Mark Bridge writes:
Apple started last week in the glow of a CoolBrands survey that had named it the UK's coolest brand – but it ended the week with its head bowed in embarrassment. Not only did Tim Cook apologise for the quality of the company’s iOS 6 Maps application, he recommended that customers use competing services until it gets better. In addition, the company revised its web site to drop any suggestion that Apple Maps might be ‘the most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever’.
RIM could have had a similarly downhill week, starting with the excitement of its BlackBerry Jam developer conference and ending with a financial results announcement. However, its figures showed an increase in worldwide users alongside the expected quarterly loss, which seemed to please the stock market.
Also ending the week on a high were Vodafone and O2, who said their planned network collaboration had been given the all-clear by the Office of Fair Trading and Ofcom. The two operators already work together on a UK mast-sharing project and now plan to combine the basic parts of their network infrastructure in a new company.
As well as all this, changes were afoot at augmented reality pioneer Layar, at O2 shops, at WHSmith and at Brightstar. Layar is adopting a new focus on ‘interactive print’, O2 wants to sell more phones without chargers, WHSmith is installing free WiFi and Brightstar has added the Mobile Phone Xchange trade-in business to its distribution empire.
When it comes to retailing, Barnes & Noble responded to Amazon’s recent revamped Kindle Fire line-up with two of its own multimedia tablets. One has a 7-inch screen, one has an iPad-like 9-inch screen, both will hit the UK and the USA before Christmas.
Mobile billing hit the headlines twice. Facebook announced a deal with Bango to let the social network bill customers via their mobile networks, while MACH announced direct mobile operator billing partnerships with all the UK’s major mobile phone networks. I’d say it won’t be too long before customers are adding all manner of purchases to their phone bills.
Enough of my opinion; time for some proper research. SIM-only contract sales have hit a new UK record, according to figures from GfK. Three is still the UK’s most complained-about mobile network, according to Ofcom. Live sport is driving mobile video usage, according to QuickPlay Media. And the forthcoming Firefox mobile OS from Mozilla is expected to be used on 1% of global smartphone shipments in 2013, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics.
Finally, if the constant ‘Apple vs Android’ discussions are all getting a bit much and the British weather is getting you down, take a look at http://youtu.be/xnI9h3ELwjc. It’s a good way to start Monday morning.
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