What About A Phone That Fixes Itself?
A company we hear talked about a fair bit in carrier circles, Bitfone, has just announced their first carrier deployment with NTT DoCoMo. Bitfone supplies the mProve solution that allows carriers to push firmware and software upgrades to phones over-the-air, drastically lowering the cost of fixing bugs or enhancing the phone OS. Until now, carriers had to ask customers to take their phones to a shop, or mail them back in order to do repairs – methods so expensive they basically never happened. Bugs in phones were just left to fester until the handset was replaced 18 months later. A challenge for Bitfone has been that their customer is a split between the carrier and the handset maker, but the value of the solution is so convincing that it was bound to succeed. Bitfone may be the leader, but the problem they solve will create a micro-industry of similar solutions, and eventually all phones will be remotely upgradeable. DoCoMo is initially putting mProve into a single SonyEricsson model, with more to come. Caveat: Yikes! What if the industry uses Bitfone as an excuse to rush terminals to market before they’re ready, thinking “We’ll just push an update later.” Starts to sound like a lot of products I’ve bought out of a city in the US Northwest…”