Killer Applications

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By BruterH
March 19, 2001

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Killer Application

Flash back to 1986
My first cellular mobile phone was a 7-POUND NEC phone I purchased for $2,500.00, which gave me the privilege of chatting with business clients for 49cents a minute. People would stop me at the store and ask in awe "Is that a cell phone? Wow cool!!!"

Flash forward to 2001
I purchased a Sprint replacement phone for my wife for personal use for $99.00 and she can chat away for 10 cents a minute on a phone, with triple the standby and talk time and no one bats an eye at the cool ice blue phone hidden in her hand.

What few people take into consideration is up until today the killer app has been voice... mobile voice. The future killer app is DATA... data anywhere and any time at a reasonable price. However, as operators are finding out, some vendors who will remain nameless (Nokia) have promised fantastic time to market and data speeds by way of GPRS with the wonders of a WAP browser. Well, can you imagine what GSM operators are thinking now about the prospects of rolling out GPRS and competing against the 1xCDMA operators here in the USA? This competition will not go unnoticed by European operators. I won't bore you with all the problems with GPRS -- time to market, short battery life, gobbles system capacity like a starving hyena, overheating, drop calls at hand off, high radiation levels, lack of available models -- you get the message.

The killer application is mobile DATA and data craves system capacity.

The killer application is capacity and the capacity advantage that CDMA will allow those carriers to bring down on their GSM competitors. This capacity will allow CDMA operators the flexibility to continue their voice business and add data as another revenue source.

The killer application is flexibility; with this flexibility CDMA operators will offer a myriad of applications that by themselves will not stand out in anyone's eyes as a "KILLER APPLICATION." That's the beauty of this flexible system; applications will be written ala BREW to fit your needs and will be included in your service agreement or added on as a "fee for service" basis.

These killer applications will be killer only to the person who finds them useful. Some of these have been discussed here but I will add a few of my own:

One day you will be paying for your credit card purchases by aiming your cell phone at a cash register and your bill will be paid and the transaction will be automatically input in your personal QUICKEN accounting system running on BREW ready for download to your computer. No data entry, the cell phone does it for you. When tax time rolls around all data is input and taxes are a snap. That's a killer application.

Some one steals your car. You have purchased a locator chip and have it installed in the car, you notify SPRINT and they immediately SNAPTRAC your car's location and notify the police. Now when your car is returned home a few hours later, undamaged, that's a killer application. You can substitute, camera, tractor, children, pets, or stereo for car in the above example.

You are on your way home and your son calls and asks you to pick up some crickets for his pet gecko, but the your usual pet store is on the opposite side of town and against traffic. You pull over, whip out your cell phone, pull up the yellow pages, locate the pet store on your way home, click on the map icon, view the route to the store -- it's only a little out of your way -- grab a gecko, take out bag of crickets, and you're home in time for Monday night football. That's a real time saver and a killer application in my book.

You are traveling to San Diego with your family to attend the QUALCOMM Shareholders meeting (ok, you're going to the zoo), and your kids are getting a little restless after eight hours in the car. You give them your cell phones and they play an interactive game between cell phones. That's a killer application only parents can appreciate.

Teenagers will be able to set up their phones with each other by way of a buddy list that will notify them when they are close to a buddy, then they can operate the Q CHAT feature on their phone and use their "free" cell-to-cell minutes or set up a meeting place. I bet boys looking for girls will take on a whole new dimension, and I bet they will think that's a killer application.

You're at work and QUALCOMM is having an analyst meeting at 12:00 you are away from the office and you want to listen in. Open the laptop or PDA, log on to NETZERO, fire up Netscape, and log on to QUALCOMM's web site at 100 Kbs. Listen to the great news that Lucent signed a deal with China worth 400 Million. You log on to Merrill and add 1000 shares to your position making a cool $2000.00 before lunch. I think that would be a killer application.

You're a contractor and the plans you are using don't jive with the existing site conditions, and you have five guys standing around waiting for the architect to make a decision but he can't come to the site until the next day. The contractor snaps a picture of the problem with his camera, slips out the Sandisk flash memory card, and puts it in his cell phone and emails the photo to the architect's office. They talk over the problem and 10 minutes later the five guys are back at work saving the owner or contractor a few hundred bucks. That's a killer application.

I could go on for days but if you are looking for a killer application, it has already been found and it is the flexibility CDMA and its cost savings, capacity, and data advantages offered to CDMA operators.

Bruce Hamilton