Internet film subscription service Netflix has announced that it will launch in the UK and Ireland in early 2012. The service offers unlimited TV shows and films that can be streamed instantly to PCs, consoles, TVs and a range of mobile devices, for a monthly subscription. Meanwhile, Google has also launched a new film rental service for its Android mobile operating system, and is preparing to launch a music service too.
Huawei pushed the boat out when it announced its two new Android-based devices, the MediaPad tablet and the Vision smartphone. The Chinese firm hired out a lavish venue; a converted church in Mayfair, and dug deep into its pockets to entice Brit-winning UK act Plan B into performing, inviting an array of reality TV stars along to add an element of “exclusivity” to the event.
Chinese telecoms solutions provider has unveiled two new devices in an attempt to gain a stronger foothold in the smartphone and tablet markets. The firm also announced that it will open a dedicated European design centre for its mobile device business in London in Q1 2012.
The ongoing patent disputes between Apple and Google and its Android partners is killing innovation, according to Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.
The world’s smartphone users will download a total of 18 billion mobile apps during 2018, up 144 per cent from 7.4 billion in 2010, according to Ovum. The firm forecast that the number of downloads will grow to 45 billion in 2016.
China’s largest search engine provider Baidu has announced that it will launch its own mobile operating system. The platform, which will be called Baidu Yi, is based on Google’s Android OS.
Taiwanese handset vendor HTC has previewed two Windows Phone 7 smartphones to consumers across Europe, ahead of the products’ commercial release in October. The Titan and Radar handsets are the first from HTC to run the latest version of WP7, dubbed Mango.
Web giant Google has agreed to acquire handset vendor Motorola Mobility for $12.5bn. “The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a dedicated Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem,” Google said.
Chinese e-Commerce behemoth Alibaba is reported to be building its own mobile operating system for launch in the third quarter of this year. The OS is likely to be cloud-based – the group has had a dedicated “Alibaba Cloud Computing” unit since 2009, which is now reported to be working on the project.
Skype has upped its game in the mobile market, with the announcement of a “killer ability” that has long been waited for: cross platform video calling.
Users of Skype’s Android app will finally be able to make video calls, not only to other Android users but also to iPhones, laptops and PCs from their smartphones.
ZTE’s Blade touch-screen handset has racked up sales in excess of two million, making it one of the best-selling smartphones globally. The device, which was first sold in the UK in 2010 under the brand “San Francisco” by carrier Orange, is sold in 30 regions, with ZTE saying it has “successfully penetrated Japan and Finland, the home markets of major ZTE competitors.” The uptick in sales for the Chinese manufacturer comes on the back of its announcement of projected sales of 80 million devices this year, up from 60 million in 2010.
Taiwan’s Taipei City Government has accused Google of attempting “to hold Taiwan’s consumers hostage, in exchange for the privilege of refusing to follow Taiwanese law.” The accusation arises from a dispute between Google and Taiwanese regulators that has resulted in the suspension of all paid-for applications in the Android market in that country.
There’s no rest for a busy network. With video now accounting for the lion’s share of mobile data traffic on wireless networks, peak demand has become an almost all-day phenomenon, running from noon to midnight daily.
Google has announced its entry into the games market via a job posting on its web site. The role of “Product Manager, Games”, will be based at Google’s Mountain View HQ and comes with a fairly broadly defined job description suggesting that the company’s strategy is very much in its infancy.
Microsoft’s bid for Skype has received the go-ahead from American anti-trust regulators, following an “early termination” of a review into the proposed sale. Under America’s Hart-Scott-Rodinho (HSR) Act, certain types of large mergers and acquisitions deals must be submitted for review by the government.
Research in Motion (RIM), already under massive pressure from declining sales and a pending class action suit from disgruntled shareholders, is being sued by audio giant Dolby for alleged patent infringement. The lawsuit, which was filed jointly in both America and Germany yesterday, centres around patents for audio compression technology.
In a clear bid to make up ground lost to Android and iOS devices, embattled Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has announced its acquisition of German social-gaming outfit Scoreloop. With sales of the Blackberry PlayBook reported to be less than stellar, commentators are suggesting that Scoreloop’s in-app billing capabilities played a hand in the deal as RIM looks to play catch-up in an increasingly cut throat apps market.
As interest in defunct kit maker Nortel’s patent portfolio heightens, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) is reported to be taking a close interest in the bidders. Apple is the latest company reported to be interested in making a purchase after Google opened bidding with a $900m offer in April. Now the DoJ is said to be concerned that the patents will be used to stymie competition in the telecoms sector.
As tit-for-tat patent infringement litigation steps up a few notches in the telecoms world, people with a sense of irony will no doubt appreciate the news that Microsoft has signed up as the first member of a new organisation challenging specious software patents. The company that has threatened the likes of Salesforce and TomTom over their use of Linux (which Redmond claims infringes on Microsoft IP – an assertion that has yet to be tested in court) has signed up for Litigation Avoidance, a crowdsourcing service “designed to help companies analyse and act on patents of questionable quality.”
The limited roster of LTE enabled smartphones worldwide was boosted yesterday by the arrival of the LG Revolution on Verizon Wireless in the US. The operator said that the device, which is now available online and in stores, will deliver download speeds between 5 and 12Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5Mbps, in areas covered by its LTE network.