Telco 2.0 News Review

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Panic on the streets of Symbian: Psion vet Lee Williams collects his cards as director of the Symbian Foundation, amid rumours that the organisation is going to shut down. Rumours that turned out to be largely true - both the London office and the Cambridge-based R&D centre seem to be essentially dead, after the entire staff were locked out. As well as this drama, Nokia has announced that the notions of Symbian^3 or what have you are going, and future releases will just be versions of Symbian, and that developers should in future concentrate on Qt and stop writing native Symbian code. Not many will miss it - the only platform where you had to spend a day learning how to use strings, as one expert put it.

It looks like Nokia's own Avkon user-interface library is for the chop. HTML5 is going to be increasingly important. Nokia CTO Rich Green explains further on the Nokia Conversations blog, which results in quite a conversation in the comments. It turns out elsewhere that Java devs are advised to port to Qt forthwith as Nokia's JavaME support will only be in maintenance mode from now on.

Droidcon, a conference for Android developers, is offering a special discount to anyone who can prove they've been fired from Symbian.

Meanwhile, the WAC has signed up more members, including Qualcomm, Oracle, Opera, and a gang of network operators. Interestingly, Samsung's on board even though it has its own independent app store.

Ridiculous one-upmanship breaks out between major platforms: Steve Jobs tries to replace "open" vs. "closed" with "fragmented" vs. "integrated" and says Microsoft Windows is "the epitome of open". Andy Rubin retaliates with a quick command line example, and a rather good explanation of just what is open source in Android and what isn't arises. And Jim Basillie of RIM accuses Apple of fiddling its sales figures.

He also says that RIM users know that you "can't have a real Web experience without Flash". Adobe launched the latest version of AIR, the all-in-one developer kit for their products, which boasts a variety of mobile-specific features and a special JavaScript API for use on devices that don't have Flash installed.

However, it looks like the new MacBook Air will be the first Apple computer to ship without Flash preinstalled for a lohttp://www.tuaw.com/2010/10/21/apple-quietly-discontinuing-os-xs-factory-fitted-java/">Java. However, it does come with an app store, complete with approval criteria. It works for them - this was, after all, Apple's first $20bn quarter.

Verizon Wireless seems to be doing rather well, thanks without the iPhone. All in all, VZ had a reasonable quarter, with continuing FiOS fibre rollout pushing back against the decline of voice/DSL. They've also struck a deal with African operator Gateway to provide MPLS services in 26 more countries. Gateway is a Vodacom division these days, so they're keeping it in the family.

Vodafone Essar has attached a date to the launch of 3G in India - it's coming in the first quarter next year as around $500m in rollout contracts start to flow towards NSN and Ericsson.

Vodafone Australia, meanwhile, has terminated its network sharing deal with Telstra. Telstra's CTO, in town for Broadband World Forum, argues that sharing isn't such a good idea - in fact it's "a race to the bottom". The problem, he says, is that neither party to the deal wants to invest in the network while both parties' marketers are desperate to promise the earth.

Despite this, German mobile operators including Vodafone's German opco are holding talks to discuss the possibility of a shared LTE network. Dave Burstein has pricing details for the first LTE rollouts. Telecom Italia thinks that the joint fibre network the Italian government and three major alternative operators want is "against the constitution", and they vow to press on with their unilateral rollout.

Did you know there are now more femtocells than cells in the US?

TalkTalk has signed up Alcatel-Lucent to build them a big internal CDN in support of YouView (ex-Project Canvas). What we really want to know is why they feel the need to go it alone rather than use BT's Content Connect infrastructure, which is specifically intended to be YouView's TV-pushing back end.

OFCOM, meanwhile, has declined to investigate YouView despite the last-minute intervention from Sky last week, so the project might even go ahead. You never know. Sky's HD TV over your broadband link offering has just gone live - interestingly, they're now refusing to rule out joining in with YouView themselves.

On the other hand, the major US broadcasters, and Hulu have blocked Google TV devices from watching their stuff. In fact, they may be going to refuse access to other TV-and-more devices too, like D-Link's Boxee. InformiTV is sensibly sceptical as to whether this will actually do anyone any good. The networks never tried to control which TV sets people used to watch it on, after all, so why should they now? Wired reckons it's all about the terms of their deals with the advertisers.

Starbucks Digital Network, the deal under which various content players provide free video and other stuff to people using the free WLAN at Starbucks, and monetise through some combination of ads and a wholesale deal with the caffeine pushers, has launched. Connected Planet would like to know how much they're spending on bandwidth.

CDN operator Brightcove is being interestingly coy about whether or not they're going to do an IPO any time soon and whether the rumours of a "major Internet company" buying them are true.

A major Internet company, meanwhile, confessed that not only did its street-mapping cars sniff for the presence of Wi-Fi networks, they also sniffed Wi-Fi traffic where they could and collected whatever was flowing over the air. There is now a nice legal row going on - should they delete it all as quickly as possible, or should they keep it because it's evidence?

In Pakistan, police raid illegal VoIP operators and seize among other things GSM switching equipment. Some people really want to be telcos. And here's the one-click session hijacking tool.

We presume Apple has a use for the enormous data centre approaching completion. Speculate away... Meanwhile, Microsoft is teeing up a version of MS Office delivered from the cloud, rather like Google Apps. There may be some relevance with this story - MS is suddenly keen on supporting the OpenStack cloud platform, even though it has its own cloud (Windows Azure). The difference is apparently that OpenStack is for "infrastructure clouds" and Azure for "platform clouds". Me neither. It wouldn't be Microsoft if there wasn't some awful security issue - RevK gets bitten by Windows' tendency to emit invalid and unwanted IPv6 router advertisements. Treatment is available here.

AT&T is planning something big in terms of Voice 2.0 - specifically, they're setting up a network of major SIP peering points around the US. Either they're going to do something dramatic, or they're expecting a wave of demand for interconnection from people who will.

Skype has fallen out with Nimbuzz, who they accuse of creaming off Skype users' SkypeOut minutes. It's fascinating to see the voice price war dynamic replicating itself in the Voice 2.0 space - the value really isn't in the call any more, is it? Skype Journal has telling thoughts on the differences between Skype and Facebook and wonders if getting together is such a good idea. Summary: Skype is for your real friends.

Meanwhile, the UK government loves Mydex, the agonisingly hip VRM/ID management startup from Bethnal Green. Way back when, in the optimistic late 90s, remarkable numbers of New Labour staffers and wild-skinned geeks got paid by the Government to think about identity management in the future. Then came the War on Terrorism, and their work was sent to the darkest recesses of the civil service files. Instead, we got the Really Big Database of Absolutely Everything About Everyone approach, much beloved by spooks and Big Tech suits. Now the National Identity Register is dead, and guess what? It turns out the dotcom hipsters were right all along.

Some people really don't like the new version of Google Image Search. They'll probably like this even less - software that profiles you as you hold in the call centre queue and matches you with the perfect customer-service representative. Arthur C. Clarke's sentient local exchange wanted its subscribers to fall in love. The implementation wants them to upsell. Sometimes the future is depressing.

However, the Connected Planet story on it does refer to "analytic engines", and we really hope they mean it runs on one of these.

T-Mobile complains that a badly implemented IM app ate their Radio Network Controllers, and argues that this warrants an exemption from net neutrality. But then, who actually thinks you need an exemption to do some filtering and rate limiting of the Internet wildlife?

A new version of Mobile WiMAX has been standardised. The FCC wants to hurry up the big spectrum dump. The EFF has advice on privacy in the smart grid. FAILCon 2010, the tech conference that embraces failure. Apple FaceTime leaks. Mobile money transfer gets a fatwa.