This Week in Mobile (December 10, 2010)

Here are the interesting things going on in the mobile industry with my usual commentary.

Carrier News

Sprint is killing off its IDEN network (used for push to talk) in 2013.  Sprint inherited this technology when they bought Nextel in 2005.  Sprint has a new push to talk technology to replace IDEN but that means existing hardware will no longer work.

Although Verizon has already announced LTE pricing for modems, it is undecided on smartphone LTE pricing.  As devices get announced at CES in January, they will have to make a decision soon.

Verizon experienced a nationwide 3G data outage on Tuesday night that prevented users from accessing the Internet, although calls continued to go through.  Maybe they should pay less attention to 4G and make sure that 3G is running!

Consumer Reports recently ranked AT&T as the ‘worst carrier.’ This is not news to us iPhone users, but now it is official.

Update: AT&T fights back claiming the fewest better business bureau  complaints of the major carriers.  I think that’s because AT&T users can’t actually reach the BBB because their phones don’t work.

European carriers want Apple, Google, and Facebook to pay for causing excessive bandwidth use requiring the carriers to upgrade their networks.  France Telecom, Telecom Italia and UK-based Vodafone Group are trying to find a way to require content providers to pay fees to cover the bandwidth costs.  I’m not sure what the recourse would be if Apple, Google, and Facebook said ‘no’.  Would they actually block Facebook or data calls from iPhone or Android devices?  That seems insane.  Who would want to use a network they couldn’t use their favorite device or app on?

Tablets

iPad 2 coming in April?  Several sources are reporting that there are hints of an upcoming iPad release.  Not that you need a crystal ball to guess that a new iPad is coming out since April will be a year since iPad was first released.  There is a lot of speculation of what iPad 2 will include but the the only thing that seems to be known for sure are forward and rear facing cameras.

Honeycomb (Android 3.0) tablet displayed at Dive Into Mobile conference.   Expect to see many Android tablets in all sizes in 2011!

Both Sprint and T-Mobile announced they will ship 4G tablets in 2011.  Not surprising, but now official.  So don’t buy that Galaxy Tab just yet!

Platforms

Lots of Android news this week!

According to Andy Rubin, Google is activating 300K Android phones per day.  This is up from 200K in August.

Android passes iPhone in another statistic: Android phones are biggest bandwidth hogs! Higher resolution cameras used for uploading photos and video seem to be the culprit here.

The new flagship Android phone, the Nexus S, does not have a MicroSD slot.  I think this is a good trend as microSD management is way to complex in smartphones, especially Android.  Just put the flash in the phone.

Android replaces BlackBerry as dominant smartphone on Verizon.  It shouldn’t be surprising that Android dominates Verizon smartphone sales but this really puts it in perspective.  About a year ago 90% of smartphone sales on Verizon were BlackBerries.  Today BlackBerry’s share is only 20%.  That RIM fell that far that fast is remarkable and is another example of how volatile this market is.  What is going to happen to RIM’s share when iPhone comes big red?

In Apple news, the mythical White iPhone was mentioned to be shipping in Spring 2011 in some Apple documentation.  The question isn’t will it really, the question is who cares? I can’t believe how much virtual ink this topic gets.

Windows Phone 7 is shortly due for an update which will add cut and paste.  Another update is due in February in time for Steve Ballmer’s keynote at Mobile World Congress.

Manufacturers

HTC expects to sell 60MM devices next year. This is up from the 20MM they sold in 2010.  They are looking to get their share of the 70% of users who have not yet purchased a smartphone.

Commerce

Visa certifies a micro-sd based mobile payment system. iPhone users need to use a case to house the card.  This seems like a temporary measure until NFC chips are in all mobile phones.

Questions about NFC support in Gingerbread.  One of the most publicized features of Gingerbread (aka Android 2.3) is support for NFC, but GoMo News reports that an engineer looked over Google’s docs for Android 2.3’s NFC support and it looks like there is an important piece missing.  Specifically the ability to send data.  This would make financial transactions impossible.  I’m not too worried about this as I believe this is just a software issue that can be addressed in patches or new builds of Android.  The more important thing for NFC to take off is that the hardware be inside the phones.  The software will follow.

And that’s the news…  Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.

 

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About Lee J.

Mobile Guy!
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