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Monday, September 23, 2013

Last week at The Fonecast: 23rd September 2013

Black days for BlackBerry

Mark Bridge writes:

There are bad weeks... and there are BAD weeks. Blackberry had one of the latter. It all started so well. The company announced a new flagship phablet – the Z30 – and said it would be launching its BBM instant messaging service for iOS and Android handsets at the weekend.

Then came the quarterly results, with an admission that poor Z10 smartphone sales had contributed to a loss of almost $1 billion. Around 40% of jobs worldwide would be cut and the product range was also going to be reduced.

If all that wasn’t enough, an ‘unreleased’ version of the BBM Android app found its way online, causing BlackBerry to temporarily remove the official apps from the Apple and Google app stores. All very messy.

However, even with the delay to BBM, consumers are expected to download over 100 billion mobile apps this year. Figures from technology research company Gartner expect 102 billion applications to be downloaded from mobile app stores this year, up from 64 billion in 2012. App revenue will rise as well, despite less than one in ten of those apps being chargeable.

Also increasing is the number of 4G networks in the UK. Well, kind of. Virgin Media Business has launched a 4G virtual mobile service that’s based on EE’s network. It’s called Business Mobile, which seems pretty straightforward.

And finally, to news of some old technology that just keeps going. No, not your BlackBerry 7230. I’m talking about SMS and cell broadcast. Both are being tested by the UK government as potential methods to deliver emergency messages to mobile phones. People in North Yorkshire, Glasgow and Suffolk have been invited to opt-in for the test. They’ve also been reassured that their local areas haven’t been chosen because of any specific threats. Recommendations are expected to be published next year. Regardless of any technical considerations, I reckon it’s the Orwellian implications that’ll worry most people. After all, what could possibly go wrong when the government starts sending messages directly to your mobile phone?

On Monday mornings we summarise the past week’s mobile industry headlines in a newsletter that’s a lot like this article. To receive it, simply register your email address at by clicking the link at the top right-hand corner of our home page.
Author: The Fonecast
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