Motorola starts roll-out of Android KitKat on Moto G in UK
Motorola has started rolling out Android KitKat to the Moto G in the United Kingdom. The Android 4.4.2 update, which starts rolling out today and will continue for the next week, adds the usual KitKat improvements along with a new look phone dialer, new photo editing options in the Gallery app, printing support over services such as Google Cloud Print, the new version of Hangouts, and support for the Square credit card reader.
Thinner bezel, Android KitKat appears in alleged Nexus 10 images
Images claiming to show the Google Nexus 10 have appeared online, allegedly suggesting that the device is being created by LG, instead of preceding manufacturer Samsung. If true, this would mean that LG would not only be producing the Nexus 5, but also the Nexus 10, leaving the Nexus 7 tablet alone in being manufactured by Asus.
Four-inch display, 5MP camera with flash, autofocus on Firefox OS smartphone
LG has launched its first Firefox OS smartphone, with the mobile device going on sale in Brazil starting today. The entry-level LG Fireweb running the fledgling open operating system touts a four-inch, 480x320-resolution display, and though it goes on sale after the Alcatel One Touch Fire and the ZTE Open, the Fireweb offers a few marginal improvements.
Telefonica Digital and Evernote announce global partnership with kick-off in Brazil
Launching in Brazil today, Telefonica Digital's Vivo brand is offering customers one year's access to top-tier features with Evernote Premium. Evernote helps users improve their productivity on Android and iOS devices, by creating written notes and to-do lists as well as photo capture, and sync this media across personal devices. The partnership is giving Vivo customers access to a 1GB upload limit and the ability to read notes offline, as well as benefitting from higher security features. It is yet to be determined whether this offer is exclusive to new customers.
Raids of corporate offices follow complaints about Internet capacities
The offices of three major carriers in Europe have been raided by European Union officials as part of an investigation into the practice of bandwidth throttling. The headquarters of Orange, Deutsche Telekom, and Telefonica all received visits from the government officials, trying to find evidence that the three are restricting the bandwidth for companies specifically requiring such high levels.
New initiative attempt to stop 'duopoly' of Android, iOS phones
Mexico-based Telefonica today announced the establishment of an "enhanced marketing effort" with Microsoft that aims to boost the sales of Windows Phone 8 handsets. Initially for a period of one year, Telefónica will enhance marketing activities in support of its Windows Phone 8 devices in a number of countries to offset the "duopoly of Android and iOS."
$257 million line of credit offered to EU, Latin America carrier
Canadian governmental agency Export Development Canada (EDC) is awarding a 200 million euro ($257 million) credit line to European telecom operator Telefonica. The grant is intended to help "facilitate BlackBerry market share growth" in the EU, according to the EDC. This is the first financing agreement Telefonica has received from the EDC specifically spelling out BlackBerry as the main beneficiary.
Deal worth $307M leaves Telefonica to work on 4G services
BskyB is acquiring Telefonica UK's landline and home broadband services. The deal, claimed to be worth around £200 million ($307 million) will see Sky become the second largest Internet service provider in the country, thanks to the addition of an extra 500,000 customers from Telefonica's Internet services, O2 and BE.
Total of 4G auction winning bids lower than anticipated
UK regulator Ofcom has closed its 4G spectrum auction earlier than anticipated. Mainstream British carriers Vodafone, Telefonica, Everything Everywhere, and Three, as well as BT subsidiary Niche Spectrum Ventures, have won various sections of the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum bands, though the money earned by the UK Treasury through the auction is far below what it expected.
Sprint, Telefonica, ZTE, Alcatel on board for HTML5 phones
In a post today on The Mozilla Blog, Mozilla confirmed that next year will see the launch of a number of phones powered by its Firefox operating system. The new operating system, built on Mozilla's "Boot to Gecko project," will run HTML5 apps and is aimed at furthering the development of that standard while providing a low-cost operating system for smartphones aimed at developing markets. The browser maker has teamed with a number of telecoms, including Sprint, Smart, and Telefica, as well as device manufacturers Alcatel and ZTE.
Combined network to increase coverage and smooth 4G rollout
Mobile carriers Vodafone UK and Telefonica UK (known as O2) are going to work together to create a shared network grid, the two companies have announced. The combined efforts of the two networks will see an increased coverage area for both companies in the short term, and a smoother national rollout of LTE services, currently aimed for the year 2015. LTE or "4G" services, currently nonexistent in the UK, could be rolled out quicker by the carriers working in concert.
Launch expected by late 2012 or early 2013
The first handsets to be powered by Mozilla's Boot2Gecko OS, which we tried out at Mobile World Congress, will reportedly arrive in Brazil via Telefonica as early as the end of the year. Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs made the timing announcement today in São Paulo, confirming that the platform will make it past concept development and into the retail smartphone market.
RIM would have used BIS servers for basic data
RIM's former co-CEO Jim Balsillie had proposed using BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) servers to provide data for non-BlackBerry hardware shortly before he resigned his position, new leaks uncovered on Friday. The method outlined to Reuters would have let carriers offer Android and iPhone devices with cheaper data plans that limited Internet access to chat (possibly BlackBerry Messenger) and social networks, much like entry BlackBerry plans do today. RIM would presumably have made money from leasing access to carriers eager to get more smartphone customers and offload some of their bandwidth needs.
Telcel to face pro-competition restrictions
Mexico's Federal Competition Commission ruled late Tuesday that Telcel was a dominant company and would face extra regulation. The unanimous vote observed by Dow Jones rejected an appeal while simultaneously flipping an earlier decision that lusacell and Telefonica's Movistar were also dominant in the country. Their ability to negotiate deals wasn't as powerful given their smaller influences in Mexico, officials decided.
EU worried top carriers keeping prices high
Possible slips may have revealed the first stages of a possible European Commission investigation into the continent's top five carriers. The FT heard from sources that Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), France Telecom (Orange), Telecom Italia, Telefonica (O2), and Vodafone were under scrutiny for a series of "E5" meetings on the state of the industry. Concerns existed that they had used the discussion to possibly collude on prices and policies, hurting competition.
Project finally nearing completion
Microsoft outlines launch plans for X360 live TV
In sync with the fall Xbox 360 Dashboard update, Microsoft has provided a listing of TV providers that will be ready to go this week. Along with existing access to ESPN, Hulu, and Netflix, the December 6 update will also bring EPIX authenticated video in the US, Lovefilm in the UK, MediaSet's Premium Play in Italy, Sky Go in Austria and Germany, Telefonica España's Movistar Imagenio, and MSNBC's Today in the US.
RIM lands first NFC BlackBerry payment deal
RIM scored the first commercial use of NFC on newer BlackBerry phones Wednesday through a deal with Telefonica. The company's own Spanish headquarters as well as banks, gas stations, and stores will take payments through a combination of a Telefonica SIM and an NFC-equipped BlackBerry, including the Bold 9900, Curve 9360, and Curve 9380. As with most NFC, users just need to tap against a payment reader with the phone to shop.
Czech carrier not averse to future iPhone deal
Telefonica Czech Republic in an interview on Friday said it was open to the prospect of a future Apple deal after dropping iPhone sales. Representative Hany Farghali told Bloomberg that the carrier's current rejection "doesn’t mean that Telefonica won’t sell Apple products in the future." While not saying how amenable Telefonica might be, the representative noted it was "purely a business decision" and wasn't permanent.
NFC-enabled SIM cards headed for mobile phones
The GSMA have announced that 45 of the world’s major carriers have committed to supporting SIM-based Near Field Communications (NFC). Among the carriers to pledge their support of the new standard are AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, China Mobile and China Unicom, Vodafone, and Telefonica. In making the announcement, the GSMA have now published (PDF) a new set of industry specifications to further accelerate adoption of the technology.
Carrier CEO calls for lower price points
An executive from global cellular provider Telefonica has reportedly blasted Nokia's new Windows Phone lineup as prohibitively expensive. Head of devices for the carrier's European division, Simon Lee-Smith, casts doubt on the Finnish phone maker's immediate strategy, which still relies on high-end devices in many European countries and other international regions.
High subsidy costs blamed
The Czech branch of international carrier Telefonica will not support the iPhone 4S, and is in fact dropping all earlier iPhones as well, according to local news outlet Hospodarske Noviny, quoting Telefonica spokesman Hany Farghali. The company blames Apple business terms; in particular, it is believed to have problems with the carrier subsidies demanded by Apple. In the US, for example, Sprint is known to be paying Apple about $200 more per device than the industry average.
Windows Phone 7.5 nearly rolled out in full
Microsoft's Eric Hautala said that his company's stepped up Windows Phone 7.5 updates were now virtually done. The company had good enough results that it was "opening the spigot" and that almost all of the user base would have the update. The only ones left were those with specific issues, such as some Orange subscribers.
Xbox 360 live TV goes available worldwide
Microsoft as repeatedly rumored has kicked off its Xbox 360 live TV option. Cable and fiber TV providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, as well as individual TV stations such as Bravo, Epix, HBO, and SyFy, are all promising apps for the new Xbox Dashboard to watch TV online. Most if not all of the services will require that viewers authenticate to get access and will still need to have traditional TV.
Tizen rises from ashes of MeeGo
Intel and Samsung partly confirmed rumors by unveiling Tizen. The effective successor to MeeGo still uses Linux as an open-source foundation for a mobile OS but is focused on a much broader coalition of LiMo supporters that includes Japanese phone makers NEC Casio and Panasonic Mobile, OS developer Access, and carriers NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom, Telefonica (O2), and Vodafone. The group will focus more on HTML5- and Wholesale Applications Community-based apps that can run on MeeGo and can share much of their code for other platforms and devices.
Office 365 service now available in 40 markets
Microsoft on Tuesday announced the launch of its cloud-based Office 365. Available in 40 markets, it includes Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online. All apps are always up to date and accessing them costs $6 per month, though service plans range from $2 to $27 per user per month. This full-blown launch follows a beta release launched last fall.
EU to introduce bill to cap phone roaming dates
The European Commission will, yet again, propose legislation over the next few weeks that would reduce roaming charges across European Union member countries, Reuters was told on Thursday. The cuts would be closer to national rates and while they would cut profits for carriers such as Vodafone, Telefonica (O2), Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile, and France Telecom (Orange), subscribers would get closer to regular rates for roaming. The draft is expected to be approved by June and would lower the price maximums carriers can charge for voice calls and text messages while their subscribers are traveling throughout Europe.
EU says it may limit European data roaming
The EU is expanding its limits on data roaming to where they might go away entirely, Commissioner Neelie Kroes said on Friday. While it put caps on data on the carriers themselves, the official noted that carriers weren't moving the lower charges on to customers. EU member of Parliament Paul Rübig suggested to the New York Times that the cap would either be applied to retail or that the wholesale cap would increase so much that prices might have to come down.
Nokia C7 and N8 get eco-friendly models
Nokia today detailed special environmentally friendly editions of both the C7 and N8. Both devices come with green apps and details of the phone's ecological footprint but also have improvements on the contents. Either Symbian^3 phone has a more minimal, recyclable box, a single-page guide that saves paper, and a more efficient power charger.
Novatel shows smallest dual carrier HSPA+ modem
Novatel Wireless on Tuesday announced it will soon bring out the smallest dual carrier HSPA+ USB modem. It will initially be available at Spain's Telefonica Moviles network before arriving at other carriers around the world. The Ovation MC545 was demonstrated to provide a maximum download speed of 40.5Mbps when running on Ericsson’s DC-HSPA+ network.
Solidifies imminent iPhone update
Telefonica has pulled both the iPhone 3G and 3GS from sale in its home country of Spain, reports say. Though reasons are unclear, it is believed that the carrier may simply be running out of stock of the phones, without any plans to order more. Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone at the WWDC keynote on June 7th.
Android-based device features 5-inch display
Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell has previewed the upcoming Mini 5 device during his keynote speech at the Citrix Synergy conference. The executive also provided launch details, claiming the tablet will begin shipping in June. European customers will be the first in line, through Telefonica O2, while the US launch will come later via AT&T.
Orange, T-Mobile to make compromises in merger
In an attempt to ward off an investigation by the UK's Office of Fair Trading into their proposed merger, Orange and T-Mobile UK said today they are willing to make antitrust concessions. The Brussels office of the European Commission stated that the two companies offered some fixes to their proposed deal, but didn't elaborate on their details. The deal would create the largest wireless operator in the UK, and a deeper inquiry as to its legitimacy was called for by competitors Telefonica and Hutchison Whampoa's 3.
Prototype showcases innovation, miniaturization
SK Telecom has demonstrated a prototype SIM card with an integrated processor, memory, 1GB flash storage, and the Android operating system. The SIM could be used to transport a user's virtual desktop, including applications and data, to a second supported device. The SIM card also has USB 2.0 support, so it could be used with a keyboard or another peripheral.
Wholesale Apps Community takes on Apple
The GSM Association today unveiled an alliance for a common app store platform meant to challenge Apple. Known as the Wholesale Applications Community, the service will create an open, standard way of developing and selling apps across multiple phone operating systems and networks. The partnership will include phone builders LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, as well as 24 major carriers that include all four major US networks and major internationals like China Mobile, Orange and Telefonica.
Sagem, Telefonica to bring out SIMFi cards
Smart card maker Sagem Orga recently announced that it, along with European provider Telefonica, will begin offering SIMFi cards, which integrate Wi-Fi capability into a SIM card. This is made up of an embedded WLAN modem in the SIM card, which will let Telefonica share HSPA 3G Internet access over Wi-Fi to be used by nearby notebooks and other devices. The SIMFi cards can be inserted and operate in any classic handsets that can accommodate SIM cards and acts as a router.
HP Compaq Airlife 100 gets 12-hour runtime
HP ahead of Mobile World Congress has confirmed the Airlife 100. The company's first smartbook, the 10-inch touchscreen system is much like the concept design shown at CES and switches away from x86 to ARM, likely a 1GHz Snapdragon. The switch, along with the use of a 16GB flash drive, gives the system 12 hours of battery life (and 10 days of standby) even though the design is thinner than a typical Atom-based Mini netbook.
Telefonica could get presence in Italy via bid
Italian newspaper la Repubblica stirred talk of a shift in the phone world on Friday with a claim that Telefonica would soon place a bid for Telecom Italia (TIM). Drawing on an online source from earlier, the daily claims Telefonica would use a holding company's share swap to take control. It would pay a 25 to 30 percent premium to provide an incentive for the deal.
Telefonica pays $209 million in cash for Jajah
European telecommunications and cable provider Telefónica on Wednesday announced is has purchased VoIP (Voice over IP) provider Jajah for cash equivalent to about $208 million. Jajah offers its services in nearly 200 countries and its customer base numbers in the millions. The service is integrated into many instant messaging programs and social media apps as well.
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.
Telefonica may be attempting to clear 3G stock
The iPhone 3GS is essentially unavailable in Spain, reports from the country claim. The device is believed to be in short or non-existent supply from official carrier Telefonica, as well any of the company's associated third-party outlets. Some sources in the region say they have been on multiple waiting lists for weeks or months, in at least once instance going as far back as July.
O2 set to test LTE technology in six countries
Telefonica, which owns the UK-based wireless provider O2, announced that it will begin trial testing of its Long Term Evolution mobile broadband technology in six European countries. The 4G technology will allow for faster wireless data speeds, and the trials will involve hardware from six manufacturers including Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC, Nokia Siemens Network, and ZTE.
Motorola Cliq for T-Mobile
Motorola this afternoon entered into modern smartphones with its first Android device, the Cliq. The touchscreen slider centers on a new interface known as MOTOBLUR that has customized home screen widgets that let users check and update their social status, handle messages and check information like weather without loading a separate app. It even integrates status updates in other apps, such as for incoming calls or GPS mapping.
Palm Pre Still Sells Well
Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette today said that Palm Pre sales are still healthy over a month after the phone launched. Referring to his own checks, he estimates that about 40,000 of the multi-touch phones are now shipping each week and that the numbers could hold through at least August. He also expects that sales could improve if Palm can improve its shipments to Best Buy and Radio Shack, which have had short supply ever since launch.
Palm Pre due at Dutch Hi
Ahead of a scheduled UK launch event next week, Dutch wireless provider Hi has posted a product page on its website advertising the Palm Pre smartphone. Hi is a sub-brand of KPN, which has ties to Telefonica. As Telefonica runs UK carrier O2, which was reported to be the exclusive carrier of the Pre, the posting implies that Telefonica may have landed a multi-country deal. The product page reveals Hi will sell the Pre only subsidized with a contract.
Palm May Have Sold 300K
Palm may have sold as many as 300,000 Pre phones in less than a month on sale, according to a investor's note by Charter Equity Research analyst Ed Snyder. He estimates that about 120,000 Pres were available on launch day but that these sold out within days and that about 15,000 examples of the multi-touch phone are being made every day, leading to the final estimate for the month. As many as 1 million phones could reach Sprint by the end of the first quarter of sales, which for Palm finishes at the end of August.
TG01 due in Japan, Spain
Wireless providers NTT DoCoMo and Telefónica on Monday announced that the TG01 full touchscreen handset, Toshiba's first, will launch in their respective markets of Japan and Spain. The Japanese version, called PRO T-01A, will arrive sometime in June, while Spain will get the TG01 in July.
Apple in Brandz Top 100
Apple and its US carrier AT&T are some of the most important technology companies in terms of brand worth, the latest Brandz Top 100 ranking (PDF) from MillwardBrown indicates. Gauging them not just on their actual income but also their social impact, the firm estimates that Apple has the sixth-largest brand value in the world and has seen the rough value of its brand climb 14 percent to about $63.1 billion. AT&T ranked 28th but was also one of the fastest-rising companies, jumping 67 percent to just over $20 billion.
Telefonica Pre deal
Telefónica's Movistar has negotiated an exclusive deal with Palm to distribute the upcoming Pre handset in Spain and Latin America, according to a number of Spanish news outlets. Sources also claim that the company's subsidiary, O2, will sell the device in the UK market. The reports mark the first alleged confirmation of carriers beyond Sprint to get the smartphone, although outside of the domestic market.
HSPA+ in Italy, Germany
Ericsson on Wednesday announced it will partner with wireless provider Telecom Italia to bring wireless data speeds as fast as 28Mbps when downloading and 5.8Mbps when uploading thanks to HSPA+ technology. Milan will be the first Italian city to offer the fast speeds in June, with a nationwide rollout due for the second half of the year. At the same time, Telefónica O2 Germany has said it will launch its HSPA+ network for cellphones and computers in the second half of the year in Munich.