Mobile Manufacturer Roundup--Part One
CTIA Wireless is a good excuse to step back from technical debates and take a look at the industry. For developers, this often means following the mobile operators, but this week I'd like to focus on a handful of device manufacturers.
Apple - Apple's iPhone looms large at CTIA--impressive for a device still in development. There are already several "iPhone-killers" and I'm confident the iPhone is behind Sprint's decision to cut prices in its music store to $0.99. Apple also faces continued criticism for its decision to sign an exclusive deal with Cingular (AT&T). Apple hasn't even announced any plans for iPhone in Europe (though rumors suggest Vodafone is the favored operator). As I've I said before, I think it's far too premature to judge Apple's first foray into the mobile phone arena.
Palm - Palm just released quarterly earnings: Treo sales are up, but earnings are down. Overall, it's been a tough year for Palm; its stock fell seven percent, though it got a recent bump thanks to rumors the company is in line for a takeover. This certainly isn't the first time things have looked a bleak for Palm, but this time the takeover rumors are apparently credible enough to have Palm's Taiwanese suppliers worried. Analysts tell the Globe and Mail Palm's best chance lies in new products. Unfortunately, there aren't any major announcements expected anytime soon. One bright spot: a federal judge has ruled Palm can continue to sell devices until USPTO rules on the validity of NTP's mobile email patents.
Motorola - Though the company is often cited as a potential Palm buyer, Motorola has seen better days itself. Conventional wisdom is that Motorola has relied far too heavily on the success of the RAZR to carry its entire mobile product line. Another worrying sign is that CEO Ed Zander canceled his CTIA Wireless appearance on short notice due unforeseen scheduling conflicts. Some analysts have taken that as a sign that more trouble is ahead for the company.
Tune in next week for part two with a look at Sony Ericsson, Samsung and, of course, Nokia. -Eli
P.S. The FierceWireless and FierceMobileContent websites are a great source of ongoing coverage of CTIA Wireless.