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Plan(e)s of deception

We have been on the 5G track for a while and now, as players have been very adamant of taking the wind out of the sails of Huawei, we need to realise what they have, or merely what they have left. So to play nice with the Americans (and a few other governments), we have been drowning in all these new 5G devices, and close to exactly 2018 years after a girl named Mary forked out a little bub named Jesus of Nazareth, we were treated to all kinds of news like ‘New evidence confirms Samsung’s 5G smartphone for Verizon, codename Bolt‘, it seems that the writer Cosmin Vasile was on the ball, and I stipulate only seemed to be. For a former PR person claiming to be a tech journalist we gave him an initial pass. And when he gives us “However, Verizon announced early this month that it has teamed with Samsung to release a 5G smartphone in the United States in the first half of 2019. Now, we have more info that confirms the carrier’s statement” we get the image that there is something happening. It is only now that content creator Joshua Swingle gives us ‘Verizon’s 5G Samsung “Bolt” is actually a mobile hotspot, not a phone‘, so there we see the two parts that matter the most. The first “In actuality, Samsung’s upcoming device is a battery-powered mobile 5G hotspot. At the moment, details are pretty scarce, but a pair of Wi-Fi certifications (via VentureBeat) suggest there are two variants under development right now with the model numbers SM-V570N and SM-V570V“, and the second is “The Verizon model, on the other hand, makes use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem. This means it’ll be compatible with the radio frequencies used by the carrier for 5G in the US. While “Bolt” may not be the 5G smartphone everyone was expecting, Verizon customers won’t be missing out on anything. The number one carrier is still expected to offer a compatible version of Samsung’s 5G Galaxy S10 model when it launches“, the problem is that both sources are relying on Verizon to honestly inform them and that is where the problem starts, Verizon is in over their heads plain and simple. It is up against AT&T who rebranded some version of 4G as ‘5G Evolution’ and they are up against Huawei who is a lot more advanced at present, whether or not in America, others can judge Verizon for lagging behind foreign providers soon enough and that amounts to a multi-billion dollar fiasco. In addition, USA Today is giving the people “top executives from wireless powerhouses Verizon and AT&T will give keynote speeches where they are expected to outline why 5G will change the world. Both have launched limited 5G service in select cities, as consumers await the release of mass-market phones that can access the faster 5G signals. The talk will continue to heat up in February in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress show, where more manufacturers are expected to show off new 5G phones“, we can argue how valid ‘limited 5G’ is, and whether it is actually a valid version of 5G, but that is a debate for later time.

The issue of Verizon becomes more apparent when we consider GSM Arena, which in the past was a really reliable site (and it might still be), however (at https://www.gsmarena.com/there_could_be_as_many_as_five_galaxy_s10_models_lite_vanilla_plus_and_two_5g_ones-news-34909.php), we clearly see the S10 Bolt as a 5G mobile phone. I am willing to accept that GSM Arena is working on good faith with supplied information, in all this we need to wonder whether it is Verizon handing different sources different information, especially in light of: “the Beyond Bolt (Galaxy S10 Bolt) will be a Verizon-exclusive (and will feature a larger battery, though exact numbers are unknown at this point)“, which seen against Venturebeat (at https://venturebeat.com/2019/01/04/samsung-bolt-gets-wi-fi-certification-as-a-5g-hotspot-not-a-galaxy-phone/) where the people get: ‘Samsung Bolt gets Wi-Fi certification as a 5G hotspot, not a Galaxy phone‘, even as we cannot state for certainty how this all started, it seems that there is a clear path of deceptive conduct on a few levels. The entire deception part becomes more polarised when we look at Tom’s Guide who gives us “The fifth device will be known as the Galaxy S10 Bolt, Dutch blog TechTastic is reporting, citing sources. It’s unclear exactly how it’ll get its name, but some important features might tell the story. For one, it’ll work over 5G, allowing you to access the ultra-fast network in areas where it’s available this year. Additionally, Samsung will bundle a larger battery in the Bolt, according to the report. Lastly, it’ll be exclusive to Verizon.” The story (at https://www.tomsguide.com/us/samsung-galaxy-s10-bolt,news-28967.html) gives us a Dutch blogger as the source and they all repeat one another, so as Venturebeat is opening the eyes of many, we see that this game of deception is played on a much larger stage, optionally implying that Samsung and Verizon are working together to create visibility by trying to take it away from Huawei (which in the end is a valid marketing ploy).

It is Forbes that give us clarity by not giving us any. It makes sense and when we see: “both Verizon and AT&T have announced a partnership with Samsung to deliver a ‘5G Galaxy smartphone’ in the first half of 2019. And yes, we know exactly what this is. “5G is going to be about more than just a network. Customers will eventually be able to connect in near real-time to unforeseen possibilities,” said David Christopher, president of AT&T Mobility and Entertainment. “Together with Samsung, we plan to bring the best in technology and innovation to our customers. The future we imagine with 5G is just beginning, and it is a great time to be a consumer.”” Forbes gave us the goods, as others are talking about the 5G Bolt part, Forbes gives us David Christopher who is seemingly informing us on how great it is to be a consumer, he leaves out the part where the consumers are getting misinformed. For the most we want to blame bloggers and technology reporters validly hiding behind words like ‘likely’ and ‘we expect to see’. Yet until the official unveiling in Spain at the end of February we will not actually know what is real and what is not.

So how come that they all got it wrong?

Well, they all merely seem to mimic and user each other as sources, propelling the fable forward (as I personally see it), Venturebeat did their homework and gives us (at https://www.wi-fi.org/product-finder-results?sort_by=certified&sort_order=desc&keywords=SM-V570V,SM-V570&companies=362) the certification sources. There we see (see image) and more important, we see that both are: ‘Category: Mobile Access Point (battery powered)‘, there we see the adults and the children separated, from what I can tell Venturebeat did its homework, the rest got used as the tools they seemingly are.

Is that fair?

That remains to be seen, unless we see at the end of February that Samsung is revealing an actual S10 bolt as a 5G mobile phone, these writers were tools to be used for the entertainment of Verizon, to create a marketing hype on a false product, if there is an actual S10 bolt being released, it also implies Samsung to be part of all this. You see, you do not give two different devices the same name that is a marketing no-no on a very high level. So far we have seen the actions by AT&T and now Verizon as well to be hiding behind the ‘be first’ tactic and not actually being there. It is as I wrote yesterday (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/01/04/dianhua-x2-xinche-xing/), “these players are putting it all one the table, betting everything they have to make a 5G turnaround whilst there is more than one indicating chance that this will falter. That is the gambling stage and all this is done without realising that Huawei does not need to bet, they merely have to deliver what they are promising making the others fold, losing it all over hardware that they cannot provide, or even better are already failing to manufacture“, and by the way, my premise was supported by quotes in the Wall Street Journal, and a few other highly respectable publications on the global scale, I knew what I was looking into. I partially hoped to have been wrong, yet less than 24 hours later we see additional sources merely proving my point. In addition, PC Magazine gives us only 9 hours ago (at https://www.pcmag.com/news/365649/surecalls-5g-booster-cant-extend-at-t-verizon): “AT&T is flat-out calling gigabit 4G “5GE.” Real 5G—5G NR—is coming on a range of frequency bands up and down the spectrum, with the first round of 5G phones and hotspots only supporting some of them“, as well as “Those bands, called millimeter wave, are what Verizon and AT&T are launching first, and they provide tremendous speeds but at very limited range. Unfortunately, the FCC hasn’t even set the rules for millimeter-wave boosters yet, according to SureCall CEO Hongtao Zhan, so those will probably come next year. “I don’t believe we’re the bottleneck of this. There’s no rule, there’s no standard, there’s nothing,” he says. Millimeter-wave boosters can’t be built yet, but Zhan says that’s where we’re really going to need boosters. Millimeter-wave frequencies have trouble penetrating walls. “There will be zero signal inside your buildings; it’s going to be horrible. Something has to be done to solve that problem”“, so not only is 5G a mess, there will seemingly be no reception in the building, so why buy into 5G for now? And is it not interesting that the consumer is mostly unaware to all this? In support we also get: “In my experience, he’s 80 percent right. Verizon has shown me millimeter-wave signal penetrating at least somewhat into buildings, but it drops off pretty quickly. There will definitely need to be some sort of in-building booster for millimeter wave, if the carriers want that frequency’s advantages to work inside.” All that information is missing form so many sources. At least, for me personally there is an upside, with all these additional needs, the need (and value) for my IP is growing close to exponentially, so I feel decent for now. Yet, the people who seem to adhere to David Christopher, president of AT&T Mobility and Entertainment and his view of “a great time to be a consumer” with all the non-given information, at what point will we use these publications to start up class actions against certain players to get 100% refund on hardware we get to keep? What level of punitive damages with the US courts and other courts define as ‘non damage’ and therefor non claimable just to keep AT&T and Verizon afloat?

America is all about suing people, not about holding them accountable and that is something we might see change in 2019, the entire 5G mess is becoming a plane of deception giving rise to certain people and their plans of deception to keep the interest focussed away from other players in this field. And that is not even the start of the failing we see in the US, according to the Gulf Times (at https://www.gulf-times.com/story/617959/Vodafone-one-of-the-first-to-go-live-with-5G-comme) where we see: “From today, GBI will be the first entity to be commercially connected to Vodafone’s 5G network. Moreover, Vodafone Qatar will be the first to commercially connect several consumer customers to its 5G network across Doha starting today. “We are proud to have been the first company to experience the power of Vodafone’s 5G network and now look forward to benefit from it commercially to enhance our operations. We congratulate Vodafone on officially receiving its 5G licence and extend our full support in the journey to accelerate the country towards becoming one of the most technologically advanced in the world,” said Abdulla al-Ruwali, GBI executive director and managing director“, and it is not AT&T, or Verizon. It is Vodafone of all places that has switched it on, completely licensed. Now, this is merely one source, although I got it via Reuters, there are optionally still issues in place and the debate is not over, but there you have it, the US claiming all kinds of stuff and the 5G trophy goes to the Middle East, how is that for a reality check?

The 5G market is a Wild West stage and now we see (or are implied to be notified of the fact) that the camel jockeys and not the cowboys (or Indians for that matter) that seemingly take the victory cake home for now.

 

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It’s all about the funny, not the money

I made a prediction almost a year ago, and it is still decently on target to being met. I made the prediction in ‘All eyes on Nintendo‘, the article I wrote (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/04/06/all-eyes-on-nintendo/), In April 2018, I made the prediction that Nintendo Switch would become the number two console and they are nearly there, I also stated: “I have no doubt that Nintendo will take that spot, it is merely the fact that, at present, it will not happen before January 2019“. The fact that one third of the entire global lifetime Microsoft Xbox market was equaled in the US alone in 21 months, less than two years. In October we were given by PC Magazine “the latest sales figures from Nintendo confirming its hybrid console has now sold 22.86 million units“, that was almost two months ago and there were three large festivities on approach. And as we add the partial overlap with the 5 month challenge of: “The news comes from an article in Japanese daily newspaper, Kyoto Shimbun, where Furukawa also briefly touched upon Nintendo’s 20 million Switch console sales target for the same time period” we could almost conclude that they hit the mark, yet Microsoft did not sit still and that device is still selling. Still, within 5 weeks we will see whether my prediction holds, it will be a close call to equal total global sales in 24 months, whilst Microsoft has had 6 years to get there. As the gaming shops have playable Nintendo Switch consoles in their store and as we can first hand experience the addictive fun that the Nintendo Switch brings, we see that it does not look good for Microsoft. Some sources are already claiming that the Nintendo Switch is the bestselling console in US history, a bold claim and interesting if it is supported with the right data. Microsoft and their Xbox remains at a steady climb, now at around 40 million in total life time sales, it is almost the same for Sony, but with well over twice that amount sold, It is Nintendo who is shaping the curve with an actual monthly increase for now, even as it is merely 100,000-150,000 more per month, which is twice the monthly amount Microsoft has been selling, they were still catching up to Microsoft. I reckon that close to the end of the year the damage done to Microsoft by Nintendo will be a little more clear, yet I personally saw that in the time that I was in a games shop 3 Switch consoles were sold versus one PlayStation and zero Xbox consoles, yet that was in my particular window and that is not representative, even though it supports the indication given by me 8 months ago.

Even though VG Chartz (at http://www.vgchartz.com/analysis/platform_totals/) gives us a global setting of Xbox One at 41.26 million versus Nintendo Switch at 24.13 million, I believe that the total number of Nintendo should be closer to the 30 million mark. You see, if I am wrong (always a valid consideration), than it implies that the statement from Furukawa gives rise to his goal being off by a decent amount, it will no longer be the case of the Nintendo Switch not being able to meet the 20 million mark, it would lose out to close to 20%, which is a really big deal. In addition, the 20 million mark had been hit in August, so with one additional quarter and the holiday seasons (plural) that the 4 million mark seems too low, yet we will know in a week how the scores ended. Also we saw that over September, VGChartz gave us 900K Nintendo’s versus 400K Microsoft consoles, so in that light, my prediction is eerily on the mark and we might see that even though my call for January 2019 might have been a little too enthusiastic, the numbers are clear, in 2019 Nintendo advances to the second place and Microsoft with its most powerful console has degraded itself to a mere third position.

We can argue that there had been too much damage and Phil Spencer had to get through this moment no matter what, it is clear that as I personally see it, not listening to the gamers was the biggest mistake and accounted to the largest fall. For Microsoft to actually listen, the Nintendo Switch would still be a threat, but not to this degree and it would still be in a situation trying to catch up to the other two, Microsoft merely made it easy for Nintendo and that is not the fault of Phil Spencer. To change this, he has to make a few hop, skips and jumps. Yet overall Microsoft could pull it off, its game pass is a good move and should not be underestimated. In addition, Forza Horizon IV is considered by me as the best game of the year. I believe that God of War deserved to win in many ways, yet oddly enough my vote went to Forza.

You see, just as the entire Nintendo formula made it an instant winner, that Formula should also be administered to games. So there is me, and I loved the God of War, been a fan since the very first game. I was never a racing fan, I am no Microsoft fan (my reviews show that), yet whenever I see Forza, or better stated FH4, I want to race, the game makes me want to pick up a controller and race, even me as a non-racing fan. That pull is so strong that it is important to acknowledge it. FH4 is a true winner and even as in the scores the God of War was a little higher (and deservingly so), I felt it was important to weigh a game, a game I love to play against a game I want to play at the mere sight of it, FH4 did something remarkable there, that needed to be recognised and that is why I gave it my vote.

FH4 is merely the start, if Microsoft wants to turn the helm around, it needs to make choices it needs to make hard decisions and it has to ACTUALLY start listening to the gamers, if they do not, they are lost and in addition, whatever comes next will receive a lot less consideration than before. For now, for the beginning of 2019 it will be up to Microsoft to find a path to return to that second place, because if they do not, their own marketing will become a joke, proclaiming yourself to be the ‘most powerful console’ is nice, but like the older console names 3DO, it does not pay to pave the road about it, it merely leaves the console in a state like a sepia photograph, remembered fondly for a moment and then forgotten as people move again into the now of things.

The formula was not complex, it was actually quite simple, Nintendo got it and they got it right, Microsoft was able to get almost every element in that equation wrong, which is an achievement, but not a good one.

 

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