Can you believe it? Wireless devices are in the news. Time for a roundup of recent activity, including today’s introduction of the Moto X, Motorola new Android phone. Remember: This is the Motorola owned by Google (GOOG), not Motorola Solutions (MSI).
It gets me thinking: The speed of change in the mobile device business is astounding. How can anybody keep a lead, when dozens of global tech companies are about to introduce a new device every five seconds — and the phone companies are now encouraging you to try a new device every year?
The thought of all this technology can be exhausting. Not that I’m not trying to keep up. As I wrote here, I recently bought a new MacBook Pro and an iPad Mini. After about two weeks of configuring, customizing, and tweaking various software elements of these devices, I’m tired. I hope I don’t need a new device for a while. I should be set for two years, at least. But I know they are coming and that my three kids will want them.
Let’s get to the recap:
Moto X. Something about Motorola being in news with an “exciting new device” seems so retro. I feel like spinning a Kansas song — maybe “Dust in the Wind?” No, Google and Motorola are not going to instantly break the mystique of Apple with this phone. Larry Dignan at ZDnet writes that this is a good opportunity for Motorola to retool its image and ride the Android gravy train that Samsung’s been on, but there’s nothing revolutionary here. Apparently a huge new innovation here is that the Moto X is “color customizable.”
Really? Same old song — just a drop of water in an endless sea.
TechCrunch points out that Motorola is now focused an a handful of devices (probably a good idea), and it may produce a low-cost phone next. But let’s face it, Motorola is just rying to climb back in the game here. Like Blackberry and Nokia, it’s chasing Samsung and Apple. No reason to over-react. Until we hear otherwise, Apple and Samsung are the elite phone makers for now.
If you are looking for some longer reading, Wired’s Steven Levy has a detailed story about why Google bought Motorola, conveniently timed for the debut of the Moto X! No embargo there, at all.
iPad Rumor Mill. Somebody has started an iPad Retina rumor. Was it Apple? This is silly. I mean, I could start an iPad Retina rumor. Right now. I mean, of course there’s going to be an iPad Retina. If there’s a MacBook Retina, there will be an iPad Retina. But to Apple it’s more important than that — they must keep it in the news to fend off the Nexus. Jason O’Grady reports that Apple has leaked the story to the Wall Street Journal in an attempt to freeze buyers of Samsung’s new Nexus tablet. Apparently Google and Samsung had figured out how to work around Apple’s release schedule, so now Apple is being more furtive about releasing its new products.
This is good stuff. O’Grady breaks down the intricacies of the release schedule and the PR and marketing wars that must be planned around these rapid-fire product launches. Which brings me back to my point at the top of this column: How many products do we need! I mean, this is amazing. We are now being subjected to dozens of “major new releases” every year.
Wireless Plan Parties. I hope I’m not the only one having trouble keeping up with the devices. But how about new wireless plans? They are almost as prolific as the devices — all in the name of competition and enticing you to change. Good luck with that.
Spencer E. Ante and Ryan Knutson of the Wall Street Journal report that only 1% of wireless subscribers break from the primary carrier, quoting research from UBS. The article points out how hard it will be for insurgents such as Sprint (S) and T-Mobile (TMUS) to take business from leaders AT&T (T) and Verizon (V) in the United States. True enough.
That won’t stop T-mobile and others from putting out press releases every other day about some new complicated plan that’s better than the other plan. Remember we wrote here about T-Mobile’s “Jump” plan, in which they charge you extra for the right to acquire new phones — or as I like to refer to it, financing for ADD. AT&T and Verizon responded quickly with upgrade plans of their own.
I’ll tell you something: I hate switching plans. The Wall Street Journal is right. My plan is with Verizon, and it’s fine. I have five devices in the family and we share all the minutes and it works out okay, I don’t get killed. Plus Verizon has great coverage. What would make me switch? Honestly, I don’t know. Somebody would have to cut my bill by 20% and show me the service would be better. Really that’s it. That’s is a high bar to switching wireless plans.
That’s all for now. I’m tired. And I have to go call support to configure the outgoing SMTP ports on my iPhone. Welcome to the real wireless device world.
Let me leave you with these deep thoughts by Kansas:
I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment’s gone
All my dreams, pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind
Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do, crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind, All we are is dust in the wind