Wake up to the wireless warThe war of wireless phone technology is getting fiercer and fiercer. Google has thrown down the gauntlet to dominant smartphone leader Apple’s iPhone with its own touch-screen handset, the Nexus One.
Third-generation smartphones accounted for 15 percent of the global wireless phone market last year and are expected to top 25 percent this year. The proliferation is staggering compared to the relatively slow growth of the second-generation cell phone market.
Apple and Google are top technology leaders in software and Web search, respectively. With such big guns in the smartphone battle, the digital market is in for a major creative tsunami.
The Apple-Google contest will shake up the entire ecosystem of the wireless carrier and handset manufacturing industries.
The companies had their phones made by cheaper suppliers in Taiwan, paving the way for consumers to shift to carriers offering cheaper rates and began selling their products in their exclusive online stores.
In short, they are completely in control and running the show. Sooner or later, wireless service carriers and phone makers will be at their mercy. While other advanced economies have leaped into infinite wireless Web, we have been running around improving our fixed-line Internet.
The local industry has finally woken up and jumped on the bandwagon. But the race has already begun, and without a longer-term strategy and innovative farsightedness, we as latecomers may be fighting a losing game. The core wireless technology lies in the platform.
What kind of platform a consumer chooses determines the content, wireless service and handset. Convenience and versatility must be enhanced to entice and satisfy picky consumers.
Local Internet portal sites must reboot themselves to stretch beyond local frontiers. They must return to their innovative early days. The wireless service sector also should forget their golden days and come up with a new business model to compete in the wireless Internet age.
The smartphone war poses both challenges and opportunities for our wireless industry. We must recreate ourselves to attain our rank as an information-technology powerhouse all over again.