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Monday, October 24, 2011

Last week at The Fonecast: 24th October 2011

Mark Bridge writes:

If there’s one theme that dominates the last seven days – and, let’s face it, I like to find a theme wherever possible – it’s new mobile devices.

We started the week with Apple having sold over four million units of the new iPhone 4S in the first three days since its launch. This was followed by Motorola Mobility reinvigorating its RAZR brand by applying it to a high-spec Android smartphone – which in turn was followed by Google and Samsung revealing the Galaxy Nexus. It’s the first phone specifically designed for Android 4.0, also known as ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’, and will start hitting the shops next month.

Finally, in terms of product announcements, Casio turned up at the end of the week with a new Android device... but it’s not a phone. It’s not a tablet, either. No, the VX100 is a cash register (or ‘business support terminal’, if you prefer). We await the first reports of retail staff playing Grand Theft Auto III on the till.

We’ve now moved into quarterly results season, with Apple, eBay, Microsoft and Nokia all publishing loads of big numbers. I’d say the only real surprise was that Nokia didn’t do as badly as many people expected. Still, with the company’s new Windows Phone launch expected at Nokia World in a couple of days, it’s the next few quarters that’ll be really interesting.

Research In Motion has been easing its way back into the affections of its customers, starting with a free app giveaway to compensate for the recent service failure and then moving on to the announcement of a brand new operating system. It’ll be called BBX, being a combination of the BlackBerry phone operating system and the QNX platform used by the PlayBook. We’ve not seen much detail yet; it’s still a case of ‘watch this space’.

And I’ll end with another couple of unresolved questions. One is a report from Denmark, where some new research has found that mobile phone use seems to result in no increased risks of tumours to the central nervous system. More research is, of course, needed before we can be sure this doesn’t just apply to Danes.

And the other unresolved question comes from Vodafone, which is closing down the Vodafone 360 service. Although it reminded me of the ‘Pop Idol’-loving Vizzavi and its fluffy chick, Vodafone 360 was much more about connectivity and sociability. It was, in many ways, a social network aggregator. So if that didn’t work, what’s next?

Last week’s special podcast feature looked into mobile financial services - from banking to NFC payments - with contributions from Gemalto. Listen on our website, via iTunes or by downloading the MP3 file.

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Author: The Fonecast
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