Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Can Apple’s iPhone Succeed Where Google’s NexusOne Failed?

In the first week of January this year, Google attempted to break new ground with the NexusOne or the superphone as they called it. The phone was supposed to sell through a webstore as an open GSM phone for $525. But when dismal sales figures rolled in month after month for a phone that was arguably the best Android phone in the market – Google had to cave in, stopping sales in the United States and making it available exclusively through carriers in parts of Europe. Google failed at breaking the stranglehold carriers had on the market especially in America.

That was the Google Story. Yesterday, Stacey Higginbotham of GigaOm reported that Apple was working closely with Gemalto – a SIM card manufacturer- on a new kind of SIM. I should add at this stage that at this stage, the story can be classified as a ’strong rumour’ at best. But if it is true. it could have some huge implications for the entire mobile phone industry. This ‘rumoured’ SIM will be embedded within the iPhone, allowing a customer to activate the phone without having to make an extra trip to a carrier. This report is Europe specific. But if Apple is able to pull this off on one side of the Atlantic, it could do this on the other side too, once the iPhone’s exclusivity with AT&T runs out. There are already very strong rumours about a Verizon iPhone in 2011.


The GigaOM post goes on to say that the SIM which will be embedded in a chip with a flash component and a ROM area. The former will be upgradeable  and will receive carrier related data through a local connection. While the latter will have data provided by Gemalto, related to IT and network security. It all sounds very Europe-centric at the moment and the NexusOne has already exposed the unwillingness of the average American consumer to pay full price for the phone. How Asia and specifically India fit into this picture will only become clearer in the future, if at all.

Whether it is out of hubris or just down to being Apple, the Cupertino giant has rarely bothered about who it might annoy as a result of its actions. Many believe that Google succumbed because a blow-out with the carriers at that stage could have been a deadly blow to its Android Platform. But can Apple really risk souring its relations with most carriers? Exclusivity is one thing, but attacking their business model may invite a different kind of backlash.

There’s another side to this story which I’m surprised no one has brought up yet, it would only increase Apple’s control over their eco-system. If it happens of course!

Do you think this ‘SIM’ is real? And with it will Apple once again change the dynamics of the Mobile Industry?

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Categories: International, News, Technology, Views
Tags: Android, apple, at&t, europe, Gemalto, gigaom, google, iphone, Nexus one, Stacey Higginbotham, united states, US, verizon

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