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 →
With Research In Motion’s annual shareholder meeting scheduled to take place later today, one popular RIM-focused analyst is calling for the company to split its handset and network businesses into two separate companies. “RIM’s organization, like its handsets, needs modernization. By acting now, splitting RIM into network and handset businesses may target opportunities and unlock significant shareholder value,” RBC Capital Markets Managing Director Mike Abramsky wrote in a note to investors on Tuesday. “RIM’s end-to-end solution was conceived when data devices and networks were nascent — but times have changed,” the analyst continued. Abramsky believes the standalone network business can target a market of roughly 400 million Android devices, Windows Phones, tablets and other devices with “affordable, efficient, cross-platform mobile push messaging, social networking, cloud and business data services (and software)” that is already interconnected with 595 carriers around the globe. On the other end, splitting off RIM’s devices business could accelerate handset innovation, strengthen developer relationships and help the company prioritize its customers and developers over its carrier partners — a sentiment thought by some to be paramount to RIM’s success moving forward. Abramsky reiterated his price target of $35 for RIM stock, noting above-average risk.
We’ve just been sent a shot of AT&T’s upcoming Facebook-centric device, the AT&T HTC Status. The device looks pretty identical to the European HTC ChaCha, save for the obvious AT&T branding. We exclusively reported the HTC Status would be the official name of the device here in the U.S., and now that it’s confirmed, we have to say, it’s one of the most logical names for a device we can think of in recent memory. One more shot of the Facebook phone that’s not a Facebook phone, after the break.
Apple, a company many said had repeatedly delayed the development and launch of the iPhone for fear that it might cannibalize its iPod business, is now a “mobile devices company” with a smartphone that is undoubtedly its flagship device. Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook have both publicly acknowledged this major transition on several occasions, including on stage while unveiling the iPad and on earnings calls while speaking with analysts. Apple is growing at an unheard of pace and stockpiling mountains of cash, all thanks to its mobile business. Personal Computers, Apple’s core business for nearly 30 years, now play second fiddle to the company’s mobile devices in terms of both revenue and mind share. On the other side of the table, old rival Microsoft is doing all it can to regain its footing in the mobile space after letting its Windows Mobile platform grow stale and moldy. Windows Mobile’s replacement, Windows Phone, is still in its infancy but early reports have suggested adoption has been slow at best. So where does Microsoft go from here? More →
9to5Mac is reporting that the next iPhone, the iPhone 4S as it’s being referred to, will feature the LED flash for the camera on the opposite side of the case. There have been reports from a small group of individuals experiencing camera problems due to the iPhone’s built-in flash, and this looks like a way to solve the issue. Take a look for yourselves at supposed leaked parts from the upcoming iPhone 4S above. For more information on the iPhone 4S, make sure to check out our exclusive photos of the iPhone 4S coming to T-Mobile. More →
According to a report filed by Bloomberg Businessweek, Google is beginning to shorten the proverbial leash that Android licensees are currently attached to. Citing “dozens” of industry executives working at “key companies in the Android ecosystem,” the publication writes that Google will need to approve the future Android-plans of its software partners in exchange for early access to upcoming builds of the mobile operating system. “There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software,” reads the report. “No more partnerships formed outside of Google’s purview.” More →
A few days ago Google was made aware that there were over 20 apps in the Android Market that were up to no good. These malicious apps gained system-level access to your handset when downloaded and would intercept and covertly transmit private data to 3rd party servers. Some of these apps have been downloaded more than 50,000 times. To try and fix the problem, Google has started using a remote kill switch feature in Android to wirelessly nuke those installed apps on user’s handsets. That’s not the entire story, though, as Google is actually installing new code in the process. The new code undoes the exploit and prevents your data from being shared, and it’s kind of creepy to plainly see how much control Google has over your Android phone from afar. Affected users have started receiving emails that the process has been completed. More →
It looks like AT&T is aiming to recapitalize on revenues generated from handset sales. Several third-party wireless resellers — including Wirefly — have reported that beginning this March, they will no longer offer AT&T devices or services. In a letter to customers, Wirefly CEO, Andy Zeinfeld, noted that his company is committed to providing great selection and savings along with straightforward pricing; something Mr. Zeinfeld said is no longer possible with AT&T.
“It is with regret that I must inform you that effective March, 2011, we will no longer offer AT&T products and services on Wirefly.com,” writes Mr. Zeinfeld.
Wirefly is not, however, the only one being put on AT&T probation. Online retailer LetsTalk sent out the following note to its affiliates:
Effective March 8th, 2011, LetsTalk as well as other web indirect agents […], will no longer be able to offer AT&T Wireless as a carrier option to our customers. The primary reasons given for this change in AT&T’s business strategy were centered around AT&T cost savings and retrenchment.
It is still unclear how other independent, third-party retailers — like Amazon Wireless — will be affected; the “business strategy” that AT&T modified causing this third-party exodus is also unknown.
Wirefly declined to further comment on the situation and AT&T did not respond to BGR‘s request for a statement. More →
We’re here and ready to go at Samsung’s Mobile World Congress 2011 event. While the Samsung Galaxy S II and Samsung Galaxy Tab II have popped up online, we’re sure there will still be a few surprises in store for us. Hit the break for all the live coverage! More →
According to a report filed by Mobilized, the nation’s fourth largest carrier, T-Mobile, plans on focusing its CES efforts on HSPA+, Android, and tablet computers. Mark McDiarmid, T-Mo’s senior director of engineering, sat down with the blog and noted that his company will outline plans for its ultra-fast 42Mbps HSPA+ network at the show. Mr. McDiarmid also mentioned that devices equipped with HSPA+ radios capable of taking advantage of the higher speeds would come to market sometime next year. A post-interview email expanded on the carrier’s CES plans:
T-Mobile is big on Android, big on faster 4G speeds and big on 4G devices including tablets. We will continue to drive innovation on these fronts in 2011.
We wouldn’t be adverse to hearing about some 42Mbps, HSPA+ handsets and tablets… even if we do have to listen to them be referred to as 4G. More →
Blog DigiTimes is reporting that HTC has informed suppliers of its intentions to manufacture 60 million mobile handsets in 2011. The information comes courtesy of anonymous sources with access to an “executive summit” HTC recently held in Taipei; the purported event had 200 executives from over 100 companies in attendance. In 2010, the Quietly Brilliant company shipped 20 million mobile units to its sales channels, making the 60 million units figure, a 200% increase, even more ambitious. More →
A Best Buy source just messaged us some information of interest. More →
Long the champion for Rural wireless carriers, the Rural Cellular Association has again championed the cause of unlocking handsets by pointing to the recent “We’re going SIM-Free” announcement by NTT DoCoMo. The Rural Cellular association took its case to the FCC in a letter that praises NTT DoCoMo’s pro-consumer decision to unlock its handsets and urges the FCC to encourage US-based wireless carriers to take similar steps. The RCA has been pushing this initiative for over two years to no avail; with the FCC a year into its investigation of carrier exclusivity and its effect on consumer choice in the US, perhaps the time is now for this proposal to fall on some non-deaf ears?