UN approves UCS universal cellphone charger
A new Universal Charging Solution (UCS) has been approved by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a division in the United Nations, according to a Thursday report. The energy efficient charger will be compatible with all cellphones regardless of make and model, with certain unnamed manufacturers already incorporating the standard into their products, the ITU says. Other than the energy savings, the new charger will also help eliminate waste as the charger can be retained as new phones are upgraded and older ones are thrown out.
SK Telecom app store due
The largest wireless provider in South Korea, SK Telecom, announced at a gathering of over 1,000 industry professionals and software developers on Monday that it will launch an application store in trial stages this June, with a full-fledged debut coming in September. The store will differ from originator Apple's App Store as it will cater to four cell phone operating systems, including Windows Mobile, Symbian, Android and Linux. As well, all cellphone users will be able to access the store, regardless of their carrier or type of phone they own.
Korean iPhone progress
Apple has little active interest in releasing a South Korean iPhone, claims a regional news site. Telecoms Korea cites KTF's VP of handset strategy, Won-Do Lee, who comments that while his carrier is in negotiations with Apple, progress appears to have stalled in part because of a lack of motivation on Apple's part. KTF has objections of its own though, Lee observes.
HTC to partner SK Telesys
Korean telecommunications provider SK Telecom is rumored to be entering the handset manufacturing market via affiliate SK Telesys, which officially announced plans to enter the phone manufacturing business. Local Korean media reports SK Telecom has created a team called G Project to develop innovative and original platforms and user interfaces that would be of the same scope to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android. G Project is working closely with handset manufacturer HTC, and many believe the Taiwanese hardware manufacturer is the top choice for a partner. SK Telecom paved the way for HTC to sell its hardware in Korea.
Universal Phone Chargers
Most cellphones could use a single, interoperable standard for their power chargers within three years if a GSM Association initiative proves successful. The partnership includes phone makers like LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson as well as carriers like AT&T, KTF, Telefonica, T-Mobile and Vodafone; all have developed a format that would use micro USB as the standard and cut the typical power use by about half. The plan would cut back on the number of chargers thrown out after switching phones as well as reduce the amount of energy used to keep phones running.
Pantech, KTF wind handsets
Korea's Pantech on Thursday announced the upcoming introduction of what it claims to be a pair of nearly identical cellphones with a Wind Recognition feature, the SKT IM-S410 and KTF IM-S410K. Equipped with a Nintendo DS-like sensor that can gauge the amount of forced air or wind moving through it, the feature is tied into various functions of the handset that, among other things, allows users to blow an emoticon kiss during a video call. The feature can also be used in the phones' photo galleries, gaming and video applications.
Verizon commits to LiMo
The LiMo Foundation on Monday announced six new wireless providers have committed to release LiMo Platform based handsets in 2009. The Linux OS-based phones will become available from Verizon Wireless, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, SK Telecom, Telefonica and Vodafone sometime in 2009. The open-source Linux operating system in the devices will be based on the latest version of the LiMo Platform.
DoCoMo KTF Android Phone
Japanese cell carrier NTT DoCoMo and Korean carrier KTF are working together on an Android-based phone for 2009, the Nikkei Business Daily said in a report today. The two are allegedly hoping to undercut the prices of smartphones by about 20 percent by using the free mobile operating system on a jointly-developed device. Other features haven't yet been discussed for the handset, which would be either provider's first Android phone.
iPods and Mac WiMAX Rumor
Apple is giving both its iPods and MacBooks wide-area wireless in South Korea, a statement reads. The American company has signed a memorandum of understanding with major telecoms provider KT Corp to bundle KT's WiBro (WiMAX in Korea) mobile broadband service with Apple's portable music players and notebooks. Neither firm is specific on details, though the iPod touch and similar devices would require built-in hardware to support the feature where MacBooks could use USB or ExpressCard adapters depending on the model.
Symbian gets 9 new members
The Symbian Foundation announced on Tuesday that Sharp Electronics, Opera Software, KTF wireless provider and six other companies have on Tuesday joined the Foundation to help bring open source software and applications to mobile devices more quickly and efficiently. As members of the Symbian Foundation, companies will not have to pay for software developed by its members.
Samsung Soul 1m Sales
Over one million units of Samsung's Soul designer phone have sold since it went on sale a month ago, the company says. Although limited to just Europe for its initial launch, the device has been one of the most popular phones in recent weeks and has sold better in this early stage than the iPhone managed in the first quarter of the year, when Apple sold 1.7 million units in three months.
Two Asian countries may be engaging in an unusual deal in order to secure the iPhone, according to rumors. Japan's NTT DoCoMo and South Korea's KTF are said by Telecoms Korea to be in talks for a joint release, though the reason for combining the pair's efforts is unknown. The two countries do however rely on W-CDMA broadband, as opposed to the HSPA the 3G iPhone is expected to use in regions such as Canada and the US. It may thus make sense for KTF and DoCoMo to cooperate on a shared iPhone format.
ABI on 3G Cell Strain
Unlimited cellular plans, and particularly data plans, are liable to create severe pressure on the providers that host them even as the make new features available, says a new study from ABI Research. Analysts at the group warn that the promise to carriers of new subscribers through mostly or completely unlimited plans from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon may be offset by the need to support very likely spikes in network traffic. Providers are likely to spend extra to make sure their networks can handle the load, ABI says.