Worldwide 3G/4G connections top 1.6 billion

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Jan 122013
 

There are now over 1.6 billion 3G and 4G connections in the world, according to the latest numbers by Wireless Intelligence, the research arm of the GSM Association. Put another way, use of mobile broadband now account for nearly one quarter of the world’s total connections.

HSPA now makes up the majority of mobile broadband connections and is the fastest growing wireless technology ever. LTE still accounts for only 4% of connections.

Global mobile broadband in Q1 2013
Click to see the full version

There are a few interesting facts to be found in the infographic:

  • Asia, which already has the highest number of connections, shows a penetration only 18%. We can expect to see tremendous growth in this area over the next few years.
  • The Americas, which includes both North and South America, accounts for the second largest block of connections. With penetration more than twice as high, annual growth is expected to be only half that of Asia.
  • Africa will show the highest annual growth rates (projected at 80%) as mobile broadband is just getting established there.
  • Oceania, the smallest block, also has the highest penetration rate at 74%.

Bottom line, while some markets are reaching maturity, there is definitely plenty of room for growth for the next few years.

Wireless Intelligence‘s definition of mobile broadband includes technologies that include LTE, WiMAX, HSPA, and China’s TD-SCDMA.

Read more: Wireless Intelligence

More Apple iPad mini size comparison pictures surface

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Oct 012012
 

More pictures comparing the size of the upcoming Apple iPad Mini have surfaced. This latest series not only compares the iPad mini to the iPad and both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S but also puts it next to the Google Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire. Once again, the comparisons use a full-scale model rather than a functional unit.

Apple iPad mini size comparison

Apple iPad mini size comparison

The iPad mini is thinner but wider and taller than the Google Nexus 7.

Earlier today, a separate rumour indicated that Apple could hold its iPad mini event on October 17th.

Read more: Nowherelse.fr (in French) [Google translation] (Source: Business Insider)

HTC extends 5GB DropBox storage offer to all HTC Android phones

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Oct 252011
 

HTCHTC has expanded a recent partnership with DropBox to cover all its Android phones. Originally, the offer gave owners of HTC’s latest Android handsets (those running HTC Sense 3.5) an additional 3GB of cloud storage from the cloud storage provider. The 3GB came on top of the 2GB provided for free by DropBox to all its customers for a total of 5GB.

HTC announced via Twitter yesterday that this offer is now available for all its Android phones:

We’re proud to announce that we’ve partnered with @Dropbox, bringing 5GB of storage to all of our #Android phones.

To take advantage of the offer, you will need to download the Dropbox app from the Android Market.

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Apple to launch two iPhones in September?

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Jun 272011
 

Apple

Rumours continue to swirl about Apple’s plans for its latest iPhone. Will it be a specification bump with little physical changes (a la iPhone 3GS) or a radically changed design? The latest market analyst to weigh in on this matter is proposing the best of both worlds: Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore suggests that Apple will announce both in September (without citing any sources).

Whitmore suggests that Apple will release the mid-range iPhone 4S to take advantage of Research In Motion and Nokia’s current challenges. Such a device, unlocked and costing around US$349, would also “drive significantly greater penetration,” especially in the pre-paid market. Many markets, such as Africa and Latin America, are made up of a majority of pre-paid customers. A cheaper iPhone, one that customers could pay for upfront, could open up a market of about a billion new customers to Apple.

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty suggests that she expects Apple to start ramping production for the new iPhone (she expects only one) in mid to late August with a launch in late September (timelines echoed by Bloomberg last week)

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Google I/O 2011: Google planning further Nexus devices

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May 102011
 

Google Nexus

At a Q&A that followed today’s Google I/O keynote, Andy Rubin, SVP of Mobile at Google, today confirmed that Google will release further Nexus devices. Asked about a potential Nexus 3, Rubin replied:

“The Nexus has been the thing that we used to set the bar, and there’s always going to be new ones coming out in the market…we’ll make an announcement at some point in the future.”

Rubin did not specify whether the next device would be another smartphone or a tablet (there have been rumours LG is building a Nexus-branded tablet). Then again, Google could release both.

Could the next Nexus device debut alongside Android Ice Cream Sandwich in Q4 2011?

Google I/O 2011: Google announces Android 3.1 Honeycomb update

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May 102011
 

Google Android Honeycomb

As Google I/O 2011 kicked off today, Google announced that it will release an update to Android 3.0 Honeycomb for tablet devices. It comes with a number of new features including new multitasking functionality, resizable widgets, USB host support (providing support for camera uploads, game controllers, mice and more). The multitasking promises to offer more fluid transitions and be more reliable.

The Honeycomb update will be deployed not only to tablets but also to Google TV. The latter will also get access to the Android Market this summer.

Android 3.1 will be deployed through Verizon first. Timelines for other carriers were not revealed.

T-Mobile USA trademarks SnapPad for tablets

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May 102011
 

If a recent USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) filing (PDF document) is any indication, T-Mobile USA could be getting set to launch a new line of tablet devices called SnapPad. Little is known beyond their identification as “Tablet computers” in the filing submission.

Much as it has done with the G-Slate (from LG), it is likely that T-Mobile will rebrand a tablet from a manfuacturer such as HTC or Samsung.

T-Mobile has also registered a number of domain names, including SnapPad.biz and T-MobileSnapPad.com.

Source: PocketNow.com

Microsoft acquires Skype

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May 102011
 

Skype

Skype today announced that it is being bought out by Microsoft in a deal worth US$8.5 billion. Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, and Skype CEO Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division, reporting directly to Ballmer.

“Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world.”

While Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype on non-Microsoft platforms, you can expect to see Skype on Xbox, Windows Phone (already in the works), and other Windows devices and communities (including Outlook and Xbox Live).

Already approved by both boards of directors, the transaction is expected to meet all required regulatory clearances and close sometime later this year.

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Samsung receives over 3 million Galaxy S II preorders

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May 092011
 

Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung announced that it had received some 3 million pre-orders by the end of April for its Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone. It began to hit certain markets last week (e.g., the UK on May 1st). It will eventually be available through 140 carriers in some 120 countries.

Samsung Canada has indicated that the Samsung Galaxy S II will be available here by early Q3. US plans (availability and carriers) still have not been revealed.

Note: The ‘Read more about this story’ link is in Korean. [Google translation]

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HP announces DataPass pre-paid 3G mobile service

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May 092011
 

Hewlett-Packard

Hewlett-Packard yesterday announced that it is launching a new mobile data plan service called HP DataPass. Users will be able to purchase wireless broadband data without the need for contracts, hotspots and set-up fees.

HP DataPass offers nationwide mobile broadband service so you can stay connected while on the go. Free from the restriction of Wi-Fi hotspots, you can browse, e-mail, and download from virtually anywhere you go! You can also say goodbye to the hassle of purchasing costly hotel and airport day passes that only work at the hotel or airport. With HP DataPass you can stay connected wherever your business or pleasure may take you across our nationwide network.

Plans start at US$5 for 75MB over a five-hour period. A free trial offering 50MB of data is also available.

HP DataPass uses Sprint’s EVDO network. There is no word yet on whether HP will offer DataPass outside the US.

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Motorola planning more Atrix smartphone-Lapdock combination devices

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May 082011
 

Motorola Mobility

Motorola is planning to release further Atrix smartphone-Lapdock combinations as alternatives to the wave of Android tablets coming. Confirmation came during Motorola’s analyst call earlier this month. According to Sanjay Jha, Motorola Mobility chairman and CEO:

“In the Android ecosystem, there is a need for us to differentiate. Atrix devices with the Webtop and lap-dock we really think there is an alternative way of viewing the convergence between mobility and computing. And we will continue to focus on that.”

Jha promised that future Lapdock concept devices will be available across a wider range of pricing and target both the consumer and enterprise tiers.

Could the DROID BIONIC (recently delayed to Q3 for some improvements) be released with a cheaper Lapdock accessory?

RIM and Microsoft announce BlackBerry search partnership

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May 072011
 

Research In Motion and Microsoft announced a new partnership earlier this week at BlackBerry World 2011. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took to the stage during co-CEO Mike Lazaridis’ keynote speech to announce that Bing would be the new default maps and search features on upcoming BlackBerry devices. It will apparently be integrated at the OS level with devices shipping for this upcoming holiday season but will also be added to current BlackBerry models.

It is likely that Microsoft will pay RIM handsomely for this new partnership (financial terms were not revealed). On its side, Microsoft stands to make more money (and keep that money from competitor Google) from these services due to its now larger customer base.

Rest assured that if Bing is not your thing (sorry, could not resist), it will still be possible to switch to other search and mapping tools.

Android 2.3 coming to HTC Desire Z this summer

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May 072011
 

HTC Desire Z

HTC will release an upgrade to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) for the HTC Desire Z as early as next month. Back in February, it had promised to do so in Q2 2011. The confirmation comes via a comment made on its UK support website:

“…we optimise the experience for each handset, for example, HTC Desire HD and Desire Z have different screen sizes. Gingerbread for Desire Z is coming before the end of June”

Let’s hope that carriers (including Bell Canada) can quickly vet the update and push it out to their customers.

Source: GSMArena.com

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Apple iPad 3 to feature glasses-free 3D?

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May 062011
 

Apple

We’ll leave this one squarely in the ‘wild rumours’ category but a report emerged yesterday that the next iPad could come with a glasses-free 3D display. A “Hollywood insider close to the big movie studios” has told RCR Wireless that “the iPad 3 is 3D is a dead cert.” Apparently, the rumour is corroborated by RCR’s “close industry sources” at Foxconn which manufactures iPads for Apple.

Hollywood studios are apparently “running around like blue arsed flies” trying to get content ready for the launch of the iPad 3.

While I suspect that Apple is, like pretty much every other mobile device manufacturer out there, experimenting with 3D displays, I wonder if it truly has something that has Steve Jobs’ seal of approval yet. If it does, Apple may well be set to keep its tablet competitors on the back foot for some time longer.

Source: CNET News

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Smartphone shipments just under 100 million in Q1 2011

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May 062011
 

IDC reported today that worldwide smartphone shipments grew 79.7 percent year over year in Q1 2011. 99.6 million smartphones were shipped compared to a ‘mere’ 55.4 million in Q1 2010.

“Conditions in the smartphone market are creating a perfect storm for sustained smartphone growth,” says Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team. “First, vendors are increasingly emphasizing smartphones as the key to their own growth. Second, selection has proliferated from mostly high-end devices to include more mid-range and entry-level offerings. Third, pricing has become increasingly competitive, with even high-end devices available at low price points. Finally, users continue to seek greater utility from their mobile phone beyond voice, and smartphones have been the ideal solution. Altogether, these add up to continued smartphone growth throughout the year.”

The top five vendors are now: Nokia (with its market share plunging to 24.3 percent despite a 12 percent increase in shipments), Apple (with a 18.7 market share and 114 percent shipment increase), Research In Motion (14.0 percent market share and 31.1 percent shipment increase), Samsung (10.8 percent market share and an industry leading 350 percent shipment increase), and HTC (8.9 percent market share and 229.6 percent shipment increase).

Could Apple become the largest smartphone vendor sometime this year?

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