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Friday, March 11, 2011

This week at The Fonecast: 12th March 2011

Mark Bridge writes:

Sadly we’re ending the week with yet another natural disaster. Barely two weeks after New Zealand’s earthquake comes news of Japan’s biggest quake in living memory.

Still, I’m here to talk about mobile phones, so – after a quick mention of the great work being done by the Red Cross – I’ll get on with it.

What’s new this week? we7 is new. The company – set up with help from Peter Gabriel – has launched an Android app that doesn’t just stream music for free, it also works without an internet connection (thanks to some neat caching technology).

There’s something new from Opera Software as well. It’s opened an application store. There’s a direct link from the company’s Opera Mini mobile browser, so it could do a roaring trade. However, rival app store GetJar – which has previously supplied 30 million copies of Opera’s browser – wasn’t happy with the new app store integration and kicked Opera Mini out.

Three UK has a new tariff – an unlimited data deal for prepay customers – and O2 UK has signed its first smart metering agreement, which will give it around 200,000 new connections.

Time for some research. Smartphone shipments were up 74% last year, according to Berg Insight. Next year, over half of all in-car navigation device sales will be mobile phones, according to IHS iSuppli. And within five years, one in eight mobile customers will use mobile tickets, according to Juniper Research.

Moving on to financial news, and Rovia – best known for the Angry Birds game – has just announced $42 million in funding. It’ll also get investor and Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström as a new board member. Meanwhile Finland’s Digia is acquiring the Qt commercial software licensing business from Nokia.

All relatively upbeat… although it’s not been a good week for Vodafone or Microsoft. The former saw protests from the UK Uncut action group appearing on its World of Difference blog, while the latter has delayed the cut-and-paste update for Windows Phone 7.

Finally, if you’ve not yet listened to this week’s podcast, I have three words for you. Iain Graham rapping. Next week, I’m thinking about producing the entire programme as a musical. Perhaps.

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Author: The Fonecast
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