Microsoft to sell phones on Verizon by summer: source

March 9, 2010

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp is aiming to launch two phones that will be sold by top U.S. mobile operator Verizon Wireless in late spring or early summer, a person briefed on the matter said on Thursday.

The phones would be targeted at heavy users of social network sites, according to the person who asked not to be identified as the devices have not yet been announced.

The phones are being developed by Microsoft under the code name Project Pink, the person said. Representatives for Microsoft and Verizon Wireless declined comment. Read more

Feds push for tracking cell phones

February 12, 2010

Two years ago, when the FBI was cornered by a band of armed robbers known as the “Scarecrow Bandits” that had robbed more than 20 Texas banks, it came up with a novel method of locating the thieves.

FBI agents obtained logs from mobile phone companies corresponding to what their cellular towers had recorded at the time of a dozen different bank robberies in the Dallas area. The expansive records showed that two phones had made calls around the time of all 12 heists, and that those phones belonged to men named Tony Hewitt and Corey Duffey. A jury eventually convicted the two of multiple bank robbery and weapons charges. Read more

How far should Congress go in stopping prepaid phone traffickers?

January 22, 2010

One prevalent issue among prepaid cellular providers is of traffickers. We’ve discussed this at length on Prepaid Reviews, but for a two-sentence re-hash: Many prepaid providers subsidize boxed handsets, like the ones you’d find at Wal-Mart, so more customers can buy the phones. The companies hope to make the money back when the customer purchases minutes, but that plan is thwarted by traffickers who purchase subsidized handsets in bulk, unlock them, and then sell them at a market rate. Prepaid companies lose big, and so they’ve helped propose the Wireless Prepaid Access Enforcement Act of 2009. There’s a lot to it, and Jennifer Granick of Electronic Frontier Foundation has the analysis. Read more

Leap Wireless Exploring Possible Sale

January 15, 2010

Leap Wireless is close to hiring a bank to help it explore strategic options moving forward, according to sources familiar with the matter. Reuters reports that Leap may hire Goldman Sachs, with which it already has a history. Leap is weighing consolidation and or/and outright sale to a competitor. MetroPCS has previously expressed interest in acquiring and/or merging with Leap Wireless. It made a bid of $5.5 billion for Leap back in 2007, and expressed interest as recently as September 2009. Leap has not officially provided comment on the matter. Leap runs a pre-paid wireless service branded as Cricket.

SOURCE: Phone Scoop

Can Nokia Recapture Its Glory Days?

December 14, 2009

nokia-gloryIF there’s anywhere left in the world where it’s still impolite to flash a BlackBerry or an iPhone, it’s Nokia’s annual analyst meeting.

Although Nokia, based near Helsinki in Espoo, still commands 37 percent of the world’s handset market, it’s facing bruising competition in the lucrative high end of the industry, where Apple’s iPhone and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry have grabbed the cool factor in smartphones that can surf the Web and handle e-mail.

“The whole user experience is a nightmare,” moans Nick Jones, a senior analyst with Gartner, which tracks the technology sector. “It’s just not in any sense a competitive experience with iPhone.”

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the company’s taciturn chief executive, admits the mood out there is gloomy, especially on Wall Street. “We are not getting the benefit of the doubt,” he said in an interview the day after the analysts’ meeting. “We need to change that.” Read more

Microsoft needs to go big with Windows Mobile

December 11, 2009

windows-mobile-crisisIt’s no secret that Windows Mobile has hit a rough patch as the iPhone and Android-based smartphones have take center stage. Recent statistics from AdMob shows that Windows Mobile market share of Web surfing was way down during the past 12 months–more than 70 percent year over year.

Any number of people postulate that Windows Mobile will be dead, some say as soon as 2011, unless Microsoft figures out a way to not only make the operating system better but to convince users that they should care.

On the New York Times Bits blog, Steve Lohr wrote earlier Thursday on analyst Mark Anderson’s comments suggesting that Microsoft abandon their consumer efforts entirely–that the company has lost the battle for consumers:

Except for gaming, it is ‘game over’ for Microsoft in the consumer market. It’s time to declare Microsoft a loser in phones. Just get out of Dodge.

I’m not a huge fan of Windows Mobile, but Microsoft certainly can’t give up on smartphones and really has no alternative but to make a big move in the mobile operating system space. And Windows Mobile is not nearly as bad as many people think–if you don’t believe me, check out these results from mobile blog jkOntheRun.

I recently toyed with Windows Mobile phones at both Verizon and AT&T stores and I could absolutely see the appeal of the common desktop functional paradigm if I were a Windows user. But consumers are fickle and don’t want to add an OS decision into their buying process. They just want the phone and its applications to work and be easy to use.

There remains a huge opportunity for Microsoft to take its dominant position and make Windows Mobile truly great, even if it means walking away from the status quo. And while that’s not typically the Microsoft way, the company has shown with Bing that it can make those kinds of decisions (as well as less-positive choices.)

There are two very simple moves Microsoft could make that would not only shake up the whole market, but also build a path for the future:

Acquire Palm
It seems like a fairly obvious and very cheap acquisition for Microsoft to acquire Palm and make WebOS the next version of Windows Mobile. Palm has always produced quality desktop sync software and understands the challenges of the enterprise–far more so than Apple but still not as well as RIM.

The downside is that Microsoft doesn’t have the best track record of monetizing their acquisitions and tends to shove acquired companies into silos ala Danger. But, WebOS would at least put Microsoft into 3rd place and provide building blocks to connect desktop applications.

Embrace Android
Android brings to market a wealth of possibilities not just for smartphone functions, but for gaming, desktop connectivity and cloud services.

Yes, Google is behind Android and they are the enemy, but it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to fork the code and use the base as the next Windows Mobile. Carriers would have a reason to pay Microsoft to use their certified version of Android and even if Google closed the core, Microsoft would still be able to build on top of it.

The challenge right now is that smartphones from RIM and Apple offer a complete package of device plus applications, and buyers only have to consider the applications and form factor. Buyers have been conditioned by the carriers and to a large extent by Apple not to make the OS a big part of the decision-making process.

Android is much less evolved than the competition but has huge momentum behind it and that’s where the opportunity lies. This would obviously be a big pill for Microsoft to swallow, but the company can’t let innovation go on around it and just sit still.

SOURCE: CNET

Motorola could split four ways next year

December 9, 2009

motorola-four-waysMotorola stock jumped yesterday–from around $8.20 to $8.60 per share–after an analyst predicted the company could be broken up into four pieces by next year.

Bernstein Research analyst Pierre Ferragu said Motorola is “a combination of four business entities with no synergies,” and speculated in a research note it would be broken up in 2010. He said the company’s home and networks division could be split into two separate businesses, with Ericsson as a possible suitor for Motorola’s networks division. Enterprise mobility and mobile devices are the company’s other two units.

In November, rumors began circulating that Motorola was considering selling its home and networks business for about $4.5 billion. Motorola co-CEO Greg Brown said recently the company remains committed to its plan to eventually spin off its mobile devices division. Ferragu said Motorola’s mobile devices unit–which is in the process of refocusing on Android smartphones–is worth around $1.80 to $3 per share, and might be attractive to other handset makers, including Sony Ericsson.

A Motorola spokeswoman declined to comment.

SOURCE: Fierce Wireless

Report: Smartphones Will Surpass Regular Phones

December 4, 2009

smartphones

Smartphones to surpass regular handsets in terms of sales by 2015, says Telecom Trends International — Growth factors include falling prices and attractive features

We are witnessing a paradigm shift in the way people use the mobile phone, said Naqi Jaffery, the report author. The smartphone is becoming the primary mobile device, he said.

Smartphones sales will show a robust growth of over 28 percent through 2016 the report said. This is in contrast to regular handsets whose sales will continue to decline, it said.

Smartphones will no longer be confined to a niche market, Mr. Jaffery said. Their falling prices and attractive features are contributing their transformation into a mass market device, he said.

The 124-page report contains 27 figures and 19 tables. The report provides seven-year sales forecasts for smartphones as well as the overall handset market. It breaks down smartphone sales forecasts by operating systems.

The report provides sales breakdown for smartphones and overall handsets by geographical regions of the world for both 2008 and 2009. It provides the market share of the major vendors for both smartphones and handsets for both 2008 and 2009.

SOURCE: Mobile Tech Today

Sanyo Rumored to Exit Handset Business

December 3, 2009

sanyo-exit

Sanyo, which is headed for its third straight loss this business year, plans to sell its cellphone operations as part of a new restructuring plan, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported on Thursday. The business daily said Sanyo, which earlier this year issued $2.6 billion worth of preferred shares on very favourable terms to Goldman Sachs and two other financial institutions to ensure its survival, will also sell its semiconductor division. Sadakazu Shima, a spokesman for the Osaka-based electronics maker, declined to comment on the report.

UPDATE: Sanyo has denied the rumor and will disclose details of its reorganization when it reports first-half earnings on Friday.

In June, Finland’s Nokia scrapped a plan to jointly make mobile phones with Sanyo. The newspaper said Sanyo would look to spin off its cellphone division as early as in the next financial year starting in April and then sell the majority of the new company to a competitor. Continue >>

[ While the Nikkei has a history of breaking the news early, they’re not “always” right. Consider these two points: Sanyo has well-established expertise in GPS (which opened the door for their first DoCoMo handset), as of April 1st 2007 all new mobile phones sold in Japan are federally mandated to include GPS functionality. Also, as they came close to concluding a JV with Nokia early this year — IP rights were clearly an issue — we suggest a consolidation merger ala NEC/Panasonic/TI would be a much more likely scenerio. — Eds]

SOURCE: Wireless Watch

RUMOR: Nokia Might Sell Its Handset Division

December 1, 2009

nokia-pulledFinnish mobile phone maker Nokia is said to be considering some radical changes when it comes to its future. Among the possible moves that the company is thinking of, one might include the selling of its handset division. This is not something that one should expect to happen in short term, it seems, but it does sound like something very interesting, especially since it involves the largest mobile phone maker in the world.

The said possibility was unveiled by Nokia’s Head of marketing Anssi Vanjoki, in an interview with the German magazine Wirtschaftswoche, reports Reuters. He talked about the need for Nokia to quickly “boost its offering of mobile internet solutions,” and also mentioned that the selling of its handset division was a possibility that the company was taking into consideration on the long term.

As soon as the news emerged, a series of rumors on possible buyers for the Nokia handset making division also came to life. Among them, DigiTimes reports that the Taiwan-based EMS firm Foxconn Electronics might have great chances to purchase Nokia’s handset manufacturing business, in case the company decides to put it on sale.

However, the news site, which cites the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) paper, suggest that Foxconn would be in a better position to make the purchase when compared to rivals Elcoteq and Jabil, and points towards two other Taiwanese companies that might be interested in acquiring the handset division from Nokia. For what it’s worth, in case Nokia would indeed sell the business, one should rest assured that many other interested companies will emerge.

“Two other Taiwan companies, the Compal Group and Lite-On Technology may also emerge as potential buyers, the paper said, noting that the Compal Group is currently Nokia’s production partner for 3G netbooks and CDMA handsets, while Lite-On is cooperating with Nokia through handset casing maker Perlos.

However in a statement today Nokia said: ‘There has been news quoting Anssi Vanjoki that Nokia is considering to outsource its mobile phone production. This statement does not at all correspond with what Mr. Vanjoki said nor what has been published in the original interview. Our logistics and manufacturing are an important competitive advantage, and a core part of Nokia’s business .’

SOURCE: Softpedia

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