New gadget lovers.
This is the dream star of a mobile device enthusiast. Nokia, Microsoft and Google’s MOTOROLA launched new smartphones. Amazon will display the new Kindle. All of these companies will be positioned before apple’s new iPhone 5, due out next week.
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
And in the tech world, this week and next week, the decision to hold news conferences and competitive business shows will focus on new and improved gadgets.
NPR’s Steve henn joins us from silicon valley this morning to talk about the latest developments in the high-tech world.
STEVE HENN: good morning.
MONTAGNE: so there’s a lot of shiny new toys out there this week. What stands out?
HENN: well, I see in conference so far in this series of products of the coolest things is not a mobile phone or tablet PC – it is a group is working with nokia phone the company with 920 sales of speakers. So if you’re listening to a song on this phone, you can tap the speakers, and then the speakers will start playing the song — no need to touch the button. Then, you can place the phone at the top of the speaker, and the phone will start charging — no need to insert.
HENN: yes. Very cool.
HENN: this song is sent through the NFC chip – representing near field communication – basically it’s a short-range wireless connection. Things that are paid for use as sales.
Montage: like taijiquan, qi?
HENN: exactly, you know, sometimes the word is translated into vitality or energy. This is also a product name called inductive charging technology. Inductive charging has been around for some time now. It was first confirmed in the 1990s – the 1890s. But recent progress has made it more efficient. This is a feature that apple and the iPhone are unlikely to match — a standard that many companies have agreed to use, but apple is the biggest supporter.
MONTAGNE: nokia isn’t the only company to launch a gadget – amazon is expected to launch a tablet today. Apple has its own news next week, so what’s going on here? Why is this rush to uncover new things?
HENN: well, I think there are a few things that can be done to solve this problem. Is one part of the calendar – if a company is now launching a new product, and be able to delivery within one to two months, then the product will be on store shelves to waiting for you, you know, Thanksgiving weekend. But there are plenty of companies trying to get out of apple. As you said, apple is hosting an event next week that will be widely watched by the press and the public whenever apple launches a new product. I think at least in the beginning, some of these companies were hoping that they might have some time — maybe two or two minutes — to shine.
MONTAGNE: you mean before apple announces what it’s going to launch, what’s going to happen?
HENN: yes, suck the oxygen out of the room.
HENN: yes, you know, actually I think it is, I think it’s one of the bigger business stories here. Currently, the four largest consumer electronics companies in the United States are really competing against amazon, apple, Google and Microsoft. None of these companies have started making phones or tablets. But today, they are all committed to creating their own mobile computing ecosystem.
MONTAGNE: so what happened to the companies that started selling mobile phones — they didn’t have their own apps, games and music systems?
HENN: well, they’re being shredded. Rim, the maker of the blackberry, is losing money. MOTOROLA mobility, the invention of the mobile phone – bought by Google – still managed to lose nearly $2.5 billion in the last quarter. But nokia tops the list, with nokia losing more than 1 billion euros last quarter.
You know, nokia has faced a painful transformation in the last 18 months. The company decided to give up its smartphone platform and instead use Microsoft software. At the time, the company’s chief executive compared the decision with an oil worker standing on a burning platform in the north sea, and decided to jump into the sea. So today, many analysts are really asking whether nokia can survive. Many people believe that the phone or cell phone will soon be produced and must be caught up.
MONTAGNE: Steve, thank you very much.
HENN: my pleasure.
Montegen: NPR’s Steve henn talks to us from silicon valley.