In a week that began with Hurricane Sandy – and for some of us a week that has yet to end considering how many folks are still without power or have otherwise had their lives disrupted—It makes sense to start our weekly review with Sandy. First, it is interesting to note that there have been reports that as much as 10 percent of Internet service –both online and wireless - was disrupted across the areas Sandy hit. That may not sound like much but when considering the density of many of the populations that were hit (New York City anyone?) it was a huge outage.
We connected with Keynote Systems – which measures these things, to learn more about what went on and how to avoid such outages going forward. As the mobile Internet becomes the preferred means of accessing the Web, this sort of thing becomes increasingly important to manage. Further, it is becoming much more evident that mobile devices are of course driving mobile Internet usage, as a recent Accenture study reports.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile and AT&T teamed up to share networks in order to ensure that wireless coverage would remain broadly available – and they have dropped their roaming fees. Verizon – despite having the basement of its historic NYC headquarters flooded, managed to also do its part to keep the airwaves available for its customers.
The beginning of this week also marked the official launch of Windows Phone 8, which Microsoft has done a great job of getting right. There is a question out there now as to whether or not Microsoft will next deliver its own Surface smartphone – what are the odds? Apple also made some news this week when it announced that long standing SVP of iOS, Scott Forstall – the champion of Apple skeuomorphic design – would be exiting the company. It’s the sort of shakeup that qualifies for the term “making waves.”
The Android camp – which is celebrating the operating system’s fourth anniversary, also had a few things to shout about this week. First, Google’s Nexus 7 is just about ready to hit sales of one million devices per month – a worthy achievement. Even bigger news can be found in IDC’s most recent smartphone OS report, in which it finds that Android now captures just about 75 percent of the smartphone market.
That same report suggests that Research in Motion (RIM) continues to drop further out of the picture. Fortunately, RIM did announce this same week that it has finally gotten itself aligned with 50+ carriers to begin conducting pre-launch testing of its new devices. This is good news as it strongly suggests that the company is truly and finally on track to actually deliver real hardware towards the end of January 2013. The bad news of course is that it completely misses the crucial 2012 holiday buying season.
Also worth noting on the mobile device front, Chinese mobile phone manufacturer ZTE claims that it will very likely ship at least 50 million smartphones in 2013. That represents a substantial increase overall for the company.
On the general mobile device hardware front, Intel, which has continued to lag on the mobile end of things, has a new project in hand that envisions a future full of 48-core smartphones and tablets. Yes, 48-core processors…that is not a typo. Meanwhile, OmniVision has developed a new camera sensor for mobile phones which it claims will deliver high power at lower prices than what the industry is used to. The design takes a system on a chip (SOC) approach to adding significant functionality.
Finally, a new line of SlimPort accessories from Analogix Semiconductor gives mobile devices enabled with SlimPort or MyDP (Mobility DisplayPort) the ability to connect to larger displays. The adapters can be connected to computer monitors, TVs and projectors for work collaboration or watching your favorite entertainment in comfort.
We’ll wrap up the week’s review with a couple of very interesting things that touch mobility in different ways. First, a new report strongly suggests that we can expect to see a huge uptick in in-car Wi-Fi, particularly as Wi-Fi Direct, and technologies such as MiraCast and MirrorLook – which are based on Wi-Fi Direct, become real. Finally, ever wonder what it is exactly that users find objectionable enough in mobile apps to drive the generation of numerous bad mobile app reviews? Well, Apigee, a company that specializes in knowing about these things, presents some insightful and possibly amusing data on the topic – the report it commissioned is well worth looking into.
Those are the week's mobile highlights. For much more, make sure to scope out Mobility TechZone directly.
Edited by Jamie Epstein