Category: Smartphones

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The blogosphere reports my Nexus One pricing speculation as rumor

Posted by Charbax – December 16, 2009

Several blogs have been reporting my speculation on Nexus One pricing as a rumor. Which is okay, but I am only freely thinking what to expect Google will do about the pricing. What I think Google should do. I don't have secret infos from Google insiders, at least not yet. Although I am sure Google insiders are monitoring what the blogosphere is talking about so if they see a lot of people getting excited about disruptive pricing and VOIP features, then it could well encourage them to actually really make the big announcements and make it happen at the launch.

My speculation is based on following:

1. Manufacture and Bill of Material of a 3.7" AMOLED touch screen smartphone has been calculated by isupply and others to cost below $150 all inclusive when mass manufactured. Although an AMOLED WVGA screen is probably a bit more expensive than a 3.5" 480x320 LCD screen. Manufacturers and resellers make very high profit margins when they sell unlocked smartphones at $400-500, and I think, those prices are only a deterrent to unlocked phones and to push consumers into signing $2500 2-year contracts for getting those phones.

2. My speculation is that when Google will be selling its own phone (even manufactured by HTC or other Smartphone manufacturers in Asia), my speculation is that Google does not need to profit on the hardware, but plans to profit over time on mobile ads and services.

3. Google does not own spectrum, yet my basic suggestion is that Google may be able to approach telecom carriers internationally and offer to buy Petabytes of bandwidth on 3G networks, at a given rate per GB, and my speculation is that 3G bandwidth data should definitely cost less than $10 or 5€ per GB. If Google is able to purchase 1 Petabyte of 3G data from a telecom carrier for $10 per GB, guaranteed best effort bandwidth not throttled for VOIP, then what would stop Google from offering 100MB free bandwidth per month to users of unlocked Android phones, to use for basically as much VOIP over 3G using Google Voice, Gmail, basic Gmaps and basic Web browsing as most users would need. Thus get an unlocked Android phone with a Google SIM card and get unlimited free VOIP and 100mb/month data for free on ad-supported Google services or purchase more data for a certain price for example $10 per GB to use whenever you want, not needed to be renewed each month. I am probably far over-estimating the cost of 3G data bandwidth, the price per GB is probably below 1€ per GB, unless telecom carriers just refuse the deal and that they wouldn't accept to sell any 3G cellular bandwidth to Google.

I have been campaigning for free VOIP on WiFi and 3G for years, since I have been very active fanboy of all Archos Internet Tablets since the Archos PMA400 released in 2004 on my other site http://archosfans.com, where my hope has always been to some day have better telecom system that doesn't try to sell you a $2500 2-year contract with a $150 smartphone. But instead move towards improving the smart device, implement better optimized software through Linux (Android enables that for the first time), larger higher resolution screens (4.8" 800x480 like Archos 5 Internet Tablet is my favorite size and resolution), and also some day, make it possible for people to just buy the bandwidth that they need and not charge unreasonable prices anymore for voice and sms services.

Here are some of the sites that have been posting my speculation over the past couple of days:

http://www.androidguys.com/2009/12/14/reuters-nexus-one-available-directly-through-google-website-january-5/

http://www.phonesreview.co.uk/2009/12/15/google-nexus-one-phone-price-details-cdma-version-may-follow/

http://news.softpedia.com/news/More-HTC-Nexus-One-Details-Availability-Pricing-Boot-Animation-129741.shtml

http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/patterson/62660/google-phone-rumor-roundup-fcc-approval-pricing-and-availability/

http://www.product-reviews.net/2009/12/15/google-nexus-one-pricing-details/

http://androidandme.com/2009/12/news/android-rumor-report-nexus-one-to-cost-199/

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Burnette/?p=1517

http://www.i4u.com/article29235.html

http://www.ubergizmo.com/15/archives/2009/12/google_nexus_one_to_cost_199.html

http://www.slashgear.com/peek-ceo-gets-google-nexus-one-hands-on-price-speculation-increases-1666131/

http://www.geardiary.com/2009/12/16/nexus-one-google-phone-pricing-rumors-round-up/

http://www.mobilemag.com/2009/12/15/google-to-sell-nexus-one-unlocked-for-199/

http://pixelatedgeek.com/2009/12/more-google-phone-rumors-grain-of-salt/

http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/aexhb/google_phone_199_without_contract99_for_google/ (1088+ comments!)

http://www.phonesreview.co.uk/2009/12/15/google-nexus-one-phone-price-details-cdma-version-may-follow/

http://www.hackchasers.com/news/nexus-one-le-5-janvier-2010-date-de-lancement/

http://richard.gluga.com/2009/12/googles-nexus-one-with-free-data.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/14/AR2009121403454.html

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More of my speculation on Google Phone Nexus One hardware and services pricing

Posted by Charbax – December 14, 2009

EDIT: Google has not confirmed any pricing for the Google Phone Nexus One. You can read my latest post backing up my speculations on what I expect Google will price it, what I think Google should price it: http://armdevices.net/2009/12/16/the-blogosphere-reports-my-nexus-one-pricing-speculation-as-fact/

As I have been posting in comments on mediamemo.allthingsd.com, gizmodo.com and androidguys.com, I enjoy speculating about features and prices of phones and business models. So let me post here the prices that I expect this first Google Phone to be sold at and some of what I expect of its hardware specifications:

- $200 sold through all retailers, Best Buy, Amazon, Wal Mart and any others. Unlocked, for use on any network, but I think it may come with a so-called Google SIM card (read further below)

- Google may provide a subsidy up to $100 for long-time and very active Google users. So if you buy it online using your Google Account, they may provide you with an instant rebate. If you buy it for $200 in retail stores, Google can still provide you the online $100 rebate to use on the Google Android Marketplace, on Google Checkout stores or even on extra data for your Google SIM card (read futher below).

- My speculation is that Google may provide up to 100mb of free data usage per month to all Android users with a Google SIM card (read futher below). The 100mb per month would be enough for as much Google Voice, Gmail, Gtalk, and basic web browsing that most people need (disabling bandwidth intensive things such as images can easily be setup). No contracts needed for those 100mb per month, but those may only work for use on Google services, for low bandwidth Android apps or for basic web browsing. In any ways, there would be a bandwidth usage counter clearly displayed at the top of the Android user interface next to the battery meter. The free 100mb per month may be throttled and may sometimes be limited to GPRS type of speeds.

- Extra bandwidth could be purchased in one click, such as I expect 1GB for $10 or 5€ is possible. That extra GB of bandwidth would be usable at any point in time and not need to be renewed every month.

- A monthly $30 or 20€ bandwidth package would provide up to 5GB in the USA or 10GB in Europe per month of unrestricted and full speed 3G bandwidth usage.

- Thus the overall Bill Of Material and Manufacturing costs for a Google Nexus One is probably below $150, so Google can very likely sell it below $200 with 8GB built-in storage and with MicroSD for storage expansion. Google doesn't look for making profits on hardware, they will make their profits on ads over the several months or several years that the hardware is being used.

The Google SIM card speculation:

- All those bandwidth speculations would work using the Google SIM card on any unlocked Android phone. Though since the Nexus One would be unlocked, any other SIM card could be used as well. And thus, competitors or telecom carriers themselves can provide SIM cards with pre-paid, with or without subscriptions for other packages of data usage. I think Google would allow Microsoft and others to take part in financing those free 100mb per month so users would be able to use competing online services and VOIP providers for free as well.

The calculation and speculation for a worldwide Google SIM card bandwidth service should thus be based on trying to not only guess if carriers will allow Google to turn them into dumb pipes of bandwidth, on the other hand, we should try to guess what price Google may pay to buy 3G data bandwidth in bulk from the carriers and thus at what price Google may sell it back to Android users without the need of monthly data subscriptions. My guess is that $10 per GB in the USA and 5€ per GB in Europe should be more than enough payment for the 3G data bandwidth. And that most likely Google should be able to purchase that for much lower prices if Google negociates deals for several Petabytes of 3G data bandwidth with the carriers. Thus giving away 100MB of bandwidth per unlocked Android user per month, would most likely cost a lot less than $1 per month to Google, thus that would be something Google should be able to give to unlocked Android users for free. But even if carriers would charge Google as much as $10 per GB for 3G data bandwidth, I believe that my speculation on the Google SIM card could still make a lot of sense.

Because Google would negociate for 3G data bandwidth with all carriers in every country. I believe that it should be possible for users to seamlessly and freely roam for data usage in other countries. That is, as long as they do use a Google SIM card for unlocked Android phones.

Google Phone Nexus One
Source for picture: http://www.engadget.com/

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The Google Phone, guessing on the price and a possible picture

Posted by Charbax – December 13, 2009

This may be a picture of the Google Phone:

Google Phone Nexus One

From rumors on Techcrunch, this may be a pre-paid only $100 device, for WiFi and pre-paid 3G Voice over IP usage such as on Google Voice. Exactly the revolutionary business model that I have been talking about for a while. My guess on the Google Phone price, or what I think it should cost is following:

$100 for the 3.7" high density WVGA Google Phone Nexus One
$150 for the 4.8" medium density Google Tablet Nexus XL

All should come based on ARM Cortex A8 processors, probably OLED capacitative on Nexus One and LCD resistive on the Nexus XL. My suggestion is basically that the Nexus XL may be similar to my favorite consumer electronics device the Archos 5 Internet Tablet which I talk about in countless videos: http://armdevices.net/?s=archos and on my other site: http://archosfans.com

The most important factor here would be if the rumors are true and if my guessing is right, that the Google Phone and Tablet will be the first pre-paid Android phone and tablet. Affordable, my guessing also may even make it so that Google may not only sell it through all retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Wal Mart, Media Markt, Aldi and such, but that one may even be able to buy it on google's own website and based on how active one has been on Google over the past few years, Google may even subsidize the purchase price of the phone or tablet. That is, cause Google can know it will more likely make more money on mobile ads from users who use Google services a lot. This way, look forward to Google Phone at $50, Google Tablet for $100 and even the Google Laptop/Tablet/E-reader at $150.

Some times, I think that it does take a big giant technology company like Google to really invest not only in the platform, not only in software, but also dedicate teams of hardware engineers into actually releasing own branded hardware on the market and push the boundaries in terms of business models to apply to the distribution of such technology. To push things forward faster, Google needs to make hardware.

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Ribbit VOIP explained by Kevin Marks and JP Rangaswami of British Telecom

Posted by Charbax – December 12, 2009

Kevin Marks and JP Rangaswami are introducing Ribbit VOIP platform and APIs that gives independent developers, ISVs, and global enterprises the tools and functionality to create new ways to communicate-with people, businesses, and software. Ribbit enables developers to combine the richness of voice calling with the interactivity of Web 2.0 experiences. More info at http://ribbit.com

I also ask them about how they think the telecom industry is reacting to VOIP as a threat to existing revenues and as an opportunity for creating new experiences around voice communications.

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PeekFON Martin Varsavsky Interview

Posted by Charbax – December 12, 2009

Martin Varsavsky is the CEO and Founder of FON and of about a dozen or more other companies at http://english.martinvarsavsky.net

In this interview, I ask him not only about his cool new PeekFON device with Free PanEuropean GPRS Roaming, also about the current and future plans for FON WiFi roaming for the world, about firmware updates for Fonera 2.0n that I reviewed here, how we could expect more roaming agreements to be added with more ISPs in the future to create one big worldwide standard for WiFi authentication and roaming, Fem2Cell technology in upcoming Fem2Fonera and even prospects for White Spaces, WiMax and 4G technology in FON routers.

Nokia N900 at LeWeb conference in Paris

Posted by Charbax – December 12, 2009

Nokia N900 is Nokia's first 3G-connected 3.5" high density WVGA Maemo tablet phone device.

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Seesmic on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android

Posted by Charbax – December 9, 2009

Here is a demonstration at LeWeb conference in Paris of the Seesmic application for Android running on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android, the worlds first Android Tablet with a 800x480 medium density 4.8" touch screen and even with a 720p HDMI output. This video was filmed by John Yamasaki @jyamasaki of Seesmic using the Flip HD.

Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID video-review

Posted by Charbax – December 6, 2009

Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID

Since I filmed such a great video of it at IFA, OPTIMA TECHNOLOGY(SHENZHEN)CO.,LTD sent me a review sample of their new Optima OP5-E for me to publish an exclusive hands-on video-review. The new Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux based MID is now being released by http://www.chinaoptima.com/ and China Telecom on the Chinese market and they are now looking for global distributors (if many people demand it, there may be a distributor bringing this device to your local 3G telecoms market or sell it unlocked). (contact shkwan@wtpacific.com if you might be interested in ordering 300 units or more).

Maemo is the biggest potential alternative to Android Linux OS for embedded devices, mobile internet devices, pocket computers or phones, however you want to call them. This Optima OP5-E is the worlds first Maemo device that is not manufactured by Nokia. This makes the Optima OP5-E a product to check out for people who want to see how Maemo could make a commercial impact outside of Nokia in the open-source embedded device market.

It has a 4.3" 800x480 resistive touch screen (capacitative at that size and price does not yet exist), 806mhz Marvell PXA310+ ARM processor, 128MB RAM, built-in 3G CDMA sim card reader (HSDPA version coming next month), built-in GPS, built-in Bluetooth, a high capacity exchangeable 2600mAh battery. All that comes for around $500 unlocked and could be sold at $300 or lower subsidized with a subscription plan from the carrier. It can support either VOIP and IM or regular voice and sms, that is up to the carrier how they want to integrate that feature.

The really cool things about this product are following:

- It has a built-in 3G CDMA modem with sim card reader.

- It has a pretty long battery life with a high capacity removable battery (I got a second battery to swap just in case I need more than 8 hours or more battery life for video playback)

- This type of device could function as a VOIP phone on 3G and WiFi networks (if the carriers agree to it and don't apply packet shaping mechanisms to block VOIP usage on the 3G networks)

- Maemo may have quite a lot of dedicated open-source programmers already hanging out in the http://maemo.org/community/maemo-developers/ and who may have developed some pretty interesting Maemo based applications already (which I am going to check out and publish another video when I have found out which would be the best applications that work on this device and how much porting may be required to eventually adapt software that is already developed for the Nokia Maemo Linux tablets).

- It comes with a larger touch screen than on the existing range of Smartphones, significantly larger than the Nokia N900 screen, yet this product can be sold cheaper than all those smaller smartphones. I think that a larger 800x480 medium density screen is very valuable and I think that all those 3.5" smartphones on the market have too small of a screen for Internet browsing and video playback use.

Things that I think Optima and eventually the open-source developers may improve on this device (based on my initial tests):

- The whole Maemo Linux user interfaces I think could use some optimizations and fine tuning, this device does support firmware updates, I don't know how often Optima may release firmware updates for it to improve on all these things.

- The Firefox Fennec browser that is included, might not be as smooth and fast as the Webkit based browser that one can find on Android, the Palm Pre and the iPhone. Though, my guess is that it should be possible to port a version of a Webkit based browser to Maemo (if it hasn't been done already), and I am sure this browser could be optimized and improved in firmware updates.

- Obviously, I would like to have HSDPA instead of CDMA 3G modem in this, to have i work here in Europe, Optima has told me that the HSDPA version will be released in about a month from now (maybe a bit later, I guess it may depend how soon interested importers from Europe and other HSDPA markets demand for it to be made available)

- I can't seem to be able to connect my Bluetooth foldable Stowaway keyboard, I don't know if Bluetooth headsets may be supported. I am sure, this could be fixed or improved in firmware updates. I don't know if it supports Bluetooth tethering to access the Internet through a mobile phone that has that functionality. My guess is Bluetooth tethering is not supported yet since the 3G modem is integrated.

- It does not seem to have a TV output (unless somehow that functionality exists within the mini-jack output, but I guess it's not there). Too bad, cause I enjoy watching DivX videos outputted from such a device onto a TV. Though, most existing smartphones on the market such as blackberry, palm pre and the iphone don't have that feature either.

My pictures of it on Picasa:

Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID Optima OP5-E Maemo Linux MID

You can discuss this product in the dedicated forum section for it at http://forum.armdevices.net/viewforum.php?f=5

Here are the full official specs and press pictures:

More…

LG Chocolate BL40

Posted by Charbax – September 6, 2009

Here is the new Chocolate phone, hmm, just good enough to eat.. for a robot. It's got a wider screen, the screen looks like AMOLED but maybe it isn't.

HTC Hero at IFA 2009

Posted by Charbax – September 6, 2009

Testing the HTC Hero for the first time. Navigating through the HTC interfaces that are installed on top of the Google Android OS by HTC.