Thursday, August 31, 2006

When Am I Going To Get a Mobile That Does Everything

Paul Mason has done a good feature on the future of Mobile for Newsnight. In a short film he has managed to look at what the future could be for Symbian based handsets, how Nokia and Philips might use RFiD for NFC Ticketing and shopping and the challenge that WiMAx sets the Networks.

At the end of the blog you can see the film thanks to the BBC's media player. You can also read what a number of other viewers thought about the feature. I guess this is one of the benefits of the silly season in that it forces the news programs to make content.

Just not sure that I agree with teh statement that teh mobile phone industry is one of the few that gives us more than we expect ;-)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How would you like to watch your TV

Focus: The battle for Britain's airwaves The Sunday Times has another feature on the switch to digital TV. The paper asks who will get the radio spectrum released by the switching off of the analogue service. The paper sees the competition as Broadcasters against mobile phone networks with the Government making a significant windfall in licence fees.

The journalist looks as DVB-H trials by the Mobile networks as an adjunct for 3G services. The problem is that todate these services have only been in trial format by the networks, and as such have involved a highly selective group being offered "free" TV. Now what will happen when you have to pay for a handset on which to watch TV and also pay a subscription to view programs?

Well if the Vodafone/SKY link up is anything to go by it will be an even bigger flop that the launch of 3G. Friends who have tried the service all stopped within the first month because it was so poor. The other problem is that the Mobile Networls are rolling back predictions on 3G take up, instead they are talking about Camera Phones, Music Phones and Smart Phones. Just look at the highly successful Sony Ericsson K800i very little is made of the fact that it is a 3G handset.

Sunday Times looks at FRee Broadband

What a scandal: the truth about British broadband was the headline in the business section of Sunday's paper, (yes I know its Tuesday but I had a busy holiday weekend and did not get to read the papers until my tube journey this morning)

The findings are that when the internet is busy in the evenings we are not able to get the 8Mbps as advertised. After a number of angry customers report just how bad the service is they go on to say that the providers make a market trader look honest. But when was the last time you went into a pub and the barman asked if you wanted cheap broadband?

Now that over 40% of the population has broadband we cannot expect that the service is a commodity! This is still a technical service that requires some knowledge in terms of what you are buying otherwise you will be left high and dry by salesmen who get you to take the best package for them rather than what fits you. My suggestion to those who have not yet got broadband is first off go and get advice on just what you need then buy it from someone other than the guy who gave the advice. You also need to expect to have to pay for the service because nothing in life is free!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

This years model

Orange did finally manage to get its act together and send me a Sony Ericsson K800i , which after a month I have managed to personalise. I am still trying to get the BestPic function to work. I have downloaded Opera Mini so that the surfing is improved. The RSS reader is greater once you work out how to add your favourite sites.

I am having a problem with the PCLink software because this machine runs Windows Vista and as such SE do not recognise the OS. Once Microsoft get their act together and officially launch the software I guess I will get the update I am looking for.

I have gone out and got a new headset for the phone which I have to say is excellent and was very easy to set up. The audio quality is good and the device does not look too geek like. The sound quality is a lot better than my last headset and so far no dropped calls ;-) The battery life has been good to date.

So what do not like, the new phone and headset have a different charger from the old SE devices and from each other. This means that I have had to head out buy a new travel charger and I am going to find space in my bag for more electricals, not a great thing at a time when we have to take less on a plane!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Can they change orange?

Mobile Today a trade magazine for the Mobile retail sector last week published an excellent feature on just how can Orange once again be bright. This is a question that has challenged a number of friends of Orange over the last few years.

What once made Orange stand out was excellent Customer Service, this lead has been lost as others have improved whilst FT has cut costs. I have to say that the last nine months have seen me contact the Executive team too often in getting issues resolved.

The next problem is one of innovation, just what does Orange now stand for? I want a mobile experience that makes my life easier, something the aspired to with the launch of Wildfire. Today I have Caller Tunes and Music Player.

In terms of network, I am very glad that we have had a heatwave this year as without it I would not be able to get a signal in summer time because I have too many trees between me and the 3g base station. When it rains I cannot get a single at home, so I guess the solution could be that someone in customer service calls me and gets me to switch to Orange broadband. Then perhaps I can make calls over a pico cell in my house and at least have some form of conectivity.

I have to say that I for one have little confidence that Ghillebaert can effect a turnaround of the UK operation. I think one of the biggest issues is low staff morale, which has got worse thanks to yet another round of job cuts. No amount of marketing can help make that better in the short term. Perhaps he can look at what is happening in Germany and decide that what we need is some of the E plus magic rather than a bunch of Animal tarrifs!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Phone of the future steps into the past

Charles Arthur in today's Guardian has written and excellent feature on how we sometimes end up with what we are given rather than what we want.

In testing a WiFi handset he points out some of the obvious problems such a quantum leap will require, which bring back the happy days when I was just starting paid employment and cellular telecoms had just started up in Europe some 21 years ago.

Charles asks "Does this mean, I asked myself, that soon we're all going to be making phone calls over the internet, using wireless hotspots rather than these annoying "mobile network" companies?"

He then goes on to say "
Analysts are talking up the possibilities of WiMax, a long-range wireless system which isn't compatible with Wi-Fi: the other day, Jupiter Research forecast that there will be 21.3m WiMax subscribers by 2012, perhaps using it as an alternative to mobile companies' 3G networks.

But the prospects of Wi-Fi getting that big, at least in the UK, seem remote. Hotspots have been around for at least five years and their price - around £5 per hour - shows little sign of falling. Are you really going to pay £5 just to tell someone you're going to be on the train, and that once you're there you won't be calling them because you've given up mobile phones?"

I guess I don't need to worry just yet to the threat that WiFi phones will replace mobile. If you want to see what others are thinking on what the Industry is calling take a look at Dean Bubley's Diruptive Analysis blog.