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#TBT: Amazon Kindles a Fire; Samsung vs. Apple patent wars; Tablet sales soar … this week in 2011

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!

Amazon Kindles a Fire

Amazon unveiled its long-awaited Kindle Fire today, a $199 Android tablet with a 7-inch screen. The Kindle Fire uses Amazon’s new web browser, Amazon Silk, to access the vast content in Amazon’s cloud network. By leveraging this enormous library, Amazon is cutting costs on device memory. The Kindle Fire has just 8 gigabytes of internal storage, which is helping Amazon keep the price low. Amazon is releasing the Kindle Fire as Microsoft aggressively (and successfully) pursues licensing agreements for technology it says its developers patented, which is now part of the Android operating system. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will secure licensing fees from Amazon. Just today, the software giant announced a major settlement in its patent lawsuit against Samsung. … Read more

A T-Mo/AT&T merger, and the impact on infrastructure

Not that the mobile industry ever sits still, but AT&T Inc.’s pending $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA Inc. has to an extent paralyzed the industry as the outcome of the deal will likely impact just about every inch of the space. Should the deal go through as described by AT&T, the mobile industry will gain a new No. 1 operator with size and scale yet unseen in the domestic space. While at the same time it will lose a feisty No. 4 operator that despite its size disadvantage has aggressively attacked the market from a network and marketing perspective. However, all of this has been put on hold following the filing of a lawsuit by the Department of Justice looking to stop the deal. Many see the lawsuit as a step in the process, with the actual intent of the DoJ move seen as a bargaining tactic. That bargaining would be centered on shrinking the overall size of the deal in an attempt to lighten the competitive impact a combined AT&T Mobility/T-Mobile USA will have on the industry. While those opposed to the deal saw the DoJ move as a victory, many industry observers believe the deal is far from dead. Recent rumors have suggested that AT&T was looking to placate the government by holding talks with a number of smaller operators about possibly selling off some of the combined assets in an attempt to garner approval. … Read more

Disney explores iPad interactivity

Parents may need to hide their iPads this fall, as entertainment juggernaut Disney gears up to sell iPad-enabled toys to kids. The new Appmates toys will represent characters from the movie Cars2, and kids will be able to place the tiny cars onto the screen of an iPad and control virtual cars in a game. The products and apps are expected to launch on Oct. 1. The cars will be sold in sets of two for $20 at Disney retail stores and at Disney’s online store. The app will be a free download for the iPad and iPad2. Disney has longstanding ties with Apple, and Apple founder Steve Jobs has been Disney’s largest shareholder since Disney acquired his Pixar Animation Studios in 2006. Jobs reportedly continues to sit on Disney’s board of directors, despite his current health challenges. But recently, Disney Mobile’s product launches have focused on the Android operating system. … Read more

Patent wars: Samsung vs. Apple

Samsung has struck another blow in its ongoing patent wars with Apple. Describing the scene in a Dutch courtroom as a “soap opera,” reporter Andreas Udo de Haes tweeted today that Apple is calling Samsung’s demand for payments related to patents “excessive.” Samsung has sued in The Netherlands to try to stop sales of the iPhone and iPad, saying that Apple has infringed on its patents. Now Samsung is demanding additional payments from Apple for every chipset purchased. Apple claims Samsung’s technology and chipsets are already part of the chipsets that it buys from Intel, and that therefore it does not need to pay royalties to Samsung. Meanwhile The Netherlands is set to ban sales of Samsung smart phones next month, based on Apple’s claims that Samsung infringed on its patents. So far, Apple is clearly winning the patent wars. … Read more

Tablet sales soar

According to market reports by top analyst firms, the tablet and smnartphone markets are continue to push customer and revenue growth across the mobile space, a trend expected to continue for at least the next three years. Based on a survey conducted by the London-based Infonetics Research, tablet sales surged 80% during the second quarter. The firm also noted that worldwide smartphone market revenue is expected to grow by 31% this year with total revenues of $117 billion. Apple Inc. leads the smartphone segment with 36% global market share. HTC Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. were No. 2 and No. 3 respectively at the end of the second quarter, followed by Research In Motion Ltd. and Nokia Corp. Combined across all vendors, Google Inc.s’ Android operating system continues to be the No. 1 smartphone operating system in the world, used in nearly half of all smartphones shipped worldwide, the survey found. Richard Webb, Infonetics Research’s directing analyst for microwave and small cells said, “The clear synergy between smartphones and tablets, with their shared touchscreen features and common application environments, make them by far the hottest segments of the mobile broadband device market. Just as iPhone users are more likely to buy an iPad as their tablet, so too are Android users more likely to buy Android-based tablets. It is increasingly important for vendors to have a strong portfolio in both market segments to leverage this synergy.” … Read more

Meg Whitman heads up HP

Hewlett-Packard Co. named former eBay Inc. CEO andcandidate for California governor, Meg Whitman, as its president and CEO. Whitman replaces Léo Apotheker who held the position for 11 months. HP also reported that Ray Lane has moved from non-executive chairman to executive chairman of the board of directors, and the board intends to appoint a lead independent director. In a statement, Lane admitted that HP is at “critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy and take advantage of the market opportunities ahead. Meg is a technology visionary with a proven track record of execution. She is a strong communicator who is customer focused with deep leadership capabilities. Furthermore, as a member of HP’s board of directors for the past eight months, Meg has a solid understanding of our products and markets.” HP had been rumored this week to make such a move, with the market closely following HP since Apotheker announced plans to separate HP’s PC business into a separate company through a spin-off or other transaction. Apotheker also recently killed off HP’s webOS device business that it acquired when it purchased Palm Inc. last year. HP has announced a new focus on cloud, software and solutions with an emphasis on enterprise, commercial and governments markets. If HP moves forward with its planned PC spin-off strategy the company that started out as a maker of instruments for scientists and engineers, would be more like IBM Corp., which seven years ago sold its PC business to China’s Lenovo. … Read more

Facebook’s mobile audience grows

While Facebook users were busy posting and tweeting about its new look and new features, mobile content developers were absorbing the latest news about Facebook Mobile – the service now has 350 million active monthly users, up 100 million in the last six months. According to Inside Mobile Apps, Facebook for iPhone now has 90.1 million active monthly users, Facebook for Android has 65 million, and Facebook for BlackBerry has 44 million. Facebook for Android is growing the fastest, adding about 6 million new active users each month. Facebook for “Every Phone” is holding steady at about 31 million active monthly users, and Facebook for the Windows phone has fewer than a million active monthly users. Meanwhile at Facebook’s F8 developer conference Thursday, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced Open Graph, calling it a “whole new class of apps.” He said it will create a “frictionless” user experience because apps will not have to ask permission every time content is posted to Facebook. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.


Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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