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.
When Google Wallet launched last September MasterCard was named a key partner. This summer MasterCard will launch a partnership with wireless carrier mobile wallet player, Isis, in select markets (Salt Lake City and Austin). Clearly, though, MasterCard is prioritizing mobile wallet solution capabilities because now the credit card giant is launching its own mobile wallet solution – PayPass Mobile Wallet.
Over the last few weeks, Amazon has been on the move to enhance and extend app developer monetization opportunities distributed through its branded Amazon Appstore, and supported across all platforms including Android smartphones, tablets, and Kindle Fire. The in-app billing capability, announced on April 10, extends monetization beyond one-time sales to ongoing purchases within the app, including expansion packs, virtual currency and subscriptions.
AT&T has formally announced what many high-use smartphone users already knew: throttling is here to stay. AT&T users on a 3G plan will be throttled at 3GB, while 4G LTE users will see throttling at 5GB. The 3G/4G differentiation is a key point, as 4G users will blow through their data far quicker than 3G (the bigger pipe means better quality video, but also greater data use – and better efficiencies for AT&T).
“Words With Friends,” the Zynga Scrabble-like (or “inspired”) game that garnered both notoriety and lots of free marketing thanks in part to Alec Baldwin’s antics on an American Airlines flight, has come into its own among Android smartphone users.
When MTV played the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” in 1981 it launched a new era of pay television. Cable TV was no longer Community Antenna TV (CATV); now there were—or soon would be—as Bruce Springsteen put it, “57 channels and nothin’ on.”
In the first significant shake-up of the mobile data market, AT&T has revamped data plan offers for smartphones and tablets. The general impact of the changes (to be launched on Sunday) is to increase the general bucket sizes that customers must purchase (with a price increase to go along with it).
The current smartphone data plans are 200MB ($15), 2GB ($25), and 4GB ($45), the latter including hotspot tethering. The new plans raise the stakes in terms of data and price, with 300MB ($20), 3GB ($30) and 5GB ($50), again, with the latter plan including tethering.
Beyond all of the “cloud chatter” and plethora of device announcements at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), HSN talked-up their “boundary less” retail strategy; digital efforts (driven in part by mobile gaming veteran and their EVP of Digital, Jill Braff); and offered sell-through proof points driven by their largely female audience (85 percent).