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Monday, March 31, 2014

Last week at The Fonecast: 31st March 2014

HTC goes One better

Mark Bridge writes:

“Hey, everybody, we’re releasing a new flagship smartphone that carries all the hopes of the company with it. If this sells well, we could be saved. If not, it could be disaster.”

“Great. What shall we call our new phone?”

“Oh, we’ll give it the same name as the previous model. That’ll be fine.”

And so the HTC One (M8) arrived, edging the HTC One (M7) out of pole position.

But this wasn’t the week’s only new handset. EE turned up with a sub-£100 ‘pay as you go’ 4G smartphone (blessed with an animal name, rather like an Orange tariff), Danish company Lumigon presented the stylish T2 HD and TAG Heuer revealed a luxury phone with a hidden solar panel.

Meanwhile, Microsoft unveiled its long-awaited ‘Office for iPad’ software and its gave other mobile productivity apps a tweak as well.

In the world of mergers and acquisitions, Nokia said its Microsoft deal was running slightly behind schedule but should be completed in April. Carphone Warehouse and Dixons Retail were unable to confirm whether or not they wanted to merge. Facebook agreed to acquire virtual reality company Oculus VR in a deal worth approximately £1.2 billion. And computing giant Intel acquired Basis Science, the company behind the Basis fitness band.

Finally, to a couple of transformations. BlackBerry, which is currently doing its best to pick itself up, dust itself off and start all over again, published results for the final quarter of its financial year. Around 3.4 million smartphones were sold to end users, of which only 1.1 million were running the BlackBerry 10 platform. On a positive note, the quarterly net loss wasn’t as bad as some had predicted.

Here in the UK, Ofcom published its latest quarterly batch of mobile network complaint statistics. Although O2 is still the company with the least complaints (and EE’s brands remain at the top of the complaints chart), Three has seen an impressive turn-around in the past few years. Complaints about the network have hit their lowest level since Ofcom began publishing complaint data. Nice work. Now, about that singing cat...

On Monday mornings we summarise the past week’s mobile industry headlines in an email newsletter that’s very much like this article. To receive it, simply register your email address at TheFonecast.com by clicking the link at the top right-hand corner of our home page. Alternatively, stay in touch by listening to our free podcasts via our website, by subscribing on iTunes, by using our RSS feed or by downloading the Stitcher.com mobile app.
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