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Monday, October 10, 2011

Last week at The Fonecast: 10th October 2011

Mark Bridge takes a look back at last week’s mobile industry headlines.

Rest in peace, Steve. The death of Apple co-founder Steven Paul Jobs following several years of illness has seen the kind of public grieving usually reserved for pop stars and princesses. There’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been said; it’s hard to argue with Tim Cook’s statement that “Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

The sad news helps to explain some of the understatement surrounding the launch of Apple’s new iPhone 4S. Wot, no iPhone 5?  Nope, although the Siri intelligent voice control looks set to be a much talked-about feature. No pun intended.

In other Apple-related news, Samsung has announced legal action against the iPhone 4S in France and Italy, while version 2 of Alien Dalvik promises to get Android apps running on iPads. Can’t imagine that’ll go down too well.

Talking of Android, Samsung has added chargeable ‘premium’ apps to its UK application store and HTC is under the spotlight for security vulnerability on some of its Android devices.

4G has finally arrived in the UK, with the BT Wholesale and Everything Everywhere trial in Cornwall going live. Unfortunately the news arrived in the same week that Ofcom admitted its 4G auction would be delayed, which rather took the shine off things. In the meantime, UK chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to invest up to £150 million on sites for mobile phone masts and base stations in a bid to improve the nation’s connectivity.

Staying with home news, we learn that you can only describe your mobile data deals as ‘truly unlimited internet’ if they really are unlimited. That’s why T-Mobile has been given a clip round the ear by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority.

And finally for now, from home news to a homecoming of sorts. Back in the 1990s, Cliff Kushler was one of the people who pretty much invented predictive text. He and his colleagues founded a company called Tegic, with the Tegic T9 software later sold to AOL and then sold again to Nuance. Meanwhile, Cliff went off and helped create Swype, which was a type of predictive text for touchscreen keyboards. Now Nuance has spent around $100 million to acquire Swype, bringing both of Cliff’s developments together. Nuance itself is big in speech recognition… so watch out, Siri!

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