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Saturday, January 29, 2011

This week at The Fonecast: 30th January 2011

Mark Bridge writes:

Sorry, but I find it hard to get excited by financial results. Actually that’s not strictly true. I find it hard to get excited by financial results that aren’t unexpected.

Motorola Mobility seems to be picking up nicely. Qualcomm and Samsung both appear to be doing very well. LG’s had something of a rough time. Microsoft’s doing okay. No great surprises. And Nokia is ready to do a deal with Google or Microsoft.

Hang on, no, I made that last part up. What Nokia CEO Stephen Elop did say was “the industry changed, and now it's time for Nokia to change faster”. There’s a strategy meeting on 11th February, with rumours circulating about a new Operating System partnership being on the cards.

In other manufacturer news, Sony said it's planning a ‘PlayStation Suite’ that'll offer gaming on Android devices. It also revealed a new 3G-connected next-generation PlayStation Portable, which it referred to as NGP. Looks like the budget was all spent on the design, not the name.

To networks now. With online connectivity becoming an increasingly precious commodity, you wouldn’t expect a mobile network to be giving it away. But that’s exactly what O2 is planning to do. However, it’s not giving away mobile data. Instead it’s building its own national WiFi service for customers from any mobile network. Free WiFi in return for telling O2 your mobile phone number? Now why on earth would they want to do that?

Actually, one of the reasons – leaving aside the elephant-in-the-room of network capacity – is probably BSkyB’s acquisition of The Cloud, a current O2 partner, which was announced shortly afterwards.

A different kind of wireless technology was promised by Orange and Barclaycard. They’re launching a contactless mobile payment service in the UK later this year, with NFC-enabled SIM cards inside compatible mobile phones. Game changing? We’ll know when more details are released.

Another potential game-changer came from MVNO Anvil Mobile, which has created the Simply Safe service that protects children by automatically scanning every text message to identify potential risks. It’ll be interesting to see whether customers are prepared to pay for what appears to be a very clever, albeit potentially controversial, service.

Finally this week, and still on the subject of virtual networks, you’ll find an extended interview with Heather Taylor of giffgaff on our site. Inspiring stuff, I’d say – because giffgaff’s ideas could change the way mobile networks do business. Now that is exciting.

Author: The Fonecast
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