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New BlackBerry, BT Dash for Share, Rackspace: Telco 2.0 News Review

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[Ed. Seven weeks and counting to the brainstorm in Silicon Valley, 19-20 March 2013, and then on to our European Brainstorm, 5-6 June 2013. We’ll also be at the Mobile World Congress for which we can offer discounted passes - email us at contact@telco2.net to find out more.]

It was BlackBerry Week, with the new OS and the first gadgets at last dropping. ReadWriteWeb’s review of the Z10 is positive, but warns that the initial learning curve may be steep as the user interaction paradigm is radically different to older BlackBerries, Android, or iOS. The design is heavily oriented towards productivity, and tries to integrate data from apps rather than foregrounding the apps themselves. For example, you can consult a notifications feed without having to quit the app you’re using.

Speaking of apps, all the shiny RIM scattered among the developers seems to have worked, as the new OS launches with 70,000 titles, of which 40% are ported from Android.

And we’re not meant to call them RIM any more - the company is rebranding as just “BlackBerry”. All the US national carriers wil be carrying the Z10 in principle, but as Dan Rowinski points out, you can ask several vendors about the gap between carrier support in principle and in practice.

There’s more review at Ars Technica, who also promise a separate in-depth review of the OS as distinct from the hardware sometime this week. They also have a gallery of classic RIM devices.

Meanwhile, Reuters points out that BlackBerry’s third biggest market is Indonesia, and a $750 Z10 is more than pricey in that context. So, is there an emerging market BB10 device in the pipeline? Nokia’s Lumia 620 is coming in at £150.

More ugly results from HTC. Samsung invites journos to Monaco to play with the shiny gadgets. Horace scores Apple Q4 as disappointing. Tomi Ahonen discusses the emerging mobile OSs and plumps for Samsung and Tizen.

EverythingEverywhere may be about to float on the stock market, says Reuters, who believe that it has appointed bankers to advise on carrying out an IPO. Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, and Barclays were said to be involved.

OFCOM, meanwhile, has proposed to let British mobile operators refarm their spectrum for 4G without many restrictions at all.

TeliaSonera’s CEO has resigned after an inquiry into their acquisition of radio spectrum in Uzbekistan. The CEO couldn’t adequately prove that there had been no bribery or corruption in the transaction, something which could be said of almost any transaction in Uzbekistan, especially one involving the business interests of the president’s daughter like this one.

On the other hand, MTN says it’s been cleared over that whole business of whether they helped Iran’s nuclear programme in return for a GSM licence. More precisely, it’s been cleared by a committee it set up itself; the US Supreme Court will rule later this year. Meanwhile, QTel’s investment in Iraq had a good first day on the stock market.

SFR’s first production LTE in Paris is on, using NSN’s fancy Liquid Radio system.

Here’s a progress report on the Australian NBN. Bangladesh at last gets redundant fibre. A call to make NBP mainstay Susan Crawford head of the FCC.

BT, meanwhile, is feeling aggressive. New tariffs, just announced, offer 16Mbps for £16/mo and “up to” 76Mbps on FTTC for £26/mo, with 50GB of online storage and six months’ introductory free service.

They’re also getting rid of their usage caps. TelecomTV quotes John Petter, MD of BT Consumer, promising that their network “can stand up to the extra bandwidth demands from totally unlimited products everywhere across the UK”. Wot no exaflood of OTT video taking our jobs?

What’s going on here is a sort of political business cycle applied to telecoms. Technology improves, operators invest, and then the temptation to rip out the cap and price to go kicks in. The pipes fill up, and soon the squealing begins, and we start to hear about taxing the OTTers, etc, until the next upgrade cycle kicks off and suddenly all is love again.

One thing that will certainly fill up the tubes is streaming high-definition TV, especially if it’s from a live event that can’t be cached and everyone wants to watch it. Like football. BT has started promoting the YouView set-top boxes heavily, to go with its new portfolio of sport, and as a result we have some first data points on the platform. So far, it’s insignificant.

Sky, for their part, added 50,000 customers in the UK in the quarter, and half of them took their IPTV service. So far, 4.5 million of their 10.3 million customers have the Sky+ box, but only 1.7 million have plugged the network cable into the back of it. That’s still about 1.6 million more than YouView.

Dan Rayburn reviews CBS and Akamai’s streaming of the Superbowl, and finds it inadequate.

Amazon Web Services launches Elastic Transcoder, a video transcoding service in the cloud, thus getting closer to having a full-service video workflow.

Google is investigating subscription channels on YouTube, having asked some of its original content creators to have a think about what they might do for a subscription of between $1 and $5 a month.

Google has also, it turns out, been talking to the French government. The row between French publishers and Google has been going on for years - remember when AFP sued them for indexing their Web site? Now, Google has agreed to put €60m in what sounds like investments in digital publishing startups and to offer French content firms advice about how best to use Google Analytics and other products. In a sense, rather than set a precedent, Google has voluntarily pulled out some money to hush the problem.

Meanwhile, Facebook reckons its mobile revenue is up to 23% of the total.

Former cause celebre Phorm needs a rescue rights issue. The world’s biggest TV.

Up in the cloud, Amazon’s results were a little disappointing, although their usual weak point, margin, was up. That might explain why the shares soared on the news. Wired argues that they are growing like WalMart in the 1990s, but you have to wonder about a company with sales of $21bn and net profit of $97m.

That said, here’s Jim Young of ESRI, makers of the world-standard ArcGIS mapping server, talking about running mapping and geographical information systems in the AWS cloud:

Who’s building a monster solar-powered data centre in Iowa? Data Center Knowledge investigates. Here’s Microsoft’s latest.

OpenStack wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Rackspace. They’ve just published reference architectures for private clouds using hardware from three vendors on the OpenStack platform. Meanwhile, GigaOm introduces OpenFlow to the readers.

Competing with Google is tough: here’s how DuckDuckGo is trying to do it, from High Scalability.

And EVE Online, as you might expect, has some pretty impressive scaling challenges. The nice thing about being an alternative universe, though, is that you can fix them by adjusting how fast time passes. If you can’t do that you might want to optimise your web site for better browser caching.

Bad news for the GSMA’s Voice 2.0 project, Joyn aka RCSe. Deutsche Telekom has put off deployment until further notice, citing serious technical problems, notably to do with Android fragmentation and also with interoperability.

DTAG is also operating a Voice 2.0 platform, Voxeo Labs’ Tropo, as part of its Developer Garden programme. Speaking of Tropo, here’s an app from their AT&T hackathon.

That said, will the explosive growth of Android make telco voice irrelevant?

Vodafone says the average duration of a call is falling.

Republic Wireless is deploying VoWLAN on a serious scale.

Now Skype is Microsoft and not really peer-to-peer, who’s listening to it?

RevK says that the IPv6 consumer routers are here, but where are the VoIP phones?

What will we do with peer-to-peer LTE?

The FOSDEM conference, as usual, has a really superb Voice 2.0 lineup. Learn!

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