Microsoft ‘disappointed’ by Google’s Exchange ActiveSync decision

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Jan 022013

In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft said today that it is “surprised and disappointed” with Google’s decision to stop offering its Google Sync service to new devices as of January 30th, 2013.

Like many, we are surprised and disappointed that Google wants to make it more difficult for customers to connect their accounts to their devices. If you want better email, especially for your phone or tablet, now is a perfect time to join the millions who have already made the choice to upgrade to Windows Phone users will still be able to sync their Google email via IMAP.

Microsoft’s new service supports Exchange ActiveSync.

Today’s statement suggests that Microsoft will not support Gmail contacts and calendar sync at this time. It also remains to be seen if Microsoft will support CardDAV and CalDAV on Windows Phone to allow for such synchronization.

As for Google, it will continue to support existing Google Sync connections. It will also continue to fully support Google Sync for Google Sync for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education.

Read more: The Verge

CTIA to hold single “Super Mobile Show” in 2014

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Jan 022013
CTIA-The Wireless Association

CTIA, also known as The Wireless Association, today announced that it is making changes to its trade show event schedule for 2014. Rather than holding two shows as it has done in years past, it will hold a single “super” mobile industry trade show in the latter half of the year starting in 2014. The more consumer-centric CTIA event which took place in the spring will be merged with the more enterprise-focused MobileCON show which took place in the fall into a single event.

“The wireless industry is evolving rapidly and there is a need to have a show that centers on the entire global mobile ecosystem in a way that hasn’t existed among the current shows, which is why CTIA 2014 will be unique. The mobile revolution is positively affecting nearly every industry, such as M2M, connected home, media and advertising, money and global consumer electronics, and CTIA 2014 will serve as a worthy platform to showcase those companies and individuals that are leading this charge and will be a valuable resource for anyone wanting to be a part of this innovative industry,” said Rob Mesirow, CTIA Vice President and Show Director. “In addition, the timing of the 2014 show will deliver the perfect stage for companies to debut mobile consumer products and services for the annual holiday buying season.”

As CTIA points out, the new event should be “the perfect stage to debut mobile consumer products and services heading into the annual holiday buying season.”

CTIA will hold on to its two event schedule in 2013 with CTIA 2013 taking place May 21st to 23rd and MobileCON 2013 running from October 9th to 11th. The first CTIA super mobile show, CTIA 2014, will take place from September 9th to September 14th at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Read more: CTIA

TELUS launches LTE network in Sudbury, Ontario

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Dec 292012
TELUS logo

TELUS launched its LTE network in Sudbury, Ontario, just before the holidays. This latest expansion of its LTE network was part of the company’s CA$650 million investment in Ontario over the next three years to further expand and enhance its wireless network. LTE device users can expect to see peak download speeds of up to 75Mbps with average speeds ranging from 12 to 25 Mbps.

“TELUS is committed to offering the best customer experience and launching our 4G LTE service in Sudbury is an excellent example of how we’re doing that,” said Piero Fusco, director of sales, TELUS. “With a 4G LTE device like Samsung Galaxy S III or Note II, our customers right here will have the fastest wireless internet at their fingertips, as fast as your home internet connection but on your smartphone, tablet or internet key. We are continuing to expand this new technology, community by community, so that by the end of the year many more Ontario residents are expected to have access. It’s an ambitious undertaking.”

TELUS LTE coverage of Sudbury, Ontario

TELUS also recently launched its LTE coverage in Leamington, Oshawa, Whitby, St. Catharines, the Niagara region and Brantford.

Read more: TELUS (Source: MobileSyrup)

RIM sells off NewBay cloud service subsidiary

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Dec 272012
Research In Motion

Research In Motion has found a buyer for NewBay, the company it acquired in October 2011. It bought the company that offers media and social sharing tools for about US$100 million but sold it to Synchronoss Technologies, a company that provides software-based activation and mobile content management solutions for connected devices for US$55.5 million in cash.

“By adding NewBay’s technology assets and millions of subscribers, this transaction further establishes Synchronoss as the clear leader in providing cloud based mobile content services for mobile operators around the world. By combining our strengths, Synchronoss will deliver the most comprehensive, scalable and secure cloud platform, and we will significantly expand our early market share leadership position,” said Stephen G. Waldis, Chief Executive Officer of Synchronoss.

RIM had been looking to sell off its NewBay, a RIM subsidiary, since last August.

No explanation was given for the sale but it’s likely that RIM is completely focused on BlackBerry 10. The NewBay sale was likely part of its efforts to streamline operations.

Read more: Synchronoss (Source: N4BB)

Google extends free Gmail calling in Canada and U.S. through 2013

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Dec 272012

Google yesterday announced that it will continue to offer free domestic calls in Canada and the U.S. through Gmail through 2013. The service that lets Gmail users call standard phone numbers has been free since it launched in 2010.

Many of you call phones from Gmail to easily connect with friends and family. If you’re in the US and Canada, you’ll continue to be able to make free domestic calls through 2013. Plus, in most countries, you can still call the rest of the world from Gmail at insanely low rates.

As the Gmail team also indicated, international Gmail users will also continue to benefit from low rates to make international voice calls using Google Voice. For example, Google indicates that the “leading internet telephony provider” charges US$0.20 per minute to call France whereas it charges only US$0.10.

Google may be keeping its Gmail calling service free for another year in a bid to catch up to other voice and video services such as Microsoft’s Skype. To do so, it will need to continue to improve it as it seems more prone to poor transmission quality issues than its competitors.

Now if Google would only integrated Gmail calling with Google Voice or Google Talk…

Read more: Official Gmail Blog

Samsung aiming to ship 510 million mobile phones in 2013

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Dec 262012

2012 has not quite wrapped up but Samsung is already looking ahead to 2013. The company has set some lofty sales targets for itself according to a report by The Korea Times citing “an executive from one of Samsung’s key suppliers.” It may be looking to ship 510 million mobile phones in the next year. This would be a 20% increase over the estimated 420 million devices it expects to ship this year.

Samsung is looking to ship 390 million smartphones to capitalize on the growing worldwide appetite for such devices. While the company does acknowledge that smartphone growth could slow down compared to past years, it expects “new demand for devices using Long Term Evolution (LTE),” according to company executive Kim Hyun-joon.

Samsung may also diversify its smartphone and tablet portfolio in 2013. Along with the expected Galaxy smartphones (including the Galaxy S IV) and tablets, it is planning to launch Windows Phone 8 smartphones (likely under the ATIV brand) as well as devices powered by Tizen.

Most of Samsung’s mobile phone production will come out of Vietnam where it will also invest US$2.2 billion over several years to build up production capacity. Some 240 million devices will be manufactured in Vietnam with another 170 million to come from China, 20 million from India, and 40 million from its Korean factory in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province.

Samsung is set to become both the top cellphone and smartphone manufacturer in the world in 2012. Its goals for 2013 are even more impressive when you consider that the company shipped a “mere” 600,000 smartphones only four years ago, back in 2009.

Read more: The Korea Times

Motorola nabs key Samsung marketing executive?

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Dec 222012

Motorola MobilityEarlier this week, we got our first sign that Google has some big plans in 2013 for its recently acquired Motorola business. The rumoured Motorola Phone X is meant to take on flagship devices from other smartphone manufacturers. But an impressive device alone is likely not enough. A strong marketing campaign will also be needed to make sure that the Phone X is not drowned out by the hype and media attention that will follow the launch of new flagship devices from smartphone business heavyweights Apple and Samsung. Who better to lead this effort than one who has already done this for one of these two companies.

According to AllThingsD, Google has hired Brian Wallace who was Vice President for Strategic Marketing at Samsung Telecommunications America to take on a similar role at Motorola. While many may not be familiar with his name, they are familiar with the famous campaign that poked a good deal of fun at Apple and its devoted customers. The last such ad was the following:

Wallace was with Samsung for about a year. Before that, he was RIM’s Vice President, Global Digital Marketing and Media.

Will we now see Motorola ads poking fun at both Apple and Samsung in the near future?

Read more: AllThingsD

Nokia and RIM enter new patent license agreement

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Dec 212012

NokiaAnother legal battle has been put to rest. Last month, a dispute between Nokia and RIM over WLAN patents went in Nokia’s favour, putting at risk RIM’s BlackBerry sales, including those of its upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices. Fortunately, the two companies have reached a resolution and existing patent litigations have been settled.

“We are very pleased to have resolved our patent licensing issues with RIM and reached this new agreement, while maintaining Nokia’s ability to protect our unique product differentiation,” said Paul Melin, chief intellectual property officer at Nokia. “This agreement demonstrates Nokia’s industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.”

As a result of the settlement, Nokia will receive a one-time payment and on-going payments from RIM. More specific terms of the agreement were not revealed.

The agreement is one less hurdle that RIM will need to deal with as it prepares to launch its BlackBerry 10 smartphones next month.

Read more: Nokia

RIM announces Q3 fiscal 2013 results, beats expectations but loses subscribers

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Dec 202012

Research In MotionResearch In Motion today announced its Q3 fiscal 2013 results. Revenues came in at US$2.7 billion, down 5% from Q2’s US$2.9 billion and down 47% from US$5.2 billion the same quarter a year ago. As a result, the company posted a loss of US$114 million or US$0.22 per share but beat Wall Street’s expectation of a loss of US$0.35 a share.

“RIM continued to execute on its product roadmap plans and to deliver on key financial metrics as it gets set for the global launch of BlackBerry 10,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO. “During the third quarter, we continued to demonstrate our strong financial position, generating $950 million in cash flow from operations, and increasing our cash position significantly to more than $2.9 billion. More than 150 carriers are currently completing technical acceptance programs for the first BlackBerry 10 products, and beta trials of BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 are underway at more than 120 enterprises including 64 Fortune 500 companies. This is an exciting time and our carrier partners, application developers and employees are all looking forward to unveiling the innovation and excitement of BlackBerry 10 to our customers on January 30, 2013.”

RIM shipped 6.9 million BlackBerry smartphones and about 255,000 BlackBerry PlayBooks. In all, hardware accounted for 60% of its revenues.

For the first time ever, RIM saw its BlackBerry subscriber base fall. At the end of this latest quarter, RIM had 79 million users, losing about 1 million since August. A breakdown of numbers was not provided but it’s likely that growth in emerging markets such as Nigeria and the Philippines is not enough to offset losses in mature markets such as North America.

The company expects its next quarter to be as challenging. The launch of BlackBerry 10 will require significant marketing effort to promote its new operating system and devices. At the same time it expects to take further “pricing initiatives” on BlackBerry 7 devices to maintain its subscriber base. It also expects that BlackBerry 7 sales will be further impacted as customers defer purchases until the new devices launch.

RIM will launch its new BlackBerry 10 devices (including the BlackBerry Z10?) next month. Now the turnaround can begin in earnest.

Read more: Research In Motion

HTC cuts smartphone development and shipment goals for Q1 2013?

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Dec 202012

HTCDespite a number of impressive smartphones, HTC has struggled against the Apple-Samsung juggernaut and seen its market share and sales fall significantly in the last year. HTC’s sales woes do not appear to be limited to its Android devices. The report indicates that sales of Windows Phone 8-based smartphones have also not met expectations. That trend looks to continue in early 2013 even as the company tries to turn its fortunes around.

HTC’s struggles are now having an impact in a number of areas for the company. According to Digitimes, HTC has suspended the development of several new smartphones for 2013. It has also revamped its product roadmap for 2013, likely by reducing the number of models it will offer. HTC has also reduced growth targets for Q1 2013 by half to between 10% and 15% from the original goal of between 20% and 30%.

HTC is expected to unveil its new flagship smartphone, the HTC M7, in early 2013, perhaps at Mobile World Congress.

Read more: Digitimes

Nokia cancels CES 2013 appearance to focus on MWC announcements

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Dec 182012

NokiaAt CES last year, Nokia unveiled its Lumia 900 flagship smartphone for AT&T. With the manufacturer having announced new devices for U.S. carriers (for example the Lumia 920 for AT&T and the Lumia 822 for Verizon) only recently, it now appears that it will skip the event entirely this year to focus on announcements at Mobile World Congress in late February.

Chinese WPDang reports that Nokia has cancelled its Consumer Electronics Show plans and will not be found at the event. A look at the CES 2013 Exhibitor Directory appears to support this as only Nokia’s Navteq division is represented.

The report adds that Nokia could use MWC to introduce the Lumia 950 (which we’ve heard about before), an upgraded version of the Lumia 920. It could also launch the Nokia Lumia 980 which could be the Windows Phone 8 successor to the Nokia 808 PureView.

As UnwiredView points out, Nokia could make the next round of U.S. carrier announcements at CTIA Wireless 2013 running in late May.

Read more: WPDang (in Chinese) [Google translation] (Source: UnwiredView)

Google dropping Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support for new devices

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Dec 142012

GoogleGoogle today announced that its Google Sync service would no longer be available to new devices as of January 30th, 2013. The service allowed users to access Gmail, Calendar and Contacts through the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol.

With the recent launch of CardDAV, Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols.

Microsoft currently does not support CalDAV and CardDAV in Windows Phone 8. It remains to be seen if it will come up with a workaround to this development. New Windows Phone 8 users may want to look at Microsoft’s new service (which supports Exchange ActiveSync) instead of Gmail.

Fortunately for current users, Google will continue to support existing Google Sync connections. Google will also continue to fully support Google Sync for Google Sync for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education.

Google made the announcement as part of a larger announcement. It is also shutting down “several less popular Google Calendar features” such as Appointment slots and Smart Rescheduler and Add gadget by URL. The Punchd Android and iOS apps, used to keep loyalty punch cards on smartphones, will be shut down on June 7th, 2013 along with merchant support for these.

Read more: Google Official Blog

Dell offially exits smartphone market

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Dec 132012

DellThe writing was on the wall already but today it became official. Dell confirmed back in March that it was pulling out of the U.S. smartphone market but it continued to sell its smartphones in a number of emerging markets. For example, it continued to offer the Venue Pro in India while Streak smartphones and tablets continued to be available in China.

Dell today announced that it was now stopping to sell smartphones altogether. Confirmation came from Jeff Clarke, Dell’s vice chairman and president, Global Operations and End User Computing Solutions, at the Dell World conference. Clarke explained that Dell would have needed to make “a lot of investments to really be successful.”

Dell will refocus its efforts on devices running Windows RT and Windows 8. At the same time, Dell is not quite ready to give up on Android. “It doesn’t mean we’re not looking at Android. You should come and see what’s in our labs,” teased Clarke.

Read more: Forbes (Source: BGR)

RIM sued by Wi-LAN over Bluetooth patent

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Dec 112012

Research In MotionResearch In Motion is the latest company to be sued by patent licensing company Wi-LAN Inc. The latter accuses RIM of infringing one of its Bluetooth technology patents, U.S. Patent No. 6,260,168.

Wi-LAN did not provide any further details, including what damages if any it was seeking from RIM.

Wi-LAN has also recently launched infringement lawsuits against Apple and HTC among others over LTE patents.

Update: Wi-LAN’s lawsuit is looking for both unspecified financial damages as well as preliminary and permanent injunctions against RIM’s smartphones and PlayBook tablet.

Read more: Wi-LAN (Source: Reuters)

Sony Xperia and Box extend cloud storage partnership into 2013

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Dec 092012

Sony Mobile CommunicationsSony Mobile Communications this week announced that its partnership with Box would be extended into 2013.

Announced before the 2011 festive season and initially running for a year – Xperia smartphone and Sony tablet users can now grab free 50GB cloud storage for life, by signing-up or accessing existing Box accounts from their devices before 31st December 2013.

Sony and Box first announced their partnership last year. Unlike many similar offers, this one is for life!

The Box app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store. All Sony Xperia 10 smartphones and more recent devices (except for the Xperia X10 mini, X10 mini pro and devices with Android versions prior to 2.1) and Android tablets are eligible for the 50GB of storage from Box.

Read more: Sony Mobile Communications (Source: XperiaBlog)