cellphones stories

In the TV business, a hit TV show is said to "jump the shark" when it can no longer sustain the qualities that made it a hit in the first place, and so resorts to some sort of weird stunt in what is usually a failed effort to maintain fading ratings. This week, the cellphone business may have jumped the shark with two bizarre events. Last week, Sprint unwrapped the Kyocera-made Echo, a cell phone designed somewhat like a trundle bed. Echo looks like a thicker version of a regular slab cell, but the top 3.5-inch screen top flips up and over and clicks alongside a second 3.5-inch screen pancaked underneath to create a single 4.7-inch square screen with an eighth-inch bezel seam in the middle. One program can be run across both screens as if it were a single display, or each screen can run a separate, independent program. Then, today (Friday, February 11), and tomorrow, T-Mobile will give anyone who signs a two-year deal any phone in the store for free, including the carrier's $100 4G models. That's right — competition in the cellphone business has gotten to the point that T-Mobile has been prompted to actually give away its phones. These are unlikely to be isolated retail or product "jump the shark" incidents. We're sure to see more cell strangeness as the World Mobile Congress convenes next week in Barcelona, a potential Shark Week sans the Discovery Channel cameras, which we'll explore after our own jump.
Nokia's had a tough go of it the last few years, losing tons of market share in both the high end (to Apple and Google) and the low end (to Chinese manufacturers). Now, they're giving up on running their own mobile OS and are going to start selling Windows phones.