Mark Bridge writes:
Season of goodwill? Not in the mobile phone industry.
Orange UK is putting its prices up next month. It says the 4.34% rise is less than inflation, so you might think customers would be pleased. You’d be wrong. Also unhappy are many people who’ve discovered Carrier IQ software embedded on their phones. Fortunately for the UK mobile industry, most of those people seem to be in the United States. And there was unhappiness in Egypt as Twitter’s acquisition of privacy and security company Whisper Systems saw Whisper’s mobile encryption applications taken (temporarily) offline.
There’s an element of gloom at RIM as well, with the company setting aside around $485 million to cover unsold PlayBook tablets.
But all is not lost. In fact, I’d say the number of good news stories outweighs the lack of cheer.
Take mobile payments. We’ve got mobile payment processing in the UK from eMerit and CreditCall. Telefónica has done a Europe-wide NFC mobile wallet deal with Giesecke & Devrient. MasterCard and US-based mobile banking company mFoundry have announced an international partnership. And PayPal says UK mobile payments will reach the ‘tipping point’ in five years.
Then there’s the internet. The European Commission announced a ‘Coalition to make the Internet a better place for kids’ with mobile handset manufacturers, operating system providers, internet service providers, broadcasters, social networks and mobile operators all joining in. Vodafone even created an Android app to help. Meanwhile, the mobile hotspot router - you’re in the right place thinking of the ‘MiFi’ brand - is expected to sell 7.1 million units worldwide this year.
Mobile devices in the enterprise? Also looking good. Vodafone has acquired Bluefish Communications to help it offer consultancy services. A BroadSoft survey shows that a quarter of IT decision makers believe desk phones will be replaced by mobile phones within two years. And RIM’s now helping businesses manage more than BlackBerry devices. Which is undoubtedly a good thing, given those disappointing PlayBook sales.
|Podcast presenter James Rosewell is making his own headlines today. His business, 51Degrees.mobi, is launching two new device detection databases to help developers design and build mobile web sites. There’s a special podcast about the launch on our website.