Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt has said that there will be an Android device in every pocket if the search and advertising company “gets it right”. Delivering a keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Schmidt said that this would be accomplished through significant cost reductions, as this year’s US$400 phone would be next year’s US$100 phone. The aim he said was a US$70 smartphone as this was an inflection point where a new market of opportunity arose.
Apple has unveiled a new operating system for mobile devices, iOS6, which sees the firm ending its reliance on Google’s mapping software. Instead Apple has created its own mapping application in a move to take more control of the assets on its devices. One analyst warned that this announcement could have a negative knock-on effect on the operator community.
Facebook has announced that it will shortly launch its App Center, a new portal for its users to discover and rate smartphone apps.. Due to be launched “in the coming weeks”, the App Center will showcase iOS, Android and HTML5 apps. Facebook will use indicators such user rating and engagement to select the apps it feels are of the highest quality.
Google has announced the availability of a beta version of its Chrome web browser for its Android platform. The browser is available on handsets and tablets running the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS, and is downloadable via Android Market in select countries and languages.
Vodafone D2, the German arm of the UK-based carrier, has revealed that it will soon have an LTE ready smartphone from Taiwanese handset maker HTC available on its network. German publication Computer Week has said that the Vodafone press office in Germany has confirmed that the HTC Velocity 4G will soon be coming to market, though the exact launch date and pricing has not been confirmed.
Some applications available through Apple’s App Store are failing Vodafone’s internal quality standards, accessing APIs that are non-essential for the applications’ functions, according to the international carrier’s group director of content services, Lee Epting.
As the global director for terminals marketing at the Vodafone Group, Peter Becker-Pennrich holds decision making powers over a procurement strategy that deals in serious volumes. Vodafone buys between 60 and 70 million handsets each year, spending $8bn across it’s footprint, including affiliates and partner markets. In this exclusive interview Becker-Pennrich offers frank assessments of the different strategies adopted by the vendor community, their chances for success and the nature of the relationship – ever evolving – between operators, vendors and platform developers.
Telefónica’s UK operation O2 has told Telecoms.com that it is not fulfilling orders for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone until Google and Samsung have fixed a bug that sees the phone spontaneously lose audio, affecting voice calls and audio alerts. The Galaxy Nexus is the first commercially available handset to sport version 4.0 of the Android smartphone OS, which Google has dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich.
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.
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.
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.