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October 26, 2013

Mobility Techzone Week in Review

This has certainly been a week for mobile devices and the more high profile mobile players, including former high flying players who are still in the limelight. A perfect example of the latter is Nokia. Though the device side of Nokia will soon enough sit in Microsoft's hands, at the moment it still exists as an independent company. As such Nokia has been working on its own collection of large screen format devices, which earlier this week were revealed to be its new Lumia 2520 10" tablet, and two new 6" smartphones, the Lumia 1520 and 1320.

The 1320 is destined for sales outside of the United States, but the new tablet and the 1520 are both targeting the United States and they are quite nifty devices. The Lumia 2520 looks to us to be a better Windows RT tablet than Microsoft's own Surface 2 devices in fact, and the Lumia 1520 boasts a 20 megapixel camera and Nokia's usual high end photo capabilities. It will be interesting to see what Microsoft does with these. AT&T this week announced substantial tablet sales as a contributor to its Q3 2013 earnings - perhaps Nokia will be able to leverage AT&T to build momentum. AT&T also announced a new $5 daily tablet data plan - which may make things more enticing for tablet users.

It is worth noting as well that Nokia will be delivering on a large collection of new software as well. One key thing to note is that Instagram is finally coming to Windows Phone 8 and Windows, a very welcome and hugely needed mobile app for the Windows mobile ecosystem.

Later on the very same day Apple followed up with its own major Mac and iPad event. We're not sure why Nokia continues to somehow always find itself and its major announcement events competing with the likes of Apple! Yet no sooner did we finish detailing the cool devices Nokia is now offering than we were rushing off to cover the Apple event - which by comparison owns far larger mindshare. Apple delivered a whole host of cool new MacBook, Mac Pro and iPad stuff, including the anticipated Retina Display iPad mini. But the real star of the show is the entirely new iPad Air - a truly innovative effort in our opinion…enough so that we ourselves will look to acquire one in the near future.

One of the new things Apple announced is that it will be providing upgrades to its new Mac OS X operating system, Mavericks, for free (in the past it has charged $29 for such upgrades). As well the company is going to also be providing its iWork and iLife software free of charge to anyone who buys new hardware going forward. Finally on Apple this week it is worth noting that the iPhone 5s has put Apple back on top in terms of market share in the United States. Samsung and Android still hold the worldwide lead, but Apple continues to cash in on most of the profits.

Not that this is hampering Samsung in any way, shape or form - at least if current earnings count for anything. This week Samsung reported record earnings, as it had predicted several weeks ago. The numbers are quite solid, but perhaps there is a bit of a negative undercurrent emerging as Samsung continues to downplay future sales growth, especially for its high end Galaxy devices. The company also announced this week that it's new Galaxy S4 Mini will be available in the United States in early November. The new S4 Mini takes the S4 down a notch in screen size - though it is still a bit larger overall than the iPhone 5s display size.

On the mobile software front, Facebook this week finally unveiled its new mobile video advertising capability. We will look forward to seeing if this enhances or truly degrades the user experience.

Finally this week, it is worth noting that LinkedIn also managed to get more deeply onto the mobile bandwagon this week. The company held a press event on Wednesday and announced that it was moving full steam ahead to become completely mobile centric, along the way announcing upgrades to several of its key apps - its LinkedIn iPad app and its Pulse news aggregation service. It also introduced a potentially valuable new mobile iOS email service, LinkedIn Intro, which ties email senders to their LinkedIn backgrounds and presents the information to an iOS email user. Depending on your needs this may be quite useful though we ourselves shudder at the thought of so much info being added to our emails.

Have a great weekend!

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