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Monday, December 17, 2012

Last week at The Fonecast: 17th December 2012

Look to the future now...

Mark Bridge writes:

It’s the week before Christmas, which can only mean one thing for the mobile industry: plenty of research news. Yes, when there isn’t anything new to talk about, a survey or forecast is the perfect way to fill the silence.

Mind you, things haven’t been entirely quiet when it comes to mobile products and services.

Google brought out an iOS version of its mapping app, causing much rejoicing from Apple customers who felt they’d been left in the wilderness. In some cases, quite literally in the wilderness if they’d followed Apple Maps. EE announced the next places in line for 4G UK coverage, while CabWiFi prepared to turn London taxis into mobile hotspots and Twitter introduced photo filters to its iOS and Android apps. Watch out, Instagram.

STMicroelectronics said it planned to leave the ST-Ericsson partnership, which gives joint partner Ericsson a bit of a headache – and Ericsson faced disappointment in another business area when Huawei took over its role managing the network of Three UK.

Time for those studies now. Browser company Opera has been looking at mobile website preferences across Europe… and has discovered very few opportunities for humour based on national stereotypes. The UK doesn’t even have a weather-specific site in the top ten. However, we do like a spot of online shopping according to Ofcom – and we’ve bought a lot of smartphones, too.

Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of mobile video in the USA is watched at home and, on a wider scale, mobile banking has taken hold around the globe. That’s according to Bain & Co and is also reflected in last Friday’s podcast interview with Gemalto.

ABI Research and Juniper Research both published a downloadable list of predictions about mobile technology in 2013 – we’ll be broadcasting ours in a special podcast on Wednesday – and, looking five years into the future, we’re told to expect one in seven mobile subscribers using VoIP, half of all smartphones costing less than £100 and over 4 million alarms connected to mobile networks in Europe.

Finally a couple of big-name appointments. UK entrepreneur Brent Hoberman, best known to many as the lastminute.com co-founder who wasn’t Martha Lane Fox, has joined the Shazam board of directors as an independent board member. And futurist/inventor/writer Ray Kurzweil has joined Google as its Director of Engineering. Which prompts the question: how many years will it be before Ray’s work means you can backup your brain to a Gmail account?  And what happens when you exceed your 10MB limit?

Receive our weekly newsletter about the biggest mobile industry news headlines every Monday morning. Simply register your email address at TheFonecast.com by clicking the link at the top right-hand corner of our home page. We’re taking a break for Christmas, so the next newsletter will be sent on 7th January.

All of us at The Fonecast wish our readers and supporters a very happy Christmas and a successful new year.
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