Trouble comes in 3s

After the hastily denied speculation in the city that Hutchison was going to pull out of the UK mobile market by closing down 3 Totaltelecom magazine has published research figures from Capgemini in its leader article this month that indicate almost three quarters of 3 customers will leave when their contract is up. The full article can be read here (subscription is required).

I am not surprised. While 3 has addressed the issue of appalling handsets with new models from Nokia and LG, it still lacks:

– a killer application, a reason to chose 3 over its competitors

– an open IP gateway to allow people to pick up email and surf the web

– a WAP gateway to allow people to get information on the go

– decent network performance (though this is improving)

– the ability to transfer calls from cell to cell (the calls often cut out when you are speeding along in a car or train)

– compelling content, using a free trial I found no decent ringtones and a poor selection of wallpapers for the phone

– Decent customer service. When I emailed 3 to highlight my concerns abou the service I received a reply to say that I could not compare the service to 2G rivals as this was new technology. Bottom line is I want a mobile phone that works, how they do it is their problem

I have posted on AlwaysOn about this subject (registration required to view)

European Elections: Party Political Broadcasts Just Got Interesting

Ex porn-star and Czech MEP candiate Dolly Buster posted this campaign video on her site. It will be interesting to know if she is successful.

Clash Lyrics Unmask Big Brother State Apparatus

Interesting article on The Register. Apparently some Clash lyrics sent to a tribute band singer who had forgot his lines triggered the state security apparatus into action. Experts claim that it is proof that GCHQ monitor all SMS and voice traffic in the UK (and perhaps further afield as well).

A case of “I fought the law and the law won”?

I haven’t got a clue (and neither has Sony)

Sony announced yesterday that it was pulling out of the PDA marketplace by stopping making the Clie range. There has been much analysis already of this on all the usual suspect sites online.

The good news is that they are managing the process in such a way that existing customers won’t get shafted. They deserve a HUGE amount of kudos for this, I wouldn’t expect that kind of attitude from Palm, Dell or Apple.

Most of the Sony gear that I do like now like their MDR 7506 and 7509 headphones are professional gear that is hard to get hold of, I am saddened that the business isn’t everything that it could be.

Having in the past been involved with Palm and Sony as consultant and a customer I just wanted to share some observations and unanswered questions that had been brewing about their portable devices for a while:

– Why did the Clie range never support the Mac community? Their overly designed devices were ideally targeted at these non conformist computer users. Palm and Handspring supported them, whereas Sony made their product as Mac unfriendly as an iPaq

– Why has Sony bought into to PalmSource and Symbian?

– Why has it taken them so long to get their act together on iPod type devices and services when they were the first people to have a Palm PDA that could play MP3s

– Why is the new Vaio iPod wannabe so ugly and complicated looking?

– Why is there no joined up thinking going on using content to leverage platforms? Do you think that Microsoft would have sat on their hands for this long with the kind of diversity of resources that Sony Corp could knit together?

– Why did they expect people to buy a 600USD device? This is a known dead price point in tech marketing circles, almost the price of a no make laptop and well over double the price of many competitor devices

– Why were Clies so slow to adopt wireless?

– How long are they going to allow Playstation to carry the rest of the business?

– Will SonyEricsson phones benefit from the Clie product design team?

Redneck comfort food and the letter i is for?

It has been a trialling week so far. I spent much of the bank holiday entertaining my parents, packing my stuff little by little, disassembling flat pack furniture and completing yet more paperwork for my lawyers to progress my move into London.

I called my friend Julez who was having a ‘terrible Tuesday’ after a large weekend. One of our friends had starred in an amateur dramatic production of Stags & Hens and the post-concert revelry was starting to take its toll. In case you’re interested the only thing amateur about the performance was the money that actors and set designers made. West end eat your heart out.

Anyway both of us decided to decamp to Bodeans on the corner of D’Arblay Street and Poland Street (opposite the Phonica record shop). Bodeans is a weird place, a kind of anti foodie ethic. The cooking is pure American redneck – lurid red hot dogs, hickory sauce covered ribs, fries with a pepperika, sugar and salt coating and coca-cola in a proper soda fountain glass.

It is unashamedly a meat eaters paradise artwork around the walls remind you of the animals that go into your hot dog or where your succulent ribs came from.

American collegiate sports play on big screens and people leave you alone to eat this redneck comfort food. Over a hot cup of coffee and jumbo hot dogs we set the world to rights.

On the wider world front, things are pretty weird:

Saudi Arabia seems to have reached a pre-revolutionary phase (if you don’t get what I mean grab a DVD copy of The Battle of Algiers) driving oil prices ever higher. The papers claim that oil has never been that high but they are not making any allowances that inflation would have had on the 1973 oil prices would be in 2004 US dollars…

– On the other hand, the San Jose Mercury News reports that micro-chip sales are up to the highest point since 1990. The more chips sold, the more stuff made, the more trade that is happening, the more life in the economy. Allegedly its all good

– The European elections are upon us and xenophobic isolationists have been given credence by Michael Howard acknowledging the UK Independence Party as a competitive threat to the Conservative Party in the UK

– Top UK festival Glastonbury is headlined by acts designed to appeal to the over 40’s including Paul McCartney and Morrisey. What the hell will happen to youthful rebellion when its the crumblies who are kicking up a storm? Whose on next year the Rolling Stones, Status Quo and Aerosmith?

– Apple has embraced another Microsoft industry standard – crap security updates and computer crashing code changes

On a final note I wanted to point you to this great article in the Village Voice that talks about the way Apple’s iPod poster campaign has become a lightning rod for the zeitgest of New Yorkers with a marker pen. Here at Carroll Towers our best contributions were – i stands for:

– ‘Intellectual property (not mine)’

– inner ear infection (from sharing headphones)

– inconsolable (after being mugged for the tell-tale white ear phones)

– ‘I think, therefore I am’ (just not when I am listening to music)

Before you all write in, I am the proud owner of a mark one iPod and the 700 or so tracks on it is more than enough to allow me to ignore your protestations.