The Summer of SIM

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times…for mobile phone manufacturers and wireless carriers alike.  It was a time when cell phone antenna reception problems commanded more headline news coverage than the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.  It was a time when widespread panic emerged over a new tablet PC’s minor security breach, but no one seemed to care about the end of the H1N1 pandemic.  It was a time when consumer spending languished for the third straight year of the recession, but mobile-fanatics lined up by the thousands to sign a 2-year contract for a $200 phone.  It was a time when 10% of the US labor force couldn’t find jobs, but halfway around the world Asian phone manufacturers could not build devices fast enough fast enough to meet consumer demand.  It was a time when the most precious commodities on earth seemed to be AMOLED and 3G-network capacity, while the Euro currency and US Treasury Bond yields neared all-time lows.  It was a time when consumers waited months to receive a back-ordered version of the latest killer phone, but those with the gadgets in-hand competed to see who could tear-down, blend or destroy these devices the fastest on YouTube.

It was the summer of 2010, a unique period in our history when consumer euphoria about a revolutionary wave of mobile devices overwhelmed the supply chain, security professionals and wireless networks.  As I was reflecting upon the events of the past 3 months, I decided that this timeframe of June-August 2010 deserves to be memorialized with a name, which reflected the truly extraordinary and irrational behaviors exhibited in the mobile phone sector. 

I call it the Summer of SIM.  For those consumers who purchased one of these new magical and revolutionary mobile devices, the summer of 2010 will be remembered as the Golden Age of Wireless.  However, I suspect many executives at the leading handset manufacturers and wireless carriers would prefer to forget the series of security blunders, supply chain snafus and regulatory entanglements, which turned the dreams of many into nightmares.

More thoughts in my next post…