Industry News

The iPhone Faces Tough Competition in 2013

We’re not far into 2013, but already Apple is seeing far more competition to the iPhone.

The Samsung Galaxy 3 is earning big headlines this week as Major League Baseball announced they will be using the phone in every stadium. No longer will managers pick up an old-school corded telephone to call the bullpen for a new pitcher. Instead, they will be using cellphones-the newest Galaxy to be exact-and they will do so with T-Mobile.

The ‘multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership’ looks to bring the game of the baseball, a sport ruled by pen and paper, old-fashion scouting, and a disdain for change, into the 21st century. Joe Garagiola Jr., MLB’s senior vice president for standards and on-field operations, says the league told T-Mobile to use the traditional landlines as a template. “You pick one up; the other one rings. You can’t call out. You can’t call in. That’s where we needed to be. So that is essentially where we are,” Garagiola says.

“We always design our networks so they capture and serve as many customers as possible, so what we’ve done in this case is actually lock features down and disable them,” says Mark McDiarmid, vice president for radio engineering at T-Mobile.

According to Business Week, to prevent interference and dropped calls in a notoriously demanding wireless setting, T-Mobile will install picocell base stations and small antennae in both sets of dugouts and bullpens that will send signals over a reserved slice of the company’s radio spectrum. “Effectively what we’re doing is using a little piece of spare real estate,” says McDiarmid. And running, you might say, an invisible wire across it.

In other phone news, Nokia shares are at a nine-month high, nearly 17%, in preliminary Q4 sales. Volume was buoyed by their Lumia phone, which runs on Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system. In a very competitive market, with low expectations, Nokia exceeded projections and made a small profit thus far.

With modest success for the Lumia, and the Samsung getting literally a major league sponsor, and the HTC gaining in popularity as well, Apple will continue to be the target of competitors in a market that finally offers options and diversity.