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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Last week at The Fonecast: 20th February 2012

Mark Bridge writes:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. So said Sir Arthur C Clarke.

Last week’s magic was supplied by imaging company Scalado, which announced a new product called ‘Remove’. The clue’s in the name: it can automatically remove unwanted people from photos taken on a mobile phone. Expect to see it on a handset near you before too long.

Also hitting the headlines – but with slightly less magic – was Barclays, which launched what it described as Europe’s first person-to-person service for sending and receiving money using mobile phone numbers. The service is called Barclays Pingit and will be available to all UK mobile users by early March.

From magic to predicting the future. Who’d have expected a humble search engine to buy a multi-national mobile phone company?  Today Google is edging into the driving seat as its acquisition of Motorola Mobility clears two of the biggest regulatory hurdles. Meanwhile Sony has acquired Ericsson’s half of the Sony Ericsson partnership, now being renamed to Sony Mobile Communications. And Vodafone is thinking about a takeover of Cable & Wireless Worldwide. Only thinking at the moment, mind you.

Ofcom cleared a legal hurdle as well last week. Its plans to cut Mobile Termination Rates were given the go-ahead by the Competition Appeal Tribunal, despite complaints from various network operators. The new plans will be even faster-acting than the original proposal. Will consumers see their mobile bills drop overall?  It would be nice to think so.

Talking of legal challenges – fancy that – Apple won a patent-related court case against Motorola Mobility in Germany. Apparently a number of Motorola smartphones infringe the ‘slide-to-unlock’ touchscreen patent owned by Apple. You know, that magical feature you find on most Android handsets. There may be trouble ahead...

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Author: The Fonecast
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