As expected, today Nokia launched the next generation Lumia device, with an upgrade to Windows Phone 8. Two new devices were launched, the Lumia 820 and 920; both logical step-ups from the existing 800 and 900 that are on the market today and with relatively similar form factors. But to simply consider these devices to be “upgrades” is to miss the point of the new devices. Both support significant new innovations, including wireless charging, vastly improved camera and superior displays.
Following on the heels of Samsung’s Music Hub premium streaming service launch last month, Nokia announced on Tuesday that it is bringing its “Nokia Music” free streaming music service to the U.S. Unveiled nearly a year ago at the “Nokia World” event and in conjunction with the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 device launches, Nokia Music’s U.S.
Last week Samsung launched its Music Hub streaming service in the U.S., limited initially to select Samsung Galaxy S III devices. Music Hub premium version ($9.99 monthly) includes: upload of owned music library and storage up to 100 GB with Scan & Match Cloud Locker; storefront and streaming access to 19+ million tracks (assets from mSpot acquisition partner 7digital); personalized/custom radio; and recommendation engine capabilities.
Google Fiber officially debuted last week in the Kansas City area after a long testing phase as the Internet giant has begun taking pre-registrations. In essence, Google is taking telco and cable companies head on with a value proposition to build a super fast (allegedly 100 times faster than any other U.S. ISP’s average broadband speeds) fiber infrastructure in return for a $300 installation fee, which can be paid at once or in $25 installments, per household. Google then complements the fiber solution with three service package options.
AT&T has joined Verizon Wireless in offering a shared data plan option for its customers. Not surprisingly, the plan is similar in nature, based on the premise that the voice and messaging minutes should be unlimited, while the data component is offered in various buckets (1GB for $40 scaling up to 20 GB for $200). But are these plans simplifying the purchase experience or further complicating it?
I lost my shorts on Friday (I should mention that I wasn’t wearing them at the time). The loss of shorts, while annoying, was nothing more than a minor inconvenience. But Friday 13th had more in store: in my shorts were my wallet and my smartphone (I still wasn’t wearing them!). Whoops. Frantic calls to my phone took me to voicemail, suggesting that either the phone had been switched off or was crushed, and so I began “the process.”
The success of the mobile phone market over the past 10 to 15 years came at the clear expense of the landline market. The insipient creep of cord-cutting behavior coupled with the younger generation that never saw the point of having a cord, has resulted in lower landline numbers and pretty much a universal agreement that the landline will fade, if not to obscurity then at least to a dusty corner of the living room.
Microsoft’s Surface announcement packed a one-two punch. Of course, the big surprise was that Microsoft would compete with its OEM partners in its central revenue source of Windows–licensed devices. But it also seemed clear that the Surface introduction brought to the fore many aspects of Windows 8 and RT that are not germane to Surface, such as the idea that a device could be considered a tablet and a PC (the main rationale of Windows 8’s design).
Verizon Wireless has announced its much-anticipated share plans, and has effectively bridged the two opposing options of sharing across device types while also appeasing the needs of the family unit. And, even more significantly, the company has commoditized voice plans down to a single, unlimited offering.
When Nokia announced that it secured AT&T’s commitment to sell the LTE-powered Lumia 900 a little over a month ago we alluded to the fact the attractive price point, coupled with the aggressive marketing campaign to reintroduce the Nokia brand, would help the vendor and the Windows Phone platform overcome its biggest challenge – attracting the developer community.