Smartphones Still Selling? iPhones already at 10m in 2008?

smartphone lookSmartphone sales were up handsomely in the U.S. in the first half of the year and the average price of smartphones was down 26% to $174 in August (via NPD Group).  With consumer spending on the wane and all the doom and gloom of the current economic climate likely to seal wallets even tighter, some analysts still believe smartphone sales will remain resilient; the lower prices and increased competition luring consumers to substantial improvements and value at relatively low entry points.   There’s not really any way of validating the forward looking claims but to start the week, a  handful of new smartphone data points have hit the market to help fuel the debate. One even suggests Apple may have already sold ten million iPhones in 2008.

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Applevine Report: Legal Troubles Averted, New iPhone Model?

applevine metueFriday, while the market was digesting more bad financial news, and tech watchers were processing the market’s overwhelming lack of confidence in RIM’s near term “land grab” spending plan , three news kernels hit the Applevine.  Two, both positive, concerned the removal of minor legal obstacles from the Apple’s path.  The third piece, while only rumor, concerned iPhone production volume and the prospect of a new model.

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RIMs Rollercoaster

RIMResearch in Motion (RIM) is expected to launch three new phones in the coming months: the Blackberry Bold (new to the US, already available internationally), a clamshell phone called the Pearl Flip, and a touch screen device expected to be called “The Storm (pics).”  Unfortunately, new product launches – between component parts, subsidized pricing and promotional costs – can be expensive.  As a result, the company warned late Thursday that gross margins and profit will suffer in the third quarter.

Co-CEO Jim Balsillie characterized the situation as a “land grab” and justified the increase in near term expense as, essentially, an opportunity.  It’s similar to the story pitched in June when the company showed sales and marketing expense up heavily.  But the market didn’t treat that first glimpse as foreshadowing,  and they weren’t convinced with the re-itteration.  The market also wasn’t completely satisfied with the rest of RIM’s earnings news.

By midday Friday, the stock was trading near $70 a share, well below its fifty week low of $80.20.  From Thursday’s market close of $97.53, it was down more than 25%.

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Google Phone Revealed: G1 versus the iPhone?

g1The rumors circulated, the news was deemed imminent, and now it’s official.  This morning, Google, together with T-Mobile and HTC, officially revealed the hyped “Dream” phone, the first mobile phone to be built around Google’s Open Handset Alliance Android operating system.

Bloggers, press and even Google’s founding team of Sergey and Larry were on hand for the Manhattan launch event.

Rebranded from the Dream to the G1, an obvious nod to Google, the phone will be available on October 22nd at T- Mobile stores in twenty one cities.  It will sell for $179 (with a two year contract), plus a $25 or $35 a month data plan subscription.

From the start, the phone will provide Google with gateway access to consumer’s mobile experience. Click to Read More

By the Numbers: Video Games, DVD erosion and Smartphones

stats imageAre video games the MTV of a new generation? Are DVD’s really on the road to becoming obsolete? Are smartphones being accepted as fast as the hype suggests?   New research from NPD Group and the Pew Foundation sheds a little light on each of these questions.   This edition of the Metue “By the Numbers Report” recaps some of their findings

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Apples Fall Colors: New iPod Nano and upgraded Touch Revealed

new ipodsAs unpredictable as Apple can be, the marketing machine in Cupertino is also prone to keeping to a schedule. Since planting a flag claiming Tuesday’s as their own, every one since has been “iTunes Tuesday,”  Apple’s branded day for releasing new music.   Since 2005, Apple has also kept to a schedule with product upgrades.  On either the first Wednesday (2005 and 2007), or the second Tuesday (2006 and this year) in September, new iPod Nano’s are released.

Today, at the much hyped, and wildly anticipated Apple press event in San Francisco – Apple delivered on time.    As foreshadowed by early posters, and largely as predicted by the Apple -watching media:  Steve Jobs took the stage to reveal slate of evolutionary changes to the iPod lineup.

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Follow that iPhone

iphone russiaFollow that phone…  is the iPhone heading to Russia? Deal or no deal?

Reuters UK has reported it may be there in October.    An unnamed source cited in an article from the news bureau says an agreement  has been reached between Apple and Mobile TeleSystems (MTS),  Russia’s largest mobile network operator.

No details have emerged and neither side has issued a statement confirming the report.

At this point, with only an an anonymous source, it remains very possible the story could turn out to be incorrect. Three mobile providers, MTS, Vimpelcom and MegaFon have all been vying for iPhone rights in Russia. As was the case with Japanese carrier rights before the phone’s launch, reports and rumor around the web and blogosphere (including the Reuters report) have, at different times, put Apple in discussions with all three.

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