Monday, September 28, 2009

Over the Air Updates...kind of a big deal

I'm posting an update to my Business Insider piece in July which outlined how subsidies could set China's mobile market on fire, with the launch of Android oPhones on China Mobile.

There are not many weaknesses to combat iPhone world domination. The longer iPhones are on the market and people get used to touch screens, we are left with three glaring issues.
  1. Great, cloud-based music players
  2. Great, cloud-based push-email providers
  3. FOTA or Firmware Over the Air Updates
I had forgotten about #3. Since I've had iPhones for my last 3 phones, I had forgotten that over the air updates were even possible, since Apple does not support them. Although my music purchasing has migrated exclusively to mobile, I've resigned myself to side-loading software updates, via iTunes.

However, I read two corporate posts from Red Bend today, the first of which states that their FOTA software will be shipping with Android phones because of their partnership with Borqs in China so that software upgrades from China Mobile will come over the air. The second post gave background on mobile software updates in general and how Apple has made software upgrades a strategic advantage, at least over RIM and Windows mobile in the US.

Apple however has not made any statements about over the air upgrades. Consider that right now effectively no one uses iTunes in China, and grey iPhones do not even have iTunes or the App store. If Androids enter the market with over the air software updates and iPhones launch with their usual sideloading updates iPhones may not look so cool by comparison. If the user does not have a laptop, they may be in trouble, as their company may not allow an 80mb iTunes download during work hours or at all on a work computer, and maybe mom and dad's computer isn't where you want to back up all of your pics and other mobile media.

Over the Air updates... that's kind of a big deal. The link directly to the left there is for Anyclip beta users me for an invite, as I have 1! Youtube clip below for everyone else :)

Note: I didn't mention multi-tasking as a weakness. I only see that as a short term weakness for Apple. You can quasi-multitask while you iPod is on, I think it's just a matter of time before apple enables that OS enhancement both for it's own and 3rd party apps.

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