Reuters put out more details about the TD Newcrest technology conference where Mike Lazaridis spoke about the smartphone industry and where he believes it’s heading. One of the major topics of discussion was regarding data compression, and the fact that smartphones are increasingly being used to consume rich media.
Devices such as the iPhone and DROID are great for browsing the web and watching video, but these smartphones use as much as 30 times as much bandwidth as regular mobile phones, and I’ve heard about 3-8 times what a BlackBerry uses.
This surge in data traffic is taking a toll on carrier infrastructure, and networks such as AT&T are having a hard time coping with iPhone users. Dropped calls and choppy service are commonplace wherever the iPhone goes.
“I still don’t know and I don’t think anyone knows if video is a killer app for smartphones,” RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said at the TD Newcrest conference. “I don’t particularly think it is.” Lazaridis said that even if video did not become the defining app for smartphones, it is already presenting a big challenge to networks.
“If you think that today’s 3G as a browsing experience is a challenge to these data networks, said Lazaridis, “imagine what a video streaming or download experience is going to be as these screens start to look like HD televisions in terms of resolutions.”
In the coming years, regardless of whether video will be the killer app, we know usage will continue to go up and the carriers are going to favor any smartphone.
“What that means for the carrier, though, is after they have committed all those billions of dollars on new network technology and new network spectrum, they can have three BlackBerrys using the same network capacity as one of the other smartphones.”
Lazaridis said RIM would invest more in technology that provides efficiencies to carriers, including when it comes to video. He pointed to RIM’s 2006 acquisition of SlipStream, which specializes in data acceleration, compression and network optimization technology.
“They had some amazing technologies for compressing everything from web content, documents, and video. So, you never know, the research that we do is very important, it’s always borne fruit and we are hoping that we can continue to … provide tangible efficiencies to the carriers.”