Over the past three weeks, we’ve counted down the top ten mobility stories of the year. Here they are summarized in one place for your easy reference.
#10: 802.20 Standards
There was a lot of discussion this year about the 802.20 standards, making it a big story for 2006. Unfortunately, there still aren’t any standards. As I discussed in June, the main reason is politics.
#9: The (Apple) iPhone
As the year draws to a close, rumors once again abound of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) bringing an iPhone to market. The latest guesstimates are that the phone will be launched in the first half of 2007.
In March of this year, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) formally announced a new class of computing device, the Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC). The formal announcement followed weeks of intense buzz marketing using the product’s “secret” code name of Origami. And then folks figured out that the UMPC wasn’t nearly as revolutionary as everyone had hoped.
Get this. A company is formed whose investors include Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Google (ASDAQ:GOOG), GSM Association, Hutchison (HKG:0013), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Orascom Telecom (CAI:ORTE), Samsung Electronics (SEO:005930), Syniverse (NYSE:SVR), T-Mobile (NYSE:DT), Telefónica Móviles (NYSE:TEF), TIM (NYSE:TI) and Vodafone (NYSE:VOD). This company’s goal is to provide “the critical link between the mobile operator, Internet services and the users to make their mobile devices the Internet and communication tool of choice.” Seems like this company, with it’s investors, would understand the space and be able to make a real impact towards that goal.
#6: 3’s X-Series
In November, 3, the global mobile operator, announced what was perceived to be a radical new approach to mobile services. But none of this is as revolutionary as some of the capabilities that are starting to appear that really leverage the context of the mobile user in ways that have been impossible in the pre-mobile Internet era. What 3’s X-series represents is “just” the Internet taken mobile. What context-relevance represents is the full mobility revolution.
#5: Mobile Revenue Passes Wireline
According to Philip Redman, research vice president at Gartner Inc., service revenues from wireless services will exceed those from fixed lines by the end of this year. Gartner estimates that 3 billion of the world’s 6.5 billion people will be mobilites by 2010. What makes this truly amazing is that less than 10% of the world’s population has ever made a telephone call, and now, within just a few years, nearly half will be mobile users.
#4: Motorola Inc., QUALCOMM Inc., and Nokia Corporation Acquisitions
This was a banner year of big acquisitions by major mobility technology vendors, demonstrating that several aspects of the mobility revolution are reaching critical periods of growth and maturity.
#3: Sprint/Cable JV Launches
With better technology, more attractive offers, and positive momentum on all fronts, all the Cable/Sprint (NYSE: S) partnership has to fear is irrational price wars from the Big Bells (unfortunately we’ve seen it before). Keep an eye on this one. Things could get very interesting!
#2: AWS Auction
The AWS auction could usher in a competitive environment for multi-megabit mobile bandwidth at a price point that encourages broad adoption and that truly drives towards broadbandwidth being built into every electronic product (just as microprocessors have been built into everything).
#1: Sprint Announces WiMax Network
Sprint Nextel Corp.’s (NYSE: S) announcement isn’t about just another wireless telecom network. It’s about unleashing the Mobility Revolution. It’s about building a nationwide network that’s fast enough to support virtually any application, that has enough spectrum to support broad market adoption, and that’s cost effective enough to build into virtually every product that today has a microprocessor built in.