Digital Zone 220: iPhone For All

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In this edition of the Digital Zone, we talked about:

  • Skype files for an IPO
  • iPhone coming to all carriers
  • Blackberry ban averted
  • Apple cans antenna executive
  • Android expected to dominate by 2012
  • Android activations
  • Blackberry Torch on AT&T
  • Wheat Thins advertising

TechCrunch is reporting that the iPhone will be on Verizon starting in January according to a new report that examines the supply chain. TechCrunch writer Steve Cheney says he is “going on record” to say it will happen in January. Cheney based his argument on supply-chain developments, noting that “sources with knowledge of this entire situation have assured me that Apple has submitted orders for millions of units of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets for a Verizon iPhone run due in December.” Cheney says “I may be proven wrong, but based on my history dealing with components and selling to Apple, a Verizon-compatible iPhone looks to be a done deal.” He also says, “The iPhone will be available at all four major U.S. wireless carriers by 2012. Some may get it sooner, but all will have it sometime that year. And the reasons have nothing to do with supply chain issues or different wireless technologies. It is as simple as this: competition. Android phones are outselling the iPhone because they are available at every U.S. wireless carrier. You can argue which phone is better but it doesn’t matter. Once the iPhone is offered more broadly, it will double or triple sales.”


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The New York Times is reporting that Mark Papermaster, the Apple executive in charge of iPhone engineering and innovation, was canned after the “Antennagate” controversy. Apple hired Papermaster in November of 2008 from IBM where he had worked for 25 years.

Android devices is expected to push Google’s mobile operating system above Apple’s iOS by 2012, according to a report from iSuppli. They said Android will be used in 75 million smart phones, up from 5 million in 2009. The number of Apple iOS phones will grow to 62 million in 2012, up from 25 million in 2009. That will give Android a 19.4 percent share in the world smartphone market in 2012, versus 2.7 percent in 2009; Apple’s share of the smartphone market will grow from 13.8 percent in 2009 to 15.9 percent in 2012. iSuppli also said global carrier revenue for wireless data services, which will grow to approximately $250 billion by 2014, up from $108.6 billion in 2009. Of that, so-called “over-the-top” mobile broadband revenue from premium content could exceed $100 billion in 2014.

About 200,000 smartphones based on the Android operating system are sold every day, according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt and continues to gain momentum. BlackBerry lost 9 percentage points of market share, diving to 28 percent. The iPhone came in third with 22 percent. Google said 160,000 Android phones had been activated each day during the second quarter, up from 65,000 in the first quarter.


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BlackBerry has “virtually” reached a deal with Saudi Arabia on its encrypted messenger services to avert a ban on the smartphone, that according an official of one of Saudi Arabia’s three licensed mobile operators. The official declined to go into details. Basically the deal grants access to Saudi authorities to decipher its messenger exchanges between users. A special server for the messenger services is to be set up. Service was interupted last week. The Saudi telecommunications authority announced earlier in the week it had ordered mobile providers to block key BlackBerry services or face a 1.3-million-dollar fine as of August 6. The regulator had said the suspension was because “the way BlackBerry services are provided currently does not meet the regulatory criteria of the commission and the licensing conditions.” BlackBerry’s encrypted emails and data are stored on servers in Canada, where RIM is based, meaning that third parties such as intelligence agencies cannot monitor the secure communications. BlackBerry subscribers number around 700,000 in Saudi Arabia. India has said it is mulling a ban, and Indonesia is not ruling out the option although they denied they were considering a suspension of BlackBerry services.

Skype filed for a U.S. initial public offering this morning and placed the value of the offering at $100 million. However, the company did not say when its shares would go on sale, or at what price and didn’t reveal its Nasdaq Stock Market symbol. EBay sold 70 percent of Skype for $2 billion to an investor group while EBay kept a 30 percent stake. The Skype founders sold Skype to eBay for $2.6 billion in 2005 and left the company in 2007. Skype makes most of its money from calls Skype users place to landline and cellular phones.


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