Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is this really the next iPhone?

Over the past few days, the latest round of purported pictures of Apple's forthcoming iPhone 5 have hit the web. And I can't be the only potential customer who is deflated by what they see. In fact, I'll go far enough to say that, if the iPhone 5 looks like the pictures that have recently appeared, Apple may be screwed.


Because, the "iPhone 5" looks pretty much like the iPhone 4S. Which looked exactly like the iPhone 4, a phone that is now two years old.

In the meantime, Samsung and other manufacturers have come out with phones that make people's jaws drop, such as the Galaxy S3, which has a (relatively) humongous screen. Although the Apple faithful may start hyperventilating about things like the movement or elimination of a button, most phone buyers couldn't care less. Now that most phones do the same things and work pretty much the same way, the most obvious (and, arguably, important) difference between them is the screen.

In short, the Galaxy feels like a next-generation phone. The iPhone, meanwhile, looks small and old. And the pictures that purport to be of the iPhone 5 show a phone that is pretty much the same small, old phone.

(Yes, they've moved the camera an inch. And it's longer. And it has a metal back. Whoop-de-do.)

(And, yes, apparently the screen is a little taller. Somehow that isn't the same. Check out the size difference in the photo below between the current iPhone and the Galaxy: A bit taller won't cut it.)

To be sure, regardless of what the iPhone 5 ends up looking like, the Apple faithful will scarf up tens of millions of them. They'll line up around the block and sleep outside the stores. They'll rave about the amazing slickness and geniosity and sophistication of Apple, especially as compared to the plebeian "bigness" of Samsung (the Galaxy will no doubt be dismissed as the McMansion of phones).

But, secretly, a lot of those faithful will be disappointed.

And, more importantly, so will tens of millions of other customers and potential customers.

As they should be.

Because it will make it clear that one observation that many Apple skeptics make is dead-on correct--namely that each new generation of the iPhone offers less and less improvement over the prior generation, and, thus, gives customers less reason to upgrade. This, combined with carriers increasingly making moves to discourage customers from upgrading frequently (see AT&T's stealthy changes, which may have helped hurt Apple's iPhone sales in the June quarter), will stretch out the upgrade cycles. And that will mean fewer sales--and less growth--for Apple.
Which screen would you rather spend 18 hours a day using?
Apple's competitors, meanwhile, are on a tear.

In the past year, as Apple moved back its iPhone release schedule and then released a phone that seemed like only a modest refresh of the prior version, Apple's competitors have been gaining ground. Samsung sold 52 million smartphones in Q2, twice as many as Apple, and is now the clear worldwide smartphone leader. Samsung's Galaxy S3, which some reviewers say is better than the iPhone, has sold very well in its first couple of months on the market.

Despite the amazing success of the iPad (which will soon face serious, low-priced competition of its own), the iPhone is still by far and away Apple's most important product. The iPhone generates about half of Apple's revenue, and, likely, a lot more than half of Apple's profits.

If Apple's stock is to power its way to the the $1,000 that most analysts and investors now expect, the iPhone has to keep going gangbusters. And releasing a phone that looks pretty much like the same old iPhone--with a screen that now seems small--probably won't get the job done.

So here's hoping those pictures aren't actually of the iPhone 5.

(Source:  Business Insider )
April 29,2012 : Honorable Minister Peter Kent, Member Parliament for Thornhill, awards Laj Prasher the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award for his Volunteer work in the community and for his effort to make Canada a better place for next generation by promoting Educational programs between Canadian and Indian Knowledge Institutes.
 (Source: BroadConnect Telecom)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Polycom to face painful, but necessary shift into software

* Hardware-based videoconferencing seeing reduced demand

* Videoconferencing increasingly moving to cloud-based software

* Polycom facing budget cuts, competition, restructuring

July 26 (Reuters) - Polycom Inc (PLCM.O) was a big beneficiary of the 2008 recession, as its videoconferencing products helped companies cut back executive travel, but the advantage has proven short-lived as cheaper rivals muscle in on its business.

The company is working on new cloud-based software products but analysts warn of a rocky couple of years while it makes a transition from selling expensive hardware.

Polycom is caught between Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O), which dominates sophisticated virtual conference rooms linking offices around the world, and free videoconference software such as Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O) Skype and Apple Inc's APPL.O FaceTime.

Earnings are already being crunched . Polycom reported Tuesday a 77 percent drop in quarterly net income, as Europe's woes hit its business.

After two years when revenue growth topped 20 percent each, analysts see a 2.2 percent decline in sales this year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The shares hit a three-year low of $7.45 on Wednesday, taking their decline to 78 percent from an 11-year high of $34.30 last year after the appointment of a new CEO. The stock edged up in morning trade on Thursday to $8.04.

"It's a tough time to be changing the company in this economy," said Ira Weinstein, an analyst at independent market research firm Wainhouse Research.

"I believe they will make the transition, but it will take time. It's not going to be as fast as (CEO Andy Miller) wants it to be."

The transition to a software-based model will pressure earnings over the next 12-18 months, Citi Investment Research wrote in a note on Wednesday.

High turnover of sales staff at the company's key North American market has added internal pressure to the big change job.


Polycom faces a leaner, more competitive Cisco, whose TelePresence has become the dominant choice in the corporate sector with double Polycom's market share.

"Cisco outnumbers them in every sales situation and has more brand recognition, so it's an unfair battle," said Weinstein. Graphic on Polycom vs Cisco.

Polycom said in an email to Reuters that it gained market share over Cisco in the first quarter of 2012, according to market research firms including IDC, but analysts don't see a major advance on the dominant player in tough times with so many internal changes.

"It's going to be very difficult to turn the company around with those headwinds hitting them all at once," Mizuho Securities USA analyst Joanna Makris said.

Polycom must embrace a cloud-based model to fend off the likes of Skype, she said.

"(Skype's) free. And in a bad macro, people like free," said Makris, who has a "neutral" rating on the Polycom stock.

Competition is also intensifying from smaller, privately held rivals like Vidyo, which recently received funding from Juniper Networks Inc (JNPR.N).


Polycom is fighting back. The company, which still gets most of its revenue from hardware-based systems, is using a software solution to target smaller businesses, including videoconferencing apps for mobile devices.

It has made a slew of small purchases to boost its web presence, including ViVu, a maker of software to embed videoconferencing in websites and the videoconferencing business of Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N).

The software model has potential as companies can only afford a few expensive videoconferencing rooms but a software-based solution could be used to equip thousands of employees.

Videoconferencing companies, used to shipping hundreds of thousands of units for thousands of dollars, will have to get used to shipping tens of millions of units for much less each, Gartner analyst Scott Morrison said.

"That's not an easy transition to make for any organization and Polycom is not unique," he said.

As well, Polycom, as a standalone videoconferencing firm, will always be dependent for corporate sales on partners including it in their telecommunications offerings.

That introduces more risk, as Skype-owner Microsoft is a key user of Polycom products in its Lync corporate video, email and messaging product.

Polycom hasn't disclosed how much it gets from Microsoft but has acknowledged in its annual report the risk that its products could be replaced by Skype.

"If Microsoft integrates Skype into Lync then it is really game over for Polycom," Makris said.

The Mizuho analyst said in a post-earnings note that Polycom's outlook was disappointing and reflected a product and organizational changes that would take several quarters to execute.

Polycom said Tuesday it continued to restructure its North American business after appointing four new area vice presidents earlier this year.

It said David Ruggiero, its president for North America, would be leaving and it would reorganize its U.S. government sector units into a new "public sector" business. [ID:nL4E8IO328]

( Source: By Sayantani Ghosh http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/07/26/idINL4E8IN4R520120726 )

Friday, July 27, 2012

BroadSoft Introduces Office Launch, iPad app

Here is BroadSoft's official Press Release:

GAITHERSBURG, MD, July 18, 2012 – BroadSoft, Inc. (NASDAQ: BSFT), today announced Office Launch, an iPad app that enables BroadSoft's global telecommunications service provider customers to simplify the configuration of enterprise hosted Unified Communications (UC) services. BroadSoft customers can download Office Launch free of charge in the iTunes app store.

A common challenge service providers face in delivering hosted UC services is quickly handling the configuration details of an enterprise customer's new, hosted service. The Office Launch iPad app, developed for BroadSoft, provides an intuitive interface for implementation engineers and office administrators to quickly modify service information, such as the configuration for Auto Attendant phone trees, Front Desk and Hunting and Station services, as well as designate call routing to an employee's preferred mobile device or desk phone. And because the app leverages the BroadSoft Xtended open APIs, the service provider can easily deploy and customize the app to meet its specific needs.

By automating hosted UC service detailing for enterprises, Office Launch will enable service providers to:

    Accelerate customer deployment – Once a salesperson enters customer order information into the app, the install technician references the app on his or her iPad to easily complete and tailor the service configuration requirements at the enterprise's location.
    Improve sales productivity – Office Launch allows a service provider's sales team to shift installation fulfilment to its technicians, who can more quickly and seamlessly deploy the hosted service.
    Simplify the transition to hosted UC services – The Office Launch iPad app reduces the complexities associated with migrating enterprises from legacy PBXs to next generation communications services.

"Enterprises are rapidly transitioning from legacy phone systems to hosted Unified Communications services. Office Launch is designed to ensure the timely deployment of these modern communications services, which enables employees to efficiently communicate with their peers, partners and customers," said Leslie Ferry, vice president marketing, BroadSoft. "During customer trials, Office Launch proved to be an invaluable tool to simplify the configuration and installation of new hosted communication services, and we are excited it is now broadly available."

Service providers can download the free BroadSoft Office Launch iPad app by visiting the iTunes App store and searching for BroadSoft Office Launch.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements may be identified by their use of terms and phrases such as "can," "enable," "will," "allows" and other similar terms and phrases, and such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the statements regarding the capabilities and benefits to service providers, enterprises and end users of the Office Launch app. The outcome of the events described in these forward-looking statements is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results anticipated by these forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to whether the Office Launch app will be downloaded, installed and deployed and the resulting financial and other benefits to BroadSoft, as well as those factors contained in the "Risk Factors" section of the Company's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, on February 29, 2012, and in BroadSoft's other filings with the SEC. All information in this release is as of July 18, 2012. Except as required by law, BroadSoft undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement made herein for any reason to conform the statement to actual results or changes in its expectations.
About BroadSoft

BroadSoft is the leading provider of software and services that enable mobile, fixed-line and cable service providers to offer Unified Communications over their Internet Protocol network. The Company's core communications platform enables the delivery of a range of enterprise and consumer calling, messaging and collaboration communication services, including private brand exchanges, video calling, text messaging and converged mobile and fixed-line services.

(Source: BroadSoft )

Thursday, July 26, 2012

1000Mbps Fiber Internet?!?! Google Just Raised the Bar!

Google's unbelievably fast new 1000Mbps fiber is finally live in Kansas City today. The service has no bandwidth cap, no overage fees, and it'll come with 1TB (!!) of free cloud storage.
In addition to the blazing broader than broadband internet, Google's also got a new TV service called Google Fiber Television. The service is a lot like Google TV, but cleaner, and it can record up to 500 hours of HD programs. There will be remote apps for iOS and Android, both of which will have voice control, and at some point they'll get video streaming as well. The TV package will have all broadcast networks, along with hundreds of "Fiber channels".
Oh, and the default remote? A Nexus 7. Which you get for free when you sign up for a TV package.
There is a $300 construction fee for installing the fiber at your house, though. But Google is waiving that fee for new customers at the start. The internet and TV package, along with the 1TB of storage, is $120 per month. An internet-only package, with the 1TB, is $70 per month. And if you decide to pay the construction fee, you can also choose a FREE 5Mbps down 1Mbps up internet package.
We've known that Google might have something like Google Fiber Television in the works. Now that it's a reality, it's a clear shot across the bow of everyone else trying to crack the TV equation. Google has turned itself into a cable provider; Roku got gobbled up by a content creator and distributer; and Apple is looming over everything.
The distance between Google Fiber and its competitors is comical. While yes, Google Fiber is only in Kansas City for now, the closest you can get to it commercially is Verizon's 300Mbps connection over FiOS, which can reach that speed, but more often comes in well below. And that's more than three times slower than the gigabit connection Google just birthed.
That kind of scope and performance has had competitors running scared enough toput out bounties for on-the-ground information about Google Fiber. [Google Fiber,Verge, Engadget]