Opinion Articles

Monday, January 21, 2013

Last week at The Fonecast: 21st January 2013

Slip slidin' away

Mark Bridge writes:

There’s plenty of snow disrupting the UK – but, thanks to the mobile telecoms industry, thousands upon thousands of people are able to work from home. We’re all feeling pretty pleased with ourselves right now, aren’t we?

Pedestrians may have been skating down pavements but a different kind of trouble on the high street dominated much of last week as music, DVD and occasional mobile phone retailer HMV went into administration. All the company’s shops will keep trading while the search for a buyer continues. Meanwhile EE said it was getting rid of 78 of its duplicate stores; almost inevitable when the rebranding of Orange and T-Mobile left many towns with two places to find Everything Everywhere. Oh, and the Metropolitan Police reckons around 10,000 mobiles will be stolen in London this month.

However there was good news from the UK as well. From next spring, most people with a UK current account will be able to transfer money by quoting the recipient’s mobile phone number rather than a sort code and account details. “Payment by text message” said many of the mainstream news stories, although that’s not exactly the case.

Over in the USA, Facebook enhanced the iOS version of its Messenger application to let users speak to each other without paying call charges. The VoIP feature was launched in Canada earlier this month but there’s no sign of a UK announcement yet.

Financial results from eBay and PayPal suggested they’d had a particularly good year with customers using mobile technology, while a drop in Intel’s profits gave the impression they could do with more mobile sales.

Talking of which, new research says shipments of large-screen ‘phablets’ are expected to more than double this year. Expect 60 million smartphones with a 5-inch screen (or bigger) to be shipped worldwide during 2013. Looking slightly further ahead, more than half of all mobile phones shipped next year are expected to be smartphones, according to ABI Research.

Which prompts a couple of questions. If the majority of devices are ‘smart’, it seems inappropriate to call them ‘smartphones’ any more. What should we call the next generation of smartphones... and how will we spot them amongst their less-smart predecessors?

Every Monday morning we summarise the past week’s mobile industry headlines in our newsletter. 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.
Author: The Fonecast
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