Next week could see the beginning of the second stage of the Android invasion. While the next Google Android-powered handset won’t actually hit stores next week, word is that T-Mobile will finally announce, and unveil the Touch 3G. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Touch 3G, which is a tweaked version of the HTC Magic, will arrive stateside later this summer.
If the rumors are true, it will have no physical keyboard but instead will have a touchscreen. It will also likely have a trackball and navigation bullets, much like the original G1. Pricing obviously hasn’t been announced, but the rumors are that it will have a $179.99 price tag with a two-year contract – so on par with the G1. Also circulating in the rumor mill is a price cut for the G1 to $149.99, as well as a possible G2 arriving, which could be either a refresh and supped up G1 or maybe it is just the Touch 3G. Check back next week, as I’ll be watching this story very closely.
Is Big Blue Going Mobile?
Everybody is introducing a mobile phone, or maybe it just seems that way. After leaving the computer market a decade ago IBM could be looking to go mobile. The New York Times reported that IBM plans to invest nearly $100 million mobile phone research.
This would be the first time that Big Blue has gotten involved in the mobile phone space, and the company probably isn’t out to create a competitor for the iPhone. But the last showdown between Apple and IBM with the Apple Mac vs. the IBM PC saw IBM winning the battle, and eventually losing the war. It licensed the technology to make computers to third party makers and thus faced competition within its own market. Meanwhile, its version of DOS lost out to Microsoft, while Microsoft Windows 95 also killed OS/2 Warp back in 1995.
So what does all this mean? Well, it looks like IBM could be looking to develop the backend tools, such as mobile payments, mobile security and mobile interface. These are among the company’s stated areas of interest in the mobile space, and it is likely that this will include the stuff that businesses need to connect to one another, as well as customers. But just don’t expect to see the IBM logo on devices, not yet anyway. Of course, don’t rule out an IBM phone. At this point it looks like everyone might be making one!
Bad Business Mood at Microsoft
BlackBerries and iPhones not welcome. While there isn’t a sign that says that at the Redmond campuses for Microsoft (yes, plural), that’s the message the company is sending to its employees.
Microsoft has announced that it will no longer pay for employee smartphone data plans for any devices that are not Windows Mobile powered. So employees with an iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm Pre and other non-Windows device will not get compensated or reimbursed for data connectivity, even if this is for work-related activities.
OK, so there might be the opinion that why should a company pay for someone’s data connectivity, especially given the free monthly plans? Well, if it is for work, and is necessary for work the company should pay. Yes, Microsoft has the right to pull the plug, but this is turning out to be a PR disaster for the Redmond giant. And PR disasters aren’t the sort of thing that is good for building brand awareness – at least not in a positive way. So all you small and medium business owners should take heed from the big guys. Bad business is just bad business.
But as one who has been to the Microsoft campuses in the past to see its software, I can tell you (without breaking any confidentiality agreements or NDAs) that the company spent a lot of time and energy looking at useability and functionality of its products. So why ban the competition?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to say, “everyone who uses these other devices, as part of the reimbursement, you must answer quarterly questionnaires on said devices performance.” This would allow Microsoft to essentially get free market research from its employees.
Some other sample questions could include:
- You work at Microsoft but use an iPhone, Palm Pre, BlackBerry, or other competitor’s device, why?
- Are you rebelling or just feel the need to be cool?
- What can we do to get you to use a Windows Mobile product? How about if we threaten not to pay for your service, even it if is for work?
OK, so maybe that’s a little harsh. But so is not paying for your worker’s mobile data plans just because they’re using a rival company’s product.