Opinion Articles

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Last week at The Fonecast: 12th March 2012

Mark Bridge writes:

It’s all gone a bit quiet. Is it the calm after the Mobile World Congress storm... or is it the knowledge that an Apple announcement will push anything else out of the headlines, even before the product itself has been revealed?

Either way, the last seven days have had significantly fewer news stories than the beginning of the month. But that’s not to say they’ve been completely news-free.

Let’s start with Apple. The company announced a new iPad, called the ‘new iPad’. It’s not slimmer, it’s not lighter... in fact, the tablet’s appearance is more like an iPad 2S than an iPad 3. However, there is a ‘retina’ screen and 4G connectivity, which is certain to give Apple’s sales figures a not-really-needed boost.

Google’s big news was the disappearance of the Android Market. No, it’s not thrown in the towel following the download of 25 billion apps from iTunes, instead it’s transforming its own application store into Google Play. It means you can now ‘Play Music’, ‘Play Movies’ ‘Play Shop’ and ‘Play Books’ on your Android phone. Those last two don’t quite sound right to me.

Also disappearing – but without transformation – is the old application store for Windows Mobile 6 devices and Nokia’s Ovi Share service. You could argue that both are due to Microsoft successes: the success of Windows Phone sales and the success of Microsoft’s own cloud storage services.

On the subject of success, money was making the mobile world go round last week... and it was making the headlines, too. Visa Europe took a 15% stake in the UK-based Mobile Money Network, which is behind the Simply Tap mobile shopping service. It joins the three founders of the shopping service: Monitise, Best Buy Europe and Charles Dunstone.

Sticking with the UK, Telefónica’s technology investment scheme – Wayra – opened for business here and started looking for entrepreneurs to fund. Meanwhile Singapore’s SingTel signed an agreement to acquire US-based mobile advertising business Amobee for over £200 million.

And Three UK launched a range of new price plans with a fixed data allowance that can’t be exceeded.

Finally to France, where a deal between Eurotunnel and French network operators will see 2G and 3G mobile services available inside the Channel Tunnel in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games. People travelling to England from France will be able to use their phones by the end of July, although those travelling from England to France won’t be able to call until the Olympics are over. That means there’ll be plenty of pre-event chatter - and much less talk about the actual results. A situation that sounds strangely familiar, some might say!

Start your week with a reminder of the latest mobile headlines. Simply register at TheFonecast.com by clicking the link at the top right-hand corner of our home page and we’ll send you this weekly news summary by email.

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Author: The Fonecast
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