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Monday, August 20, 2012

Last week at The Fonecast: 20th August 2012

From saving money to saving lives

Mark Bridge writes:

Our first week of Olympics-free news didn’t start well for many people. Google said it was planning to reduce the number of employees at its Motorola Mobility subsidiary by around a fifth, cutting approximately 4,000 employees in a bid to return its mobile phone business to profitability.

Here in the UK, consumer organisation Which? found that mobile phone sales staff were giving inaccurate information about the possibility of price increases on ‘pay monthly’ contracts. Apparently 82% of shop assistants said prices would remain fixed throughout the contract term... which isn’t necessarily true.

And there was also bad news from digital security company Kaspersky Lab, which found that the number of new malicious programs targeting the Android platform had almost trebled in the past three months.

Fortunately, the remaining headlines were overwhelmingly upbeat.

Mobile gamers were cheered when Sega announced a new publishing initiative that’s focussed on mobile games made by independent developers – and they were cheered again when Sony said it would start the full-scale launch of PlayStation Mobile this autumn.

Price-conscious consumers were undoubtedly thrilled to hear about the new £5-per-month smartphone from TalkTalk Mobile and the free WiFi on Hampshire buses.

As well as all this, innovation-seekers would have been pleased by the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and the forecast growth in low-power Bluetooth devices.

However, probably the biggest positive surprise of the week came from the Enough Project, a US-based group working to end genocide and crimes against humanity. One of its biggest concerns is the trade in ‘conflict minerals’, which often end up in mobile phones after being mined illegally and traded illicitly. This issue was highlighted by Blood in the Mobile, a documentary film released last year.

A new report from the Enough Project commends a number of electronics companies – going out of its way to highlight Intel, HP and Apple – for their progress toward responsible and conflict-free supply chains. In a month where the Olympic Games have seen renewed emphasis on excellence, friendship and respect, it’s good to see social responsibility in the mobile industry as well.

I know, I know. You may say I’m a dreamer – but I’m not the only one.

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Author: The Fonecast
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