Wired: Apple iPhone has wireless industry scrambling

Apple Store“When Apple’s iPhone gatecrashed CES two months ago, it forced the cellular industry’s hand. At Florida’s CTIA Wireless 2007 show this week, it forced them to fold. Buzz, if nothing else, has won the first round,” Rob Beschizza reports for Wired.

Beschizza reports, “At CTIA, evidence abounded that Apple is forcing a sluggish wireless industry to respond to its hybrid media player/phone, which won’t even go on sale until June and will cost $500 for the most basic version.”

Beschizza reports, “Case in point: Samsung and Sprint’s UpStage, a music player-phone hybrid that goes on sale next month. Smaller than a deck of cards, UpStage ignores the standard practice of integrating the audio player functions into the phone, instead placing phone and audio functions on opposites sides of the case. ‘Apple is good at making noise in a certain space, which benefits everyone in that space. Look at the buzz we’re getting on the (UpStage) phone,’ said Kim Titus, a senior PR manager at Samsung Electronics. ‘It’s a music phone, not a smart phone, and it’s getting excellent ratings.'”

We now take a break from Samsung’s equivalent to Iraqi Disinformation Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, to bring you one of the first reviews of the UpStage phone from one of the most-respected of tech reviewers, The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg:

The UpStage has too many weaknesses and compromises for me to recommend it. It has lousy battery life, both as a phone and as a music player, a limitation Sprint and Samsung have tried to offset with a free add-on that makes the phone too bulky. And it comes with so little memory that, out of the box, it can hold only around 20 average songs. Adding more capability costs extra, thus lessening the price advantage… album covers and photos looked grainy, because even the larger screen has pretty low resolution. And occasionally, the start of a song was clipped… the navigation pad on the music side of the phone can be confusing. It works by touch controls; you have to use just the right pressure and slide your finger just the right distance along its sides to get it to work right. It’s too complicated.

Mossberg’s full review here.

Beschizza continues, “Other cellular industry executives were quick to hop on the iPhone bandwagon too. ‘There’s nothing like having someone come out and validate your vision,’ said Bill Blummer, Nokia’s vice president of multimedia in North America. ‘Nokia has always had a passion for creating convergence devices.'”

Full article here.
Whether you believe it’s possible or not for the other players to recover from Apple’s iPhone bombshell, it’s going to take them considerably longer than 2-3 months to do so.

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28 Comments

  1. WTF is up with all this advertising MDNews? No funny pictures, but an ad for Avril’s new album? It’s not like you guys don’t have enough ads…..

    You are starting to suck now MDNews.

  2. Apple validating their vision. Hillarious. Of course it took Apple to bring Nokia’s vision into reality and sell it.

    Won’t Nokia be shocked when Apple sells iPhones but does not share their earnings with the company that had the “vision.”

    I too have visions of flying cars, rental HD movies streamed to my home through some set-top-box, but uh, word to Nokia – “vision” (aka dreaming), means JACK SQUAT!

  3. I stopped by RadioShack yesterday to get a new battery for my LG x8300. The geek salesman asked me how I liked my phone. I said, “it’s okay, it does the job as a phone.” Then he probed for more questions, asking me what I didn’t like. I told him the interface sucks, it takes 5 clicks to do something that should only take 2 clicks. I hate that phone. Every phone I’ve had has been the same experience: it gets the job done, but there are no features that make it worth envy. But the iPhone? That has my envy all over it.

  4. Hyperbolee! Apple doesn’t threaten the cell phone market all. They can call if BUZZ, but I call it FUZZ. If Apple successfully sells 10 million iPhones in 18 months, it would be sucess recorded for the history books. Meanwhile, there will still be millions of regular cell phone owners and users around the world. Doesn’t Wired have better things to write about?

  5. upstage may even HELP apple…I thought it was a great idea to have one side as the phone and the other as a music player

    apple could easily take advantage of this and produce a two face iPod/phone without the internet component

  6. Tommy Boy,
    It isn’t the hardware OR the software engineers that matters. It’s quality control, and at Apple, the QC people all know that their work is going to be checked by Mr. Jobs.

    cellhype,
    Not everyone just wants a cheap device for making phone calls. Lots of us want to be able to use a decent web browser, hand held map, and manage our contacts and calendars. A good camera would be useful too. For me, the killer app on the iPhone is visual voicemail. I have never understood why that wasn’t available years ago. My guess: 15 million sold by the end of 2008.

  7. You have got to be shitting me.

    Samsung didn’t “scramble” to create the Upstage, it’s apart of their Ultra series and has been in development from mid-to-late 2006.

    It was announced January 8th at CES as the Ultra Music, the twin to the more feature-rich Ultra Video.

    http://www.mobiletracker.net/archives/2007/01/08/samsung-ultra-music

    It’s been bound for Sprint from the beginning and was renamed Upstage for commercial purposes.

    Get the fsck out of here.

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