+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 24
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-01-2005
    Posts
    141

    What goes into releasing a cellphone?

    With news that the Kaiser will be pushed from Sept. 3 to Sept. 18 or later and news of the i760's continued pushbacks, I find myself asking what the hell is going on with these companies? Everyone has already seen the final ROM for the Kaiser and the i760 left engineering weeks ago. So what gives? Can someone who knows please explain to us exactly what goes into the release of a phone. From choosing the phone to development to testing to marketing to training to support....please explain why this all takes so freakin' long.
    Last edited by DIAR; 08-24-2007 at 01:55 PM. Reason: spelling error in title

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-18-2006
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    638
    You ask a fair question, DIAR, but step back a little.

    When you think about it, you see that what's really wrong isn't that the rollout of a particular device takes too long (which it certainly does). Rather, it's that there aren't enough release cycles--or new devices--per year.

    In other words, too few high-performance products in the pipeline will always lead to subscriber disenchantment.

    The best explanation is probably that VZW doesn't wish to invest in, market, or support more devices than it minimally must in order to contain churn. If VZW could get away with offering a single handset, there would be just one--and it would remain unchanged for years. This was essentially the Bell System model.

    In the case of WM QWERTY PPCs, VZW hasn't dropped anything "new" since early '07 (Treo 700wx) and, as of 09/01/07, VZW offers zero WM6 PPC devices (MOT Q9m is a smartphone and even this unit represents a 15-month product cycle). Things aren't much better at Sprint (HTC Mogul/PPC-6800 was released mid-June).

    The picture is aggravated by VZW's failure to produce an ix30 successor for nearly 27 months. (Some would allege this particular oversight to be criminal.)

    If VZW had it right, there would already be at least 5 new PPCs scheduled for Q1 '08 (1 MOT/Symbol; 1 Sammy; 1 HTC; 1 palm; and 1 LG). But this won't happen.

    As we well know, the solution to the manifest lack of choice is to liberate control of devices from carriers and let the device-makers slug it out. Were this change now in effect, new PPCs would appear each and every month.

    Better days are coming...

    --BAM
    Last edited by KBAM; 09-01-2007 at 10:56 PM.

  3. #3
    Greed is good ... wallst's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-17-2005
    Posts
    757
    DIAR, good thread.

    I am also curious to know how long VZW Engineering had both the i760 and XV6800. Their engineering efforts take way too long. Seriously, how long can it take to get GIN working or disabling features ? Equus, I know your still under your NDA, but it would be helpful if you could comment on how long you had the i760.

    The Mogul from Sprint has been released for at least a month already. I doubt VZW Engineering received their test units after Sprint.

    If its all based on marketing, that team needs to get fired. If its based on the iPhone release, then I would say if you snooze, you lose. I think its time for Samsung, HTC, & Motorola to start pressuring the wireless companies, otherwise these companies will lose in the long run to aggressive companies like Apple.

    OT:

    I have been seriously considering Sprint's SERO plan and the Mogul, but have paused because I am not a seriously believer in HTC's overall quality. However, the Mogul seems to be HTC's best built PDA phone yet. If the i760 remains relatively equal to the Mogul/6800, then I will be a Sprint costumer and save $70/month.
    i760 VZW

  4. #4
    Enterprise Data Architect Mark_A_K's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-27-2003
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    5,384
    It's a closed system period.

    Until this changes releases will be run by marketing and lowest cost for them to maintain the technical services for these devices.

    In this business model it's not about the customer. This will change soon.......viva la manufacturers!

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-03-2005
    Posts
    840
    KBAM cover it pretty well, basically, a lack of planning to get a new PPC device out.
    I have to wonder if what we are waiting for now is is for units to go through an upgrade. For all we know there are thousands of units in a building somewhere getting a firmware upgrade or even a hardware upgrade to EVDO rev A. And they need to get enough units in the pipeline to keep up with demand before they announce it. And you need to leave a scheduling cushion in case something doesn't work out.

    I once changed a couple of component values in a board to improve product performance. I thought we would give it a new revision, and in a couple of days we would get on with life. But someone in marketing wanted to be about to order the different performing unit specifically. That meant giving it a new model number. That means repeating ALL of the certification tests (or providing documentation showing it is not needed). Turned into a 6 month job to modify $.008 in parts. In the mean time we continued to produce and ship units with less performance.
    Maybe VZW made a change that required them to jump through hoops like that.

  6. #6
    Enterprise Data Architect Mark_A_K's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-27-2003
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    5,384
    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Orwig View Post
    KBAM cover it pretty well, basically, a lack of planning to get a new PPC device out.
    I have to wonder if what we are waiting for now is is for units to go through an upgrade. For all we know there are thousands of units in a building somewhere getting a firmware upgrade or even a hardware upgrade to EVDO rev A. And they need to get enough units in the pipeline to keep up with demand before they announce it. And you need to leave a scheduling cushion in case something doesn't work out.

    I once changed a couple of component values in a board to improve product performance. I thought we would give it a new revision, and in a couple of days we would get on with life. But someone in marketing wanted to be about to order the different performing unit specifically. That meant giving it a new model number. That means repeating ALL of the certification tests (or providing documentation showing it is not needed). Turned into a 6 month job to modify $.008 in parts. In the mean time we continued to produce and ship units with less performance.
    Maybe VZW made a change that required them to jump through hoops like that.
    You're not serious about VZW upgrading the units to Rev A are you?

    Again, it's not about VZW being the company with the most coolest leading edge stuff. It's about status quo.....

    They have us by the .......well you know what I mean. It's just like the air lines. They all are just one notch better then the next air line. They watch each other and try to stay close to each other in providing service to increase profits. It's not about providing the best service.

    Look at the European market they are light years ahead of us in cell device technology. Ever wonder why? It's because of the business model that we the consumers are willing to put up with. It's our own fault. We just follow like sheep waiting for the next pitiful device to be released by the cell service providers.........auggggg it's not right! Look at the old Ma Bell era.

    I can't wait for all of this to change.

  7. #7
    Registered User equus's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-06-2003
    Location
    Milpitas. California
    Posts
    5,293
    Quote Originally Posted by wallst View Post
    DIAR, good thread.

    I am also curious to know how long VZW Engineering had both the i760 and XV6800. Their engineering efforts take way too long. Seriously, how long can it take to get GIN working or disabling features ? Equus, I know your still under your NDA, but it would be helpful if you could comment on how long you had the i760.

    The Mogul from Sprint has been released for at least a month already. I doubt VZW Engineering received their test units after Sprint.

    If its all based on marketing, that team needs to get fired. If its based on the iPhone release, then I would say if you snooze, you lose. I think its time for Samsung, HTC, & Motorola to start pressuring the wireless companies, otherwise these companies will lose in the long run to aggressive companies like Apple.

    OT:

    I have been seriously considering Sprint's SERO plan and the Mogul, but have paused because I am not a seriously believer in HTC's overall quality. However, the Mogul seems to be HTC's best built PDA phone yet. If the i760 remains relatively equal to the Mogul/6800, then I will be a Sprint costumer and save $70/month.
    Had the test unit for four months, then engineering had it for four months>>>> reports will be filed on stability, battery use, coverage concerns, EvDo coverage, Pix, Flix and Vcast stability>>>>then Marketing figures cost per-unit>>> then user-base for revenue is analyzed>>> then deployment costs>>> stocking costs>>>replacement costs>>>insurance costs>>>amortisation of unit sold>>>manufacturing costs. So that is in a nutshell. There are a lot of consumers who have NO idea on what it takes to design>>>test>>build>>>manufacture ANY product. YES, we all want a lot of "stuff" YET we want it at last years discounted prices. I don't want to go too way OT here but in all honesty every company MUST look to some profits from ANY product it sells and that's real-world. Do we like it? NO. Do we complain? YES. Are we funding a manufacturing facility for units to be built that we have NOT YET sold? NO. Gawd, I sound I like a moroon who works for VZW? Aghhhh thank God I don't work for them. I just wanted to say what's right and what's wrong. I am guilty of picking on VZW too at times, yet I stop, think and realize I too work for a company that manufactures automobiles and we too have issues similar to any company in the world>>> we design, build a prototype, looks awesome, works awesome, test, test, test !!! then the bean counters tell us Engineers how to build a car so IT CAN BE SOLD and we bow down, re-design that car. neuter ALL the cool stuff, send it off to production and then step back and get crapped on by consumers cause we (the engineers)DID NOT build a vehicle they "WANT". .
    Funny it worked.....the last time! Now I am not sure what was working before they put a hole in my head !

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-18-2006
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    638
    equus,

    Your accurate rendering of VZW's byzantine pre-release admin makes the case for liberating devices from network operators.

    And if you think new vehicle development is tough sledding, imagine your aggravation if cars were designed for, and sold by, state highway authorities. LOL.

    --BAM

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-01-2005
    Posts
    141
    Quote Originally Posted by equus View Post
    Had the test unit for four months, then engineering had it for four months>>>> reports will be filed on stability, battery use, coverage concerns, EvDo coverage, Pix, Flix and Vcast stability>>>>then Marketing figures cost per-unit>>> then user-base for revenue is analyzed>>> then deployment costs>>> stocking costs>>>replacement costs>>>insurance costs>>>amortisation of unit sold>>>manufacturing costs. So that is in a nutshell. There are a lot of consumers who have NO idea on what it takes to design>>>test>>build>>>manufacture ANY product. YES, we all want a lot of "stuff" YET we want it at last years discounted prices. I don't want to go too way OT here but in all honesty every company MUST look to some profits from ANY product it sells and that's real-world. Do we like it? NO. Do we complain? YES. Are we funding a manufacturing facility for units to be built that we have NOT YET sold? NO. Gawd, I sound I like a moroon who works for VZW? Aghhhh thank God I don't work for them. I just wanted to say what's right and what's wrong. I am guilty of picking on VZW too at times, yet I stop, think and realize I too work for a company that manufactures automobiles and we too have issues similar to any company in the world>>> we design, build a prototype, looks awesome, works awesome, test, test, test !!! then the bean counters tell us Engineers how to build a car so IT CAN BE SOLD and we bow down, re-design that car. neuter ALL the cool stuff, send it off to production and then step back and get crapped on by consumers cause we (the engineers)DID NOT build a vehicle they "WANT". .
    i see what you mean. there is a lot of stuff to juggle and a lot of stuff i haven't considered as i demand newer, better, cheaper.

    so does VZW just not think a profitable user base is there for PDA devices and is only releasing them grudgingly to satisfy corporate customers?

    i'd be a lot more sympathetic if they weren't releasing any new phones, but it's like every customer base (cost-conscious families, media-centric teens, etc.) gets new phones except for us high-power PDA folks.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-01-2005
    Posts
    141
    Quote Originally Posted by KBAM View Post
    equus,

    Your accurate rendering of VZW's byzantine pre-release admin makes the case for liberating devices from network operators.

    And if you think new vehicle development is tough sledding, imagine your aggravation if cars were designed for, and sold by, state highway authorities. LOL.

    --BAM
    god no. we'd all be driving hybrid pt cruisers.

  11. #11
    Next Gen 100%
    Join Date
    08-22-2006
    Location
    Fairfield County, CT
    Posts
    126
    It'd be nice if Sprint and Verizon supported those sim-like things, like the Korean carriers do. What are those called again?

  12. #12
    Greed is good ... wallst's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-17-2005
    Posts
    757
    Quote Originally Posted by equus View Post
    Had the test unit for four months, then engineering had it for four months>>>> reports will be filed on stability, battery use, coverage concerns, EvDo coverage, Pix, Flix and Vcast stability>>>>then Marketing figures cost per-unit>>> then user-base for revenue is analyzed>>> then deployment costs>>> stocking costs>>>replacement costs>>>insurance costs>>>amortisation of unit sold>>>manufacturing costs. So that is in a nutshell. There are a lot of consumers who have NO idea on what it takes to design>>>test>>build>>>manufacture ANY product. YES, we all want a lot of "stuff" YET we want it at last years discounted prices. I don't want to go too way OT here but in all honesty every company MUST look to some profits from ANY product it sells and that's real-world. Do we like it? NO. Do we complain? YES. Are we funding a manufacturing facility for units to be built that we have NOT YET sold? NO. Gawd, I sound I like a moroon who works for VZW? Aghhhh thank God I don't work for them. I just wanted to say what's right and what's wrong. I am guilty of picking on VZW too at times, yet I stop, think and realize I too work for a company that manufactures automobiles and we too have issues similar to any company in the world>>> we design, build a prototype, looks awesome, works awesome, test, test, test !!! then the bean counters tell us Engineers how to build a car so IT CAN BE SOLD and we bow down, re-design that car. neuter ALL the cool stuff, send it off to production and then step back and get crapped on by consumers cause we (the engineers)DID NOT build a vehicle they "WANT". .
    Equus, thanks for the overview.

    So, based on your info, here is the breakdown:
    • FUT: 4 months
    • VZW Engineering: 4 months
    • Everything else: ~4 months

    That is about a year from start to finish, give or take a year or two

    Maybe its time for VZW to give up their engineering efforts and allow unlocked phones. Probably save them money in the long run. Obviously, they still could sell their own branded phones. The average user will not go through the effort to track down an unlocked phone.

    However, the GIN-like applications are here to stay. Mobiles ringtones generated $650 million in the US in 2006 and $3.5 billion globally. So maybe VZW will never have a phone in the future uncapable of downloading ringtones at $2-3 a song.

    I still don't understand why they can't formally announce future phones earlier ... this sux ...
    i760 VZW

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-03-2005
    Posts
    840
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_A_K View Post
    You're not serious about VZW upgrading the units to Rev A are you?
    Of course that is highly unlikely.

    I just used that as an example. Apparenty they had to go back to the drawing board, which meant another round of retesting and maybe firmware flashing to upgrade (or downgrade) everything. That adds months of red tape.

    If we knew the facts it would probably read like a Dilbert cartoon.

  14. #14
    I'd be convergered if only ... wodin's Avatar
    Join Date
    09-14-2005
    Location
    Hawaii
    Posts
    1,203
    Quote Originally Posted by DIAR View Post
    so does VZW just not think a profitable user base is there for PDA devices and is only releasing them grudgingly to satisfy corporate customers?
    At several thousand percent margin on a reoccurring basis for data, PDA users are VERY profitable. VZW’s problem is they perceive those data plans cutting into their even more profitable GIN and VCast revenues, which are NOT reoccurring.

    Very short sighted! In the long run, reoccurring recievables will ALWAYS outstrip individual sales.
    Don't mess with old futs...age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill! B. S. and brilliance only come with age and experience!

  15. #15
    Greed is good ... wallst's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-17-2005
    Posts
    757
    As DIAR mentioned earlier, I think the PDA plans are seriously targeted for corporate users, although the EVDO network is for everyone

    Not sure how much VZW makes from PDA plans from non corporate users, but their GIN/VCast revenues should be large. The numbers I mentioned in earlier posted was taken from Engadget last week.
    i760 VZW

  16. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-18-2006
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    638
    Living Ghost,

    They're called "R-UIMs."

    A couple of years ago, Sprint was interviewed by one of the trades about the prospects for its using R-UIMs.

    Sprint's answer was..."nah."

    Obviously, Sprint is too smart for this; it would rather bleed subscribers and be sold...

    --BAM

    Removable User Identity Module - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-01-2005
    Posts
    141
    another issue i have is, sure, customers always want newer, better, faster, cheaper and don't fully appreciate what goes into developing and releasing a product. however, how often do companies hold back on some technology just so they can include it in the "next generation" of a product and sell it as an upgrade (cough) iPhone 2.0 with 3G and other improvements (cough). they hope to get two sales for the price of one, which is why so many people appreciate a product like the Kaiser which seems to pack in nearly every available piece of technology.

  18. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-09-2007
    Location
    Hampton Roads (SE Virginia)
    Posts
    241
    Quote Originally Posted by equus View Post
    ...There are a lot of consumers who have NO idea on what it takes to design>>>test>>build>>>manufacture ANY product. YES, we all want a lot of "stuff" YET we want it at last years discounted prices. I don't want to go too way OT here but in all honesty every company MUST look to some profits from ANY product it sells and that's real-world. Do we like it? NO. Do we complain? YES. Are we funding a manufacturing facility for units to be built that we have NOT YET sold? NO. Gawd, I sound I like a moroon who works for VZW? ... then the bean counters tell us Engineers how to build a car so IT CAN BE SOLD and we bow down, re-design that car. neuter ALL the cool stuff, send it off to production and then step back and get crapped on by consumers cause we (the engineers)DID NOT build a vehicle they "WANT". .
    I used to work in R & D for a major pharmaceutical company, so believe me when I say that I know something of development and marketing cycles. But pharmaceuticals are one thing, and cell phones are no doubt entirely another.

    Perhaps the major difference (from my probably very naive perspective) is that a drug company is responsible for the product from start to finish... from R&D, through preliminary and final test and evaluation, through production prototyping and finalization, and marketing and distribution. But this isn't the case for VZW: VZW is not in the strictest sense either the designer/developer or the manufacturer... the cell phone builder is! Sure, VZW no doubt tells Samsung what form factor, OS, radios, and other functionality, etc., they want, but once Sammy delivers, that part of the product cycle is over and done! Assuming that the phone meets the original criteria and has passed FCC certification (which I assume would be Sammy's responsibility and a contract requirement), what's left for VZW to do? Well, I guess that they would do some sort of engineering and durability testing... but it would make sense for those to be done before they accepted the phone. Then they have to do their own 'user testing', mod and cripple as they see fit, develop their marketing plan (such as it is, at least for the i760), and get their distribution and support nets up to speed, as well as some of the other stuff equus cited. Like I said: My conceptualization of the process is probably inaccurate... if so, please straighten me out!

    So, as I see it, Samsung has done all the heavy work, and I don't see that VZW's part is anywhere near as difficult nor should it be all that time-consuming.

    Another thing is that Samsung's part of the development cycle is pretty much invisible to most of us. I, for one, only learned of the i760 after Samsung trotted it out just before CES, after or shortly before the device was already on it's way to the FCC (I forget the timeline). So, my perspective is that most of our admittedly unjustified impatience has been due to waiting for VZW... not Samsung. And as I've already stated: I don't think VZW's part has to be nearly as difficult or time-consuming.

    Perhaps the most telling remark so far is that VZW marketing holds the reins... but it sure looks like they're steering with their heads in a dark and humid anatomical locale.
    Last edited by Dzanda; 09-09-2007 at 02:24 PM.

  19. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-09-2006
    Location
    Central Coast of California
    Posts
    27
    Quote Originally Posted by wallst View Post
    As DIAR mentioned earlier, I think the PDA plans are seriously targeted for corporate users, although the EVDO network is for everyone

    Not sure how much VZW makes from PDA plans from non corporate users, but their GIN/VCast revenues should be large. The numbers I mentioned in earlier posted was taken from Engadget last week.
    If AT&T ever gets a decent data network, VZW could end up toast.

  20. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-18-2006
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    638
    Herewith, a 'blog-o-rama' for the group's consideration...

    Typically, wireless handsets tend to be released within about 60 days of FCC Equipment Authorization (once called "Type Acceptance").

    For many reasons--most importantly, the boost to a carrier's new activations and containment of churn--there is major incentive to expedite a device's release once it's certified. Testing, debugging, training, scheduling, logistics, admin, support, and marketing can all be anticipated well in advance and should have little impact on a device's timely, post-approval rollout.

    The Samsung SCH-i760 received FCC authorization on 03/30/07. Thus, the customary ramp-up cycle would have suggested, say, an early June debut. This simply didn't happen.

    As of 09/09/07, almost 5-1/2 months have elapsed since this device was certified and VZW has yet to issue an official availability date. As many don't expect to see the i760 before early 'Loctober,' the release clock for this unit will certainly break 6 months. In tech, 6 months is half a generation!

    Not to be minimized is that, unlike its ix30 predecessor platform, the i760 started out half a generation behind (modest CPU, limited RAM, no IR, no GPS, no Rev A, low-end cam, limited graphics, etc.). Thus, unlike its predecessor, the i760 was not destined to enjoy a robust lifecycle in any case. By being late to market, its early obsolescence is assured.

    In comparison, the HTC x6800 was approved on 03/05/07 and released by Sprint (as the PPC-6800/Mogul) on 06/18/07 (online and B2B). Even this interval, about 3-1/2 months, is manifestly sluggish. (Then again, Sprint has a habit of stumbling.) No sign of VZW's XV6800 variant either, but it's possible Sprint had a 90-day exclusive.

    The HTC P4550/TyTN II/Kaiser/AT&T 8925/Tilt (for GSM/HSDPA only) was approved on 07/25/07. As of today, about 47 days have elapsed since FCC certification. Anecdotal reports indicate that AT&T will release Kaiser as soon as 09/27/07 but more likely, in early October. (Unlocked, non-AT&T units are already available from mobileplanet.com/expansys.com, simoncells.com, etc.) So Kaiser is right on schedule.

    The Apple iPhone received FCC approval on 05/17/07 and famously dropped at retail (in the month promised by CEO Jobs last January) on 06/29/07 at 6pm. This interval represents just 43 days. So, quick deployment is hardly a fantasy. It's a weapon of mass destruction.

    There you have it: a range, post-FCC, of a mere 6 weeks for iPhone to what's looking like half a lifetime for i760.

    Why would VZW let this happen?

    Well, plausible explanations for VZW's missteps range from fallout from the BRCM-QCOM patent dispute, to latent firmware bugs, to attempts to "VZW-ize" the product, to a MOT Q9m exclusivity window (bought at great cost by MOT, as supermarket "shelf-space"), to an unaccountable lack of interest in mobile warriors, to the distraction of its control-fetish and the servicing of gum-chewing teens. Whew, a dizzy list! Name your poison.

    Still, no matter how you slice it, this much is clear: In the nearly 27 months since the i730's release, VZW has managed to alienate its most profitable and opinion-leading market segment while finding itself shot down in the air war.

    For AT&T, Kaiser and iPhone represent a powerful road show and a real threat to VZW's inertia.

    "It's the Network" be damned.

    Proof of AT&T's land grab--at VZW's expense--will soon appear in AT&T's Q3 financial report.

    --BAM
    Last edited by KBAM; 09-10-2007 at 10:05 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts