Cox Mobilizes With Android & BREW
LOS ANGELES -- The Cable Show -- Cox Communications Inc. plans to kick off its wireless service with seven handset models that use a mix of the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) BREW software development platforms.
Cox EVP and chief strategy and product officer Dallas Clement noted the MSO's involvement with Android during a morning technology session here, and told Light Reading Cable in a brief follow-up conversation that the MSO would also support BREW on some models as it starts to ramp up 3G services that run on Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s 3G CDMA network.
He said Cox will start off with seven handset models, but identified only one by make and model: the Samsung Corp. Finesse, which is a large, high-end, touch-screen smartphone. (See Android Dethrones the iPhone.)
Speaking here at a session sponsored by BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND) and Communications Technology, Clement said four of the seven models have already been outfitted with a navigation system that shares some of the look and feel of Cox's new tru2way-based Trio interactive program guide for set-top boxes. (See Cox Guides Tru2way Forward and Cox to Offer Tru2way Guide to Others.)
Cox, however, isn't going to go full-bore with wireless video services at the outset, though it would like eventually to offer some fare, including popular shows from its MyPrimetime video-on-demand service, via its wireless platform. However, getting video to the phone is "not front of mind" at Cox, Clement said, noting that its old Pivot service, a now-scuttled joint venture with Sprint, showed Cox that there was limited consumer interest in mobile video. (See MSOs Pivoting Away From Sprint JV.)
He said Cox is looking at how to silo video services onto its wireless service, noting that the Android app pack will help the operator port its VoD services to the mobile environment.
News of the handset lineup comes into view as Cox continues to test out 3G services to "friendly" paying customers in Omaha, Neb., and continues tests in its Hampton Roads, Va., and Orange County, Calif., systems. The MSO, which intends to migrate to Long Term Evolution (LTE) (which it has tested in San Diego and Phoenix), hasn’t revealed a formal launch date. (See Cox Finds Friends for 3G Wireless Trials in Omaha and Cox Wireless: Soup to Nuts .)
Clement said Cox will use wireless to gain market share, rather than as a tactic to merely juice up its service bundle or to protect its subscriber base. "It's not a defensive play," he insists.
Although the Pivot project was largely viewed as a failure, Clement said "it was very much an operational success" because that work led to a centralized, standardized way to handle customer care that it will apply to its new wireless offering.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable