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How Smart Are Smart Phones?

Audio

Aired 7/28/10

Currently 21% of all cell phone users in the U.S. have smart phones which can surf the web and play music, movies and games. We look at the current state of the art, especially I Phone 4 and the Android operating system, the future of Blackberry, and how sales are affecting Qualcomm, which produces smart phone software.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. Smart phones may be getting smarter, but that doesn't mean they can't be stumped. Take Apple's new iPhone 4, for instance. It took the company more than a month to acknowledge a big design flaw, and early adapters say there's more than one problem with the phone. So can Apple's competition take advantage with their own smart phones? We're talking about the latest generations of smart phones and what you need to know to make the right choice of phone and what you might want to avoid. I’d like to welcome my guests. Mike Freeman is a reporter with the San Diego Union-Tribune. And, Mike, good morning.

MIKE FREEMAN (Reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune): Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: Nick Mokey is a reporter with Digitaltrends.com. Nick, welcome to These Days.

NICK MOKEY (Reporter, Digitaltrends.com): Thanks. Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: Good morning. We’re inviting our listeners to join this conversation. Are you thinking of getting a new smart phone? Or have you just gotten one? Do you have questions about the apps, the coverage, the price? What’s new on the horizon? Give us a call with your questions and comments. Our number is 1-888-895-5727, that’s 1-888-895-KPBS. Nick, I think it’s safe to say that the hottest smart phone in the U.S. right now is Apple’s iPhone 4. I mean, that’s the one that’s getting all the buzz. It has, though, a history of problems, as I said, beginning with its manufacture in China. Remind us what happened with the prototypes for the iPhone 4.

MOKEY: Well, the prototypes are actually – one of them sort of leaked online, is that what you’re talking about?

CAVANAUGH: Yes, I – Yes.

MOKEY: Yeah, so an online outlet, Gizmodo, actually got ahold of one of the prototypes—the way is kind of controversial. Apparently, one of the Apple engineers actually had this prototype out at a bar, maybe had a few too many, and left it behind.

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm.

MOKEY: And somebody that found it there sitting on the barstool sort of realized what they had when they found this, you know, very unusual iPhone and shopped it around a little bit to several online outlets and Gizmodo ended up paying $5,000 to actually get this prototype over a month before it was even unveiled and they, I mean, they pulled the whole thing apart on the web. They had pictures of the guts and everything. So Steve Jobs’ typical, you know, dramatic unveil onstage was kind of blown by that because everybody had already seen this thing before.

CAVANAUGH: And it was kind of blown on stage because the phone didn’t connect with the internet during the launch either.

MOKEY: Yeah, I mean, the wifi in that – in some situations can make it tricky like that. So, yeah, that can be a problem, too.

CAVANAUGH: Now, Nick, you had a recent article in Digitaltrends.com listing all the technical problems with the iPhone 4, so give us an idea of what they are.

MOKEY: Well, some of them are a big deal, some of them are not such a big deal. I think the one that everybody was obviously talking about is the antenna issue.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

MOKEY: So basically users, after they started buying these things, started to figure out that if you hold the phone in a certain way the performance of the antenna actually diminishes a lot. You can actually hold it in your hand and watch the bars sort of diminish from, you know, four or five to one as you grip it in this way. And what people started figuring out is there’s actually two antennas on the outside of the phone and what’s happening is when you hold it in the wrong way, you’re bridging them, which not what’s supposed to happen. You’re making electrical contact between two pieces that aren’t supposed to have it…

CAVANAUGH: Right.

MOKEY: …and it’s diminishing the performance significantly. So, obviously, there’s a lot of hubbub over this. Apple, at first, was being very – They were sort of denying there was any issue. People that wrote e-mails to Steve Jobs himself received – somebody received a reply basically just saying, buy a case or hold it properly, hold it differently. And so people aren’t really happy with that response and eventually Apple had to actually have a press conference…

CAVANAUGH: Right.

MOKEY: …to actually sort of, you know, address those concerns publicly. But there were some other concerns that people had when the phone launched as well. Numerous people actually complained that the screen was yellowing.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

MOKEY: They were reporting like yellow blotches or lines at the top and bottom of the screen. And apparently that is, well, allegedly, I should say, because the full story about this hasn’t actually come out but what people have speculated is that that’s actually from some uncured adhesive under the screen. And some people have reported that if you let it go long enough it actually does go away as that adhesive sort of cures and does its thing, which it probably should’ve done before it left the factory but people say, oh, you know, Apple is rushing these things out the door, so this is a problem from that.

CAVANAUGH: And, also, there’s a problem with the rear camera? That was reported, too, Nick?

MOKEY: Yeah, some people have an issue with the white balance on the rear camera. Basically, you know, if you take a photo indoors kind of in low light, it’ll make everything look very, very yellowy, which is kind of a common symptom with some cheaper cameras that – that, you know, inside things tend to take on that yellow cast but, you know, people have actually compared the iPhone 4 camera to previous iterations of the iPhone, taking the same picture with all the different iPhones, and the only one that turns out that yellowy is the iPhone 4. So people are speculating that the automatic white balance built into there is not as good as it should be. That might be something that Apple could be able to fix with code. That might not be a hardware problem.

CAVANAUGH: We’re talking about smart phones, the new smart phones, especially Apple iPhone 4. But we’re also taking your questions about smart phones. 1-888-895-5727 is the number to call. I’m speaking with Nick Mokey. He’s a reporter for Digitaltrends.com. And Mike Freeman, who is a reporter with San Diego Union-Tribune. And Mike, what have – what kind of information did you get about the glitches in the iPhone 4? Did you start hearing from people who were dissatisfied?

FREEMAN: You know, no. I mean, because – you know, Apple’s a company in the Bay Area and we don’t really cover Apple in that regard. So – and we didn’t. You know, our coverage was not kind of focused on, you know, the nuts and bolts, guts workings, of the phone. So, you know, what I would say about Apple is, you know, they in 2007 when they released the original iPhone, you know, basically jump started and, you could argue, kind of created the market for smart phones.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

FREEMAN: And so, you know, the rest of the industry kind of was – is following them.

CAVANAUGH: Indeed, even now. Even so, you know, Nick, even with, you know, reports about the glitches and Senator Charles Schumer of New York wrote to Steve Jobs to complain about the new iPhone, even with all that people are still buying it in droves. Nick, what’s so appealing about the iPhone 4?

MOKEY: You know, I think probably the biggest appeal for most people is the number of apps that you can get, and also the ease of use. Those are two things that Apple, you know, other companies have managed to find a niche doing some things better than the iPhone but those are two things that, you know, nobody’s really been able to touch. Right now, there are, at last count, 225,000 apps in the App Store and that’s basically unrivaled. I mean, even Android, I think, has about 70,000 which doesn’t even hold a candle to that. And so when you get, you know, your Apple iPhone there’s so many things that you can add to it via apps that, you know, people are very – people really like the idea of personalizing their phone and adding that content to it. And also, you know, the style of Apple devices is also a big selling point and I think a lot of people like the sort of edgier style of the latest iPhone. It’s kind of a departure for the – from the last, which was kind of more curvaceous.

CAVANAUGH: Right, yes. We’re taking you calls at 1-888-895-5727 about smart phones. And, Mike Freeman, you make the point that, yeah, the original iPhone kind of launched this market. Let’s get some background on the smart phone market, and just for the sake that we’re all on the same page, Mike, when we use the term smart phone, what are we talking about precisely?

FREEMAN: Well, I’m going to give you a kind of a layman’s term on that.

CAVANAUGH: Sure.

FREEMAN: I mean, when you talk about a smart phone, you’re talking about a wireless device that has computer-like functionality. So it can, rather than just do voice and some simple text-messaging, it can surf the internet, it can – you can e-mail pictures, it can do, you know, e-mail.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

FREEMAN: You can e-mail pictures, you can do all kinds of things. An example, my wife and I were driving to a party up in Temecula and we got over the Riverside County line and realized our Thomas Guide didn’t have a map for River – you know, our Thomas Guide in San Diego didn’t go up to Riverside County. So my wife whipped out the smart phone, we called up Google online, typed in the address and, boom, we got a Google map all on the handheld device. You know, that type of capability. You know, it was talked about for years and years and years and, you know, Kyocera came out with a smart phone in 2000, right…

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm.

FREEMAN: …but it wasn’t until, you know, Apple with its, you know, very good software, you know, very good systems integrations got this market really pumped in 2007 that the smart phone took off.

CAVANAUGH: Now as I said in the open, you know, there are a lot of people who feel that these are an indispensable part of their lives now. But we do have to remember that not everybody in the world, not everybody in this country, has a smart phone. How are sales going? What are the figures we’re looking at, Mike, when it comes to how these phones are selling?

FREEMAN: Well, there are two parts of the cell phone market that are growing, right? One of them is the smart phone market and I’ve seen figures that like 35% growth, you know, predicted this year in smart phones in the U.S., larger than that worldwide. And the low end of the market, right, the phone that is linked to a prepaid plan which is the month-to-month rather than the two-year wireless plan, those phones are growing. It’s the middle part of the market, the feature phone kind of – they call them feature phones, you know, kind of below a smart phone in capability, not the real low end, that are, you know, that part is shrinking. And it’s mostly replacement market, right. I mean, there are 285 million wireless subscribers in the U.S., you know, we’ve only got 350 million people. I mean, you know, there’s a lot of people…

CAVANAUGH: Right.

FREEMAN: …who have wireless subscriptions. So it’s a replacement cycle going on where people are upgrading from their, you know, feature phone to their smart phone or, because of the economy, dropping down from a feature phone to a less expensive, less capable device.

CAVANAUGH: Now, what – Do we know what the top sellers are worldwide?

FREEMAN: Well, I would have to do some re – I did a quick look at North America…

CAVANAUGH: Right.

FREEMAN: …so I don’t have necessarily the worldwide data.

CAVANAUGH: Okay.

FREEMAN: But in North America, Blackberry is the leading marketshare and that’s a business-centric, you know, e-mail-centric phone. Apple is second. Motorola – this is quarterly numbers, by the way, this is like for the first quarter…

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm.

FREEMAN: …so these numbers will change depending on the quarter. Motorola, which has struggled, has come up with its Droid products. HTC has some very nice phones that have come out. The Incredible’s gotten some good reviews and so that one is kind of pushing up. And so those are kind of the top four that we’re seeing here in North America in the first quarter. That data comes from IDC, which is a industry research firm.

CAVANAUGH: We are taking your calls, we’re talking about smart phones, taking your questions about the latest generation of smart phones and if you want to make the right choice of phone or maybe a phone you want to avoid. 1-888-895-5727 is the number to call, that’s 1-888-895-KPBS. Bill is on the line. He’s calling from La Jolla. Good morning, Bill, and welcome to These Days.

BILL (Caller, La Jolla): Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: Hi.

BILL: Yeah, I currently have a Blackberry and I’m looking at upgrading to the HTC Evo 4G and I’m kind of holding off because I’m not sure that the HTC’s going to be state of the art very long so I didn’t know whether anything’s coming out or what’s pros and cons of that particular phone.

CAVANAUGH: Who’d like to take that?

FREEMAN: I’ll take a little bit of that.

CAVANAUGH: Okay.

FREEMAN: If you – One thing about the Evo is it’s a 4G phone, right, it runs on Sprint’s WiMAX network. And Sprint doesn’t have, at this time, WiMAX in San Diego.

CAVANAUGH: Ah.

FREEMAN: So that, you know, it would just be a 3G phone and you might be paying a premium for the 4G service that isn’t up and running yet in San Diego. Now, you know, I understand that Sprint is working on it, that there are towers being installed and so on and so forth in San Diego, but it’s not here yet. So that’s something to think about.

CAVANAUGH: And, Nick, for the HTC Hero just in general, is it going to be around for a while?

MOKEY: In terms of the Evo 4G…

CAVANAUGH: Yeah.

MOKEY: …that’s great, by the way, that – the local insight that San Diego doesn’t actually have 4G because I didn’t know that off the top of my head…

CAVANAUGH: Uh-huh.

MOKEY: …so that’s definitely sort of a primary concern that you might want to think about. Some other concerns with this phone, people have reported that the battery life is a little bit, it definitely goes very quickly. Part of that is because of the, you know, the 4G performance. The 4G modem in it uses more juice, basically, than a traditional 3G modem would, at least at the moment. Otherwise, I mean, the – it’s one of Sprint’s sort of flagship phones right now so I wouldn’t expect it to totally disappear off the map, and it’ll probably continue to receive, you know, regular android updates as Google updates the operating system, you know, probably well into next year at the very least. So I wouldn’t worry about it getting outdated yet. But definitely the concern about San Diego and having WiMAX service, I would look further into that to find out how long you would be waiting until you could actually, you know, uncork that 4G capability.

CAVANAUGH: We have to take a short break. When we return, we’ll continue to talk about smart phones, the iPhone 4 and we’ll talk more about android phones. And take your calls at 1-888-895-5727. You’re listening to These Days on KPBS.

CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. My guests are Mike Freeman with the San Diego Union-Tribune and Nick Mokey with Digitaltrends.com and we are talking about smart phones and we’re taking your calls with questions and comments about smart phones at 1-888-895-5727. And, Mike, if I may, I’m going to ask you to talk a little bit more and clarify what you were saying about the 4G reception here in San Diego. What is it that we can’t get until a tower is built?

FREEMAN: Well, I mean, Sprint is rolling out its 4G service which is a WiMAX technology in various markets throughout the country and I don’t know exactly how many it has now but I’m thinking in the neighborhood of 35 are up and running. And – But San Diego isn’t there yet. It’s not one of them. So it’s not here at this point in time. I understand that they’re working on the build-out but it’s not up and running yet. And until it is, you know, they wouldn’t be able to – you know, the person who bought the Evo in San Diego would not be able to use the 4G, which is, you know, big…

CAVANAUGH: Right.

FREEMAN: …broadband service, high bandwidth service, until the towers were built. Now, you know, it – I haven’t seen an update from Sprint but it could be a matter of months, weeks, you know, when this is up. It may just be a short time. But that is my understanding of what, you know, the networks are not operational here yet.

CAVANAUGH: That’s – that’s fascinating. Mike, tell us a little bit more about the Android phones. Who makes them?

FREEMAN: Well, I mean, Android is an operating system…

CAVANAUGH: Sure.

FREEMAN: …from Google and I can tell you the popular ones are the ones that have come out – are, you know, the ones that HTC is building for itself and the Evo and – you know, for Sprint and the Motorola phones. Motorola has made a…

CAVANAUGH: Right.

FREEMAN: …big bet on Android as an operating system to kind of rebound its struggling handset business.

CAVANAUGH: Exactly. And, Nick, you know, you were talking about all the apps that are available for the iPhone. Isn’t that one drawback, when people choose a Droid phone?

MOKEY: You know, it is a small drawback in that, you know, like I said, if you get the iPhone, you’re getting access to 225,000 apps. If you look at an Android phone, you’re looking at more at 70,000. But then you get down to the practical matter of it and you have to think how many apps do I really need, right?

CAVANAUGH: Yeah.

MOKEY: And, you know, the 225,000 number, that includes, you know, a lot of sort of duplicates of the same thing. Sometimes a company offers like a lite version of the same product that’s free. So that’s factored into that number, too, so in some cases it’s like the same product counted twice in Apple’s library. And so you have to think, you know, there’s – for all the big things you want to do, there’s going to be an equivalent app available on Android. It might not be as pretty, it might not be, you know, from the same app that all your friends are using but you’ll probably be able to do most of the same things. And, you know, there are some advantages, too. If you get some of the latest Android phones, Google actually includes free turn-by-turn GPS on that so over and above Google maps, you can actually set up your phone right out of the box to, you know, put it on your dashboard and tell you how to get to a location. That’s something that if you had the iPhone, that doesn’t come stock and if you want to buy it from a company like TomTom, you stand to spend, you know, up to $100 for that software package actually.

CAVANAUGH: Right. Let’s take some call – a lot of callers want to join the conversation. We’re taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Helen is on the line from North County. And good morning, Helen. Welcome to These Days.

HELEN (Caller, North County): Yes. Good morning. I have questions about the Google phone that is the Droid. I bought one that had a keyboard with it, too, because I felt for business use it was just easier to also have a hard keyboard that you could slide out. But the visibility outside, I feel is terrible. I mean, the camera in a bright light, I can barely see the screen. Now, I did put a screen protection on and I also had the dialer pad, you know, with the most efficient kind of service but do you have any other suggestions because I have an old Motorola, you know, RAZR that’s still running and I just wondered, you know, what you’re suggesting about this.

CAVANAUGH: Have you heard that before, Nick, about the visibility of the keyboard?

MOKEY: Unfortunately, we’re – Yeah, we’re actually hearing that complaint more and more with the latest sort of batch of smart phones. The reason for that is a lot of them are opting for OLED screens. The original Droid that she’s talking about, I don’t think actually had an OLED screen. I might be mistaken but I think that was a traditional LCD. But so they’re moving to this new technology, OLED, which actually inside looks brighter, more vibrant, people like the look of it. But, unfortunately, it does get really, really washed out outdoors which is obviously a huge drawback if you intend to use your phone outside much. You’re trying to dial, you can’t even see the screen or, you know, you’re trying to, as you mentioned, take a picture and you can’t even see what’s on the camera.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

MOKEY: Unfortunately, there’s really not like a magic wand to wave and fix that. I mean, I guess the best you can do is, you know, kind of hold your hand over the phone and try to black out the sun but there’s really no, you know – I mean, make sure you go to settings and turn brightness up all the way. That’s the one thing I would recommend.

CAVANAUGH: Yeah.

MOKEY: Most phones out of the box have like an automatic brightness setting so they already, you know, sense that they’re in bright light and are boosting the screen up to compensate but if you already have – if you’ve, you know, set it to something else, you might want to make sure that you have the brightness all the way up. But other than that, it’s kind of there’s not an easy fix to that.

CAVANAUGH: And David’s calling from Pacific Beach. Good morning, David. Welcome to These Days.

DAVID (Caller, Pacific Beach): Good morning. Thank you. Yeah, I have a Android phone and I had really high hopes about them. My wife has an iPhone and I was kind of debating what to do and I decided to try out the Android, and there are several things that I just am really disappointed with. One of them, because you have to have a Google account and transfer your contacts into Google contacts, and you can only organize them by first name and I think if they’re trying to get people that want to, you know, Blackberry people and other people that use them for business that you can only organize by first name is kind of frustrating. And then the calendar that comes with it that I think is also frustrating that if you’re in the agenda portion of the calendar, you get to the end of the month, you have to actually go out of the agenda, onto the big calendar to ship to the next month because you can’t scroll down past the month that you’re in. So, I mean, in general, I think the apps – I’m not a huge app guy. I mean, the stuff I’ve needed, I’ve always been able to find but I just think there’s some little things. And the Bluetooth, every phone I’ve ever had worked fine with Bluetooth in my car and this one, there’s like a 10 second delay before it actually comes to my headset so people are wondering where the heck I am…

CAVANAUGH: Yeah, that is…

DAVID: …when I use that.

CAVANAUGH: That can be very annoying. David, thank you so much for the call. Anyone want to comment, Mike? Nick? Are there more problems that you’ve been hearing about with these Android phones? Nick?

MOKEY: A few of those are certainly unique. I’ve never heard about the Bluetooth issue before. Depending on what version of Android that phone actually has, some of them – I don’t think you mentioned the model but some of them might actually be resolved in the latest version of the Android software. Google is sort of releasing new versions pretty frequently and typically, you know, each one comes with fixes for that kind of thing. Although, I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if even the latest version has those sort of glitches as well. The thing with the organizing the contacts, I hadn’t heard about that at all actually, that, I was totally unbeknownst to that.

CAVANAUGH: Well, there you go. 1-888-895-5727 is the number to call. Scott’s calling from San Diego. Good morning, Scott. Welcome to These Days.

SCOTT (Caller, San Diego): Good morning. Hope I don’t lose you on my cell phone here.

CAVANAUGH: Okay.

SCOTT: I currently have a Blackberry Curve and I was wanting to get an iPhone and my server just told me that they have this new Samsung coming out that’s pretty cool. And I just wanted to know – it’s a Samsung Vibrant, I think, or Galaxy. What do you think about that?

CAVANAUGH: Anyone want to take that? Vibrant or Galaxy from Samsung?

MOKEY: Yeah, I can take that.

CAVANAUGH: Sure.

MOKEY: That’s – So the phone he’s talking about is what Samsung calls the Galaxy S but it’s been – it has actually four different names for four different networks. I don’t actually know all the – which one – which network Vibrant is for. I know on AT&T it’s called the Captivate. But basically Galaxy S is the, you know, the generic phone. That – We just, you know, got one in recently. I think we got a 7.5 for it. It performed pretty well. We liked the screen itself. It did have some little glitches with, you know, I think the app screen on that one—I’m sort of trying to recall this off the top of my head because I didn’t write the review but I did edit it—the app arrangement for that one is sort of in an Apple style grade which is a little unusual for the Droid. I think the camera was definitely subpar to the iPhone, if I remember. If you go to Digitaltrends.com, you can check out the full review because, as I said, I’m just sort of remembering these things off the top of my head. But it did get a 7.5 so it wasn’t among the best Android phones we’ve reviewed.

CAVANAUGH: Now, Mike Freeman, one of the surprising, I think it was surprising, statistics that you gave us is how popular Blackberry still is in the United States. Why is that again?

FREEMAN: Well, it’s by – it’s worldwide.

CAVANAUGH: Uh-huh.

FREEMAN: Blackberry’s a business phone.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

FREEMAN: And it is the business phone, the corporate business phone. And, you know, Blackberry has a special, you know, or it has a business model that is, you know, kind of business-centric with, you know, servers and things like that that a lot of businesses use. So that is the main driver on it. Although I have a Blackberry phone and I don’t use it for business and, you know, it’s a fine smart phone for the consumer as well. I mean…

CAVANAUGH: Right.

FREEMAN: …there’s nothing wrong with it.

CAVANAUGH: I read that they’re supposed to be introducing a new operating system this fall. Do you imagine, Mike, that that might help Blackberry? Are they struggling now to maintain even though that they are the preferred business phone?

FREEMAN: They have a dominant marketshare…

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm.

FREEMAN: …and anytime you have a dominant marketshare, you know, you’re the target.

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm.

FREEMAN: So, you know, yes, they’ve seen some marketshare erosion recently. I don’t know, though. I haven’t looked at the consistent, you know – I haven’t looked at it on a trend line. I’ve looked at snapshots so I don’t know if this is something that just goes up and down with quarters and is, you know, kind of normally in a range. But if you look at – I mean, the first quarter IDC, they had a 40% marketshare in North America, 41.7% marketshare. And the second place phone was Apple, in North America was 17%.

CAVANAUGH: Aha, I see.

FREEMAN: So your Blackberry is still a dominant phone.

CAVANAUGH: Yeah, that’s a huge, huge in…

FREEMAN: Disparity, yeah.

CAVANAUGH: Yes, and a step up front for them. That’s amazing. Now, since we’re talking about the business of cell phones, Mike, let’s just stay in San Diego for a minute, you know, and talk about Qualcomm. Qualcomm, as I understand, sells technology to smart phone makers. Is that right?

FREEMAN: Yes, its chips and its technology shine in 3G, you know, smart phones, you know, these internet capable computer-like devices.

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm. And so is Qualcomm like reaping the advantage financially of this, you know, how smart phones are taking off?

FREEMAN: Not as fast as some on Wall Street would like…

CAVANAUGH: Aha.

FREEMAN: …is the short answer to that. Qualcomm has a, you know, a complicated, very complicated business model and the – What has happened with them in a nutshell is average selling prices have come down and you would think when the, you know, just like in the computer business, when prices come down, volume would go up and it would, you know, really drive their volume. Well, this intersection hasn’t been as smooth as you might, you know, expect. It hasn’t been a one-to-one. And part of that is the economy, part of that is, you know, a lot of emerging markets are involved here and emerging markets have price sensitive – so Qualcomm a lot of the way they get paid is on the average selling price of the device with their licensing model. And so, you know, if the average selling prices are coming down and the volume isn’t coming up in the same trajectory, you know, you start to have a little bit of pressure on your revenue growth.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

FREEMAN: And that is kind of what has happened to them. But it is a, you know, there’s a lot of competition also in the space now, I mean, because everybody sees the smart phone market and these 3G transition worldwide as being huge growth. I mean, I saw a number from Qualcomm that, you know, just CDMA, which is their core technology, subscribers in China is expected to grow something like 580% between, you know, 2009 and 2013. You know, that – that is just a huge market with huge growth potential, and so companies like Broadcom and MediaTech and Marvell and many others are getting into the space, Intel and many others are, you know, working to get into this space and so there is a competition issue as well for Qualcomm.

CAVANAUGH: Yeah, the competition is ratcheting up.

FREEMAN: Yeah.

CAVANAUGH: Let’s try to take a couple more calls. Anthony is calling us from San Diego. Good morning, Anthony. Welcome to These Days.

ANTHONY (Caller, San Diego): Good morning. How are you?

CAVANAUGH: Great.

ANTHONY: A quick comment and then a question. I – Because of my business, I’m on Verizon but I’ve always wanted the iPhone so I ended up getting an iTouch and a wifi modem so I sort of live in two words. And the question is, is if I were to consolidate everything into one phone, which way to go?

CAVANAUGH: Ah. Any suggestions, gentlemen? Nick?

MOKEY: Do you want to stay on Verizon?

ANTHONY: You know what, I – I’m not really sure which way to, you know, I love Verizon. I love the – You know, it never drops a call. It seems to work great. But it’s the sort of thing, I really like the iTouch. I like the way it works and I like the format, so…

MOKEY: Well, I guess I have a short term strategy for you and a long term strategy. In the short term, if you’re getting antsy about it, you could go to a phone like the Droid X, which is one of the later Android devices that just came out on Verizon. Got very good reviews. Great device. If you are patient, there are always sort of rumors that the iPhone will come to Verizon. That’s – I mean, it’s very, very flaky. I definitely wouldn’t – If you’re getting impatient about it, I wouldn’t recommend holding out but there’s always sort of this, you know, possibility that Apple will end its exclusivity with AT&T and will end up on Verizon. People have talked about that happening this fall.

CAVANAUGH: Yeah.

MOKEY: Whether or not that’s true, it’s very sketchy. Most of these reports come from, you know, the Wall Street Journal discussing – or, talking about this with sort of anonymous sources. And in the past, a lot of them have fallen through so it’s not the greatest strategy to say, oh, I’ll wait and the iPhone will come to Verizon. But, you know, there has been – these rumors have sort of been shored up lately. For instance, Wired did an article recently sort of tracking the relationship between AT&T and Apple and, really, you know, on the outside it appears like they’re best buddies but this article basically makes them look like bickering spouses because, you know, Apple blames AT&T for all these issues with its network. AT&T blames the iPhone for, you know, loading down its network unnecessarily. And it seems like there’s the relationship between the carrier and Apple is not that great. And if it’s sort of degrading in that way, you might see, you know, Apple try to look elsewhere. But there are, you know, contracts in place there, too, and we’re not privy to all of them so it’s hard to tell what’ll happen there.

CAVANAUGH: I think there are a lot of people counting the minutes before that happens, Nick. Counting, just counting the minutes. I want to thank you both. We are out of time. And I’ve been speaking with Nick Mokey, who is with Digital Trends. Nick, thank you.

MOKEY: Thanks for having me on the show.

CAVANAUGH: Mike Freeman with the San Diego Union-Tribune. Thanks, Mike.

FREEMAN: Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: If we couldn’t get to your phone call, please do comment online, KPBS.org/thesedays. Coming up, mad about “Mad Men,” season four. That’s as These Days continues here on KPBS.

Comments

Avatar for user 'GandT'

GandT | July 28, 2010 at 11:19 a.m. ― 4 years, 3 months ago

Beware of being an "early adopter" :

Blackberry smartphone users might like to know that Blackberry has not yet released the necessary software update to allow Blackberries to sync with MSOffice 2010. And likely won't for at least another month. So don't upgrade to the new MSOffice 2010 yet if you are a Blackberry user.

And when you email an enquiry about the problem to "help@blackberry.net"; (the email address your phone provider will give you) all you get is this response: "Thank you for contacting BlackBerry Technical Support. The email you submitted has NOT been delivered" and a thoroughly irking suggestion you try their useless website and forums. I must confess it was the complete lack of information, customer service and support that sent me ballistic, more than the delay, although the delay is irritating, and one more reason RIM is starting to lose market share. Microsoft was perfectly helpful when I eventually called them, by the way, and gave me far more useful info than Blackberry did.

( | suggest removal )