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Windows Phone 7 To Get Price Cut


Microsoft wants to reduce components costs, lower phone prices, and gain market share.

A Microsoft official said the company and its partners may reduce the price of Windows Phone 7 devices by as much as 50% in some cases in order to boost demand for the system, which significantly trails Apple and Google-powered phones in the smartphone market.

“We are supporting componentry that that will allow us to go below $200,” Windows Phone head Andy Lees told Bloomberg. Lees said Microsoft is counting on higher sales volumes to make up for lower margins that would result from a price cut.

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Carriers like AT&T already offers some Windows Phones, such as the Samsung Focus, for as little as $50, but unlocked devices from retailers like Amazon sell for $250 or more. Microsoft currently holds about 5.7% of the U.S. mobile OS market, according to the latest data from ComScore. Google leads the pack with about 43.7%, while Apple is second with 27.3%.

In addition to price cuts, Microsoft hopes the release of Mango, or Windows Phone 7.5, will boost sales. Mango adds more than 500 new features to the Windows Phone platform, including multitasking, 4G support, and the ability to work with rights-protected email.

“It leapfrogs the competition in many areas,” said Lees, while speaking on stage at the All Things D conference in Hong Kong.

On Monday, Microsoft and AT&T introduced three new phones that come with Mango pre-installed–the HTC Titan, which features a big 4.7-inch display, the Samsung Focus S, which boasts 1.4-GHz processor, and the budget Samsung Focus Flash, which has a 3.7-inch display. AT&T has yet to announce pricing for the phones.

Microsoft is also counting on its alliance with Nokia, still the world’s largest seller of phones by volume, to significantly boost market share. Next week, the Finnish company is expected to introduce its own line of Windows Phone 7 devices at its Nokia World conference.

“They are going to be investing very aggressively,” said Lees. “They’ve bet the success of the whole company on Windows Phone.”

Microsoft also recently struck a deal with handset maker Samsung under which the two companies will jointly invest in smartphone research, development, sales, and marketing. “You’ll see that ramp up in 2012,” said Lees.

Lees also announced that Microsoft plans to start selling Windows Phone 7 devices in China next year.

Source: http://www.informationweek.com/news/windows/microsoft_news/231901442

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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Apple, Microsoft, Windows Phone 7

 

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Your dead iPhone is a gold mine – literally


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — If you’re one of the more than 1 million Apple enthusiasts who pre-ordered an iPhone 4S this week, you’re likely looking to ditch your old phone.

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The day that Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) unveils a new iPhone is like the Black Friday of cell phone trade-in services. Gazelle, one of the best known of the so-called “recommerce” sites for electronics, said that it received a phone every six seconds during Apple CEO Tim Cook’s presentation on Oct. 4.

As sales of expensive smartphones grow rapidly, trade-in sites have also risen in popularity. Their services give customers the opportunity to make some cash off their old devices, which shoppers can use toward their shiny new handsets. At one point last week, Gazelle had offered up to $284 for some iPhone 4 trade-ins.

But what happens to your trade-in once you ship it to Gazelle, ReCellular, NextWorth, Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) Trade-In, or any of the other recommerce sites out there?

First, cell phones are inspected for wear and tear and to see whether they still work. Damaged phones are assessed for salvageability.

All phones then go through a memory wipe. Each trade-in company said it wipes memory in two steps to ensure your data is completely erased from the phone. If the phone doesn’t work, the companies will physically destroy its memory.

“We make sure there are no late-night texts still on your phone,” said Joe McKeown, vice president of marketing at ReCellular.

Where old iPhones go to die

Phones that are in excellent shape are typically either sold directly to consumers on the trade-in companies’ sites, or they’re hawked on eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500) or Amazon. Gazelle receives so many iPhones that it tends to sell Apple’s smartphones to wholesalers, since the recommerce company lacks the manpower to sell all of them on eBay or Amazon.

But it’s in the traded-in junk where it starts to get interesting.

Can the iPhone 4S win over consumers?

Old phones that are in workable condition and still have some demand for them (think Motorola RAZR, LG enV) are sent to wholesale partners. Those wholesalers have access to retail chains in and out of the United States that specialize in selling used feature phones to customers.

“You’d be surprised, but these wholesalers find demand for those items around the world — usually in developing countries where there’s not a lot of supply for those products,” said Israel Ganot, CEO of Gazelle.

New but broken phones are typically sold to wholesalers that recondition the devices and sell them back to carriers or retailers for warranty replacement handsets.

Gazelle said about 90% of its devices are resold. ReCellular said roughly 80% of smartphones and 60% of feature phones are ultimately sold back to consumers.

“Typically there is some value in a device, but if it’s so old or broken, it needs to be recycled,” said Jeff Trachsel, spokesman for NextWorth.

How old?

“We’ll get those old bag phones or brick phones that are about a foot long,” said ReCellular’s McKeown. “Every day you get something like that.”

Gazelle said it has a small museum in its headquarters of surprising things people sent in, including a Motorola (MMI) DynaTAC 1980s-era “brick” phone, a Motorola StarTAC phone, a pager, a first-generation iPod, and an original Nintendo.

But “ancient” and broken technology actually has a lot of value — to trade-in sites, if not to you. Most won’t pay more than a few cents for these old phones, but they’ll happily recycle them if you send them in.

There are 0.034 grams of gold in each cell phone, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That’s the equivalent of 0.001 troy ounces, worth about $1.82 at today’s prices.

Melting millions from gold scraps

There are also 16 grams of copper, worth about 12 cents, 0.35 grams of silver, worth 36 cents, and 0.00034 grams of platinum, valued at 2 cents.

In bulk, that’s a ton of precious metal. In fact, ReCellular said it recycled enough gold last year to make 1,500 wedding bands and enough copper to make two Statues of Liberty. The trade-in companies all send parts to one of just two smelters in the United States, so that tiny amount of value becomes a treasure trove of bling.

“They’re doing this in very, very high volume,” said Ken Byer, CEO of Cloud Blue, Gazelle’s recycling partner of choice. “There’s more gold in a pound of electronics than a pound of gold ore, so it’s certainly worth it.”

So when you send in your old phone to get some cash, it could eventually become someone’s wedding ring.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/13/technology/iphone_trade_in/?source=cnn_bin

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2011 in Apple, iPhone

 

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Microsoft Preps Big Win Phone 7 Push Heading into Holidays


Brace yourself for the upcoming Windows Phone 7 onslaught. In the coming months Microsoft will make a big holiday push that will extend into early 2012 in an attempt to win over converts to its new mobile operating system. Andrew Lees, president of Microsoft’s Windows Phone Division, has been busy recently spreading the gospel of Phone 7 and dishing on Microsoft’s mobile plans, according to a number of reports.

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In several recent interviews the Phone 7 chief has addressed several shortcomings the company’s mobile platform has been criticized for including a lack of dual-core handsets and LTE connectivity – two features Android handset makers jumped on many months ago. Apple’s new iPhone 4S also has a dual-core processor.

Lees’ publicity push for Phone 7 follows Microsoft’s recent roll out of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango in late September. The software update featured over 500 new features such as multitasking, an improved Web browser and a Wi-Fi hotspot mode. Critics largely welcomed the upgrade since it gives Microsoft’s mobile platform some degree of parity with its main competitors Apple’s iOS-powered iPhone and Google’s Android mobile OS.

Phone 7 Home For The Holidays

More Windows Phone 7 devices are apparently coming out in time for the holiday season including budget-priced $100 handsets, and higher-priced devices featuring big screens and dual-LED flash, according to the Seattle Times. Lees didn’t say which companies were launching the new devices or when these announcements would start. PCWorld will have the latest news from this week’s CTIA Enterprise & Applications event in San Diego.

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At least one Mango deice is expected to be from Nokia, which is expected to release its first Phone 7 device before the end of the year. Nokia announced in February that it would concentrate on producing Microsoft phones.

LTE and Dual Core

Lees also said the first LTE Phone 7 device will become available in 2012, but didn’t provide other specifics. The Phone 7 chief told AllThingsD that handsets sporting dual-core chips are also coming. But it’s not clear when a dual-core Phone 7 device might show up. Lees told AllThingsD that Microsoft wants to make sure Phone 7 software is optimized to take advantage of multiple processor cores before working with manufacturers on producing dual-core devices.

While that sounds sensible, Microsoft would be better off figuring out dual-core optimization sooner rather than later or it might find Phone 7 is left behind once again. Apple recently announced its first dual-core phone, the iPhone 4S, and handsets powered by Nvidia’s Kal-El quad-core chip for mobile devices are expected in the coming months.

Source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/241573/microsoft_preps_big_win_phone_7_push_heading_into_holidays.html

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Android, Apple, Google, iPhone, Mango

 

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Windows 8 And Windows Phone 7 Justify At $28


Microsoft is focusing on improving its entertainment and devices business, which includes PC gaming device Xbox, the Zune portable media player, as well as its Windows mobile operating system.  These businesses together account for just under 10% of Microsoft’s stock value by our estimates.

While Windows phone 7 hasn’t generated as much revenue as expected since its launch last year, management is confident that Windows 8 will be able to provide the much needed boost to help challenge Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Meanwhile, Microsoft will also earn hefty income from the licensing deals signed with around 7 smartphone vendors.

While we anticipate Microsoft’s revenues from PC games, Windows Mobile and other consumer software will increase from $2.9 billion in 2012 to $3.9 billion by the end of our forecast period, Trefis members expect an increase from $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion during the same period.

We currently have a Trefis price estimate of $28 for Microsoft’s stock, about 15% above the current market price..

Windows 7 Phone Sales Slow, Management Optimistic

Windows 7 Phone saw strong sales for the initial few months after launch in October 2010 [1] but since then the sales have slowed down with market research firm AC Nielsen estimating that Windows Phone 7 accounts for just 1% of the mobile market versus 38% for Google’s Android, 27% for Apple’s iOS and 21% for RIM as of June 2011. [2]

However, Microsoft recently showed developers a preview of Windows 8 and it is quite optimistic that the new OS, with its radically different look and feel and a touch-centric user interface, will boost Windows phone 7 sales. It is also planning to launch an app store, in a nod to the success of Apple’s powerful ecosystem of products and distribution platform for apps and updates. Moreover, with Google acquiring Motorola, Microsoft remains the only pure smartphone software provider which should make it a better alternative over Android and iOS and thereby attract more smartphone vendors.

Income from Patent Licensing Deals

Microsoft has a total of 7 Android patent licensing deals with the last two coming from Acer and ViewSonic. (See Microsoft Signs with Acer and ViewSonic for License Fee from Android Sales) Under these agreements, the companies will have to pay Microsoft a fixed licensing fee for each Android device that they ship. It also has deals with manufacturers like HTC, General Dynamics, Wistron and Onkyo from whom it nets around $5-$15 for each Android device sold. In this way, it can also encourage these manufacturers in using Windows Phone 7 over Android.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2011/09/27/windows-8-and-windows-phone-7-justify-microsoft-at-28/

 
 

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Steve Ballmer still disappointed by Windows Phone 7 sales


We’ve been reporting for quite some time now that Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 has been quite the disappointment in the smartphone industry. In an era where the iPhone is conquering the world with its unparalleled retina display, camera and usability, it’s hard for another company to even compare to the Apple giant.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke at the company’s financial analyst meeting on Wednesday and expressed disappointment of the Windows Phone 7 sales. “We haven’t sold quite as many as I would have liked in the first year. … I’m not saying I Love where we are, but I am very optimistic on where we can be,” he said during the meeting.

The Windows Phone 7 made quite the name for itself when it came to marketing and advertising ploys but lacked the fan following that Google and Apple are often accustomed to. Interestingly enough, Samsung and HTC embraced the WP7 platform and plan to launch devices using the next version of WP7. Mashable says that these mobile enterprises have the majority of their chips invested in Google’s Android, which makes for most of their smartphone sales. Nokia is the only dedicated hardware partner for Windows Phones and who really uses Nokia phones these days anyways?

We’re crossing our fingers that Nokia will be able to show some sort of result for the slow-rising WP7, but we won’t be holding our breath. I’m sure I’m not the only one that can’t get enough of the iPhone, or even Droid phones for that matter.

Source: http://www.businessreviewusa.com/technology/software/Steve%20Ballmer%20still%20disappointed%20by%20Windows%20Phone%207%20sales

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Google, iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone 7, WP7

 

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Millennial Media: Android rules in July, Windows Phone 7 growth is big


Summary: Ad impressions in July show Android is kicking all other mobile platforms to the curb, but Apple is still the number one OEM.

Millennial Media is one of the largest ad networks in mobile, and its monthly stat shot is an indicator of who is doing what in mobile. The July report shows some interesting numbers that indicate the state of the mobile space.

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Android retains the number one position among mobile platforms for the eighth consecutive month with 61 percent of all ad impressions served. Apple’s iOS was the next most used mobile platform with 21 percent of impressions. Apple is still the number one mobile manufacturer with 26.45 percent of the market and Samsung number two with 19.11 percent. Note these numbers are based on ad impressions served during the month of July 2011 and not device sales.

Windows Phone 7 generated only 2 percent of ad impressions during the month, but encouragingly had a 71 percent increase month-over-month. The indicates that more of these phones are in the market each month, and with Mango due to launch soon WP7 could be poised for good growth.

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While tracking the number of ad impressions paints a good picture of activity, it is important for developers to follow the money. Things stack up differently when ad revenue is tracked by platform with Android nudging iOS for the top spot but by only five percent. These two platforms accounted for a whopping 91 percent of ad spends, with RIM’s BlackBerry a distant third with only 7 percent.

Soure: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-news/millennial-media-android-rules-in-july-windows-phone-7-growth-is-big/3933

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Android, Apple, Windows Phone 7

 

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Nokia Plans 300 Media Apps For Windows Phone


Nokia has inked a deal with a Canadian developer to produce more than 300 media applications for its upcoming Windows Phone offerings, as well as for its existing line of Symbian and MeeGo-based smartphones.

Under the deal, Toronto’s Polar Mobile will build apps that format content from a number of international publishers for display on Nokia’s various platforms. Content providers involved in the deal include WiredUK, Kompass, Advertising Age, The Globe and Mail, Shanghai Daily, and 7DAYS.

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“Nokia is excited about the opportunity to team up with Polar Mobile to bring hundreds of quality apps to consumers around the world,” said Richard White, general manager for Nokia Canada, in a statement. “Polar Mobile’s ability to scale and attract a global set of brands is strategic in supporting Nokia’s efforts in offering compelling apps and experiences for our users.”

Polar Mobile uses Nokia’s cross-platform Qt development framework to help publishers produce mobile versions of their content for Nokia platforms. It’s one of the technologies that Microsoft is hoping will incent major content providers to include Windows Phone in their mobile strategies once Nokia-branded Windows Phone 7 devices become available–most likely in the first half of next year.

Application choice could make or break Windows Phone. Microsoft claimed there were about 9,000 apps available for the OS as of March. By contrast, the number of apps available for Apple’s iPhone and Google Android devices is well into the six figures.

Under a deal reached earlier this year, Nokia agreed to use Windows Phone 7 as the exclusive operating system for its U.S. products. The Finnish phone maker also will offer Windows Phone-based devices in a number of other international markets.

What’s not clear is how long the company plans to continue offering products based on other operating systems. Symbian’s share of the global mobile OS market is slipping, and Nokia recently sold off future support and development rights to the platform to Accenture. MeeGo is a joint effort between Nokia and Intel, and runs Nokia’s slick new N9 smartphone.

Nokia shares were flat at $6.07 in early trading Wednesday.

Source: http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/smart_phones/231500119

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Android, Apple, Nokia, Symbian, Windows Phone 7

 

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