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More CloudFail; Google / Facebook / Twitter; tablet round up; Voice 2.0 apps; and small cells - Telco 2.0 News Review

(Ed. Join us next at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November. The Agenda covers the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in the Middle East and North Africa.)

Amazon Web Services was hit by a massive outage this week, after a hurricane knocked out power to data centres in the US-EAST region. According to the company, only one availability zone was down, but that was certainly enough to cause major disruption to web sites as diverse as Heroku, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Netflix, more often wont to give other people lessons on delivering high availability with Amazon EC2.

Netflix director of cloud architecture Adrian Cockcroft explains the position in a tweet - it seems something to do with the Elastic Load Balancer service went wrong, which would explain why failover into other AZs didn’t happen. Data Center Knowledge has a little more.

Meanwhile, there was a leap second over the weekend, which caused a surprising amount of trouble with applications as diverse as Qantas’ instance of the Amadeus reservation system, some Linux servers (kernels between 2.6.26 and 3.3 inclusive), and some Java virtual machines (notably Mozilla’s).

And, of course, a huge British bank had an entirely unrelated failure with its overnight batch processing. Details.

Does cost containment drive cloud adoption, or does it drive the second move, from the public cloud to the private cloud?

A top HP salesman leaves…to join VMWare. And Sony has acquired a cloud-based gaming company, Gaikai.

It was Google I/O week. Google announced the latest Android version, 4.1 “Jelly Bean”, which brings with it “Google Now”, a search product which tries to guess what you’re going to ask for next. Details, and criticism of the privacy aspects, are here.

There were also gadgets. For a start, there was the Nexus 7 tablet, the first Android device to ship with Chrome as the browser. Discussion of the relationship between the everything-on-the-Web/Chrome and the app-centric/Android side of Google is here.

Android activations are still racing ahead.

Meanwhile, here’s Google Nexus Q, the other big launch. It’s a media-streaming/smart TV device, although this one is designed as a black sphere with a ring of LEDs in an effort to make it look a bit more living-room friendly. It also gets a clone of Apple’s AirPlay features. Informitv says it does less than an Apple TV but costs much more ($299).

Here’s a look back at the first year of Google +.

In the cloud, Google has done a feature review of App Engine. This remark from its Senior Product Engineer is telling:

When asked why App Engine hasn’t rivaled Amazon in terms of the size of its customer base, App Engine Senior Product Manager Greg D’Alesandre told Ars that it’s harder to move code into Google’s service than it is into Amazon’s….

“It’s easier to take code running on a machine under your desk and put it on a virtual machine than it is to put it into App Engine,” D’Alesandre said.

Adobe is going to end support for its Flash Player for Android with the new version of Android.

Facebook, meanwhile, is going to release Q2 results on the 26th. We recently heard Facebook advertising described as “a waste of £2.50” and mostly interesting because of the information you can get on your audience from the planning tool. Twitter, though, is turning out to be a surprisingly good deal for advertisers, says the Wall Street Journal. And Yahoo! is considering outsourcing its tier 1 advertising to…Google.

In this week’s Chart of the Week, a German politician succeeded in getting his mobile operator to hand over six months’ worth of traffic data held under the EU data retention directive. The newspaper Die Zeit built a rather neat Web application to visualise the logs.


Play with it here. Meanwhile, the storied WELL online community is up for sale, again.

At Apple, SVP of Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield has retired, apparently walking away from $40m in additional share options, even though the transition to his replacement (Dan Riccio, VP of iPad hardware) is going to be gradual. Mansfield’s role was making sure that Jonathan Ive’s designs could actually be manufactured. Having run the laptop product lines, he took over the iPhone after the iPhone 4 antenna crisis.

Here’s an analysis of the EU smartphone market. Overall, device sales are falling very slowly, while the smartphone segment is growing fast. And Samsung appears to be progressively taking over the old Nokia customer base, starting exactly in the first quarter of 2011.

From burning platform to flaming arrows - here’s an interesting discussion of Microsoft and Google’s respective tablet demonstrators and what they mean for developers. MS seems to be looking to a post-PC future, although the devices seem perhaps less ready than they looked, while Google is looking towards the 7” low-cost tablet bracket.

Horace predicts Nokia breaking up, with Microsoft taking a small stake in the smartphone operation. HP says no to Windows on ARM consumer tablets, leaning towards the “post PC” strategy above

Meanwhile, RIM has enough cash for seven months and BB10 is delayed. Again. AllThingsD is taking a look at the founders’ side-projects.

The latest round of patent litigation. In Japan, meanwhile, a consortium has emerged to promote Apple iOS in the enterprise.

Inter-cell interference - is it the biggest challenge for small cells? KT estimates that the proportion of their network affected by it goes from 25 to 40% with the deployment of small cells. The answer is, of course, the X2 interface between the cells, but the major vendors have yet to publish their specifications. Much more at the link.

There’s also much more detail here about the Cornerstone network-sharing agreement between Vodafone and O2. Ovum reckon the savings may be as much as £1bn by 2015.

Elsewhere, T-Mobile USA CEO Philipp Humm joins Vodafone as CEO of Northern and Central Europe, while Vodafone’s CFO of EMAPA moves to be Finance Director of Kingfisher.

And it is a sad day for the British mobile industry: Vodafone is reviewing its sporting sponsorships. No more boxes at the Lord’s Test or Twickenham and trips to the Grand Prix? How will the industry press corps survive?

Why Sonic.net flushes all its logs every two weeks.

Three new Voice 2.0 products: BlueJeans Network is a browser-based video conferencing solution, and the slightly more established Hookflash integrates its iPad-as-desk-phone-2.0 application with LinkedIn’s directory. And Sendhub, a group messaging application, has grown up to rival Google Voice as a full-featured better voicemail and call routing solution.

Smartphone users spend twice as much time on the Internet (not counting social media apps) than they do making phone calls.

Tablets are now bigger drivers of e-commerce traffic than smartphones.

Windows Update seems to have tried to install Skype on Windows machines as part of an automatic update.

It turns out that TeliaSonera subsidiary Yoigo’s decision to include minutes of VoIP in bundles was just the start - you’ll have to pay for Skype on their main network in Sweden.

Freespee can now let your customers schedule a call back from a web widget. And Tropo demonstrates with OpenBTS and the Tethr Box.

Kim Dotcom gets a win in the courts, as a New Zealand judge struck down the warrant for the raid on his house.

Another mobile card-acceptance startup. 40 years of Atari.

Chinese politician’s family turns out to own key TD-SCDMA companies. Suddenly, a whole range of curious events in the Chinese telco industry become clear.

And why operators care about the international law of the sea.

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