The great games
Speaking of which, Olympics sponsors Visa and Transport for London are also trialling NFC-based systems in preparation for the big event and there’ll be a wealth of mobile coverage, with Vodafone UK CEO Guy Laurence promising that “no event goes un-tweeted, no views on a race go un-shared and no video of a medal-winning performance goes unsent”.
Pay by phone at the Olympics courtesy of Samsung, Visa and co
And of course, there’ll be A LOT of Olympics-branded apps to cash in on the event, as well as at least one Olympic phone by sponsor Samsung, which is expected to be NFC-equipped for mobile payments. Or perhaps there may be an even easier way to pay by phone.
There'll be text to pay
Barclays recently launched the Pingit cash transfer service which doesn’t use NFC, but lets you send someone cash direct from your bank account to their phone number – it’s like texting money.
Similar systems are already hugely popular in Africa for making small payments to shops and family, and the new Barclays system, which is expected to be rolled out to other banks over the coming months, means we’re likely to see a lot more of it here.
That'll do nicely: Barclays' Pingit sends cash by text
Then again, the whole idea of shops is beginning to change, with some retailers beginning to think of their shops more as showrooms than point-of-sale places. Korean shoppers can scan products' QR codes with their smartphones, and Tesco Home Plus will deliver the items to their door.
If they’re too busy to go to the store itself, they can scan billboards on the subway.
Tesco Home Plus' virtual shop shelves ready to be scanned by phones in the Seoul underground
Source: Do Re Mi
Net-A-Porter and John Lewis have already run similar trials in the UK – it’s only a matter of time before virtual shopping using your smartphone becomes normal.
4G for you and me
4G is likely to loom larger later this year as plans to auction off the spectrum come to a head. There are lots of obstacles to be overcome, not least competition concerns, and the eye-wateringly high prices paid for the 3G spectrum a decade or so ago.
But if it happens as planned towards the end of the year, and as 4G-capable handsets become available, it should open up possibilities for better quality streaming video and more advanced online gaming possibilities. ®
Tomorrow's smartphone tech today
Re: Re: Scanning stuff in shops
It's not just see-before-you-buy-online. Occasionally I see things on offer in shops and I want to check some reviews of them before purchase. Most recently, a fancy VAX cleaner at less than half-price - one quick scan later, and a read of the unanimously dreadful reviews it had - no purchase, money saved on a crappy product.
On the other hand, I recently spotted a PS3 game in Sainsbury's which looked suspiciously cheap. Quick scan confirmed it was a tenner less than Game/Amazon/etc, into the trolley, bosh. Sale achieved!
Re: Cheap Nokias - is this how they hope to compete?
Nokia has been selling a very, very high volume of very, very cheap phones worldwide for a very long time. As developing countries start to move away from Nokia 1100 type basic phones and want to start buying smartphones, the Nokia brand will still be attractive to them, and if there are decent quality, easy to use, affordable Nokia smartphones, I'm sure they will sell plenty.
For a global company like Nokia, its not all about putting yourself up against Apple at the very top end of the smartphone business. There is a tanker load of cash to be made much, much further down the food chain.
What I *actually* want to see
Is a smartphone with a sensible battery life.
The (absence of any) useful battery life on my otherwise pretty cool smartphone is pissing me off so much that I'm seriously considering a £10 Tesco dumbphone as my next handset.
Ecstatic though I am about having a 5-core phone that displays HTML 5 etc, I'd just settle for a smartphone with sensible battery life. My HTC Desire can just about make it through the day if I don't actually use it for speaking to people.
And I'd gladly pay extra for a phone that comes with a cast-iron guarantee that it will under no circumstances transfer money to anybody.
Cheap Nokias - is this how they hope to compete?
If Nokia hopes to compete with Apple and Android in terms of Average Selling Price (ASP) it's not going to do it with cheap Windows Phones!
Frankly, it's already looking like a busted flush when Nokia is having to price its Windows Phones lower and lower in order to attract sales. And with so little interest in Windows Phone it's a coin-toss whether they'll be able to survive medium-to-long term on such razor thin margins, particularly as they're unlikely to backfill the massive erosion in Symbian sales since the Feb11 announcement.
When Symbian had 35% to 40% market share the low ASP was quite tolerable, but with less than 5% market share the low ASP for Windows Phone is going to be something else entirely. And all the while, Apple and Samsung coin in the profits thanks to the hefty ASP their high-end handsets command.
The decision to go with Microsoft as a smartphone platform is looking more and more desperate and doomed to fail with each new cheap model, and with each new price cut at the high end in an effort to shift slow moving flagship devices (the Lumia 900 is already expected to debut in the UK at £399 PAYG in March - WTF, that's way too cheap to make a decent profit and turn around the Nokia smartphone business! And it's guaranteed to be cheaper still in April...)