manufacturers like Symbian and Microsoft are doing with their respective 32-bit mobile OSes, I can't take Palm that seriously in the mobile world.
I saw some other stuff, but that's the big stuff I think...