Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!
HTC underestimates demand for its devices
Having manufactured what are undoubtedly some of the hottest handsets of 2010, HTC has admitted it underestimated demand and was caught out, leading to the stock shortages which have made obtaining handsets like the HTC EVO 4G and HTC Desire harder than finding a properly working iPhone 4 in the wild.
Speaking to UK site Mobile Today HTC UK & Ireland executive director John French said “we are catching up. We are still in a position where the demand keeps growing and like any good manufacturer, it takes time to build up capacity just to meet demand so we are doing that now by very heavily investing in new production capacity and we will catch up very, very soon.” … Read more
Apple deals with antenna-gate fall-out
CUPERTINO, Calif. — Anyone that had their money on Apple Inc. (AAPL) announcing an unprecedented recall of its latest iPhone today walked away empty handed. While the odds were heavily against a recall of any sort, the constant pressure and negative press Apple has received of late over its iPhone 4 antenna system made it at least seem like a recall could be the most drastic outcome. But fear not, investors.
Even with so much fallout to answer to, Apple went barely one step above the bare minimum. Beginning one week from today, every iPhone 4 customer (including those that already bought the device) will be given one of Apple’s “bumper cases” for free. That policy will stay in place through the end of September, at which time CEO Steve Jobs said there might be a better solution or, more likely, the fervor over “antenna-gate” will have died down. In a last-minute press conference that was scheduled to address the mounting criticism over Apple’s antenna woes, Jobs said the company was not aware of the problems until after the device was launched. … Read more
Samsung UK capitalizes on iPhone woes
Samsung UK is giving out free Galaxy S smartphones to people who have publicly expressed their frustration with the new iPhone 4 on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. “Yes, we’re giving away Galaxy S’. We’re proud of it so wanted to get it into some people’s hands to spread the word. Only a few left!” is one of the latest twitter updates from @samsungukmobile. Samsung, like Nokia, has been mercilessly attacking Apple over its antennagate issues, with this the latest salvo in what could become an all-out war. Earlier this week the firm also unveiled a rather cheeky advert, with a clear message: “Hello, our phones have bars.”It’s still unclear whether punters have to turn in their iPhones to get their hands on Samsung’s Galaxy, or how Samsung chooses which iPhone complainers to reward, but one thing’s for certain, the PR battle is being fought and won by the Korean firm. “If Apple won’t Fix Their F’ing Fone (FTFF), Samsung will!” wrote one commenter on Samsung Hub. RCR Unplugged contacted Samsung’s US office (Samsung Telecommunications America) to ask whether disgruntled American punters might be able to trade in their iPhone 4’s for the Galaxy S, but was told “at this time, Samsung Mobile in the U.S. is not planning a Galaxy S giveaway campaign.” … Read more
Nokia jumps on Apple’s antenna issues
Not wanting to miss out on the hype, Nokia has decided to beam us over its thoughts on Apple’s antenna issues, admitting that while the way you grip your phone may affect signal strength, Nokia puts its phones through vigorous testing which should allow you to hold your phone however you want. “Antenna design is a complex subject and has been a core competence at Nokia for decades,” boasts the firm, claiming to be the “pioneer in internal antennas” (the Nokia 8810, launched in 1998, was purportedly the first commercial phone with this feature.) The firm reckons it has spent “thousands of man hours in studying human behavior, including how people hold their phones for calls, music playing, web browsing and so on,” saying this is something you would expect from a phone whose tagline is “connecting people.” Acidly, Nokia points out that it prioritizes antenna performance “over physical design,” unlike some, ehem, more fruity companies. The firm confesses, however that “antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held.” … Read more
Meanwhile, at Verizon: Droid X sells out
While most of America may be going gaga for Apple’s antennas this morning, other (possibly more sensible) Murkins are focusing their hype on the new Motorola Droid X smartphone, resulting in its complete sell out from retail stores on its first day of sale and clogging Verizon’s phone activation infrastructure. So successful has the Verizon Droid X been at debut, that some over-excited analysts are even claiming it could replace the iPhone 4G as America’s top smartphone. Running Google’s Android 2.1 OS, the handset boasts purported readiness for Android 2.2 (Froyo) once it emerges for non-Nexus phones. X certainly does mark the spot when it comes to the phone’s spec treasures, which include a large 4.3-inch (480×854) display screen – almost a whole inch bigger than the iPhone 4 – a 1GHz Texas Instruments OMAP processor, 8GB flash memory and 512 MB RAM memory (expandable up to 32GB). The hardware specs make it possible for the Droid X to multitask like a woman, amazingly able to flick between eight open apps simultaneously, from Android’s over 100,000 available. The X sports a whopping eight mega-pixel camera capable of HD video capture and playback with a mechanical shutter and a video recording speed of 720p at 24 frames per second. The phone also supports video formats like H263, MPEG4, WMV, H264 and text and video messaging with threaded messaging. … Read more
Skype goes with free calling over 3G
Never mind face-time, Skype has done an about-face when it comes to its plans to charge for VoIP based calls over 3G, deciding to let the unwashed masses have their fill for free. The news was delivered to the public via Skype’s blog, along with the announcement that the firm’s iPhone app would now also work in the background as users multitasked. So, yes, you can now surf the net while offering your mother the perfunctory “uh-huhs” required of you during your daily call. “You can receive Skype calls while other apps are running, even when your iPhone is locked,” gushed Skype blogger Peter Parkes. Parkes also seemed rather excited that his firm had “updated the app’s graphics to support iPhone 4’s Retina Display,” and added better sound quality. And yet, the app plus the accompanying service is still free, contrary to plans by the VoIP maker to monetize 3G based calls. … Read more
Who should pay for data-heavy content?
Producers of content, not carriers, should pay the price for the masses of costly bandwidth being sucked up by cell surfers every day, according to the upper echelons of T-Mobile. While rival AT&T has started capping data plans and charging users extra for data hogging, René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile’s parent company believes it’s those who produce media rich and heavy content who should be made to pay. Large scale, successful online platforms like Apple and Google, he claims, should not be using the mobile internet like a free lunch buffet, offering all you can eat without paying their way. After all, if you create a problem, shouldn’t you be part of the solution? Well, if you’re a net neutrality fan – believing that network traffic should absolutely not be restricted based on content discrimination – you probably wouldn’t think so, but Obermann does have something of a point in pushing for a more tiered pricing system where certain types of traffic like data heavy video or music would cost more, with some of that burden falling to consumers, and some to the providers themselves. Of course this might mean that content providers start charging more, but then maybe data hungry consumers – who currently behave much like children on an unlimited allowance – might realize that the best things in life most certainly are not free, and that they should consume more responsibly, or pay for the strain they are putting on the rest of the network. … Read more
iPhone propels growth at AT&T
AT&T Mobility said it activated a record 3.2 million Apple Inc. iPhones on its network during the recently completed second quarter that included only about a week worth of the latest iPhone 4 sales. The strong activations helped push the industry’s No. 2 carrier to 1.562 million net customer additions during the quarter and ending the first half of the year with 90.130 million devices on its network.The carrier’s customer growth was a 14.2% increase compared with the second quarter of 2009 and included 496,000 postpaid customer additions, 300,000 prepaid additions and 896,000 “net connected device” additions. Postpaid growth was down significantly from the more than 1.1 million customers added in 2009, while prepaid growth was up from a loss of 412,000 customers a year ago and connected devices surged from 304,000 additions during the second quarter of 2009. … Read more
How important is iPhone to AT&T? Pretty darn important
AT&T’s strained, outdated network and spotty coverage has long been a sore point for US iPhone users, with many calling for Apple to bring its popular phone to other carriers, thus giving users more of a choice. The rumor mill has even posited that the AT&T/Apple divorce could be no more than a year away and a possible open relationship with Verizon Wireless happening well before that. Certainly there is much pent-up demand for iPhones among Verizon users and offering the iPhone on Verizon Wireless would dramatically increase Apple iPhone sales, but what would this mean for AT&T?Of course, the worst case scenario for AT&T, would be a hemorrhaging of customers to its biggest rival, with some studies positing around half of AT&T’s iPhone users would like to defect to a different provider. With the wireless segment representing a significant revenue contributor to AT&T, the results of such a defection can’t be underestimated. AT&T does, however, have some mitigating factors up its sleeve, which could help soften the blow if and when it comes. For one thing, the firm is still a dominant player in the Smartphone market, a market still seeing massive growth and set to outpace feature phones within a year. True, the iPhone is still the leading smartphone in the US, but with a plethora of Android devices flooding the market, AT&T certainly wouldn’t be left high and dry. … Read more
T-Mo expands HSPA+
Just a day after Harbinger Capital Partners announced plans to spend $7 billion building out a nationwide LTE network, the industry’s current No. 4 operator T-Mobile USA Inc. said its HSPA+ network – “the most pervasive network to offer 4G speeds in the country – was now available in nearly 50 major metro areas and on track to cover 100 markets and 185 million people by the end of the year.
The newest markets added to its HSPA+ stable include Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Waco, Texas; Baltimore; Baton Rouge and Lafayette, La.; Birmingham, Ala.; Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale and Jacksonville, Fla.; Greenville, S.C.; Honolulu; Indianapolis; Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo.; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; and Wichita, Kan.
T-Mobile USA noted that 16 of its current HSPA-enabled mobile devices can “benefit” from operating on the HSPA+ network and that it plans to launch its first HSPA+ smartphone in the coming weeks. Customers can also access full HSPA+ speeds using the carrier’s Webconnect Rocket USB Laptop Stick, or its new 2.0 version that includes an updated form factor.
T-Mobile USA, which currently does not have the spectrum needed to launch a LTE network, has been linked in the past to a possible deal with Harbinger that would allow the carrier to offer LTE services to its customers. … Read more
Nokia Siemens Networks buys Motorola’s cellular networks biz
Nokia Siemens Networks should be able to increase its presence in the United States and Japan with the announced acquisition of Motorola Inc.’s networks business. The $1.2 billion acquisition was hinted at last week. Motorola will retain its iDEN networks business. Nokia Siemens will pick up Motorola’s CDMA, GSM, wideband CDMA and LTE business, which counted sales of about $3.3 billion in 2009. ”We like to think we are buying at least part of the history of innovation at Motorola,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO of NSN. “First and foremost, this deal is about customers,” Suri noted. “We expect to gain an incumbent position with many of our customers. … Second the deal is about scale and building our presence in some regions.” Suri noted that the merger will move NSN from the No. 5 in North America to No. 3, as well as strengthen its position in Japan, including a contract with KDDI Corp. Motorola also counts contracts with Verizon Wireless and Clearwire Corp., among others. About 7,500 Motorola employees will move over to NSN, and NSN will retain its presence in Illinois, where about 1,600 employees reside, Suri said. No layoffs are anticipated. The acquisition is expected to close at the end of this year. NSN will finance the purchase with its internal cash reserves and existing third-party financing solutions. “It’s a beautiful addition to our customer portfolio.” … Read more
Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.