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Ofcom says mobile contracts should ditch inflation-related price rises

Ofcom says mobile contracts should ditch inflation-related price rises

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom wants to ban inflation-related rises in phone and broadband contracts. Instead, it says any potential mid-contract price rises should be set out in pounds and pence.
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Global smartphone market is set for recovery, says new forecast

A new forecast from research specialists Canalys shows the smartphone market is set to recover next year. Worldwide shipments declined by 12% last year but that decline is expected to slow to 5% this year.
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Vodafone and Three plan to merge their UK businesses

Vodafone and Three plan to merge their UK businesses

New Hutchison/Vodafone network would be biggest UK operator

Vodafone Group plc and CK Hutchison Group Telecom Holdings Limited have agreed to combine their UK telecommunication businesses, respectively Vodafone UK and Three UK. The merger will create a large new network operator to compete with Virgin Media O2 and EE.
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UK mobile payment service Paym to close in March 2023

UK mobile payment service Paym will close on 7th March 2023. The service, which allowed users to make and receive payments using their mobile phone numbers, was launched in 2014.
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Qualcomm legal action moves forward in the UK

Qualcomm legal action moves forward in the UK

Which? seeks payout for Samsung and Apple smartphone owners

Consumer protection organisation Which? has been given permission by the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal to represent Apple and Samsung smartphone buyers in a legal case against chip manufacturer Qualcomm.
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Opinion Articles

Sunday, March 2, 2014

IBM, smartphones and a graffiti wall: what's the real message?

Mark Bridge writes:

I was ready to poke fun at IBM for its sponsored graffiti wall at Mobile World Congress this year. Graffiti and IBM don't have a comfortable history, as anyone who remembers the Linux campaign from 2001 will tell you.

Not that there was anything wrong with the quality of its latest work. This mural was being created by Barcelona-based artist Philip Stanton and his team. They were doing a good job. You could watch the team sketching outlines and carefully using their brushes to paint characters, logos and products "telling the visual story of the event". Except... brushes?  Never mind whether or not graffiti is art. This isn't graffiti at all. Not by the contemporary definition.

That's surely some kind of metaphor, I thought. Doing something well but not really doing it right. Trying too hard to be one of the cool kids.

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Yet IBM doesn't need to create buzz - and it doesn't deserve my cynicism. It's already one of the cool kids. It isn't just a computing pioneer, it's a mobile computing pioneer. Never mind all the computer-in-a-suitcase stuff from the 1970s, it was IBM that created the world's first smartphone. This remarkable device was called Simon. Developed by IBM and made by Mitsubishi, the Simon Personal Communicator was sold by the BellSouth mobile network in the USA from summer 1994. He/it could handle phone calls, faxes, emails, pager messages and appointments... while the iconic Communicator was but a twinkle in Nokia's eye. Yet it's the Communicator we remember, not poor old Simon.

Twenty years later, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty used her keynote speech at MWC14 to announce the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge, which is designed to encourage the adoption of the 'artificial intelligence' used by IBM's Watson project.

Watson is truly remarkable. It was smart enough to win the often baffling Jeopardy TV show, an achievement that's beyond most competitors. Unlike conventional software, Watson can understand context and it can learn - which means it behaves much like a person.

But smart doesn't always mean commercially successful. The real question is whether Watson will be adopted by mobile developers or whether someone else's AI system will be favoured in a couple of years.

IBM is doing some things well, certainly. Is it doing what the mobile world wants?  Only time will tell. But let's not talk about the graffiti, shall we?

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Recent Podcasts

Tesco gets into smartphones, Facebook gets into advertising... and O2 gets into trouble

Podcast - 7th May 2014

We start this week's podcast with Tesco's plans for a Hudl-branded smartphone. Next comes some potentially good news about the 'patent wars' affecting the mobile industry - although there's certainly no sign of a ceasefire.

Later we discuss an announcement from Facebook about its mobile advertising scheme, an unfortunate mistake for O2's Travel service, a new 20 megapixel camera-phone and an automotive investment by Nokia.

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Bringing video services to smartphones: interview with Jijesh Devan of QuickPlay Media

Podcast - 2nd May 2014

In this interview Mark Bridge talks to Jijesh Devan of QuickPlay Media about the opportunities and challenges of bringing video services to smartphones and other internet-connected devices.

Their conversation took place on the QuickPlay stand inside the App Planet area of Mobile World Congress in February.

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Faulty phones, network closures, court cases, payment apps... and much more mobile industry news

Podcast - 30th April 2014

We have something for everyone in this week's podcast. There's bad news as Samba Mobile closes, bad news as Apple and Samsung suffer product faults... and bad news as wearable devices are criticised for the poor user experience they offer.

Yet there's plenty of good news as well, including the launch of a new UK mobile payment service.

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Seven days of mobile industry news, from money transfers to monster tracking

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An introduction to embedded mobile security with Loic Hamon of Inside Secure

Podcast - 18th April 2014

When the topics of mobile technology and security are discussed, the conversation can end up focussing on third-party software solutions.

Inside Secure has a different perspective. It's a specialist in embedded security; building protection in from the start. To learn more, Mark Bridge caught up with Loic Hamon, Vice President of Corporate Development at Inside Secure, at the company's hospitality suite during Mobile World Congress.

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