Michael Finneran
Michael F. Finneran, is President of dBrn Associates, Inc., a full service advisory firm specializing in wireless and mobility; services...
Read Full Bio >>

Michael Finneran | October 01, 2008 |


Santa's Bag of Cell Phones

Santa's Bag of Cell Phones We are seeing a gaggle of new cell phones. The good news is that these products continue to demonstrate the creativity that has characterized the consumer electronics business. The bad new is that they are forced to operate under a business model that harkens back to the Soviet Union's planned economy.

We are seeing a gaggle of new cell phones. The good news is that these products continue to demonstrate the creativity that has characterized the consumer electronics business. The bad new is that they are forced to operate under a business model that harkens back to the Soviet Union's planned economy.

As we enter the ramp up to the Christmas buying season (which may not be quite as jolly this year), we are seeing a gaggle of new cell phones. The good news is that these products continue to demonstrate the creativity that has characterized the consumer electronics business. The bad new is that they are forced to operate under a business model that harkens back to the Soviet Union's planned economy.As before, each phone will be released by a single carrier, inextricably tying the consumer product to the cellular service. With the consumer features driving the carriers to a much greater degree than enterprise requirements, it's not surprising that touch screens, 2.0-megapixel cameras, and music players dominate over flexible developer environments, fixed mobile convergence, or centralized management and provisioning systems. In short, the unholy alliance of cell phone manufacturers and cellular carriers continues to underwhelm.

iPhone 3G (AT&T): Certainly Apple has led the way in creating the recognition that there is a consumer market to be had for mobile devices, and buyers are willing to spend money for a compelling product. While we continue to see business people pressuring their IT departments to support iPhones, the lack of centrally-managed systems for provisioning and software updates and a fundamental inability to lock-down the configuration make the iPhone a great choice for your kids but a lousy choice for your vice presidents.

G1 Android Phone (T-Mobile): Featuring a touch screen (lacking the pinch-and-stretch feature) as well as a full QWERTY keyboard, the HTC manufactured T-Mobile G1 is the first handset to support Google's much anticipated Android operating system. Due to be released on October 22, initial reviews have been lukewarm (everyone still loves the iPhone), and the Google-linked applications are clearly targeted at the consumer market. The idea of marketing a phone whose primary features are tied to data hungry Google applications but offering it through the carrier with the poorest 3G coverage of the four majors seems to epitomize the fundamental disconnect between marketing and operations that characterizes the cellular industry.

Blackberry Bold (AT&T): Due out before November, the Bold is reported to be the best Blackberry yet. Rogers is already marketing the Bold in Canada, and by all reports RIM has once again hit it dead on. Slightly larger than the Curve, it feature a brighter display, the classic RIM keyboard and user interface, along with all the security and management features that have made Blackberry an enterprise mainstay; the Bold just does it better. For enterprise users, the Bold will be the one to beat. However, RIM is currently hitting on all eight cylinders as their sales in the consumer market have been nothing short of amazing. The Bold can cover both sides, but it is destined to be the standard for the RIM faithful, the enterprise users.

Blackberry 9530 Storm (Verizon): The intelligence about the Blackberry 9530 Storm (formerly the "Thunder") is a lot slimmer. Due out in November, the Storm will be the first Blackberry to feature a touch screen. Aimed primarily at the consumer market (the "iPhone beater"), the Storm will be a big test for RIM. This will be their opportunity to demonstrate how adept they are at translating their legendary design expertise onto a new platform. RIM's strength has come from the combination of good hardware design (everyone loves that keyboard) coupled with a superb user interface. We can assume the hardware will be sturdy, but will they be able to either emulate or improve upon the iPhone user interface while holding on to the security and management features that have made Blackberry a stalwart in the enterprise market? A touch screen device will fill a hole in their enterprise product line (and possibly take some of the iPhone pressure off the IT department), and could also give Apple a run for their money with RIM's growing base of consumer customers.

Blackberry Pearl 8220 (T-Mobile): The Pearl 8220 will be RIM's first shot at a flip phone. Like the original Pearl, it will use the two-letters-per-key layout, which met with a lukewarm reception initially. The compressed keyboard allows for a smaller form factor, and the SureType technology seems to take care of the interface issues- once the user gets used to it. The practical business types still go heavily for the Curve or the Bold, but a significant hunk of the consumer market still craves a small, sleek device.

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic (Carrier unknown): Nokia is also getting into the touch screen market with the 5800 XpressMusic (formerly the Tube). Due to be released tomorrow, there are already YouTube videos demonstrating the user interface, which is functional, but not quite up to the level of the iPhone. Nokia has never had the appeal in the US market that they have in the rest of the world, but they do command a growing share in the enterprise smartphone market with the e- and n-Series, the poor-man's Blackberry. One factor in Nokia's favor, however, is the Symbian development environment that is far more flexible than RIM's. The result is that Wi-Fi/cellular fixed mobile convergence solutions like those from Agito and DiVitas support a range of Nokia devices but no Blackberries.

The most distressing feature is the fact that there is a carrier noted with each phone with the exception of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic whose marketing plans have not been released. How is the handset market ever going to develop as a standalone consumer electronics business if you can't buy the product unencumbered? I'm not switching my brand of gasoline when I buy a new car, and I'm not switching my cellular service to get a new phone. That is doubly true when we are dealing with enterprise cellular contracts.

We are seeing a relentless buildup of forces pressuring the cellular carriers to alter their business models. Google announced a technology that would allow a mobile device to scan the airwaves and locate the best service available at the best price before initiating a communications session. With WiMAX now becoming a reality (at least in Baltimore), and DeFi Mobile offering a flat-rate global VoIP service that operates over Wi-Fi, the cellular carriers have got to be hearing the drumbeat.

In the meantime, Santa is coming for enterprise wireless buyers, but his sled is a little light.We are seeing a gaggle of new cell phones. The good news is that these products continue to demonstrate the creativity that has characterized the consumer electronics business. The bad new is that they are forced to operate under a business model that harkens back to the Soviet Union's planned economy.


August 8, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

June 20, 2018

Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

June 6, 2018

The two largest strategic vendors-Cisco and Microsoft-have been busy making changes to their enterprise communications roadmaps, incorporating collaboration applications as fundamental components.

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.