As of 2/20/2010, we officially offer ROAMpay Swipe support for 22 Android devices, 5 Apple iOS devices, and 14 BlackBerry devices, for a total of 41 mobile devices. Here is the breakdown by carrier:
- Verizon: 12
- AT&T: 10
- T-Mobile: 8
- Sprint: 9
note: iPod Touch & iPad are not counted as carrier distributed devices
As you can see, ROAM has made a point of even distribution of supported devices across carriers. We also aim to support flagship Android & BlackBerry devices across all four major carriers. To that end, we recently added to our supported device list, the BlackBerry Bold 9780 (T-Mobile) and the HTC EVO Shift 4G (Sprint). I will now briefly summarize changes in the smart phone landscape since Q3 2010, broken down by OS, along with my thoughts on ROAM’s strategy towards approaching device support.
At the time of our launch of the #1011 ROAMpay Swipe, which enabled support for select BlackBerry devices, we boasted support for RIM’s flagship handsets across all four major carriers, in particular the Curve 8500 series devices, the Bold/Tour 9600/9700 series devices, and the Torch 9800. We are working on supporting the new flagship, the Curve 3G 9300 series. While there are still plenty of 8500 series Curve devices in the wild, we are beginning to see increasing demands for its 3G successor, and its CDMA counterpart and we are working towards supporting this device in the coming quarter.
RIM also announced its first tablet computer in September 2010, dubbed the BlackBerry Playbook. It is slated for a Q1, 2011 release in the US. It runs on a new QNX based operating system called BlackBerry Tablet OS, which is rumored to allow the device to run Android applications.
Apple released the iPhone 4 on Verizon on February 11, 2010, Breaking Verizon’s Wireless’ sales record in a mere two hours. We obtained one on launch day and are hard at work on bringing ROAMpay Swipe compatibility to this in the very near future.
With Apple’s history of an approx 12 month product cycle, it is likely that we will see new iPhone and iPad releases in Q2/Q3, 2011. When more details on these devices surface, you can be sure that ROAM will be ready to bring support to these and any other surprise devices Apple may have up its sleeve.
In January, we released an update to our ROAMpay Application for Android, which added Swipe functionality to 13 new devices. To date, The ROAMpay Swipe supports 22 Android devices. Since Q3 2010, close to 40 Android powered smart phones hit the global market and the number becomes much larger once you take into account tablet PCs and other devices (i.e. Barnes & Noble Nook). But since ROAMpay is currently only available in the U.S., our focus has only been on domestic handset releases on the major four carriers.
Unlike BlackBerry and Apple, which produce the both the hardware and software of its handsets, approaching Swipe support for Android devices is more complex. While our applications are compatible on most Android devices running OS Version 2.1 or higher (approx 89% of all Android devices run 2.1 or higher), the Android OS runs on a variety of different hardware, all with different form factors and power outputs. Our ROAMpay Swipe to date been compatible with various Motorola, Samsung, LG, and HTC devices running Android. We are actively working on supporting some flagship products not yet supported, like the HTC MyTouch 4G on T-Mobile and the Motorola Droid 2 on Verizon.
We’ve also seen a plethora of Android devices get announced at recent consumer electronics conferences like CES and Mobile World Congress. Many of these new generation handsets are the successors to the devices we currently support, so we are prepared to modify and test our current applications once these devices hit the market. Here are the most notable devices to be launched before Q3, 2011, broken down by hardware manufacturer:
- Droid Bionic (Verizon)
- Atrix 4G (AT&T)
- Xoom Tablet (Verizon)
- Optimus Revolution (Verizon)
- Optimus 3D Tablet
- Optimus Black
- Galaxy S 4G (T-Mobile)
- Galaxy Infuse 4G (AT&T)
- SCH-i520 (Verizon) (will likely launch under a different name)
- Galaxy Tab 10.1
- Incredible S
- Desire S
- Wildfire S
Windows Phone 7 (currently unsupported)
The newcomer to the smart phone market has been slow to start, but we are seeing inquiries from customers and resellers about future player and swipe support. In Q4 2010, the OS only had 2% of the smartphone market share and is currently being sold on T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T’s networks domestically on handsets manufactured by HTC, Samsung, LG, and Dell.
However to be noted, Nokia recently announced an industry-shifting, strategic partnership with Microsoft where Windows Phone 7 will be the primary OS. Nokia, which has seen its global OS market share slide in recent months mostly due to rapidly growing Android adoption, says it is ready to double down on WP7, meaning the US may see an influx of Phone 7 powered Nokia smart phones beginning this year. Symbian OS, which was once a global dominant in the smart phone market, is being gradually phased out.
HP/Palm (currently unsupported)
Palm, which was on the verge of collapse earlier last year, was bought by HP which pledged to devote significant resources to building out Palm’s most recent mobile operating system, WebOS. Until earlier in Q1 2011, we had only seen a handful of WebOS devices, most of them being last generations, but HP recently held an event showcasing the company’s new mobile offerings.
The Palm Pre 3, the Palm Veer, and the HP TouchPad are the company’s first devices showcasing the next generation of WebOS. The TouchPad, a 10 inch tablet PC, was very impressive to note, and HP has shown they are trying to make a statement in the rapidly growing Tablet market. Their marketing push has included making it the official device of the 2011 Grammy Awards, giving it more visibility in one night than Palm has seen in the past year. The press event also made clear that HP plans on moving WebOS to a variety of machines, including more tablets, netbooks, laptops, and printers. While they have a lot of ground to make up in terms of smart phone OS market share, they shouldn’t yet be dismissed and we could very soon see the landscape becoming a give horse race with the right amount of partnerships with carriers and retail distributors.
Let ROAM worry about Mobile
One of our most important goals with getting new devices on our list is maintaining backwards compatibility. Our aim is to support our current clients while also giving our clients the flexibility and edge of having compatibility with the latest and greatest phones on the market. Our team of experts is constantly researching and identifying the latest phones and operating systems give our clients the widest range of hardware options. ROAM Data worries about mobile so our clients can focus on their core business.