Why TV Manufacturers should be worried about an Apple TV

Samsung claims that it is not worried about Apple TV because they have the best display quality and that is what TV buyers want in their TV. I say bah humbug. Display quality was good enough 5 years ago. All that has been happening on the TV front is slimmer TVs and lower power consumption (and 3D gimmickry). The place where TVs are lacking are in User Experience. I don’t have a newer Samsung “SMART TV” but my Samsung Home Theater has the most piss poor user interface possible. I tried one time to play music off the network and I will never repeat that torture again. So to sell well all an Apple TV needs to have is a great User Experience. I’m sure any display they find (from LG or Sharp or whoever) will be good enough.

TV manufacturers really need to up their game. Maybe Google TV is a solution? Maybe they need to license Boxee or Roku software? But they need to do something. Maybe this will turn out to be a rehash of the Android-iOS battle. Lawyers will be happy. Microsoft might rake in another billion for doing nothing. If Apple really comes up with a TV soon, trouble is brewing for almost everyone else who makes TVs (ala RIMM and Nokia).

Disclaimer: Long GOOG, AAPL. Considering opening positions in MSFT or NOK at the right price. Wishing I could buy Samsung stock directly as opposed to having it in fund holdings like EWY.

Responses to Apple’s Lowlife Behavior

On Friday Apple decided to piss off the rest of the mobile phone industry by making libelous claims that popular phones from those companies drop bars just like the iPhone 4. Each of those companies responded publicly and here is what they have to say. The thing Apple forgot to mention is that dropped bars != dropped calls. Here are all the responses collected.

The first one to respond was Nokia:

Antenna design is a complex subject and has been a core competence at Nokia for decades, across hundreds of phone models. Nokia was the pioneer in internal antennas; the Nokia 8810, launched in 1998, was the first commercial phone with this feature.

Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying human behavior, including how people hold their phones for calls, music playing, web browsing and so on. As you would expect from a company focused on connecting people, we prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict.

In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held. That’s why Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example when the phone is held in either hand. Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design.

RIMM’s  response:

Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.

Motorola’s Response:

It is common knowledge in the industry that antennas on the outside of products have known issues, and despite the fact that they lead to smaller phones we have avoided them because consumers don’t like being told how to hold the phone. While the whole industry has to deal with phones being held in different ways, it is disingenuous to suggest that all phones perform equally. In our own testing we have found that Droid X performs much better than iPhone 4 when held by consumers.

HTC and Samsung:

“The reception problems are certainly not common among smartphones,” HTC Chief Financial Officer Hui-Meng Cheng said. “[Apple] apparently didn’t give operators enough time to test the phone.”

Samsung said it “hasn’t received significant customer feedback on any signal reduction issue for the Omnia II” smartphone that was featured in Apple’s video.

Click for demo from Apple’s Antenna Designer