Orange and AT&T have joined the growing chorus of supporters for tablet devices, alongside a number of vendors who have been drawn to the market by the success of Apple’s iPad. According to French newspaper Les Echos, Orange is planning to launch three devices before the end of 2010, one of which will be an Android device carrying its own branding and targeted at the the mass-market – it could cost as little as EUR100 for customers taking a two-year service contract. It is also likely to offer the iPad for more well-heeled customers, building on its existing relationship with Apple, and one other so-far unconfirmed product. Bloomberg notes that Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility, has said that "there’s going to be a huge number of tablets, different sizes, different functions," although the company’s specific device plans were not revealed.
A number of vendors are either confirmed or rumoured to be working on tablet devices, including Acer, Dell, HP, LG Electronics, Motorola, Research In Motion and Samsung. Taiwanese publication DigiTimes reports that JT Wang, chairman of Acer, believes that the market share of Apple’s iPad will shrink to 20-30 percent when the market “stabilises”, down from “close to 100 percent” now, with Android-powered products likely to be a driver; Microsoft’s Windows 7 is also set to play a role in this market. In contrast, research firm iSuppli said that even after competing products reach the market, Apple will still have more than a 60 percent market share in the tablet market in 2012, aided by its integration of hardware, software, operating system and applications.
(via Telecoms Europe)
Huawei has expanded a deal with BT to include fiber access network solutions, which the telco will use in its £2.5 billion (€3 billion) 21C next-generation UK network.
Orange France is reportedly preparing to launch an own brand tablet running Google’s Android by the year end, Slashgear.com reported.
South Korean carrier SK Telecom will upgrade its wireless data network with a packet optical transport system from Alcatel-Lucent, paving the way for evolution to LTE.
Telefonica subsidiary Movistar Chile will use Nokia Siemens Network’s HSPA+ technology to boost network capacity, the vendor announced yesterday. Nokia Siemens said its infrastructure provides Movistar peak data rates of 21Mbps in the downlink, and 5.8Mbps up.
Apple is widely expected to launch an updated iPod and cloud-based version of iTunes at a press event on September 1. The firm normally updates the iPod in the fall, and posted a picture of a guitar sporting its logo on invitations, the Telegraph reported.
BT has teamed with Walt Disney Company EMEA, to launch a new video on demand service for its BT Vision customers in the UK. ABC TV On Demand will offer access to major US TV series for 99 pence (€1.21) per program.
A loophole in the new Google Gmail voice service allows Australian users also to get free voice calls to the US and Canada. The service is initially intended for just North American users.
Good for Micromax. Mobile industry in India is in constant move and local companies are getting really, really successful. I am hoping my friends at Wynn Telecom are reading this ! Best of luck to you in Mumbai.
(via Telecoms Europe via Business Week)
Micromax closing in on Nokia in India
Mehul Srivastava | August 19, 2010
Bloomberg Businessweek(via Telecoms Europe)
On a hot summer afternoon in 2007, executives at a small Indian pay phone company called Micromax noticed a curious sight. In a village in the eastern part of the country, they watched people line up next to a man with a car battery strapped to the back of his bicycle and hand him a few rupees to plug their cell phones in for a half hour's worth of charge. The villagers' homes didn't have electricity.
Less than a year later Micromax sold its first cell phone, the X1i. It came with an oversized battery, a small screen, and tweaked electronics that made the phone run for as long as five days, and on standby for as many as 30 days. "It was really the most obvious thing to do," says Vikas Jain, who co-founded the company in 1991 with three friends. "Here was something that provided customers a feature nobody else had bothered to give them—battery life."
Micromax, based in Gurgaon, a city near New Delhi, has introduced 37 phones in just over a year and a half, designing them in India and manufacturing with partners in China. The company has kept its phones affordable—they start at $40—and tailored to local tastes. Few Micromax handsets bother with Wi-Fi, 3G, or GPS capabilities, for example. That keeps costs down in a country where there isn't much Internet access and very little 3G coverage. One phone doubles as a Nintendo Wii-like controller, allowing users to play games on a television game console. Another, marketed heavily with Bollywood-themed TV commercials, has costume jewelry embedded in it and swivels open to reveal a full keyboard. Micromax is selling about 1 million handsets each month, or about 4 percent of the $6.3 billion Indian market; Indian phone makers as a group have grabbed 14 percent of the market, according to research by Indian trade magazine Voice&Data. That gain has come largely at the expense of global giant Nokia, whose share in India fell from 64 percent in 2008 to 52 percent by the end of last year. Jain says he plans to sell 30 million phones a year by the end of 2011—including 6 million in Africa and Latin America.
Micromax's approach has attracted interest from Boston-based TA Associates, a $16 billion private equity fund that invested $45 million in the company in January for an undisclosed stake. "We did spend a lot of time with the broader universe of Indian phone makers," says Naveen Wadhera, a TA Associates Advisory director based in Mumbai who worked on the deal. "But what we specifically wanted was someone with a real focus on product and a real effort at innovating. The others have a bit of a me-too sort of strategy."
Congratulations to Mark S and others from MSX ! Now you go tigers and make mobile ads happen ! (via GSMA)
RIM bolsters app distribution capabilities with Cellmania buy
Research In Motion (RIM) has acquired Cellmania, a developer of mobile content delivery technology, in a move seen as the company's attempt to bolster its BlackBerry App World content store. According to a statement on the Cellmania website, the company will “continue to bring our expertise in Application Storefront development to the BlackBerry platform." Its product portfolio includes a white-label content distribution system and device home-screen management technology. The company’s website lists operators 3, AT&T, Orange, Sprint, Telstra, T-Mobile, Telefonica O2 and Verizon Wireless as customers.
So far, it has not been revealed what RIM intends doing with Cellmania’s technology, nor whether it intends continuing to support its multi-platform development efforts – Cellmania’s website lists several Android-specific products, as well as support for Java, Symbian OS and Windows Mobile products. Last week, RIM was linked with an acquisition of mobile advertising network Millennial Media, in order to give it a position in this growing marketplace. The Financial Post suggests that the “real prize” in the Cellmania acquisition may be Ronjon Nag, Cellmania’s co-founder and CEO, who it describes as a “sort-of mobile genius." Nag holds patents wireless applications, user interfaces and new m-commerce distribution methods of mobile applications and devices. He was previously a vice-president and general manager at Motorola.
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