Thanks to a strong fourth quarter, Apple has passed LG to become the world’s third largest cell phone vendor by volume, according to new estimates from market research firm IDC. The worldwide mobile phone market grew 6.1% year-over-year in the fourth quarter as the feature phone market continued to decline to its lowest growth rate in two years. Vendors shipped 427.4 million phones in the fourth quarter compared to 402.8 million units in the same quarter last year. Nokia and Samsung remained the top and No.2 vendors, respectively, though Nokia’s phone shipments slid 7.9% while shipments of Samsung handsets grew 17.6% compared to the same quarter in 2010. Read on for more More →
Nokia has acquired Oslo, Norway-based cell phone operating system developer Smarterphone AS as it prepares to launch a reinvigorated attack on emerging markets. The transaction was completed in November 2011 according to major investor Ferd Capital, and the terms of the deal were not disclosed. Smarterphone AS has built a proprietary operating system that is designed to provide “highly advanced functionality on very moderate hardware.” While Nokia’s smartphone lineup is now powered by Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, Smarterphone’s feature phone platform is seemingly well aligned with Nokia’s recent work on a secret platform that will bring enhanced capabilities to low-end hardware. BGR exclusively reported details surrounding the secret OS last September and again in October, though it is unclear whether the Finnish vendor plans to integrate Smarterphone’s platform with its own OS, or if the new platform will replace the software that Nokia had in development. Ferd Capital’s full press release follows below. More →
Nokia is again developing a proprietary smartphone operating system after announcing this past February that it would abandon both Symbian and MeeGo in favor of Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. Citing multiple anonymous sources, The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reported that Nokia’s executive vice president of mobile phones, Mary McDowell, is heading up the project. Code-named “Meltemi,” the new mobile platform is reportedly Linux-based and it is intended for use on low-end smartphones. BGR has independently confirmed the report, and we have learned additional details that paint an exciting new picture of the mobile industry should Nokia’s new OS realize its potential.
Updated with statement from Nokia. More →
Nokia plans to exit its low-end feature phone and Symbian smartphone businesses in North America following the launch of its first round of Windows Phones, Journal blog AllThingsD reports. Nokia has historically had a great deal of trouble placing smartphones with carriers here in the U.S., and the Finnish phone maker has subsequently not had much success penetrating the market. Moving forward, however, Nokia is betting the bank on smartphones in North America. “When we launch Windows Phones we will essentially be out of the Symbian business, the S40 business, etc.,” said Nokia President Chris Weber in an interview with AllThingsD. “It will be Windows Phone and the accessories around that. The reality is if we are not successful with Windows Phone, it doesn’t matter what we do (elsewhere).” Weber continued, “We’ll develop for North America and make the phones globally available and applicable. In fact, evidence of that is that the first Windows Phones that will ship are being done by our group in San Diego.” Nokia is expected to launch its first Windows Phone-powered smartphone later this year. More →
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that AT&T will raise the early termination fee on its line of smartphones from $175 to $325 starting June 1st. The move is inline with adjustments made by Verizon Wireless to their ETF policy last November. The math is pretty simple: a BlackBerry 9700 at retail is $449 — if you buy the phone for $199 with new 2-year contract, then cancel for $175, you’ve just paid $374. Under the new scheme your price, with penalty, would be $524 ($75 over retail in this example). The new ETF will not apply to existing contracts, just those of you who are inking new 2-year deals with the Death Star. They news isn’t all bad [yes it is], as the WSJ went onto say that feature phone ETFs will shrink by $25 to $150. What do you think? Is this higher smartphone ETF going to dissuade anyone from putting their name on another AT&T contract? More →
Now before you get too excited about the bevy of rumored handsets listed below, we want to be extra clear in stating that this is rumor. A definite rumor. A steaming pile of rumor. And so on. While the source of this list has proven somewhat reliable in the past, it is also a bit loose at times with tipster-sourced information. Ok, enough with the disclaimer… Feast your eyes on a laundry list of low and mid-range handsets (and the Storm 2) reportedly headed to Verizon in the near future:
- LG Chocolate Touch VX8575 – Full touchscreen, might be like the BL40
- BlackBerry Storm 2 9550 – October-November release
- Nokia Shade 2705 – Replaces the Mirage 2605
- Nokia Twist 7705 – This might be the swivel-style phone that has been rumored for months.
- Palm Treo 800W – “Even though this was released for Sprint last year, Verizon may not have it out until February 2010.”
- Motorola Entice (or Harmony) W766 – Replaces the W755
- Samsung Rogue U960 – Replaces the Glyde U940, expected in August
- Samsung U450 – Verizon Mobile TV-compatible
- Samsung Strut U440 – QWERTY handset
- Samsung Omnia-II i920 – Due out by Christmas
And a few PTT handsets to boot:
- Motorola V860
- Samsung Convoy U640
- Casio Rock C731
- Casio Brigade C741
Sweet. Happy Sunday everyone.