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New Apple iPad round-up; Nokia Money shuts; Android Market now ‘Google Play’ - Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed. Just 2 weeks now to the Silicon Valley Brainstorm (27-28 March) and two months to the London Brainstorm (12-13 June) - email contact@stlpartners.com or call +44 (0) 207 247 5003 for more.]

It’s an Apple product launch week, and this story has all you need to know about the iPad 3 (in summary, it’s slightly more shiny than the iPad 2). There are some interesting details on the battery, here. Apple also pushed out an update to iOS 5 that fixes some 80 security exploits.

Beyond the hypefest, the iPhone is now the biggest selling smartphone in Japan, and the only non-Japanese device to come anywhere in a market dominated by the locals.

The Apple TV also got an update, although Dan Rayburn is distinctly unimpressed - the device comes without a subscription content service, sideloading, a Web browser, or an open SDK for developers.

CanSecWest was heavy on the Apple - as well as a talk on the problems of jailbreaking iOS 5, Colin Mulliner presented his work scanning mobile operator IP blocks. About 2,000 out of 500,000 iPhones he scanned were running an SSH server, an indicator of being jailbroken - although a genuinely competent user would probably turn off sshd after completing the break, for fear of a wide variety of security threats.

Mulliner also reported being surprised by the number of M2M devices he found - and that most of them didn’t even have passwords set.

While Tim Cook was basking in the adulation, it turns out that Steve Wozniak was taking part in an IBM-sponsored conference on data centres. Apple is building again at the huge iDatacenter in North Carolina, but nobody knows exactly what they are building - speculation ranges from renewable energy generation to - duh - another data centre.

Here’s something interesting. HTML5 is often seen as a way of escaping from “Apple’s walled garden”, and therefore something a Web-obsessed company like Google would be very keen on. But it turns out that HTML5 performance on iOS is dramatically better than Android. Since the iPhone 4S arrived, the time Safari Mobile takes to render 3D graphics in the Canvas tag has dropped sharply, suggesting both improvements in the software and perhaps also hardware acceleration.

Mind you, it’s impressive that someone built a Web page that implements tethering in HTML5 using Web Sockets, but why doesn’t the device just behave like a USB modem, like a mid-2000s Nokia?

How to make a scanner with an iPhone and a cardboard box. An original Apple Newton up for grabs.

Horace expects the US to go majority-smartphone on the 28th of June. Nokia, for its part, is planning to bring out cheaper Windows Phones later this year and also to bring forward Meltemi, its Linux-based replacement for Series 40, which will probably render the smartphone/featurephone distinction meaningless.

However, the 808 PureView gadget that astonished MWC is not going to North America. And Telstra is labelling its smartphone offerings based on tests of their RF performance, the 3G & 4G Wireless Blog reports.

Nokia announced this week that Nokia Money is shutting down. Tomi Ahonen is predictably apopleptic, and rather oddly compares this with Google Wallet - which would make sense if Google Wallet was a success.

Telco 2.0’s MWC M-payments post is here, spinning off the CEO of ISIS’s presentation. ISIS, at least, has more of a chance of success. It’s interesting that only 15% of the consumers they surveyed wanted an M-Wallet - although 70% wanted a safe way to manage their money and information.

Google, for its part, has started a crackdown on Android apps that use third-party in-app billing, trying to force them to use Wallet. This is because Google gets 30% of the transaction under Wallet (or indeed on the Android Market) and zilch otherwise. Arguing with the customers is not usually considered a great idea.

An example of alternative m-payments systems is Clover, which has sensibly enough focused on improving the user experience. To this end, they’ve pared down their protocol so that a transaction consists of one HTTP request and 2KB of data.

Beyond all this, the real m-payments hit, M-PESA, has grown so much in east Africa that it’s been accused of causing inflation by the African Development Bank. The Bank of Tanzania disagrees and argues it’s causing growth.

Back with Google, Android Market has been rebranded this week as “Google Play”, and Google has folded Google Music and Google Books into it. Tellingly, this results in the manager of Android Market being replaced - although it’s worth pointing out that Google is replacing two managers (one for developer relations and one for product management) with one. That leads us to this week’s Chart of the Week from Apple Insider, tracking Apple alumnus and Android founder Andy Rubin’s career through the mobile industry.


Elsewhere, AllThingsD has a post from SXSWi on the Google redesign, and on Google +. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the API.

In the content world, Mark Mulligan argues that the music industry is facing a dramatic collapse in CD sales and it doesn’t have a strategy for the digital late adopters.

Dan Rayburn sounds a warning that cord-cutting is overhyped and the cable TV operators are actually doing rather well (The Voice of Broadband agrees). He also rings round and factchecks the rumour that at least one big MSO is planning to bundle Netflix.

And if that isn’t enough Rayburn for you, you can catch him presenting on CDN market trends here.

PaidContent argues that one of the biggest obstacles to smart TV is that the TVs typically don’t have a WiFi radio, and therefore you have to plug them into a router as well as a set-top box.

You may be pleased to know that fisking a newspaper article is not a copyright infringement.

Content meets the cloud in the CDN. Data Centre Knowledge reports that Akamai is now operating 105,000 servers, more than webhosting giants like Softlayer and OVH, but many fewer than Google, which broke through the 100,000 server barrier back in 2005 and is now thought to be over 900,000.

Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services announced cuts to its prices on EC2, RDS, and Elastic Cache. And how to make sure your S3 storage buckets are efficient - don’t, whatever you do, use a steadily incrementing counter as a key….

And here’s some news about Dell in the cloud.

In voice and messaging news, a fascinating story about Twitter. It looks like they could safely replace their 10-K form with a Failwhale without losing any information - the company is still losing money, its revenues are tiny, they keep over-promising and then under-delivering (by a factor of five in 2010), and then there are the tiresomely frequent outages. Fortunately for them, their VC backers are still in love with the company and are pouring in cash. For now.

On the other hand, look at QQ go! More active users, and more peak-concurrent users, than Skype. And they’re profitable.

Not that Skype is hanging around, either. Jim Courtney reports that Skype peak-concurrent users have suddenly begun growing rapidly again. And Dan York caught his Skype client sending 1280x720 HD video.

Orange’s Unified Comms Security Blog discovers that there are more H.323 devices out there than you might think.

Live translation in your Apple FaceTime.

The Voice of Broadband reports in detail on Verizon Wireless’ “cantenna” fixed-LTE offering.

China is holding back on issuing 4G licences until more 3G base stations are out there. Meanwhile, China Telecom is the latest in a long line (boom, tish!) of carriers to fall out with Cogent and get de-peered.

The Channel Tunnel is getting mobile coverage, but only in one direction. A rundown of small cell market forecasts.

And Level(3) is at war with the RBOCs, claiming that they are making special access conditional on buying their services. It’s off to the FCC we go.

South Korean telco staff are caught selling private information. Blocked on Weibo - what words are blocked on Weibo, and why. After YouPorn, smut centre Digital Playground loses its user database to hackers. NSA releases its spec for a high-security Android.

After MWC’s CBOSS shocker, SXSW uses the homeless as WiFi hotspots. Seriously. And we all need a browser plugin that checks facts.

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