Weekly Wrap: Moto Loses Its Leader, Camera Phones Outsell Digi-cams
By Carlo Longino, Fri Sep 26 09:00:00 GMT 2003

Motorola's CEO turned in his keys to let someone else drive, camera phones show a surprising surge in popularity, and more...


Big news broke last Friday (I know, I know, but it was after last week's Wrap had wrapped) when Motorola CEO Chris Galvin announced his retirement, citing some strategic differences with the company's board. Though in his retirement, he did manage to do something he'd struggled with throughout his tenure: boost Motorola's share prices. They went up about 10 percent the first trading day after the announcement.

Something else that's gotta a recent boost are camera phone sales. Research came out this week that showed more of them were sold around the world in the first half of 2003 than digital cameras. Both devices are seeing rapid sales growth, but it doesn't look like this is a trend that will be reversed any time soon, as a camera becomes as standard a feature as SMS or silent mode, though before long people could be talking about buying cameras with phone functionality as opposed to phones with camera functionality.

But mobile-phone technology keeps moving forward, as shown by a couple of developments this week. First, graphics chip powerhouse Nvidia said it was moving in to the mobile market with a high-end graphics processor, while NEC said it had figured out a way to turn phones' LCDs into flat-panel speakers.

Nokia also pushed the tech envelope a bit this week, releasing the 7600, its second 3G handset. Perhaps the timing was coincidental, but we take back what we said last week about Nokia losing its design inspiration. The 7600 probably won't sell in great numbers, but it's pretty damn spiffy.

Rumors emerged this week that Vodafone was nearing a deal to license its Live! platform to Vivendi's French carrier SFR, and also to Swisscom. These would be the first instances of Vodafone licensing Live! to outside companies, and also could signal the end of the two V's battle over SFR and its parent Cegetel.

US carrier Cingular voiced its opposition this week to the forthcoming deadline for wireless number portability, saying it could turn out to be a bad experience for consumers. Wow, that's a new one...now if US carriers would just put as much effort into improving their services as they did coming up with bizarre reasons to oppose WNP, we'd all be a lot better off.

Elsewhere on the site, Douglas Rushkoff and Howard Rheingold were attracting attention again, but this time they faced off on the same topic: flash mobs, those mobile-organized groups of people meeting up to do something silly.