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Windows 8 tablets, with Skype! Cloud-based CDN, Ruckus IPO, Apple Q3s: Telco 2.0 News Review

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(Ed - Apply to join us at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November, and Digital Asia in Singapore, 3-5 December. The agendas cover Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in each region, and there’s a great line up of top-notch stimulus speakers from Du, Mobily, Etisalat, Singtel, Globe, Qtel, Telecom Indonesia, Google, Amex, Unilever in addition to Telco 2.0 analysts.)

Microsoft Windows 8 is here. AnandTech has a 12-page monster review of the Surface hybrid tablet, while the launch event in China went rather badly after someone disrupted the show and the OS didn’t work well on the PCs as opposed to the tablets. Gizmodo liked the hardware but not the software. Critical comment is here. Ars Technica has another deep dive into the Win8 architecture, a review of its multimedia capabilities, and a visual tour of the GUI.

On the other hand, Cult of Mac reports people queuing outside the shops for the gadgets, a turn-up for the books with regard to Microsoft products.

Nokia has made a start on diffusing Windows Phone into the mass market with the Lumia 510, a Qualcomm Snapdragon-based smartphone priced at $199.

The launch of the Surface gadgets brings with it something new - Skype for Windows 8 is here, and VentureBeat is seriously impressed with the design and integration. Here’s some video:

Voxeo has just launched Ameche, a cloud-based Voice 2.0 platform that’s meant to provide “apps in your calls”. Dan York is impressed. The service runs in Joyent’s node.js cloud, which is interesting when you remember that Telefonica Digital is a Joyent partner. Hence, chart of the week:


Meanwhile, Sprint brought back PTT functionality as an app for Android devices, providing PTT between enrolled devices and also with the installed base of Direct Connect users.

Telefonica added TokBok’s video conferencing API to Bluevia this week.

Facebook’s Q3s are out, showing a $59m loss. This isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, as a lot of stock options have to be accounted for, but it’s not the barn-burning business blitz the IPO promised either. 14% of revenue apparently came from mobile users.

The Google was meant to be staging a huge launch this week, but Hurricane Sandy had other ideas. The event will stream here, but part of it had already leaked via Carphone Warehouse’s Web site, which was already advertising the Nexus 4 phone.

Wired rounds up the leaks and notes that Vic Gundotra of Google has been posting beach photos taken with a “Nexus 10” tablet. Meanwhile, history repeated itself as one of the Nexus 4s was accidentally left in a bar, kicking off a race between bloggers and Googlers to retrieve the precious device. Cynics might suggest this happens too often to be chance.

Meanwhile, Google decided to shut down Motorola’s old Chinese R&D centre, and it looks like the result was a hiring bonanza for Lenovo. Rather than set up distributed research centres, the ThinkPad people decided to concentrated on Nanjing and absorb as many of the ex-Moto people as possible.

Is Google’s ad volume actually growing fast enough to outweigh falling CPC numbers? Wordstream reckons so. Note the completely pointless infographic - at least you can copy the numbers off it into a spreadsheet.

The UK’s m-payments JV, Project Oscar, has got a brand and it’s as hipstery as you might have guessed. Interestingly, the carriers behind it are also looking at a different business model, and downplaying the dreaded three letters “NFC”.

In the cloud, here’s a great Ars Technica piece on CloudFlare’s cloud-based CDN, how they use the tools of the cloud to deploy and scale, and how anycast IP makes their CDN work.

Bytemobile reckons that mobile data rates drop 30% in the evening peak, if you’re looking for motivation to get into CDNing.

Meanwhile, Google App Engine had a major outage, flattening a range of popular Web sites.

The competitive impact is likely to be minimal, as Amazon Web Services also had a major outage, affecting Elastic Block Service customers. EBS, which emulates direct access to a hard disk, seems to be AWS’s bullet magnet, having borne the brunt of a succession of outages over the last 18 months. As requests to the failed EBS machines piled up, though, the problems cascaded through the system and eventually affected the RDS database server, EC2 virtual machines, and the ELB load-balancer, which many customers use to manage the effects of outages.

Amazon’s typically forensic crash report is here.

High Scalability blogs a fascinating talk on Google’s new Spanner database system, and also covers an interesting project to instrument AWS.

The results suggest that the best-performing Amazon data centre is Sao Paulo, probably because it’s the newest, and in general, disk I/O operations in AWS are best kept to a minimum. Is that a pattern?

HP claims it has 2000 customers on its public cloud in beta.

Facebook’s big event also got weathered out by Sandy, but it’s the launch of Facebook Gifts, as pre-announced a while back. Meanwhile, the King of Sweden visited their huge new data centre in subarctic Lulea. It’s good to be king. They say.

Wi-Fi star Ruckus Wireless is going for an IPO, and The Voice of Broadband has a read-out of the S-1 filing. Note that 308 out of 559 employees work in R&D.

Teresa also has a write-up of Broadband World Forum. Who knew the Internet made up more of the UK’s economy than any other G20 country?


Nokia Siemens Networks picked up another 3 TD-LTE networks from China Mobile.

MTN reported strong subscriber growth, 3.8% year-on-year. EverythingEverywhere reported revenue down 3%, blaming MTR cuts. 74% of its subscribers are now on smartphones. Telenor’s revenues were up 3%. Clearwire’s TD-LTE roll-out has been slowed down to align the deployment with Sprint’s. China Unicom and Telecom pulled ahead of China Mobile in subscriber growth, but mainly by expensively throwing iPhones at the problem.

More network-sharing: Telefonica’s O2 Germany x E-Plus.

Will prices rise in France to fund LTE? France Telecom hopes so. They would. Critical comment on the UK LTE tariffs.

China Unicom has replaced a Cisco backbone router, citing “security concerns”.

99.5% of peering agreements are on a handshake basis.

Horace scores Apple’s Q3 numbers and considers them adequate but disappointing. He argues that the iPad figures were rather poor, and that this is probably explained by the run-down of inventory ahead of new devices. However, the figures on a sell-through basis, rather than a shipments basis, were much better.

iPhones sold better than expected (so much for the tech-news “it’s a disappointment” talk). A bit more here.

Is the smart TV user experience really as bad as Microsoft Bob? That said, we met a huge new Samsung smart-teev at the weekend and it wasn’t so much the design as the absence of design that stood out…

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