Verizon Wireless on Monday announced that it will pay its parent companies a $7 billion cash distribution in June. Verizon and Vodafone teamed up back in 2000 to create the joint venture Verizon Wireless, which has grown to become the largest wireless carrier in the United States with more than 115 million customers. Based on their respective stakes in the company, Verizon, which owns 55% of the partnership, will receive a cash payment of $3.85 billion and Vodafone, which has a 45% stake, will receive $3.15 billion. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam previously hinted that Vodafone may not get a distribution payment this year, in an effort to pressure the company into selling its stake in the carrier. Verizon Wireless will make the payment to each company on June 25th. The company’s press release follows below. More →
Apple issued a software update last month to help bring unlocked iPhones to T-Mobile’s network. The update allowed unlocked GSM iPhone 5 handsets to access the carrier’s service, however some users reported experiencing slower than normal speeds on T-Mobile’s 1900MHz band. TmoNews reports that developers Joseph Brown and Sky Zangas were able to hack the carrier update and increase HSPA+ speeds to their normal levels. The update can be done to both unlocked AT&T iPhone 5 units and T-Mobile’s own iPhone 5, and it doesn’t require the device to be jailbroken. TmoNews put together step-by-step instructions that can be viewed at the link below.
Sharp will reportedly be laying off 5,000 employees as part of a three-year recovery plan to turn the company around. According to The Asahi Shimbun, the number of directors and advisory positions will be cut in half, and the number of employees at Sharp’s main office in Osaka, Japan will be reduced by 50%. Additional layoffs are also expected in China and Malaysia. In an effort to increase profits, the company will be revising its focus to producing smartphone displays, large-sized HDTV sets and 4K TVs. Sharp will reportedly announce its three-year recovery plan next Tuesday.
Two of Dell’s largest shareholders have made a new takeover bid for the struggling computer company that will challenge a previous offer from Silverlake and Michael Dell. Activist investor Carl Ichan and Southeastern Asset Management on Friday announced a new plan that would give current Dell shareholders the option keep their stock and receive either $12 per share in cash or $12 in additional shares valued at $1.65 per share. The offer counters a $24.4 billion bid led by Dell founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners to take the company private. Icahn and Southeastern hold a combined 13% stake in the company, compared to the 16% controlled by Dell and Silver Lake. More →
A new report suggests that Google will unveil an update to its forgotten Wallet service later this month. According to AllThingsD, Google was originally planning to introduce a physical credit card at its annual I/O developers event, however it has since decided against it. The company will now reportedly announce new rewards, offers and loyalty points for Wallet users available from a wider selection of merchants to help the service better compete with Apple’s Passbook. Google’s vision of creating a mobile wallet has been hampered by carriers, which have favored an alternative mobile payment system known as ISIS. The lack of NFC-equipped devices and the limited number of compatible merchant sales terminals have also hurt Google’s efforts. A physical card would have allowed Google to bring its Wallet service to the masses, however CEO Larry Page was said to be displeased with a recent demo and decided to scrap the project.
The lack of applications on the Windows Phone platform is a serious problem Microsoft must fix if it wants to be a viable alternative to Android and the iPhone. The company on Friday revealed that the Windows Phone Store is now home to 145,000 apps and games, significantly less than Google and Apple’s offerings, and only slightly more than BlackBerry. It appears that developer interest for Microsoft’s mobile platform has slowed as well. Last June, the Windows Phone Store saw tremendous growth, doubling the number of apps in a six-month period to total 100,000. In the past 11 months, however, less than 45,000 new applications were added to the marketplace.
Microsoft believes it can be a viable competitor with Android and Apple, and is making a strong push with its Windows Phone operating system. The company has launched numerous campaigns to inform smartphone buyers of their mobile options, but despite a large advertising budget, Windows Phone remains a mystery to most consumers. The question remains, can Microsoft’s mobile platform really compete with Google and Apple? More →
Earlier reports have indicated that Google and its partners are preparing to launch Android-powered notebooks that could debut later this year. Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities notes that Samsung is just one of many companies that will launch such a product within the coming months, 9to5Google reported. The analyst warns that these “AndroidBooks” won’t be announced at Google’s upcoming I/O Developers Conference due to the delayed launch of Android 5.0, however, which is meant to help further bridge the gap between computers and smartphones. More →
Verizon on Friday announced the upcoming availability of Nokia’s Lumia 928, the company’s latest flagship Windows Phone device. The Lumia 928 is equipped with a 4.5-inch 1280 x 768 pixel resolution ClearBlack display, a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and an 8.7-megapixel PureView rear camera with a Carl Zeiss lens. The handset also includes 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, wireless charging capabilities, NFC, 4G LTE connectivity and a 2,000 mAH battery. Verizon will launch the Lumia 928 in white and black on May 16th for $99.99 on contract after a $50 mail-in-rebate. Nokia is also offering buyers a $25 credit for Windows Phone apps and games for a limited time. Nokia’s promo video for the Lumia 928 follows below. More →
Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei made a rare public appearance on Thursday to deny allegations that his company’s telecommunications equipment poses a threat to U.S. national security. According to Reuters, it was the first time in more than 25 years that the executive has spoken with the media. It has been alleged that Huawei is in cahoots with the Chinese government, which has left countries such as the U.S., Canada and Australia hesitant to use the company’s equipment. More →
Failing to drive down the price on its Windows Phone devices, Nokia on Thursday announced a refresh of its Asha mobile operating system and the affordable Asha 501 phone. The handset is equipped with a 3-inch display, a 3.2-megapixel rear camera and either a single-SIM or dual-SIM configuration. The new Asha 501 is remarkably efficient, with Nokia promising a whopping 48 days of standby battery life for the single-SIM model and 26 days for the dual-SIM option. More →
The $99 Android-powered Ouya game console has been delayed by three weeks and won’t be available until late June. Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman noted that the delay is self-imposed to ensure that there is enough stock to “satisfy all the early orders.” The executive also revealed that the company has received $15 million in additional funding from various firms including NVIDIA. The new capital will be used to “support OUYA’s growing game development community, and meet increased demand for the upcoming retail launch.” The Ouya, which has some new competition from BlueStacks, is equipped with a 1.7GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 8GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM, a USB port and microUSB port, a wireless controller and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The console is now scheduled to launch at Best Buy, Amazon, GameStop and Target on June 25th for $99.99.
A new report has found that mobile device shipments, including notebooks, tablets and smartphones, exceeded 300 million units in the first quarter of 2013. According to research from Canalys, shipments increased 37.4% year-over-year to reach 308.7 units. Android manufacturers continue to ship more devices than any other vendor, totaling 59.5% of all shipments. Strong demand for the iPhone and iPad gave Apple a 19.3% share, ahead of Microsoft’s 18.1% share from shipments of Windows-powered notebooks, tablets and smartphones. More →