5G has entered full industry hot topic mode. Vendors all want some realistic way to tie their solutions to the next generation of mobile technology. 5G ready and 5G platforms were common product descriptors at Mobile World Congress. Conferences and associations (see 4G World to 5G World and 4G Americas now 5G Americas) want that 5G shine to keep interest high as well. I get it, everybody wants to be relevant and associating with 5G should keep one relevant for the next several years to come. But, here is the thing: nobody is going to be selling much 5G gear until next decade.
The mobile industry loves its acronyms, like a dog loves a bone. We chew on them until they're ragged and shapeless. CRAN is a good example. The original meaning of the term has been lost in a flurry of marketing hype.
After repeatedly hitting the snooze button, 2016 is proving to be the year that the top smartphone makers are waking up to the harsh realities of a commoditized market. Industry-wide, we're finally seeing evidence that manufacturers have learned that a great device on its own no longer matters. Some are actually proving there is still room to make impactful innovation on the phone itself. Others that don't want to slash prices are making more creative business decisions and choosing to bundle additional hardware to build more value around high-end flagship devices.
When I read about AT&T's recent announcement to re-introduce an "unlimited" data plan, my initial thought regarded whether the industry has an excess supply problem and whether it needs to reinvigorate demand. Last time the U.S. wireless industry actively promoted unlimited data plans, the purpose was to drive utilization of newly built LTE networks with smartphone sales.
This week, I'm in China for Huawei's annual Analyst Summit along with folks from nearly every other analyst firm on the planet. Like clockwork, Huawei released its annual report not long before we all headed off the Shenzhen. If you haven't seen it, it's worth a read.
Are you getting tired of waiting for the small cell "hockey stick"? Over the past seven years, several companies have fizzled because they predicted more rapid adoption for femtocells or other small-cell variations. Some suppliers got tired of waiting and left the market.
The LTE market, over the past 20 years, has developed like the market for jumbo jets or nuclear power plants. Four major suppliers and one standard dominate the market because all customers have essentially the same requirement.
Along with market domination, the leading two smartphone ecosystems are extremely integrated into the day-to-day lives of the phone users. Through fast innovation and deployment of lifestyle-helping apps like Siri, Maps, Calendar, iCloud, Google Now!, HomeKit, and others, the phone OS players have built deep in-roads into helping us with our daily lives…and knowing more about us than any other company ever has.
Here in California, the term "squirrelly" means that your surfboard is unstable and makes quick and unpredictable turns at any time. We're seeing this in the Chinese mobile market now.
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, announced a programming deal that will send Sesame Street from its longtime publicly-subsidized home on PBS to the corporate Time Warner-owned home of Westeros on HBO. The move may have surprised viewers, but for those who know the volatile content market, shifting to the premium network is a shrewd strategy driven by the realities of the television market.