Archive for category Motorola
BARCELONA, Spain–Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) CEO Sanjay Jha confirmed that its first tablet, the Android-powered Xoom, will retail for $800 when it goes on sale unsubsidized from Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ). Speaking to reporters here on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress trade show, Jha justified the price of the tablet, which is higher than a similar version of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad, by saying that the Xoom’s eventual upgrade to LTE gives it a leg up on the competition.
A 32 GB version of the Xoom with Verizon’s EVDO data service will retail for $800. The 32 GB version of the iPad with AT&T Mobility’s no-contract (NYSE:T) HSPA+ service retails for $729. “We felt that our ability to deliver 50Mb/s would justify the $799 price point,” Jha said. “It is 32 GB with 3G and a free upgrade to 4G. Being competitive with iPad is important. We feel that from the hardware and capabilities we deliver we are at least competitive and in a number of ways better [than the iPad].” Verizon has said its LTE network delivers average real-world downlink performance of 5-12 Mbps.
The Xoom runs on Android 3.0, or “Honeycomb,” and boasts a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. It also features a 10.1-inch widescreen HD display. The device supports 1080p HD video and HDMI output to display content on larger HD screens. Additionally, the Xoom has a front-facing, 2-megapixel camera for video chats over Wi-Fi, EVDO or or LTE, as well as a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera that captures video in 720p HD. The Xoom will be upgraded to LTE sometime in the second quarter.
Jha said that Samsung’s return rate and sell-through rate with the Android-powered GalaxyTab have been “concerning,” but said he was confident enough to launch the Xoom at the $800 price point. Importantly, Verizon has not yet revealed its LTE data plans for tablets or smartphones.
Jha also said that Motorola will release a Wi-Fi-only version of the Xoom. He would not be drawn on the exact price, but said it would be “meaningfully cheaper. The price is set by iPad at $599, and we will be right around there.” The 32GB Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad sells for $599.
In an apparent slip, Jha also seemed to divulge the existence of Google’s music service, which Google has never publicly acknowledged. Jha said that an ecosystem is composed of applications, developers and services. “Google’s mobile services–and that includes music services, video services…” Then, according to the Wall Street Journal, correcting himself, he said, “There will be music service, there will be video service.”
T-Mobile USA is going to push its smartphone prices down in a bid to attract more first-time smartphone users to postpaid plans, the company’s CEO said.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm said the carrier plans to sell a number of devices running on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform that retail for $100 or less. “We are working with our vendors on this one to drive the price of smartphones down,” Humm said, adding that not all customers want an expensive, high-end device.
The push by T-Mobile, the nation’s No. 4 carrier, highlights the efforts that all operators have made recently to push smartphone prices down and change their pricing plans to attract more first-time smartphone buyers. Subsidies by carriers have helped bring the price of some Android phones to well below $100. T-Mobile itself offers several such deals, including for phones like the LG Optimus T and the Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) Charm. Sprint (NYSE:S) just announced that it will launch the HTC Evo Shift Jan. 9 for $149.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate on a new, two-year contract. Additionally, flat-rate carriers are offering cheap Android phones even without a subsidy. MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) offers the Huawei Ascend for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) offers the phone for $140.
Aside from handset pricing, carriers are also working to lower the cost of smartphone data plans. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) rolled out tiered, usage-based data pricing last year, charging $15 for 200 MB and $25 for 2 GB of data. Both T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) have followed AT&T’s lead with similar data pricing options.
T-Mobile does not plan to gear its entire lineup toward to the low end of the market though, and will still offer high-end devices. However, the company has struggled to attract postpaid subscribers. T-Mobile lost 60,000 postpaid subscribers in the third quarter, an improvement from 140,000 net postpaid losses in the year-ago period but a sharp drop from 106,000 net postpaid additions in the second quarter.
Slightly more than a third of all U.S. subscribers used a downloaded mobile application in November 2010–up 1.1 percentage points over the previous three-month period–according to digital research firm comScore. In addition, 67.1 percent of subscribers used text messaging services in November, up 0.5 percentage points, and 23.5 percent accessed social networks or blogs, a 1.0 percentage point increase. comScore adds that mobile gaming attracted 22.6 percent of the U.S. wireless audience, and 15.0 percent tuned in to mobile music services.
According to comScore, about 61.5 million U.S. subscribers own smartphones as of November, up 10 percent over the preceding three-month period and a figure certain to increase even more significantly following the recent holiday season. Research In Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry operating system continues to lead the U.S. market at 33.5 percent of subscribers, but its dominance is shrinking rapidly, decreasing 4.1 percentage points over the previous three months. Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android is now in second overall at 26.0 percent market share (a 6.4 percentage points leap), edging past Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS at 25.0 percent (up 0.8 percentage points). Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone fell further off the pace in November, sliding 1.8 percentage points to capture 9.0 percent of the U.S. smartphone market.