Hello! And welcome to our Friday column, Worst of the Week. There’s a lot of nutty stuff that goes on in this industry, so this column is a chance for us at RCRWireless.com to rant and rave about whatever rubs us the wrong way. We hope you enjoy it!
And without further ado:
I will admit that I get little charge from mobile devices. At this point in the evolutionary timeline of devices targeting the wireless communication space, it seems that I am stuck in the time of Cro-Magnon Phone. Sure, I have one of those new-school smartphones, sporting $10,000 worth of gimmicks and special effects, but I am finding that I really only appreciate about $10 worth of those gadgets.
However, news this week that Amazon.com was toying with the idea of entering the smartphone space peaked my somewhat dulled interests. It’s not that I have any interest in spending my hard-earned dollars on anything Amazon.com has to offer in the device world, but rather that despite all the calamity currently running through the mobile device space, someone … anyone … is looking to get their foot in the door.
Has Amazon.com never heard of Palm, Nokia, Research In Motion, HTC, Sony Ericsson or LG? These are powerhouse names in the device space that have either already become extinct or are just a stiff cold away from becoming mere fossils in the device geologic record.
And it’s not like Amazon’s reported plans are anything special, at least when it comes to hardware. Most are predicting that the online retail giant will simply scale down its current Kindle e-reader platform to a smaller screen size, throw in some more modern specifications to keep the fanboys happy and call it a success.
But, maybe this is where Amazon is smart like a fox. Instead of trying to reinvent the hardware, Amazon is simply going to take advantage of its stellar software position. This is a company that has made quite a name for itself in the tablet space simply because it has an applications store that rivals Apple in the availability of content. Plus, since its hardware uses the Android OS, customers can tap into that market as well. Brilliant!
It bottles the mind to think that such established players like Nokia and RIM have not themselves figured this out, or if they have, are so hard-headed as to not take advantage of this blueprint.
Nokia for its part seemed to be putting all the pieces in place for a strong software play, picking up a mapping company and putting together its Ovi storefront. But, those attempts always seemed a bit half-hearted and that it instead was more interested in pushing the design envelop. This led to the stagnation of the Symbian operating system it relied on for much-to-long and its more recent tie-up with Microsoft for its OS.
And RIM, which while still a heady player in the enterprise space, has seen its once-promising attempts to infiltrate the consumer space (Pearl, Curve) whither on the vine due to the company’s insistence on relying on its proprietary BlackBerry OS. Sure, RIM has what would appear to be an applications store for its customers, but the diminutive stature of that offer along with hardware constraints on its devices has relegated it to near extinction.
I am not saying that everyone needs to abandon their attempts to provide a unique offering in the marketplace and just jump on the Android bandwagon. But, the model being constructed by Amazon shows that there is a way to keep that protruding forehead while still evolving.
(It’s South Park. Consider yourself warned.)
OK, enough of that.
Thanks for checking out this week’s Worst of the Week column. And now for some extras:
–First of all, there are still payphones? Second, where is my “find the nearest payphone” app?
–I am not what you would call a heavy mobile gamer, but Verizon Wireless’ newly launched, and poorly named, GameTanium offering could entice even a luddite like myself. Details for this offering are that for $6 per month, Verizon Wireless customers using Android devices would have access to more than 100 smartphone games and more than 50 tablet games.
I just hope one of those available games is something along the lines of suggesting a new name for the GameTanium service.
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