Friday, April 30, 2010

Short takes on a Friday morning: Lala to shut down; Motorola waits for Droid results; iPad 3G launches today

Lala is about to shut down. The music streaming service has posted a notice on its home page informing users that the service will be shut down on May 31st and that it is no longer accepting new users.
Apple acquired Lala last year and speculation was that Apple wanted to bring in the engineers and concepts from Lala and incorporate them into iTunes. Lala scans the hard drives of users to create an online music library. This cloud would then stream a user's music to their devices.

Lala is being shut down just prior to the Worldwide Developer Conference Apple holds in June. Coincidence? WWDC is being held June 7-11 and it is expected Apple will officially unveil (as opposed to Gizmodo doing it for them) their new iPhone models.

Motorola's earning report confirms that Apple is now the largest U.S. based mobile phone manufacturer. Motorola sold 8.5 million phones in the last quarter, versus 8.8 million iPhones.

Apple's status has far more to do with Motorola, however, than the popularity of the iPhone. Motorola sold 46.1 million Razrs four years ago when Motorola was a bigger player.

Motorola may be on a comeback, though, as it has jumped on the Android bandwagon with its Driod model, which the company is heavily promoting.

Apple retail stores will be closed from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. (local time) today as the stores prepare for the launch of the iPad 3G. The closing is pretty much a gimmick as the iPad 3G models really no different (other than the 3G capability, of course) than the WiFi-only models released on April 3. But Apple likes this kind of dramatics.

While the introduction of the iPhone 3G was the real catalyst for Apple's dramatic growth in cellphone sales, don't look for the same kind of sales jolt from this launch. Many iPad users are perfectly satisfied with the WiFi only models and will leave 3G connectivity to their smartphones.

The next really important iPad launch will occur next month when the tablet becomes available in Europe. Pre-orders will being on May 10th.

Sadly, it looks like we will continue to be talking about Apple a lot thanks to HP's and Microsoft's decisions to kill or delay the launch of their own tablets (though it is doubtful that Microsoft's Courier was ever a real product). In the meantime, Dell continues to release their own tablets. Dell's newest tablets, and their first attempts to compete with the iPad, will be Android-based and Engadget believes they will be seen this summer.