With the way Apple
Microsoft re-enters the mobile fray
Aside from the bizarre "always delightful, and wonderfully mine" tagline Microsoft unveiled during its Monday rollout event, reviews have generally been positive and the launch went off without a hitch. Phones will be available this holiday season on both AT&T
HTC's Surround phone, coming to AT&T for the holidays.
But despite the good news, some of Microsoft's carrier relationships are troubling. The blowout success of Motorola's
However, while Sprint
I've long been skeptical of Microsoft's mobile ambitions. It's not that the new Windows Phone isn't a worthy competitor; it just faces a severe content disadvantage, with Apple and Google's Android both enjoying strong support from a community of developers. In addition, Google's Android has made huge inroads with handset makers, and its free licensing strategy helps reduce costs.
Even though Microsoft finds itself back in the mobile game, it takes a lot more than an innovative product to crack into the high-end smartphone market -- as we learned from Palm last year.
Read more about Microsoft's mobile launch.
No LTE iPhone for you. Come back, one year!
Blog TechCrunch, which reported that Verizon was getting the iPhone before The Wall Street Journal did, is now reporting that this CDMA model of the iPhone won't take advantage of next-generation 4G LTE technology. For users wanting the faster download rates LTE technology offers, the news is likely to be disheartening. However, the reports are consistent with how Apple operates. When the iPhone made its debut, it didn't hop aboard AT&T's 3G network, even though AT&T had introduced 3G three years earlier. It's just not in Apple's nature to risk compromising the quality of its product with untested technology.
In the case of 4G rollouts, Verizon hopes to have LTE in 38 cities by the end of 2010, while AT&T won't be rolling out its network until the middle of next year -- the same time as the next expected iPhone refresh. The initial series of LTE chipsets will probably be fairly power-hungry, too.
The process of getting a sample chipset design and then designing a phone around that chipset is a long and arduous process. While other companies will hurry forward with their LTE-compatible phones to get a push from carriers eager to promote their significant investments in next-generation technologies, Apple doesn't need to risk a suboptimal 4G experience by rushing an inferior LTE-friendly model to the market.
All things considered, the report makes a lot of sense. If you're waiting for a 4G-ready iPhone next year, it looks like you'll be out of luck.
Read fellow Fool Tim Beyers' argument that Apple should release a 4G iPhone for Sprint.
Verizon and Apple's steamy affair heats up
After reports broke last week that the iPhone is headed to Verizon, the two companies took another step to expand their relationship. On Thursday, Apple announced the iPad will go on sale at Verizon stores. The effect on Apple shouldn't be too significant, though, since Verizon won't even sell a 3G version of the device. Instead, its models will use small "MiFi" gadgets to connect to 3G. But the news is still significant, because it validates reports of the strengthening relationship between the two companies.
Read more analysis on the iPad's upcoming Verizon debut.
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Eric Bleeker owns shares of no companies listed above. Microsoft and Sprint Nextel are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Apple, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.