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More than 100 people queued at midnight outside a midtown Manhattan store to be among the first members of the public to get their hands on one.
It’s been apparent for some time that the spate of touch-screen smartphones now hitting the market will dent profit margins in the hottest part of the mobile business, but Wall Street seems only now to be digesting that fact.
The slumping share prices of Research in Motion and Palm over the past fortnight make this case eloquently. Two weeks ago, not coincidentally, was the weekend that Verizon began its guerrilla marketing campaign for Motorola’s Droid (see Chris Nuttall’s first impressions last week). Since then, Palm’s stock is off 35 per cent and RIM is down 20 per cent, while Motorola is up.
Not any more. Wednesday brought a double-whammy that knocked 21 per cent off shares in TomTom and 16 per cent off Garmin. Of the two pieces of news, it was the second that sounded the more ominous.
First was a warning from TomTom that prices for these devices, which not so long ago commanded a hefty premium, are likely to continue to slide. They dropped 27 per cent in the company’s latest quarter to an average of under 100 euros, and that erosion shows no sign of slowing.
Robo.to, the service we highlighted as competing to be your cell phone’s “social address book”, has also launched a Web “TV” version today.
Robo.to lets users record four-second video status updates and these are now being streamed in channel-like themes, several of them started by Justin Timberlake, its pop-star lead investor.