The Week in Mobile – December 19, 2015

Here’s my quick take on this week’s stories about smartphones, tablets, and supporting technologies that I found interesting.

5G Service Coming to Verizon in 2017

Now that everyone is using 4G LTE cellular service, Verizon is starting to talk about its upcoming fifth generation (5G) cellular network which it plans to start rolling out in 2017. 5G promises speeds up to 1 Gbps, which is 10 times faster than most wired broadband services.

In explaining why they need to build a faster network Verizon shared some interesting usage statistics:

  • On average, a wireless subscriber uses 2.4 GB of data per month, but by 2020 that is expected to jump to 14 GB per month
  • 70% of Verizon’s network traffic comes from video streaming
  • Verizon’s network traffic has been growing by 75% yearly
  • Traffic from video is expected to grow 55% yearly over the next five years.

Video is taking a huge piece of wireless traffic and is expected to continue to do so. Speeding up the networks will certainly help but that will take years and cost billions to roll out nationwide. Netflix’s effort to reduce the size of their data streams should help reduce network congestion and I expect (and hope!) other content services (e.g. HBO, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, YouTube) will follow their lead.

In 2007 the original iPhone used the 2G EDGE network which offered speeds up to 135 Kbps. In 2017 we can expect 1 Gbps service which is 7,400 times faster. It is mind boggling how far the technology has progressed in 10 years!

Link: Business Insider

Microsoft Releases an App Store – on Android

Microsoft released an “App Store” for Android on Google Play this week. The app lets Android users download Microsoft’s Office apps.

Even though Microsoft is putting all of its weight behind Windows 10, it’s hard to deny that Windows is not catching on for phones. It is difficult to think of Microsoft building a non-Windows phone but having a presence in mobile is obviously important to the company. Microsoft has been doing a lot of work on Android and this could be a piece of a long term strategy to create their own Android based phones similarly to what Amazon has done. The pieces they have now include:

  • An investment in Cyanogen, an Android based OS
  • Cortana for Android, with deep support in Cyanogen
  • Office for Android (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Skype)
  • “Arrow” home screen launcher
  • Lock screen apps from their “garage” team

Since Microsoft now knows how to manufacture devices it wouldn’t be difficult for them to release a new phone running Cyanogen bundled with Microsoft’s apps targeted at business users.

The upsides for Microsoft would be:

  • Having thousands of popular apps available instantly
  • Keeping users subscribing to Office 365 and OneDrive.
  • Increased Bing usage

Links: Business Insider,

Japanese University Bans Watches from Exams

In an effort to prevent cheating, Kyoto University is banning all watches from exam rooms. I found this amusing at first, but as wearables become more mainstream this kind of thing will become more of a problem.

Today there are bluetooth enabled hearing aids that can be used to feed audio information to someone. Google Glass, which could always be recording video, raised issues about wearables and privacy.

This is another instance of society having to figure out how to adapt to a new technology. In the coming years, what other connected devices will we have on our person that will cause these types of issues?

Link: The Verge

Samsung to Add 3D touch to Galaxy S7

Samsung is reportedly working to add touch sensitivity, similar to the iPhone 6s’s 3D touch, to the Galaxy S7 for release next spring. I suppose that Samsung adding the latest iPhone feature to their next Galaxy S phone should not be surprising. My question is how well it will be supported by third party developers? Without broad support this feature will go largely unused. Samsung has to incent developers to use their proprietary API and that may be a hard sell since only the GS7 will support this feature. Third party support for the S-Pen in Samsung’s Note series, another Samsung proprietary technology, has not been great so far.

Links: WSJ, The Verge

Benedict Evans’ 16 Topics on Mobile

If you’re interested in the mobile industry you should be reading Benedict Evan’s blog. His most recent post is a summary of what he considers the 16 important topics about mobile today with links to his supporting posts. A bit long but worth the time.


That’s all for now. See you next week!

About Lee J.

Mobile Guy!
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