Google Fiber Blog: "A super-fast c. From the start, small business owners have told us that they want Google Fiber to help them move faster, work better together, reach new parts of the world without boarding a plane, and save time for the important things—like growing their business." (read more at the link above)
Xiaomi Becomes World's 3rd Largest Smartphone Vendor in Q3 2014: "According to the latest report from our WSS (Smartphones) research service, global smartphone shipments grew 27 percent annually to reach a record 320 million units in the third quarter of 2014. Xiaomi was the star performer, capturing a record 6 percent marketshare and becoming the world’s third largest smartphone vendor for the first time ever."
Phone Hackers Dial and Redial to Steal Billions - NYTimes.com: ".... Mr. Foreman said his firm didn’t even realize this was a potential risk. Not many do.
“It’s relentless,” said Jim Dalton, founder of TransNexus, which sells Internet calling management software. “If you put a computer on the Internet, it immediately starts getting probed for a weak point.”
To avoid the same fate, Mr. Dalton and other telecom experts advise people to turn off call forwarding and set up strong passwords for their voice mail systems and for placing international calls. He also said businesses needed to treat their phones as Internet-connected machines, since criminals already were doing that.
“People don’t realize their phone is a six-figure liability waiting to happen,” Mr. Dalton added." more news below
Why my favourite phone of all time is an old Nokia - CNET: "...We shouldn't, then, expect a return to those low-fi, durable days. But I live in hope that one day we'll be treated to a phone so complete, so accomplished and so fun, that it emulates the 3210 in spirit, if not in actual hardware.
Today, the Nokia phone brand seems to be on the brink of vanishing, as boss Stephen Elop has said that, post-Microsoft sale, the famous name "won't be around for long". When I think about the enormous amount of goodwill that quality devices like the Nokia 3210 instilled in my generation's collective consciousness -- particularly in Europe -- that move feels reckless, callous, and downright wrong. To the top-level execs at Microsoft, if you're reading this, please change your minds and keep Nokia's mobile flame aglow...."
Xiaomi, Hugo Barra, True World Phones in 2016, All Android--
Xiaomi's Hugo Barra: True world phones in 2 years, Android all the way - CNET: "...."In a year or two, we will have completely shifted towards building inherently global products. Whenever we think about a new feature, we try to think about it from a Chinese perspective and a global perspective."
The numbers show how precipitously Xiaomi is growing. The 4-year-old company is making phones as fast as it can sell them, and it's selling a lot of phones. In 2012, the company sold 7.2 million smartphones. In 2013, Xiaomi doubled that number, selling 18.7 million handsets. Xiaomi doubled its office space in lockstep -- the new, second building looking awfully Googley inside, complete with a giant slide from the second floor down to the first. The place also features wide-open areas with meeting spots and features cheery, bright colors and paintings that feel more at home in a startup than your usual typical corporate office...." --read more at link above, and mi.com more news below
Prediction: Xiaomi will overtake Apple to become second-largest smartphone maker in 2015--
Xiaomi overtakes LG to become world’s third-largest smartphone maker | 9to5Google: "Samsung and Apple maintained their positions as the first and second largest smartphone vendors worldwide respectively, while Xiaomi experienced significant growth as its market share grew to 5.6% in the third quarter compared to just 2.1% in the year-ago quarter. LG now holds down the fourth spot with 5.2% global market share. Xiaomi shipped 18 million smartphones during the third quarter, compared to 5.2 million smartphones in the year-ago quarter. Meanwhile, LG shipped 16.8 million smartphones during the same three-month period, a sizeable year-over-year increase from the 12 million smartphones it shipped in the third quarter last year."
What Happened to Motorola | Chicago magazine | September 2014: "...The Indian-born, U.K.-educated engineer walked into a marketing organization that seemed completely disconnected from what was happening in the market. “On my second day at Motorola in August 2008,” says Jha, “I did a portfolio review of all the company’s phones. I sat for three hours and looked at everything, flabbergasted. There were no smartphones.”
Jha called a meeting of the engineers to see how current they were. “I was told that Motorola actually developed and patented a lot of the stuff the company’s phones didn’t have,” he says. “The company was the first with a QWERTY keypad, with color screens, with 3G and touch.” But few Motorola phones had any of those features...." more news below
Sprint, T-Mobile: Separate Equals Better - InformationWeek: "....Sprint spent years wasting time and money on WiMax, the ill-fated 4G technology. When the rest of the industry sided with LTE, Sprint had no choice but to drop WiMax and start all over with LTE. Sprint trails even T-Mobile in deploying LTE around the country and often finishes last in speed tests and network reliability ratings. If Sprint really wants to compete aggressively, the first thing it needs to do is fix its network -- a task the company has already spent too much time and money on. A better network will be better for customers and for competition...."
Apple's CDN Now Live: Has Paid Deals With ISPs, Massive Capacity In Place - Dan Rayburn - StreamingMediaBlog.com: "Since last year, Apple’s been hard at work building out their own CDN and now those efforts are paying off. Recently, Apple’s CDN has gone live in the U.S. and Europe and the company is now delivering some of their own content, directly to consumers. In addition, Apple has interconnect deals in place with multiple ISPs, including Comcast and others, and has paid to get direct access to their networks... Apple already controls the hardware, the OS (iOS/OS X) as well as the iTunes/App store platforms. Right now they control the entire customer experience, except for the way content is delivered to their devices, and they are quickly working to change that. While Apple doesn’t own the last mile, paying to connect directly to it (in some places) and delivering content from their own servers allows them much more control over the user experience, especially for cloud based services. Over time, this is something that will make the experience and performance for consumers even better – and Apple’s only just getting started." (read more at link above)
Is Huawei Eating Samsung’s Lunch? - Digits - WSJ: "... Chinese smartphone makers Huawei Technologies and Lenovo Group 0992.HK -2.23% gained market share at the expense of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics in the second quarter, according to the latest data released Tuesday by research firm IDC. Huawei’s shipments in the quarter jumped 95% from a year earlier, while Lenovo enjoyed a 39% increase, IDC said. Both companies outpaced the 23% growth in the overall smartphone market. Shipments at Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, declined 3.9%. While China’s smartphone market is becoming more saturated, demand is strong in emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and Africa, where many consumers are still replacing their basic feature phones...." (read more at the link above)
Google Shows Developers a Sub-$100 Smartphone | MIT Technology Review: "A low-cost smartphone designed by Google will go on sale in India this fall before debuting in other emerging economies, the company announced today. The phones will be branded “Android One,” after the company’s mobile operating system Android, and will cost less than $100. They are part of a new effort by Google to get devices based on its software into the hands of people who currently lack access to the Internet. Already, one billion people use phones running Google’s Android software, said Sundar Pichai, leader of Google’s Android division, at the company’s I/O conference in San Francisco today. “Our goal is to reach the next five billion people in the world,” he said. “In India and other countries like that, it’s disappointing that less than 10 percent of the population have access to smartphones...." (read more at link above) more news below
Private Castles in the Cloud | MIT Technology Review: "On June 25, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark ruling on digital privacy. In U.S. v. Wurie and Riley v. California, the court unanimously held that police generally require a warrant to search information on cell phones seized from people who have been arrested. Writing for eight of the justices (Justice Samuel Alito issued his own concurring opinion), Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged that the court understood how this ruling might pose issues for law enforcement but said, “Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant.”..."
Google’s Satellite Plan Would Boost Global Internet Competition | MIT Technology Review: "It isn’t clear what model Google and O3b might pursue. But O3b’s satellites already offer a superior and cheaper way to deliver high-speed Internet than conventional satellite services. Satellite Internet is traditionally provided by geostationary satellites that stay over a given point on Earth. These satellites orbit at 35,000 kilometers—often adding a 600 millisecond delay to the radio signals going back and forth. Such a delay is generally considered excessive for business use." Google Invests in Satellites to Spread Internet Access - WSJ: "Google plans to spend more than $1 billion on a fleet of satellites to extend Internet access to unwired regions of the globe, people familiar with the project said, hoping to overcome financial and technical problems that thwarted previous efforts. Details remain in flux, the people said, but the project will start with 180 small, high-capacity satellites orbiting the earth at lower altitudes than traditional satellites, and then could expand...."
Apple's very own Content Delivery Network (CDN) --
Apple Negotiating Paid Interconnect Deals With ISPs For Their Own CDN: "In February I blogged about a new group formed inside of Apple last year, tasked with building out their own CDN to deliver Apple software updates, apps and other Apple related content. Since my post, Apple has been very busy with their build out deploying a lot of boxes running Apache Traffic Server and buying a ton of transit, co-location, wavelengths and other infrastructure services. Their CDN is quickly growing, and it won’t be long before we start seeing a portion of their content getting delivered from their new CDN...."
T-Mobile rolls out voice over LTE, HD voice in Seattle | PCWorld: "T-Mobile USA has rolled out voice over LTE in its home base of Seattle, offering high-definition voice and promising benefits to subscribers from a technology that in time could save carriers a lot of money.
VoLTE carries voice calls over a phone’s LTE data connection instead of a 3G circuit-switched network. That may eventually mean carriers can operate just one network, but it could also allow them to offer a broader range of services, including video calling. With VoIP, video chat and other communications services readily available “over the top” from Internet companies, carriers want to get into the game with integrated offerings, called rich communications services...."
Comcast is the one who should pay for network connections, Cogent claims | Ars Technica: ".... "Comcast does not operate a global network. In fact, it should be buying connectivity to the global Internet but has used its market scale and scope to extract an unusual concession," Schaeffer told members of Congress. "It wanted free connectivity, peering to the Internet, even though it didn't operate a global network. It didn't carry its fair load. Because it represented so many customers, backbone operators like Cogent and others agreed to peer with them. That wasn't good enough for Comcast. As Comcast's market power continued to increase and consumers had less choice, they actually started demanding payments for connectivity. A larger Comcast will be able to demand even greater payments."
Sounds like an invitation to regulate all ISPs as common carriers.
Japan mobile business buoys Softbank ahead of T-Mobile bid | PCWorld: "....U.S. media reports have said that the Softbank chief may be preparing for an official bid for T-Mobile in June or July. Sprint officials have apparently been meeting with bankers to discuss funding options for a takeover.
“The upside is that if Softbank is allowed to merge Sprint with T-Mobile, it would control about a third of the American market with a strong LTE network, and possibly cheaper prices,” Clement Teo, a mobility analyst with Forrester, wrote in an email.
“The downside is whether Softbank truly understands U.S. mobile users to grow this base and grab subscribers from AT&T and Verizon, and if CEO-potential John Legere is the person to lead post-merger.”
Legere is the current CEO of T-Mobile.
It’s unclear, however, whether U.S. regulators will approve the merger.
“Ultimately, we are not convinced the improving profits are going to change its strategy around acquiring T-Mobile—that is more an issue of regulatory backing, rather than access to funds to make the purchase,” Kendall added."
Customize Google's App Launcher: ... customize Google's app launcher....you can reorder the apps using drag and drop, but only if you're signed in to your Google Account. You can also add new shortcuts: go to Google Keep, Google Sites, Play Music, Webmaster Central, Google Voice, Google Patents, Google Groups, click the app launcher icon and then click "Add a shortcut"....
One big reason we lack Internet competition: Starting an ISP is really hard | Ars Technica: ".... Most regions in the US are dominated by one or two major ISPs that are "notorious" for filing frivolous lawsuits against startup Internet providers, according to Don Patten, who has three decades of experience in the business and is now general manager of MINET Fiber in Oregon. Legal budgets the size of Godzilla "I have never seen an independent… start up without having to fight the incumbent legally," Patten told Ars. "The incumbents are notorious for frivolous delay lawsuits. They know perfectly well they're frivolous, but it's a delay tactic. They have an army of lawyers and a budget to support lawsuits the size of Godzilla. That's one of their tactics, it always has been. It probably will continue to be so for many years yet to come."That's what happened to fiber ISP Falcon Broadband in Colorado Springs. The company started in 2003, competing against Adelphia, Falcon's former engineering chief Michael Wagner said."They did not want anybody else to come into their territory because they wanted to have that monopoly with their franchise agreements," Wagner told Ars. "What they started to do was file frivolous lawsuit after lawsuit to try to basically bankrupt us so we couldn't compete."..." (read more at link above)
FireChat Could Be the First in a Wave of Mesh Networking Apps | MIT Technology Review: "...FireChat makes use of a feature Apple introduced in the latest version of its iOS mobile software, iOS7, called multipeer connectivity. This feature allows phones to connect to one another directly using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi as an alternative to the Internet. If you’re using FireChat, its “nearby” chat room lets you exchange messages with other users within 100 feet without sending data via your cellular provider...."
Gartner Identifies Top 10 Mobile Technologies and Capabilities for 2015 and 2016: "New Wi-Fi Standards
Emerging Wi-Fi standards such as 802.11ac (Waves 1 and 2), 11ad, 11aq and 11ah will increase Wi-Fi performance, make Wi-Fi more relevant to applications such as telemetry, and enable Wi-Fi to provide new services. Over the next three years, demands on Wi-Fi infrastructure will increase as more Wi-Fi-enabled devices appear in organizations, as cellular offloading becomes more popular, and as applications such as location sensing demand denser access-point placement. The opportunities enabled by new standards and the performance required by new applications will require many organizations to revise or replace their Wi-Fi infrastructure." (read more at the link above)
Mozilla Promises $25 Smartphone 'Flood' | News & Opinion | PCMag.com: "....Mozilla also announced plans to start a "flood" of $25 smartphones.
"We are committed to an open platform [that] works across a variety of devices," Mitchell Baker, chair of the Mozilla Foundation, told the crowd of 200 media here at Mobile World Congress today. "It is called the Web."
Alcatel OneTouch, Huawei, LG, and ZTE are all building handsets using Firefox OS. Panasonic has even announced it will use Firefox OS to power a Web-connected HDTV...."
“It’s dead”: Kansas municipal Internet ban was “stabbed, shot, and hanged” | Ars Technica: "Montgomery and other opponents of the bill are still sending letters to legislators every day. Between the negative press for the proposed broadband ban and a separate bill to legalize discrimination against gay people, Montgomery thinks Kansas legislators are in no mood to pursue anything controversial for now.
"We are on top of it. We are not going to let it come back up," he said. "I think we did really kill the entire issue for at least a year."
The practice of third parties placing unauthorized charges on wireless accounts is called "cramming."
Do not answer, do not call back --
One-Ring Phone Scam on the Rise - BBB News Center: "One-Ring Phone Scam." Consumers around the country report an increasing number of what is known as the "One-Ring Phone Scam." Perpetrators of this scam program their computers to blast out thousands of calls to random cell phone numbers, ring once, and then disconnect. This scam relies on consumers calling back missed calls, which then connect them to a paid international adult entertainment service, 'chat' line, or other premium service located outside the country. Victims who return the call are billed a $19.95 international call fee, along with per minute charges for the unwanted "premium service," which can be $9 per minute or more. In some cases, the scammers may only put through a small charge of several dollars, so it won't arouse suspicion. . . . (read more at link above)
Better Business Bureau recommends if you don't recognize an out-of-state telephone number on your caller ID, ignore it and if you do answer, do not call back. Also you should check your cell phone bills carefully and inform your carrier if you spot any unauthorized charges. The earlier you document the fraud, the better your chances of having some or all of the charges removed
Lenovo CEO on Apple, Samsung: 'Our mission is to surpass them' - Fortune Tech: "We will fully leverage the Motorola brand in the U.S. and Latin America, just like we leveraged the ThinkPad brand in the PC space. Motorola will be our smartphone product.
So there will be no Lenovo-branded phones in the U.S.?
We haven't made a final decision. Most likely we will leverage the Motorola brand, but it could be something like "Motorola by Lenovo."
In China, certainly we will keep the Lenovo brand, but it is possible that we will reintroduce the Motorola brand as well. We have a full range of channels to sell our phones, so for different channels we could use different brands to maximize our sales volume.
Regarding the product portfolio, we don't want to be playing just in the entry level or to be viewed as a cheaper brand. We want to compete in the full range of the product line, including the premium segment. Both Lenovo and Motorola have the DNA of innovation. I believe we can develop a very innovative or very premium product. Meanwhile, we should be more competitive in the entry level given that Lenovo has global scale in our manufacturing capabilities and operational efficiency." (read more at link above)
Global Smartphone Shipments Top 1 Billion For The First Time Thanks To Cheap Android Devices, Says IDC | TechCrunch: "... Ryan Reith, program director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, noted that the top two trends driving smartphone growth are large screen devices and low-cost, with the latter being “the key difference maker.”
“Cheap devices are not the attractive segment that normally grabs headlines, but IDC data shows this is the portion of the market that is driving volume. Markets like China and India are quickly moving toward a point where sub-$150 smartphones are the majority of shipments, bringing a solid computing experience to the hands of many.”..."
In Developing Countries, Google and Facebook Already Defy Net Neutrality | MIT Technology Review: "... Internet access is expensive in developing countries—exorbitantly so for the vast majority of people. In Kenya the top four websites are Google, Facebook, YouTube (which is owned by Google), and the Kenyan version of Google. That pattern is fairly typical of Web usage in dozens of developing nations. And free services like Facebook Zero and Google Free Zone don’t have many critics among users, says Erik Hersman, founder of iHub, a tech-startup incubator in Nairobi. Asked if it’s seen as problematic, he says, “Not at all.” “In the United States it’s practically free for you to get on Google and Facebook, as Wi-Fi is almost everywhere or cheap relative to income. Here, that’s not the case,” he says. “It’s a different relationship to the Internet when you only get it on your phone, and you don’t have a traditional Internet connection at home or work.”..."
How US Internet service might get better—and worse—in 2014 | Ars Technica: "...Wheeler's reference to "a wireless environment" is potentially important, because the Open Internet Order's rules generally apply to wired Internet rather than cellular service. Still, he hasn't quite answered the question of whether Netflix could be forced to pay ISPs for better access to consumers of fixed Internet service, even though such a scenario would likely violate the FCC's rules. We've asked an FCC spokesman for a more specific answer or an interview with Wheeler, but no further clarification seems to be coming.
All of this is to say that there are many reasons to watch what happens in the US Internet market in 2014 and beyond. We don't know just how far fiber deployments will advance next year or how the regulatory questions will be resolved, but the issues we've described are sure to have a big impact on broadband prices, competition, and quality of service..."
2014 is the year smartphones hit $20 - Quartz: "This is how technology works: In 2007, the iPhone debuted at a carrier-subsidized price of $500. Seven years later, mobile rewards company Jana predicts that in 2014, Chinese-made, Android-powered smartphones of comparable functionality will be available for consumers to buy for $20 unsubsidized in China...."
1. They could rewrite the rules: 2. They could appeal the ruling: 3. They could draft entirely new rules to achieve similar objectives: 4. They could change the regulatory status of broadband: 5. They could seek additional powers from Congress:
China's Telecom Regulator Awards Virtual Telecom Licenses to 11 Companies - WSJ.com: "... Analysts have long said the creation of the new businesses, known in the industry as virtual telecom service providers, could offer a first step to breaking up the monopoly held by China's three state-run telecom service providers--China Mobile Ltd. (CHL), China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. (CHU) and China Telecom Corp. (CHA). Still, analysts have warned that the success of virtual telecoms depends on the leasing terms they are given by the state-owned goliaths. Many analysts have pointed out that the state-run telecoms could limit the size of competitors by leasing limited bandwidth and also could charge high rates, making it hard for private companies to compete...."
CTIA website shows mobile app data usage | PCWorld: "The website also includes information about how mobile device owners can conserve data. KnowMyApp.org currently includes test results for the top 50 paid and free apps from the Apple and Google stores, and CTIA plans to add more apps each month. The trade group invites developers to submit apps to be tested." more news below
Stock Android Isn't Perfect: 4.4 KitKat Edition: ..."Up" vs Back - It Works, But No One Knows Why...Much is made of Android's back button - it can be confusing, it can work inconsistently across apps, and it's never really explained to new users out of the box. It seems especially odd when paired with another backwards navigation element - the "up" navigation button.In a perfect world, the back button takes you to the last view you saw, no matter where that is. The up button, meanwhile, should bring you up one level within the same app you're looking at. Try this: open the gallery from the camera app by swiping left. Then hit back. You're back at the camera, right? Okay, do the same thing but this time hit the gallery's up button. This should bring you to the gallery's home page. This is how it's supposed to work. The problem with this is that it's never really explained to new users. I have a simple solution for this - a quick first run explanation after the device is set up. Just like Android tells you how to add icons to your home screen, it could give a succinct explanation of back and up when the time comes. Easy. This would also be a good opportunity for Google to nudge developers in the right direction, as there are still plenty of instances where this paradigm isn't exactly followed in third-party apps....(read more at link above) more news below
Smooth operators: why phone companies don't fight the NSA | The Verge: ".... we don't need to wonder what a telecom whistleblower might look like. In February 2001, Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio says he was approached by NSA agents about establishing direct access to Qwest's call records without a FISA warrant. Nacchio declined, thinking the program was illegal. Subsequent leaks showed Qwest as the only phone company that declined to participate in the program. The retaliation was immediate: Nacchio says Qwest lost government contracts in the following months (although some contest this), and the business started to collapse. Just a few years later, Nacchio was brought up on insider trading charges, a prosecution he maintains was political payback. There are plenty who doubt Nacchio’s story — as one put it to me recently, "it’s a great way to come out of an insider trading case looking like a hero" — but it’s still an unsettling thought for any telecom who’s considering pushing back against law enforcement. For anyone worried about surveillance, the moral of the story is even worse. There are plenty of encryption schemes, plenty of services that will promise to safeguard your data, and the recent transparency push could make them even safer. The past few months have focused more on soft networks, whether it's Lavabit's SSL keys or the encryption that safeguards Gmail. But access to the lines carrying that data has never been in doubt. And anyone making a push for transparency knows better than to look to AT&T for help...." (read more at link above)
Customization, ordering direct from the manufacturer, modular components --
Motorola's Project Ara modular phone prototype is 'almost ready' | News | TechRadar: "Woodside also dropped a significant hint that, once ready, the modular smartphones and components will be sold on the Moto Maker customisation website.
"Moto Maker was the beginning of a more exciting and longer term story which is how do we involve consumers and give them more choice," he added.
"Ara is much further out but you can see how those two things tie together and how as we introduce new materials into Moto Maker we're gonna pursue that theme across our product line going forward. What we'd like to eventually get to is [customising] functionality within the device and that's where Project Ara and Moto Maker may converge."
Moto's new direction seems heavily centric on giving smartphone users exactly what they want in a smartphone. The Moto X offers custom backplates, materials and colour schemes and Project Ara will take those decisions to the ultimate level for tech enthusiasts." (read more at link above)
AT&T's New Plans Show Competition Works | News & Opinion | PCMag.com: "AT&T is finally starting to edge out of the phone subsidy scam, and we have T-Mobile to thank for it....AT&T isn't doing this out of the goodness of its heart, or out of some religious conversion. It's doing this because of competition: specifically, the rise of the new T-Mobile and the boom in low-cost prepaid plans in the U.S. Big Blue knows which way the wind is blowing. Under CEO John Legere, T-Mobile killed all phone subsidies, lowered its monthly rates and added more than a million customers in the last quarter. AT&T also added customers, but most of those were tablets rather than more profitable smartphones. To grab the smartphone buyer of 2014, AT&T knew it needed to shake off the shackles of old thinking and compete...." more news below