Tag Archives: CTIA
I spoke with Opera Software co-founder Jon von Tetzchner at CTIA today. Yesterday Opera announced that it had joined Adobe's Open Screen Project, which aims to increase the use of Flash on all devices including mobiles. I asked Jon what the alliance with Adobe would mean for Opera Users. He pointed out that Opera had long supported Flash in its desktop browsers, the Nintendo Wii browser and with Opera Mobile on Windows Mobile. He said that Open Screen Project membership will help Opera to improve the compatibility of its products with Flash and enhance the user experience.
I asked Jon about Flash support in Opera Mobile on Symbian and in Opera Mini, two things that posters on Opera's user forums are constantly requesting. He was noncommittal about Symbian but threw cold water on the possibility of Flash support in Opera Mini saying he believes that bandwidth intensive video is inconsistent with Opera Mini's goal of reducing bandwidth and cost for users and operators.
Jon talked a bit about Opera's support for web standards. Opera is one of the founders of the WHATWG, the group responsible for HTML5. It is a strong proponent of HTML5, CSS3 and SVG, believing that these technologies are turning the browser into a powerful runtime environment for webapps including games and animation. Jon said he is proud of the support Opera gives to the W3C and other standards bodies. Opera believes standards are a key to achieving it's goal of the web on every device, everywhere.
Unlike most mobile ad platforms, Open Mobile Ad Exchange can be used on both mobile formatted and desktop pages.I think its greatest value will be to publishers of desktop web pages. Opera Mini and other modern full web browsers are so good at rendering any web content that their users tend to prefer and use desktop pages rather than mobile formatted ones. Traditional desktop advertising platforms like AdSense typically don't work in Opera Mini, depriving publishers of potential revenue. Open Mobile Ad Exchange solves this problem.
Open Mobile Ad Exchange is open to publishers and advertisers of all sizes. Advertisers will be able to target particular regions, including hyper local targeting for local businesses. Device targetting is also available and ads are optimized to the device's screen size and other capabilities. Publishers and advertisers can enroll in the program here.
I asked Jon about future Opera Mobile and Opera Mini releases and features. Opera has policy of not pre-announcing new products and upgrades so I didn't expect him to answer. And he didn't other than to say that there are several very exciting products in Opera's pipeline.
Opera's browsers user base continues to grow and is now at 130 million users, including 65 million on Opera Mini and between 10 and 20 million on Opera Mobile.
Yesterday's "iPad and Tablets: Publishing and Entertainment" sessions at CTIA were an interesting experience. The main thing I took away from them is that some smart people with extensive mobile and computing industry experience believe tablets will be very big and will eventually largely replace netbooks and PCs.
That was the message from several of the speakers including Zigurd Medniks who works with OEMs to adapt Android to a wide variety of devices and embedded systems. The reasoning is that the tablet form factor has a lower production cost than any other device design. Tablets will soon be really cheap to mass produce. Completion will drive the cost of screens and mobile CPUs down to commodity levels. Cheap components, a simple slab of plastic case, lack of moving parts and free open source OSs like Android, Chrome and MeeGo that OEM's can tweak and modify mean low barriers of entry for device manufactures. Competition will drive the price of a capable tablet down to about $130 and possibly less. The price of connectivity may actually be a bigger issue than the cost of the hardware. I expect that these low cost tablets will be WiFi only devices connecting to the cloud intermittently at home and public hotspots.
These cheap tablets won't be particularly powerful but they will be powerful enough for the majority of PC users who use their devices largely for content consumption and a little lightweight content creation like note taking and email.
What will this new breed of tablets look like? They are likely to be smaller than the iPad. Another speaker, Dr. Phil Hendrix, does mobile market research. His studies indicate that potential tablet buyers are evenly split between 7 and 10 inch screen sizes with a smaller but still significant number preferring 5 inch tablets.
I got a bit of hands on with both the 7 inch Samsung Tab and the 5 inch Dell Streak here at CTIA. They're both a lot more portable than the iPad. The Streak will just barely fit in a jeans or inside jacket pocket. The Tab fits an outside jacket pocket but you probably wouldn't want to carry it there if only for fear of cracking the screen. At 13 ounces, the Tab is significant lighter than the 24 oz. iPad. It's a lot thiner too and will easily fit in a mid sized purse or small backpack.
The only Streak I could find appeared to have a dead battery so I couldn't actually try it out but the Tab was very much alive with a gorgeous screen and very snappy response to tapping and swiping. It was running Froyo and contrary to some rumors I heard has the full Google experience with the Android Market, Gmail, Maps and YouTube apps installed and working. The pricing for the Tab has not been announced but if Samsung is smart they will release the Tab at a lower price point than the iPad. They also need to work with the operators to match AT&T's aggressive 2GB for $25 pricing for iPad data.
I look at the Tab and Streak as prototypes of the coming wave of incredibly cheap commodity tablets that will conquer the commuting world.
Today was the first full day of CTIA. I didn't expect a lot of big announcements but I was wrong, there was actually a lot of news. First up, Verzion announced its LGE rollout plans which are quite aggressive. They plan to cover a third of the US population by year end with service lighting up in 38 cities and 60 airports. PreCentral has the details including a list of the lucky cities and airports. Verizon president and COO Lowell McAdam said that the first LTE devices will be USB modems but promises that at CES in January, the carrier will announce at least a half dozen LTE smartphones and tablets.
If other Verizon news, the Wall Street Journal ran a story this morning that according to elusive "people familiar with the matter", Verizon would be getting the iPhone early next year. When asked about the WSJ story at CTIA McAdam would only say "At some point our business interests will align".
Android seems to be the CTIA's un-official theme this year. The lobby is dominated by a gigantic Android robot and at least ten new Android phones were announced today.
Motorola announced four new Android handsets today. The most interesting of the bunch was the Droid Pro for Verizon, an upscale BlackBerry like device with a 1 GHz CPU, Froyo and a 3.1” 320x480 screen, large for this form factor. A world phone, the Pro sports just about every 2G and 3G radio known to man; CDMA/EVDO Rev A, tri-band (850/1900/2100) HSDPA/HSDPA and quadband GPRS/Edge. Targeted at the enterprise, the Pro ships with QuickOffice Suite for document editing and supports VPN, MS Exchange push email and calendar plus remote wipe. The PRO can also be used as a WiFi hotspot. It is expected to be released in the first week of November at a subsidized price of $200 on a two year contract. I played with a Pro briefly and I like it. About the same overall size and weight as the Nexus One, it trades a smaller screen for a spacious and very usable keyboard.
Sprint announced three low to midrange Android phones. The trio have similar specs. All have 320 x480 HVGA displays. The touch-only Sanyo Zio and the QWERTY slider Samsung Transform have 3.5" screens and run 2.1 with promised upgradeability to 2.2. The LG Optimus S has a smaller 3.2" screen but ships with 2.2. MobileCrunch has pictures and specs for the phones. The Zio and Transform will be available next week at $99 and $149 respectively, on contract and after rebate. The Optimus S will arrive on Halloween at $49 after rebate on contract. The gimmick with all these phones is that users can choose from an assortment of "Sprint ID" packs, bundles of apps games, ringtones, widgets and wallpapers targeting various interests and life styles such as auto buff, music lover or gamer. Intomobile has pictures and videos of some of the ID packs.
Other new Android devices announced at CTIA were T-Mobile's version of the LG Optimus, Cricket's Huawei Ascend and US Cellular's Samsung Galaxy S variant, the Mesmerize.
I actually spent most of the day at Futuretech's "iPad and Tablets: Publishing and Entertainment" sessions at CTIA where I also moderated a panel. It was an interesting and stimulating experience for me. I've been on the fence about tablets but after hearing some of the ideas that were tossed about at the conference I now believe that tablets have the potential to revolutionize both mobile and fixed computing. It's a big topic that deserves a post of its own which will have to wait for another day.
Update: The Developer Day presentations are now available online.
I attended the Nokia Developer Day session CTIA today. The day long event started with a mind boggling assortment of numbers demonstrating the the revenue opportunities that Nokia offers developers.
Nokia's much maligned Ovi Store as been redesigned for better usability and app discovery. The improvements seem to be working. Traffic and downloads are up. The average visitor downloads 2.6 apps per visit, 8.5 per month for a total of 2.5 Million downloads per day. 85% of Ovi Store visitors are repeat visitors
The Ovi Store now supports over 190 countries, 135 devices and 30 languages. Through the store developers can target over 500 million active S40 and 175 million Symbian phones. Operator billing is now available on 91 operators including AT&T and T-Mobile in the US and Bell, Rogers and Telus in Canada. With purchases made using operator billing, the Ovi store gives developers an unprecedented 60% of the selling price. Nokia claims that app sales increase by 13 times when operator billing is available. Also, In-app purchasing is coming to the Ovi Store as a Beta in December.
Nokia seems to finally be getting serious about North America with a planed 500% increase in its North American marketing and advertising budget for 2011. Nokia announced that the C3 is coming to AT&T as $70 prepaid phone and that T-Mobile has started offering the touchscreen Symbian 5230 Nuron to prepaid customers for $129
To sweeten the pot developers for developers Nokia, together with AT&T, is conducting a "Calling all Innovators" developer contest with $10 million in prizes. There are two $250,000 Grand prizes, two $50,000 second prices and two $25,000 third prizes. Entries close 5:00PM Eastern Time on Friday, January 28th, 2011.
Next up came a high level overview of Nokia's three main development platforms; Qt, WRT and Java ME.
Qt gives C++ developers the full power of Symbian including access to all APIs without most of the arcane constructs and steep learning curve of traditional Symbian native development. Nokia estimates that Qt reduces the lines of code required to develop a typical app by 70%.
On the Java ME side, Nokia has released a new Java API that supports touch and gesture events on the new Nokia Touch and Type phones. I played briefly with the X3 Touch and Type phone and found it much nicer than I expected. Super thin, small and cute, the X3 has a WebKit based browser and a surprisingly responsive touchscreen
Another plus with publishing in the Ovi Store is that Nokia is offering all developers free Symbian Signed and Java Verified certification for native Symbian, Qt, WRT and Java ME apps. The approval process is supposed to be have a minimum of red tape and a five day turnaround.
As a final incentive, every developer present at the end of the event received an "Nokia N8 Developer Pack"; a rather nice laptop bag containing a USB key, t-shirt and an N8 to help them get started with developing for Symbian^3.