This Week In Mobile
Samsung's IoT, Google & Title II, Marriott's Ploy
Samsung’s IoT Hopes
With the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Enormous, Apple successfully (very successfully, to the tune of 20 million units already sold) entered the large-screen market, and breached the last wall of Samsung’s dominance barriers. Watching its market share rapidly eroded by Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi and Micromax, Samsung has gone into full panic mode and started releasing everything they can think of to staunch the wounds.
This week, Samsung announced their new push into the Jetsons-esque Internet of Things market. But, Samsung has only invested $100 million in its R&D so far, which is a relatively small amount for this kind of venture. And while it may on the surface seem like a desperate ploy to hold on to market share, really this is a smart move for Samsung.
Conceding the ground that’s been lost to Apple, they’re branching out into new markets, taking advantage of the fact that the smartphone is reaching market saturation. Creating connected office chairs, door locks, and refrigerators plays well with Samsung’s highly diversified manufacturing capacity (I have a Samsung refrigerator and TV). For consumers, too, this is a boon, because the more manufacturers get involved, the more choices we have and the faster we will be able get and benefit from IoTs.
Now I’ll just wait patiently for my robot dryer that folds my socks rather than eating them.
Title II, or: kneecapping the cable companies
We’ve already seen that the argument against Title II (that it will cause stagnation in ISPs because they won’t be incentivized by being able to charge on the front and backends) holds no water. After all, we watched AT&T almost take their ball and go home by threatening to put the kibosh on planned expansions, and then nearly immediately backtrack and forget that they said that.
Now Google has starting putting the final nails in the coffin by announcing their support of Title II.
Why is this important? Well, if the cable companies don’t want to compete, they’re going to have a rude awakening. Whether or not they want to improve service and create better product offerings, Google will be there. And Title II would give them access to existing poles and infrastructures to expand their (better) fiberoptic networks. See, Google isn’t interested in whether or not they make money on charging people of Internet access. Google’s aim is to get as many people online and engaged as they possibly so they can collect data and ultimately sell ads. The more people online the more they profit. If Comcast wants to keep getting my $100 bucks a month, they’ll have to provide the best possible services, or Google here we come.
Title II comes up for a vote with the FCC on February 26, and I don’t think the ISPs have any more arguments up their sleeves to stop it. Get that ball ready, AT&T.
Marriott’s Only Doing this to Protect Us
There’s a good rule in business: don’t try to hold ground that’s been conceded to the victor. The victor, is the personal hotspots and mobile wifi we all have with our smartphones. But instead of conceding that WiFi (like the in-room phone) has rendered the expensive, cumbersome and slow hotel WiFi DOA, Marriott decided to block WiFi and hotspot signals (and then charge their guests exorbitant rates for less-than-desirable WiFi connections). But have no fear, the FCC already ruled that the blocking guests’ WiFi signals is illegal and fined Marriott $600,000. Ouch!
Now Marriott is claiming this is all for your ‘safety’ and ‘protection’. No, really. In an eye-twitchingly unbelievable statement, Marriott is seeking dispensation from the FCC, claiming that the blocking of these signals isn’t to fill their coffers, but is in fact to protect us from the apparently enormous number of “cyber-attacks” to which they’re subject. These cyber-attacks, evidently to “purposefully disrupt hotel networks”, are the imaginary legs on which Marriott is trying to stand so they can charge you up to $1,000 per device in some insane cases to connect to the Internet.
Here’s the thing, Marriott, if you don’t treat your guests like valued consumers instead of easy marks, they’re going to go to one of the many, many hotel chains who don’t abuse them. Oh, and that don’t violate the law.