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iPhone 4S take, Steve Jobs, US stats, new policy in India - Telco 2.0 News Review

Last week’s news was dominated by two big stories from Apple so we’ve published three separate news review posts this week: 1) this one with all the important non-Apple news; 2) iPhone 4S: a winner, if not a game-changer; and 3) Steve Jobs: where were you when you heard?

Ed. A quick reminder - it’s just one month to the London Brainstorm (9th-10th November) where we’ll share some findings from our new strategy report on ‘Dealing with the Disruptors’ - Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft/Skype, and Amazon’. Also, we’re just back from the Americas M-Commerce 2.0 Brainstorm in New York and working on the analysis of the intensive and highly productive brainstorm. The key theme of the event was how personal data will change M-Commerce (e.g. advertising, marketing, payments, etc.) - here’s a brief preview showing delegate views on how mobile marketing will change in the next two years to whet your appetite.
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Back to the news beyond Apple, Horace Dediu reports that 75% of T-Mobile USA’s sales are now smartphones, and it’s not looking great for RIM in the US market, at least until the new round of BlackBerrys hit the streets. (They announced a WebOS-style devices-kiss-to-share function, and bought a social networking startup.) There are 150 million non-smartphone users left in the US, and the number is falling fast.

Elsewhere in the world, of course, there are many more. But the transition is racing up on us. Mobile data traffic has grown 60% since May in Brazil, and even though iOS and Android are leading the way, you can easily see the significance of this news item on Nokia.

It looks like the survivors of the Maemo Linux/MeeGo effort at Nokia are regrouping, in a skunkworks effort to create the long awaited successor to Nokia Series 40 using Linux. The codename is “Meltemi”, and it will supposedly target “rich featurephones” as opposed to “budget smartphones”, which will get Windows Phone 7.5. If you can tell the difference between a rich featurephone and a budget smartphone in today’s environment, good luck to you. Development will be centred at Nokia’s Ulm R&D centre in Germany.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has speeded up the roll-out of Windows Phone 7.5 updates to users after favourable responses to the early developer versions. Andy Lees, in charge of the mobile OS at Microsoft, promised AllThingsD that dual-core processors and LTE were both coming to the next lot of Winphones after they were spotted missing from this wave. Lees said that LTE hadn’t been included at this stage due to concerns about power consumption.

Qualcomm, meanwhile, announced details of the next lot of Snapdragon chips, the power behind many, many of the top smartphones. The MSM8960 chip set includes, for example, a dual-core applications processor and an LTE radio baseband, and supports 3D video capture with hardware acceleration.

In Sweden, Sony-Ericsson Androids are five of the top ten sellers, although of course the very top is an iPhone, and the Xperia Mini Pro X10 looks well set for the status of a minor classic. Sony was reported this week to be thinking about buying Ericsson out…

Google released Android into the wild like a mad scientist with an engineered virus. They may have thought they could keep control, but we’ve all seen the movie before. The latest step in Android’s escape from the lab this week - software house Myriad Group announced the latest version of its alternative implementation of Dalvik, the Google-made Java virtual machine that is the heart of an Android system. Alien Dalvik 2.0 will, among other things, let you emulate Android on iOS, should you so desire, as well as supposedly running faster and letting you replace burdensome patent obligations to Google with patent obligations to Myriad.

In the UK, OFCOM chose late on Friday afternoon to slip out the announcement that it’s essentially kicked the 4G auctions into touch, pushing out the consultation until the end of the year. The UK spectrum position is complex and the lobbying is intense, and we’ll have more on the issue on this blog.

BT’s wholesale division and EverythingEverywhere attempted to stake out a position in advance of any decision, turning up service on their trial 800MHz LTE network in Cornwall. BT also continued litigating against the Digital Economy Act.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski gave a speech detailing his plans to reform the Universal Service Fund and implement the National Broadband Plan. This would progressively shift the USF from supporting telephony to supporting fixed and mobile broadband, but wouldn’t provide for further duplication of service or for competitive bids for the first phase of deployment. Cable operators hated it.

Connected Planet provides a sensible critique of Genachowski.

The Indian Government announced a new national telecoms policy this week, which will focus on getting universal service out into the countryside and on developing a homegrown network vendor market.

Benoit Felten is frustrated, and outlines a radical vision for FTTH deployment - forget the incumbents and focus on reducing the cost of facilities-based competition. Meanwhile, NBN Co chucks Emerson Power the contract to build its data centres.

Sprint-Nextel is deploying LTE, which of course has grim implications for Clearwire as its main wholesale launch customer is going to disappear and so is the funding for its own LTE rollout. The question is surely how Sprint will recover the vast spectrum holdings inside Clearwire. Clearwire makes the point.

There are some details here about the Sprint plans, and we note that managed WLAN offload is a big part of them.

WLAN wholesalers Boingo have contracted Towerstream to manage their network in Manhattan, which gives them access to many more rooftops and other antenna locations. As Phil Wolff points out, as Skype is a Boingo reseller, this means that Skype has just gained coverage over most of New York City. It looks like the EU is going to give Microsoft-Skype the green light without requiring much in the way of interoperability. Wolff isn’t exactly pleased.

In other voice news, people are still doing cunning things with international termination. Speech-to-text with Tropo. NoJitter.com relaunches.

Up in the cloud, Amazon Web Services S3 is now home to 566 billion data objects and is processing 370,000 requests a second at peak times. Meanwhile, Netcraft reports that the Web is still growing, and fast.

Larry Ellison boasts that nobody will be locked into the new Oracle Public Cloud, as it’s entirely standards based. Ars Technica takes a balanced look. Google has added a traditional SQL interface to App Engine. Getting it wrong at Etsy.

About 20% of IT managers are less likely to use the cloud after the AWS CloudFail, reports Data Center Knowledge.

US utilities are investing more in telecoms, but they would prefer to build their own networks, it seems. Here’s LightSquared hooking up with CareConnect, a health-focused M2M firm.

The Android patent lawsuit is coming to court, and the list of witnesses includes every marquee name tech CEO going - Ellison! Schmidt! Page! McNealy! - and quite a few other important figures besides. Meanwhile, ex-Microsoft man Nathan Myrhvold is suing Motorola over a patent from 2000 in which he claims to have patented software updates.

It looks like the uncertainty about the future of HP’s Personal Systems Group has crashed their channel to market for PCs, with sales in the UK dipping dramatically. Ars Technica’s Sean Gallagher reviews the options and concludes there’s not much point owning the biggest PC manufacturer in the world if you’re going to only come fifth for quality.

Elsewhere in the sprawling HP empire, the OpenStack cloud team announced this week that Ubuntu Linux would be the primary OS for the new standard.

The European Parliament is not happy about European telco vendors selling surveillance gear to dictatorships. Sonic.net refuses to hand over data on Wikileaks supporter. Anti-P2P technology that lets just anybody inject code into it.

For Ada Lovelace Day, ReadWriteWeb profiles 22 women who helped build Google +. Guy Kawasaki fights G+’s trolls. Spotify poaches a top Clear Channel exec to sign up major content and distribution deals in the US. Who are the most disruptive companies? - our take on this is here.

Porn? There’s an API for that (the API docs are here (surprisingly, SFW). ReadWriteWeb notes that the smut trade has been rather late to the party here and that its historic role as the launch customer for all sorts of Internet technologies has passed to games developers.

Ars Technica has a long piece on the history of WLAN. 404 satellite not found in northern Canada. Hating the #! Becoming a programmer. NFC on a MicroSD card. Alibaba CEO taps up Temasek Holdings in his bid for Yahoo! Koomey’s Law - computers get more energy efficient. Cool hardware lens attachment for iPhones. Windows virus invades killer drone command centre.

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