China Mobile, the Chinese telecom operator which is owned by the state, recently launched its very own 4G mobile network throughout China.
Samsung has announced a breakthrough in cellular technology that should help us get to 1Gbps on a cellular network by 2020. The new network is, of course, going to be called 5G and represents a huge improvement over current data transmission rates. What is interesting about the announcement is that we are now seeing a similar technology available in the form of 802.11ac for the home. Does Samsung’s break through show how cellular and traditional wireless have become the same technology?
Qualcomm unveiled the RF360 family of RF modems for mobile devices. It is the first such solution on the market in which a single chip can offer support for all the world's 4G/LTE mobile networks. This should certainly facilitate the implementation of these features in devices for manufacturers of smartphones
LG has announced that they will exhibit two devices from a new line of smartphones, the Optimus F, at the Mobile World Congress next week. These are a modem equipped models that work on the LTE mobile networks – the Optimus F5 and F7.
So Asus has released the specifications of their next generation Transformers and as we told you they are not getting rid of the Tegra 3 for their HD version of the popular tablet. The original rumor was that Asus was replacing the Tegra 3 for a Qualcomm SoC. In truth we find that Asus is entering the realm of cellular tablets.
The tablet market has pretty much exploded. It seems that everyone has one or wants to build one. ARM (the company that holds the IP for 99% of the CPU technology that goes into tablets and smart phones) is enjoying a huge success. So much so that now Intel and AMD have set their sights on them, but we will get into that later. ARM’s designs as produced by companies like Samsung, Texas Instrument, nVidia, and many others have improved and are even encroaching on the x86 market.
So Apple had their little press event yesterday. The Hype was there, the buildup was there, and even the usual plethora of rumors was there. However, sadly neither Steve Jobs nor an exciting new product was there. We watched a little bit of the event, but after a while when we did not see the normal euphoric responses from the press we got bored and moved on to something else.
This morning we decided to check out the “morning after” reports and were rather surprised to see that the majority of analysts felt the same way that I did. The reactions went from mildly disappointed to one headline that stated that people should not bother waiting in line for this one. The impact was also felt in Apple’s wallet as their stock prices several point before rebounding, but leaving Apple a little over 1% down from their normal lofty height. In fact at one point during the trading Apple lost close to 13 Billion (with a B) in market value.
Why all of the antics and the sour grapes? Well here is the deal, remember that yesterday we talked about how Microsoft runs on the “build it and they will come” school of business? Well we are actually seeing Apple fall into that. Instead of launching a device that is truly revolutionary Apple gave us a phone that matches the core specifications of phones that have been on the market for months. Yes Apple has caught up to HTC, Samsung, and others in terms of CPU (the dual core A5) and memory. However, Apple failed to match any of them in terms of connection speed. So you are buying a phone that will have an average speed slower than many other phones on the market.
Some of the Apple fans have chimed in with comments saying Apple left of 4G to preserve battery life and other things of that nature, but in reality these are excuses to cover the fact that Apple did not have anything real to offer at this time. The iPhone 4S is a kneejerk reaction to the success of phones like the HTC Evo 3D, the Samsung Galaxy IIS (which Apple is desperately trying to bury) and others. These phones are gaining in popularity for their speed, style, and flexibility. This is driving Apple nuts as they have been used to being the only game in town.
All hope is not lost though. Apple did do something very smart; they are partnering up with Sprint. Before you scoff at that statement I want you to think about one of the biggest complaints about the iPhone in recent years; data plan caps. Anyone remember the outcry when AT&T capped their data plans? Or when Verizon did right after they started offering the iPhone? Both times the actions of these carriers angered their customers. Sprint has already announced that they are going to maintain unlimited data for their new iPhone 4S customers. This is sure to bring in some customers from AT&T and Verizon that are tired of watching their data each month. It will also convert a few exiting Sprint customers that are looking to upgrade from their older Android phones (like the Original EVO and its horrible batter life).
Apple will gain a few new customers and will sell the iPhone 4S to its existing fan base, but in the end this is not a magical or revolutionary device and Apple may find it harder to spin this one and charm the press into thinking it is something more than device to play catch up with the competition. We have our own review (on Sprit) planned for this one and will let you know how it fares against the Dual Core HTC Evo 3D. For now, let’s all sit back and see what Apple does to compensate for the less than stellar response from the press and the market.
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We have said before that Big Corporations in legal battles often sound like little kids on the playground. We yesterday AT&T replied to the Department of Justice’s Anti-Trust suit intended to prevent the acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T with an argument that can be best described as Nuh-Uh!
The real response countered that the DOJ just did not understand how much the consumer (pronounce that AT&T) would benefit from this merger. In fact the actual wording was “(The) complaint similarly fails to depict accurately the state of competition in mobile telecommunications today, the dynamic nature of the wireless industry, or the pro-competitive and pro-consumer impact of this transaction”.
Personally I think the DOJ hit the nail on the head when they stated that allowing AT&T to control 63% of the nation-wide market and ALL of the GSM traffic in the US is both anti-completion and severely anti-consumer. AT&T further states that they need TY-Mobile to prevent spectrum issues (AT&T has more of the spectrum that any other company as it is). AT&T continues to want to look at things on a local level where there are numerous local competitors, but on a national scale those local companies sink into the word work where only four remain open.
Additional arguments by AT&T claim that T-Mobile is in financial trouble and blocking the merger will not help them and in turn hurt their customers. In short the response was not a response as it brought no new information to the table and only makes the very childlike proclamation of “You Don’t Get it”.
Further proof of this can be found in an e-mail that was sent with the response stating that AT&T will work with the DOJ to address their concerns with this merger. We have previously talked about what type of concessions AT&T might have to make to get by the DOJ’s objections, but with a new suit filed by Sprint it might not be up to the DOJ any more….
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Well, well, well it looks like the folks at AT&T are going to have a go at settling the Anti-Trust suit brought by the DOJ. Originally some statements from the Telecommunications giant had indicated they would fight this in court. Now it according to a report from Reuters they are looking for a compromise that will allow the deal to go through without the need to bother any judges. This would seem to indicate that the deal is a bit shady in the first place, despite AT&T’s claims to the contrary.
But what kind of compromise would AT&T need to make to get this merger deal through? We know that T-Mobile does not care one way or the other. In fact they have a rather healthy failed merger clause that gives them a nice chunk of money in the event it is blocked. So the internet and the press begin to speculate and analyst put in their two cents. Right now there are rumors that AT&T will agree to sell off 25% of T-Mobile to its competitors. It will also probably agree to maintain the pricing and plan structure that T-Mobile has (for a predetermined period of time). These all sound good on the surface, but they hardly address the core argument in the suit. You see the DOJ put it very bluntly; if AT&T and T-Mobile merge it will reduce the competitive market by 25% and put the GSM Market firmly in AT&T’s hands.
This is something that is absolutely not in the interest of consumers, but then again most business dealings are not. AT&T is in a rough position, with the loss of the iPhone to Verizon and the possibility that Sprint will get the iPhone5 later this year AT&T no longer has a truly big seller and the fact that they banked on the iPhone instead of working on 4G put them behind their competitors. Now they have to act or they will fall even farther behind. Instead of investing in rebuilding their aging network they want to buy up one that is working towards modernization and pickup quite a few customers in the mix.
For now it is all in the hands of the Federal Regulators and perhaps even judges as this merger moves towards its fate; whatever that is
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