Posts tagged First
Nokia Corp, the largest mobile phone maker in the world, has had its credit rating downgraded for the first time.
Standard & Poor’s, the division of McGraw-Hill that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks and bonds, has lowered Nokia’s credit rating. The financial analysis firm also warned of further market share losses by the company in the days to come.
In its report published on 30th March, S&P stated, “The downgrade reflects the revision of our business risk profile assessment on Nokia to ‘satisfactory’ from ‘strong,’ primarily because we expect that Nokia’s smartphone portfolio will make further significant market share losses during 2011 and 2012,”
The researcher further said that there is a pretty high chance of Symbian’s shares falling from 15% to 0.2% in the next four years. Recently, CEO Stephen Elop confirmed Nokia’s decision to go for Microsoft’s Windows phone 7 as the main operating software for its smartphones, though it will be maintaining support for symbian based phones, for the time being.
In the last quarter Google’s Android has overtaken the long dominating Symbian OS in terms of market share, and Nokia’s stake in the smartphone market has lowered by some 20% since Apple introduced its iPhone in 2007.
32 Angry Birds aficionados strutted their skills in the finals of the wildly popular mobile game in Helsinki Saturday afternoon.
When the feathers settled, Koivula emerged victorious after having played the game for a just month before the final. As the winner, Koivula received a Nokia N8 smart phone and will fly to Hollywood with a flock of friends.
The competition was organized by the Finnish mobile phone colossus Nokia, who said that the qualifying rounds were oversubscribed. Altogether 2,600 birders from across the country battled for a nest in the final, but only the best made it to Saturday’s final battle of bird against pig.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of finalists were primary school aged boys. However spectators of all ages were on hand to follow their progress at the upscale Kammpi shopping centre in Helsinki.
The Finnish company Rovio Mobile created the addictive game, whose central idea is reassuringly simple: evil green pigs have stolen the birds’ eggs, making them very angry. The player’s mission is to hurl the birds at the pigs and their fortress with the aim of eliminating the green nemeses.
Given yesterday’s news of AT&T purchase of T-Mobile, it is slightly ironic that the very first phone we’ve seen up close at CTIA this year is a T-Mobile phone. And even more ironic, the T-Mobile Astound uses the Symbian platform, which Nokia made pretty clear it had washed its hands of last month. But don’t dismiss the Astound immediately; for its price, it has some pretty solid specs.
The Astound will cost $80 with a two-year contract from T-Mobile. Nokia told us that the phone is targeted at first-time smartphone users who don’t want to pay a lot of money for a data plan. And T-Mobile is following through on this promise; Astound owners can pay as low as $10 a month for this type of plan.
If the Astound looks familiar, it is because it is the T-Mobile branded version of the Nokia C7, an unlocked global Symbian phone. The two are very similar, but the C7 has an all-black color scheme and it does not have the most recent version of Symbian.
The Astound sports an 8-megapixel camera with HD video capture, a 3.5-inch AMOLED display, and 8GB of memory. Note: Out of all the phones I review, I still hold that Nokia phones have some of the best cameras. I didn’t really get a chance to play with the Astound’s snapper other than a few pictures in a dark bar, but what I shot looked pretty decent.
The phone itself is quite attractive with a white and silver color scheme and slim profile. I didn’t like how buried the microSD card slot was on this phone; you have to remove the back as well as the battery to get to it. The SIM card slot is nicely labeled however (see picture).
While the Astound might be attractive on the outside, Symbian is still, well, Symbian. Although it is a powerful and full-featured platform, its whole aesthetic feels dated and static compared to Android 2.3, Apple’s iOS, and even the latest version of RIM’s BlackBerry OS. Thankfully, this is the most recent version of Symbian S^3 so you get a portrait QWERTY keyboard and an browser improved from the previous versions.
Nokia officials had no comment on its relationship with Microsoft, but they did hint that there will be more Symbian phones to come. The Astound will be available April 6 online as well as at T-Mobile stores.
More about CTIA’s Spring show
Published: Monday, Mar 14, 2011, 18:04 IST | Updated: Monday, Mar 14, 2011, 18:23 IST
By Sreejiraj Eluvangal | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
Nokia will launch its first Windows Mobile phone in roughly 12 months from now, the Finnish firm’s India MD, D Shivakumar said. Shivakumar also defended the deal with PC operating system maker pointing to Microsoft’s strengths in areas such as socia networking, search and other software.
In a regulatory filing in the US on Friday, Nokia had said that it expected most of its smartphones to migrate to the Windows Mobile platform only in two years, setting off speculation that it will take two years to implement the strategy.
Nokia and Microsoft had announced a deal last month under which Nokia promised to build smartphones only on Windows platform, and to abandon other platforms like Android and Symbian.
According to Canalys, a global IT market research firm, the share of Windows in total smarphone sales had plummeted to just 3% during the last quarter of 2010 despite having been present on more than half of the smartphones in the early 2000s. In comparison, Symbian, which is being discarded by Nokia, had a marketshare of 31%.
Critics and consumers dismissed the last major version of Windows Mobile, called Windows Mobile 6, as being clunky and resource-hungry, though they have been kinder on the new version — Windows Mobile 7, unveiled earlier this year.
Shivakumar said Nokia’s bet is on the new version and its is much better than the earlier ones. “We took the decision after looking at that operating system [Windows Mobile 7]. It’s a good operating system,” he said, when asked about abandoning a popular product for a less popular one.
Nokia, which has around 35-40% of India’s cellphone market, is estimated to be maintaining its share in the smarphone market as well, despite teething troubles in bringing new models to market. The Finnish firm has been caught in a semi-paralysis for the last 2 years as rivals such as Samsung and LG raced ahead by introducing tens of new models in the smartphone category.
The flounder also cost Nokia’s four-year-old CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo his job late last year, and brought Stephen Elop, then head of Microsoft’s business division to Nokia’s head.
Shivakumar said the alliance between Nokia and Microsoft will give the latter a second shot at the mobile market, thanks to Nokia’s 33% global marketshare.
“Microsoft has been looking for a strong hardware partner, but they have been on phones [platforms] which has not given them that strength. With Nokia, suddenly the scales are huge.
“So, for the first time in many a markets, people will get used to a Windows Mobile phone thanks to the Nokia tie-up,” he pointed out.
For Nokia, the deal will help the company give a quiet burial to the ailing Symbian operating system while leveraging Microsoft’s influence as a shareholder at Facebook to bring nifty features to its future smartphones.
“Its [new] operating system has links to it [Facebook].. It has a range of services which complement Nokia services — they have Bing [search], Zune [music] and games,” the India MD said. Meanwhile, Nokia will launch around 40-50 new phone models in 2011, including around 20 smartphones built on Symbian, he added.
He also claimed that the Rs 23,000 ‘N8’ trebled the Indian smartphone market since its launch six months ago. Around 6 million out of the 155 million phones sold in India last year are expected to have been ‘smart’, according to research firm IDC India. They are expected to hit 39 million units by 2014, according to Canalys.
San Francisco-based Brooklyn Packet has raised $18 million in a first round of funding to make social games for mobile phones.
As part of the round, the company is changing its name to TinyCo, which in no way is representative of its ambitions.
The game-maker, which launched in 2009, has already reached profitability after releasing three iPhone titles, including Tiny Chef and Tap Resort. What’s more, it believes it has what it takes to build a $1 billion company over the next two to three years.
Those aggressive plans is likely what attracted big-name investors, like Andreessen Horowitz, which led TinyCo’s $18 million round, along with several super angels, including Ron Conway and Keith Rabois.
TinyCo builds mobile games that are free and supported by in-game virtual goods.
If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is.
In the past four years, Zynga has built a company valued close to $10 billion, by monetizing games on Facebook through virtual goods.
TinyCo’s two founders Suleman “Suli” Ali and Ian Spivey, who met each other in high school, said mobile has the potential to spawn great companies in the same way that Facebook did.
“The mobile opportunity is huge,” Spivey said. “Android is going to have 100 million new devices this year, and iOS will add 50 million more. Mobile is where Facebook was two years ago.”
Still, investors and entrepreneurs have been optimistic about the potential for mobile games before, and it hasn’t always gone so smoothly.
For Marc Andreessen, he admits mobile games have been “out of favor” for him for years.
“This is our first important investment in the mobile gaming category,” he said. “You needed the iPhone and other platforms, like Android and Windows Phone, WebOS and others, to make it happen. The market wasn’t ready before, and it didn’t matter how good the developers were.”
The company, which has 37 employees, is working next on launching games for Android, just in time for Google’s launch of in-app purchases, which is coming to the marketplace soon.
Andreessen said TinyCo is a “classic example of a startup with outstanding entrepreneurs. We are the first money in and its already profitable. That’s an incredible achievement with no investment.”
So, does TinyCo have the ability to be the Zynga of mobile?
Andreessen, who is also an investor in Zynga, wasn’t willing to go there, but added: “There’s going to be a whole series of mobile-centric franchises that are going to be much different compared to companies that built on the Web. mobile is a first-class opportunity.”
First ever Facebook mobile phone unveiled
A London based mobile phone company has unveiled the first ever Facebook phone which has been designed in conjunction with the team behind the popular social network.
With 500 million users worldwide, Facebook is a phenomenon which is growing stronger every day. INQ Mobile are hoping their two new mobile phone designs will tap into the huge appetite for social media amongst the under 30’s.
The INQ Cloud Touch and the INQ Cloud Q were unveiled this week for the very first time. The devices are aimed at the 18-28 year old market and feature a home screen with direct links to the user’s Facebook page allowing easy access to notifications, status updates, friend requests, and photos.
The Android smartphones have introduced Facebook friendly features to replace the traditional applications found on mobiles. For example, the typical calendar usually found on mobiles has been replaced by Facebook Events which also links up with Google Calendar, and the usual phone contacts list has been superseded by a Facebook inspired Friend’s List.
For the convenience of the user, the phone has a single sign-in feature which allows the users to access all of the Facebook features on their smartphone.
The Cloud Touch is due to go on sale in April, while the Cloud Q will be released later in the year. The price of the new Facebook phones is yet to be revealed, however it’s likely to be priced very reasonably in order to attract teenagers and students.
The target release date of the first Nokia smartphone to use Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system could be set within days, with the company aiming to have it on the market this year, senior executives said on Sunday.
Speaking on the eve of the mobile phone industry’s annual get-together in Barcelona, Nokia chief Stephen Elop defended the tie-up with the US software giant, saying it would bring billions in value to the Finnish company, which has seen its market share squeezed by Apple’s iPhone and phones using Google’s Android operating system.
Nokia and Microsoft technical teams “are working together next week to solidify the timing of the first Nokia Windows Phone product,” said Jo Harlow, Nokia’s executive vice president in charge of smart devices.
Speaking two days after the announcement of the smartphone tie-up between the two IT giants, Harlow told journalists she could not yet name a date for handset’s release.
“But my boss has told me he would be much happier if that time was in 2011,” she said alongside Elop.
The world’s top mobile phone maker unveiled on Friday week a radical new strategy by partnering with Microsoft, under which Nokia smartphones will be adopting Microsoft’s phone platform and its own Symbian operating system will be eventually phased out.
Nokia has been unable to respond to the rise of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android operating system on its own.
Technology research firm Gartner said on Wednesday Nokia’s global market share had tumbled to 28.9 percent in 2010 from 36.4 percent in 2009, having once topped 40 percent.
Elop said that by passing up Google for Microsoft “we create an environment where now Windows Phone is a challenger. We have created … a three horse race” in the smartphone operating system marketplace.
He said Nokia would provide a “swing factor” to encourage developers to create applications for Windows Phone and they would seek to manage the transition to bring its massive base of satisfied Symbian customers to the new devices.
More than 1.5 million smartphones running on the latest version of Windows Phone, WP7, were shipped in the six weeks after the launch in October but Microsoft’s share of the market was only about three percent at the end of the year.
Elop said Nokia also had the specific technical and hardware and differentiated capabilities that will ensure Nokia Windows Phone products are great products.
Had Nokia opted for Android then a duopoly of Android and iPhone would likely have developed, said Elop, adding that all players in the market would benefit from having three competing operating systems to drive innovation.
He said that being part of a large, competitive smartphone “ecosystem” would bring incredible value to Nokia.
“For all the unique elements that Nokia is contributing including the swing factor, including the decision to make Windows Phone a challenger, Microsoft is contributing to Nokia substantial monetary value,” said Elop.
This “value transferred to Nokia is measured in the b’s (billions), not m’s (millions),” he added.
A former Microsoft executive, Canadian Elop took over as the first non-Finnish CEO in September and was at pains to insist “I am not a Trojan horse.”
He said the company’s management team took the decision on the partnership with Microsoft and the final go-ahead was given by Nokia’s board of directors.
Elop also said a possible takeover of Nokia by Microsoft was never discussed.
The company’s shares were up 3.9 percent after its results showed that it added 58,000 subscribers in the quarter. That was more than three times the 17,000 customer additions that eight analysts contacted by Reuters expected on average.
While the number was tiny compared with growth at bigger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T, it was a milestone for Sprint, which last reported contract customer growth in the second quarter of 2007.
AT&T, meanwhile, which is looking to counter its loss of exclusive rights in the United States to the iPhone, introduced a service on Wednesday allowing unlimited phone calls to any mobile phone, an option that has helped Sprint win customers.
Analysts expect Sprint to revert to a subscriber loss this quarter, particularly with Verizon now selling the iPhone.
Christopher Larsen, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, said rumors about the new iPhone might have helped Sprint’s customer cancellations, or churn, in the fourth quarter if consumers were waiting to go to Verizon. “Churn may have been artificially low, industry wide, in the fourth quarter as people waited,” Larsen said.
Sprint’s chief executive, Dan Hesse, said growth would be hurt this quarter by the Verizon iPhone as well as the typical postholiday season sales dip. But he said Sprint would still improve over last year. “If you compare the first quarter versus the first quarter of 2010 and the second quarter to the second quarter of 2010, you’d expect to see continued improvements,” he said.
Mr. Hesse cautioned that Sprint still had a lot of work to do. “I’m not declaring mission accomplished yet, far from it,” he said in a conference call with analysts.
Sprint could potentially add the iPhone to its own device lineup, but Mr. Hesse declined to comment on any talks with Apple.
Sprint also faces tough competition in high-speed wireless services. It was the first American operator to sell phones supporting high-speed wireless services based on the latest technology standards. Verizon plans to introduce high-speed phones in coming months.
Sprint’s high-speed wireless service depends on the Clearwire network. While Sprint, which owns 54 percent of Clearwire, and Clearwire have been bickering over the wholesale rates, Mr. Hesse told analysts the companies were having “good discussions.”
Sprint’s loss narrowed to $929 million, or 31 cents a share, from $980 million, or 34 cents a share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose more than 5 percent to $8.3 billion, ahead of analysts’ average estimate of $8.15 billion, according the Thomson Reuters.
In comparison with Sprint’s rise in net subscribers, Verizon Wireless had 872,000 in the fourth quarter while AT&T had 400,000.
Sprint said 2011 capital spending would be about $3 billion, up from its previous target for $2.5 billion as a result of a network modernization project it is starting this year.
Sprint shares closed up 25 cents, or almost 6 percent, to $4.60 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Market watcher IDC has released figures that reveal a momentous occasion in the world of computing: for the first time in history, more smartphones were sold than PCs.
The figures, released by IDC’s Mobile Phone Tracker this week, suggest that 100.9 million smartphones were shipped in Q4 2010. That’s an impressive figure, made more so by the sheer growth: year-on-year, smartphone shipments have grown 87.2 per cent, the company said.
The numbers contrast markedly with those released by the company last month for the PC market, which suggested that a mere 92 million PCs and laptops were sold in the quarter – representing a 2.7 per cent growth year-on-year.
“Android continues to gain by leaps and bounds, helping to drive the smartphone market,” said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst at IDC. “It has become the cornerstone of multiple vendors’ smartphone strategies, and has quickly become a challenger to market leader Symbian.”
The increase in low-end Android devices suitable for those on a budget appears to have been the major driving force for the massive growth, although high-end devices are well represented in the figures. Samsung in particular has enjoyed a bumper quarter, with the release of the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab Android-based devices propelling the electronics giant to 438.9 per cent year-on-year growth.
Discussing whether the massive growth experienced by the market in Q4 could be sustained, IDC’s Kevin Restivo claimed “mobile phone users will find compelling reasons to turn in their older models as new ones are launched with dual-core processors and near-field communication chips.”
The massive growth of the smartphone market is good news for all involved, but one company can enjoy the success more than any other: ARM. The British company’s chip designs power the overwhelming majority of smartphones, despite Intel’s belated efforts to push its Atom designs into the market.
It’s possible that the growing power of smartphones coupled with their undeniable portability has resulted in a tipping point where laptops and even desktops are becoming increasingly unnecessary for a surprisingly large number of people. If so, it’s time for the PC market to take note – and for Intel and AMD to think about backup plans.
Tags: research in motion, personal computer, mobile phone, samsung, smartphone, idc, android, nokia
A proposed cell tower on Hilton Head Island could mean fewer dropped calls for some AT&T customers.
The town’s Planning Commission recommended Wednesday amending the Indigo Run master plan to allow a 140-foot-tall cell tower for AT&T Mobility at the Hilton Head Fire & Rescue Division’s Fire Station No. 7 at 1001 Marshland Road.
The new tower would be in a wooded area and screened with vegetation, according to the application. The tower would provide residential coverage to Spanish Wells and portions of Indigo Run. The town’s Fire & Rescue Division would have space on the tower for equipment that would increase its communications coverage. Fire Chief Lavarn Lucas said the space will be needed.
“As we transfer more and more data to communicate with dispatch, fire stations and apparatus, we’ll need better facilities to make that happen,” Lucas said.
Residents and consumers have long complained about poor cell phone coverage on Hilton Head. It was an issue in November’s mayoral race, and Mayor Drew Laughlin said last week he intends to establish a group of industry experts to recommend improvements to wireless phone and Internet service.
“There is a real problem on the island, not only with cell phone coverage, but broadband Internet access as well,” said planning commissioner Terry Ennis. “Any move we make in that direction is a good move, if the island is to grow.”
American Tower Corp. requested the amendment. The Boston-based owner and operator of wireless and broadcast communication sites said it wants to lease land for new towers from the town at the fire station and Crossings Park.
Jay Sanders, an American Tower agent, said the Marshland Road tower will improve reception for AT&T Mobility customers and would have space to accommodate other carriers, such as Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.
He said the tower can provide 4G service, “either now or in the future.”
Verizon announced earlier this month plans to bring its 4G Long Term Evolution network to Hilton Head and surrounding areas as part of a push into 140 new markets this year. Verizon said its technology promises data speeds 10 times faster than today’s 3G networks and comparable to that of a computer plugged into a digital subscriber line for those with 4G-capable devices, such as mobile phones and tablet and notebook computers.
However, cell phone coverage in Indigo Run and Spanish Wells is extremely limited because trees block cellular signals, Sanders said.
“There is poor to no coverage,” especially inside buildings and vehicles, he said.
Adding the tower should solve most of those problems, Sanders said.
“You have to get a certain height above the tree level to get the best coverage for our signal,” he said.
Sanders said American Tower is looking at other locations on the island to place more towers, but he did not have details.
He said the company hopes to have the tower built sometime this summer.
The issue goes next to the town’s Planning and Development Standards Committee before being sent to council for final approval in March.