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Friday, February 25, 2011

This week at The Fonecast: 26th February 2011

Mark Bridge writes:

For many people, the week after Mobile World Congress has a flat, post-Christmas, post-holiday feeling.

But not here at The Fonecast. We’ve produced two extra podcasts this week – themed around mobile audio and mobile usability – and there are more interviews from MWC lined up for next week.

However, it’s certainly true to say there was a lot of news announced at Barcelona… and, as a result, there seems to have been less than usual this week.

New products were revealed by Burnside Telecom and GAI-Tronics, who’ve worked together to create rugged telephones and mobile-enabled terminals. These go beyond the ‘tough’ products that usually grab the headlines; think of the kind of telephone handset you might find next to a level crossing and you won’t be too far wrong.

Operating system news came courtesy of Microsoft, whose first Windows Phone update ran smoothly for 90% of customers but was eventually suspended for Samsung handsets. A tad embarrassing.

And network news was provided by financial results from Everything Everywhere and Telefonica. I’m no analyst but I’d say that the latter had the edge.

NFC hit the headlines twice. First with major mobile network operators saying they’d launch commercial Near Field Communications services in some markets by next year. They didn’t say what they’d be using NFC for, so don’t cut up your credit cards and burn your wallet yet, but it sounds positive.

Also talking about NFC was Transport for London, which takes care of Bus, Tube, Docklands Light Railway, Tram and London Overground rail services. It’s upgrading its card readers this year to allow instant payment using a contactless bank card, replacing the need to buy a pre-paid 'Oyster' card (or a conventional ticket). Fingers crossed that any new mobile payment service will be compatible.

On the subject of the Tube, there was a lot of speculation about Huawei and its plans/hopes/ambitions to get mobile phones working on the London Underground. Nothing’s been confirmed yet, although there are suggestions that Huawei might be the only equipment provider that’s interested in the deal.

Finally, this week has provided many reminders that the world is not always a particularly stable place… both physically and politically. Mobile phones have been used to send disturbing images from Libya – and it’s now possible to use mobile phones to send help to the earthquake victims in New Zealand.

Which means I won’t be ending this email with a clever punch-line. Just a link to the Red Cross.

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Author: The Fonecast
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