Sunday, September 4, 2011

Top Ten Mobile Phone News Stories of the Week

Enjoy our roundup of ten mobile phone related news stories you may have missed this week including a new Lenovo tablet, a new and expensive HTC tablet and AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile in the USA being blocked.
1. AT&T/T-Mobile Deal Blocked in USA
Earlier in the year, Deutsche Telekom offloaded T-Mobile USA to AT&T, in a deal which would create the US’s largest wireless network – and very similar to something already seen in the UK when T-Mobile and Orange got together to form Everything Everywhere. However, the US Justice Department has blocked the merger with a court order, saying it would lead to high prices and less choice. It’s estimated AT&T would gain a 43% market share if the merger gets approved, and the network will fight the action in court.
2. Microsoft Accused of Secret Data Collection
Following on from Apple’s location data woes a few months back, Microsoft has now had a privacy invasion lawsuit brought against them in Seattle, in which they’re accused of collecting data from Windows Phone 7 devices. The data comes from the camera app and even collects information when the geo-tagging feature has been disabled, which Microsoft says is to provide ‘relevant experiences’ to consumers. In other words, ads. Microsoft has yet to comment on the lawsuit itself.
3.  Sonim XP3300 Force Gets World Record
The super-tough Sonim XP3300 Force is now officially the ‘World’s Toughest Phone’ after surviving a fall from 25 metres in a test with the Guinness Book of World Records. You can see the event on video here, complete with inappropriate rock soundtrack, and see the phone make and receive a call and SMS after its massive drop.
4. Motorola Purchase Guards Android, Says Sony Ericsson
Sony Ericsson has voiced what everyone was already thinking, that Google’s Motorola purchase was a move to guard their Android operating system against the barrage of legal attacks from competitors. The company also states that Google won’t become a hardware manufacturer, and agrees that it’s best to ‘protect the Android ecosystem’.
5. Lenovo Announces Another Android Tablet
Lenovo has already announced the IdeaPad K1, an Android Honeycomb tablet expected very soon, and has now added a budget model to their line-up named the IdeaPad A1. With a 7-inch screen and Android 2.3 Gingerbread, plus in the US, a $199 price-tag (£120), the A1 is obviously aimed at the low end of the market. It also runs the older Cortex A8 processor, but does boast two cameras, up to 32GB storage and a microSD card slot. We’ll have to wait and see whether it makes it to the UK, and if the price is as good as it is in the US.
6. Android’s Dolphin Browser Makes the Jump to iOS
The iPhone has a new web browser this week, in the form of Android hit Dolphin, which has been released in the App Store for free. What makes Dolphin so special is the integration of gestures and simple tabbed browsing, but be aware that it’s still built around the same WebKit engine as Safari, the standard iPhone browser, so it won’t be all that different.
7. Zite iPad App Sold for $20 Million.
Zite is a news aggregator app for the Apple iPad, which cleverly watches what you read and share, then begins to fill your feed with other stories you may like. It has now been announced that Zite has been acquired by CNN to the tune of an estimated $20 million. The CEO of Zite says the buyout doesn’t mean they’ll only be running CNN or Time Warner content, but will instead allow them to grow and introduce innovative new features.
8. HTC Jetstream Tablet Announced in USA, Costs a Fortune
The HTC Jetstream tablet has been announced for the AT&T network in the USA. The Google Android Honeycomb tablet will have a 10.1-inch screen, a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor and an 8 megapixel camera, plus both HSPA+ and LTE connectivity. The price for this beast? $700 with a two-year contract! That’s about £430, which doesn’t sound too terrible, but is in fact considerably  more than the iPad 2 costs without a lengthy contract. It remains to be seen whether consumers are willing to pay that much more for faster data rates.
9. Nokia Sends Exec to Vision+ Investment Fund
After a 21-year career with Nokia, Tero Ojanper√§ has joined Vision+, a Nokia-backed investment fund focusing on funding new apps, games, entertainment and educational apps for a variety of platforms. Naturally, the press release announcing the collaboration mentions Microsoft, and it appears to be yet another way to encourage development of Windows Phone 7 apps.
10.  Want a Say In Nokia’s WP7 Naming Strategy?
You’re in luck, as Nokia’s head of North American marketing has put up an online poll asking for feedback on what the company should name its forthcoming Windows Phone 7 handsets. Whether this is serious, or just for fun, isn’t clear; but since some of the user-suggested names include the Nokia Jedi, we’d say not everyone has been contributing with a straight face. You can check the poll here, and make a (sensible) suggestion yourself. We’re quite partial to Nokia Genesis.
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