Mark Bridge writes:
It was a good week for technology stories hitting the mainstream news, thanks to the apparent appearance of a Higgs boson, Sir Alan Sugar’s YouView online TV service and football goal-line technology.
Mobile-related news hasn’t been quite so big, although plenty of well-known names have turned up in the headlines. What’s also been turning up – rather more than usual – is the presence of WiFi.
It all started when communications infrastructure company Arqiva agreed to acquire Spectrum Interactive, the biggest WiFi hotspot provider you’ve never heard of. Spectrum provides WiFi services in more than 2,000 UK locations on a wholesale basis, which means the venue owner usually puts their name on the hotspot.
Next, a new report revealed the UK had broadband wireless services on more trains than any other European country. Right on time, Nomad Digital announced its plans to equip Northern Ireland’s trains with free WiFi – and it was followed by London’s eco-friendly minicab company greentomatocars offering free in-car WiFi.
You could argue that traditional mobile networks could be feeling a bit threatened by all this... but you could also argue that the traditional mobile network is adapting. Telefonica’s had a particularly busy week, expanding its mobile commerce deal with Visa Europe, signing billing agreements with some of the internet’s biggest players and adding an online sports club to its O2 UK loyalty scheme.
Telefonica was also in on Mozilla’s big announcement, which was that the ‘Firefox’ brand will be used for its forthcoming HTML5-based mobile operating system. Expect the first Alcatel and ZTE Firefox-powered smartphones to arrive on Telefonica’s Vivo network in Brazil next year
Talking of networks, there’s yet another in the UK. This one’s called Samba Mobile and is an ad-funded data-only MVNO. Consumers watch video ads to ‘top up’ their account with free credit – which is certainly one way to avoid ending up on the wrong tariff.
And along with a new virtual network, the world saw a new smartphone company. Jolla is based in Finland, from where it’s planning to adapt the MeeGo platform for a new device that’ll be released later this year.
However, not every bright idea involving a smartphone ends well – which is why I’m concluding this week’s newsletter with a warning. In fact, a double warning. Don’t try to dry a mobile phone in the microwave. And don’t try to cover up the fact you’ve tried to dry a mobile phone in the microwave.
Last month it was reported that a Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone had apparently suffered a small explosion. After plenty of online speculation and an independent report, it now looks very much as though the damage was caused by one of the customer’s mates trying to cure some water damage.
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