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Monday, August 27, 2012

Last week at The Fonecast: 27th August 2012

4G gets a boost in the UK, Samsung gets a slap in the USA

Mark Bridge writes:

It was a week of dramatic contrasts in the mobile phone industry. We started with Everything Everywhere’s news that 4G service was coming to the UK this year – possibly with a new brand that’ll work alongside Orange and T-Mobile. Meanwhile Three UK seems to have its own plans that involve acquiring some excess 4G spectrum from Everything Everywhere. There was much muttering from Vodafone and O2, although whether this’ll manifest itself as legal action remains to be seen.

At the opposite end of the good news scale was Samsung, which was ordered to pay Apple around £664 million in damages after a court in the USA ruled that it had infringed a number of Apple patents. However, it’s not over until the judge makes a ruling next month... and even then an appeal seems very likely. Samsung’s critics say it’s been punished for copying. Samsung’s fans say Apple has managed to patent the rectangle.

Also in trouble was MVNO and mobile VoIP service Truphone, which had been describing its Tru mobile service as as ‘the truly global SIM’. The ASA wasn’t happy as the product didn’t work in every single country.

Bad news was in the air at Sony Mobile and at gaming company PopCap as well, both of which announced job cuts. Around 50 people will be leaving the mobile and social gaming company while 1,000 staff – mainly in Sweden – will be going in the next couple of years.

Back to the positive. 22 technology companies have launched an industry alliance that’s aimed at driving the adoption of indoor positioning services. It’s called the In-Location Alliance and is being supported by Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung and Sony amongst others. The big question, of course, is what difference it’ll make.

In the world of photography, camera manufacturer Nikon has announced a new compact camera that uses the Android operating system. It’s called the Coolpix S800c and includes WiFi connectivity plus access to the Google Play application store alongside its 16-megapixel sensor and touchscreen controls.

And finally, news of a big change to one of the biggest names in tech. But it’s not a structural change. It’s not a directional change. No, it’s a new typeface. Microsoft has updated its company logo after 25 years. Gone is the old style, replace by the Segoe font that’s already familiar from newer Microsoft products. Also gone is the old block of four colours, replaced by a restyled four-colour block. It’s all part of the preparation for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 when they appear later this year. This isn’t a radical redesign - but it’s also unlikely to infringe any design patents.

Start your week with a reminder of the latest mobile headlines. Simply register at TheFonecast.com by clicking the link at the top right-hand corner of our home page and we’ll send you this weekly news summary by email.

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