Raising the bar on Android smartphone promotions further, Verizon Wireless just started a campaign where if you buy an HTC Droid Incredible for $200, you get any other smartphone or phone of equal or lesser value for free (caveat, it must also have a 2-year $30/mo data plan). The offer means that you can get a new top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate for free. I noticed a full-page ad for the promotion in the Boston Globe, and Verizon Wireless is also running TV ads (below).
One of the big reasons why Android smartphones are proliferating so fast is wireless carriers' promotional support. The result is that millions of users are now carrying video-capable smartphones, in turn fueling mobile video consumption. Samsung in particular has positioned the Galaxy S line heavily around video, and you've likely seen an ad(s) with the spectacular "Super AMOLED" screen on full display. The iPhone has also emphasized video, but the Android push is significant because once version 2.2 is fully available, Flash 10.1 will run, opening up a huge swatch of Flash-formatted video that isn't accessible on the iPhone (or iPad).
The expanding base of video-capable smartphones, coupled with upcoming 4G rollouts, has huge potential for transforming the video landscape. Especially for young people, the notion of video being locked to a big-screen TV will be as out of date as black-and-white TV was for a prior generation. Add in all the activity around tablet computers and things only get more interesting.
Update: No sooner did I post this than Nielsen released new data that of people acquiring smartpohones in the last 6 months, Android led with a 32% share, followed by iPhone and Blackberry at 25-26%.
News this week from Sprint that it will release the much-anticipated HTC Evo 4G on June 4th means that the era of the "mobile set-top box" is about to officially get underway. For those of you not familiar with the Evo, it is the first smartphone capable of working on Sprint's ultra-fast 4G wireless network. The Evo, powered by the Android 2.1 OS also sports an HDMI output (the first that I've seen), which means that you can connect the device to a widescreen HDTV and watch 720p video in gorgeous quality on a widescreen HDTV (note, Sprint plans to charge a $10 incremental 4G fee, though data transfer will be unlimited). See video below showing Evo outputting to an 85-inch plasma HDTV and also a side-by-side Engadget did with the iPhone.
The implications of the Evo - and the many similar devices that will no doubt follow it - are profound. While current set-tops can of course deliver stunning HD programming, they are anchored to the room and the designated TV. Conversely, video-capable smartphones have offered video watching on the go and ever-increasing quality. The Evo is essentially the first bridge between these 2 worlds, opening up exciting use cases and unprecedented consumer control. For example, with a set-top in your pocket and a Netflix or MLB streaming app you could conceivably transfer your experience from the mobile screen to the big screen in a snap, just by plugging in your handy HDMI cable.
It is these kinds of Android innovations that will put increasing pressure on iPhone sales (see below for more on that), and also demonstrate the rampant wireless competition in video in the coming years. Even as the government seems intent on regulating broadband ISPs, innovation abounds, ensuring highly competitive dynamics and accelerating investments. The mobile set-top box era promises a new chapter in consumer value.
VideoNuze is the authoritative online source for original analysis and news aggregation focused on the burgeoning online video industry. Founded in 2007 by Will Richmond, a 20-year veteran of the broadband, cable TV, content and technology industries, VideoNuze is read by executive-level decision-makers who need to get beyond the standard headlines and achieve a deep understanding of online video’s disruptive impact.