Wingadgets, Baidu cloud, Facebook slides, DTAG bundles Spotify: Telco 2.0 News Review
- Smartphone Roundup: First Windows 8 phones out; hybrid tablets
- Amazon: Kindle Fire discontinued after 5 million units
- Cloud Computing: Baidu's $1.6bn cloud data centre, VMWare on ARM (or not)
- Voice 2.0: 9 years of Skype, WebRTC row coming
- Content 2.0: Facebook slides towards our 2011 valuation, DTAG bundles Spotify
(Ed. Join us next at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November, and Digital Asia in Singapore, 3-5 December. The agendas cover the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in each region.)
There is, apparently, a WP8 Nokia coming, and it's going to be optimised as a camera phone, although not quite as much as a PureView 808. The over-sampling technology demonstrated in the last of the Symbian gorillas will be ported over, though, at some point in the future.
Ars Technica rounds up the Windows hardware at IFA, making the point that between Microsoft and the manufacturers, they seem to have opted to stick with the keyboard and go for a hybrid design between the PC and the tablet. Lenovo and Asus, for example, have come up with two hybrids respectively named the Yoga and the Tai Chi - the first can fold the screen all the way round to form a tablet, while the second has two screens placed back to back.
Even the Android world is suddenly keen - Sony's Xperia Tablet S has a keyboard-cover.
Samsung, not at all daunted by the patent wars, announced the second generation of the Galaxy Notes this week. The gadget seems to be becoming their flagship product, being the most powerful in the whole line up. They've also got an Android-powered camera coming, the simply-named Galaxy Camera.
Meanwhile, Apple has asked a court to ban more Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S III this time, in a separate lawsuit. The Verge discusses the exact content of the so-called "pinch to zoom" patent and argues that it may be relatively easy to work around.
Here's an interview with the foreman of the jury in the Apple-Samsung case. The latest rumour: production of iPhone screens at Sharp is behind schedule. Anandtech has an in-depth discussion of iPad CPUs.
HP's open-source version of WebOS has released code, with two builds of the project being available. The first runs on top of an Ubuntu Linux system, and is intended for developers interested in improving WebOS itself. The second is intended for developers interested in porting the OS onto new hardware. Job listings also suggest that HP is recruiting engineers for WebOS in Sunnyvale and at their Shanghai R&D centre, after it fired them all in February. It's just another week at the industry's crisis club.
More details are here.
Amazon announced this week that the Kindle Fire was being discontinued. The question is what will come after it. Horace estimates that Amazon sold just under 5 million devices, which was probably the original production run, a disappointing performance given the marketing welly of the Amazon.com front page. He also argues from this that content sales to KF users would have to have been sensational for Amazon to earn out the loss-leader pricing and actually make money.
On the other hand, the original-and-best Kindle remains an iconic device and Ars Technica discovers that the 3G version is remarkably good as a device to take into the wilds, with huge local storage, austere design, long battery life, and good radio performance.
And finally, here is the heartwarming tale of how Samsung invited two Indian bloggers to IFA via their blogger outreach...and then wanted them to sign an NDA, act as "promoters" only, wear a uniform, and act as booth staff, or their return tickets would be cancelled. Classy!
Baidu announced this week that it's going to spend $1.6bn on a huge data centre to support its cloud activities. It's going to be interesting to see if they join the China OpenStack association we blogged a little while ago.
They've also launched a mobile Web browser. We can reason from this that a big part of the cloud will be caching/accelerator proxies and perhaps CDN nodes in support of the browser.
VMWare's outgoing and incoming CEOs agree that they don't believe in ARM chips for servers. Perhaps this isn't surprising, as the new guy spent 30 years working on x86 chips at Intel, but they did make an interesting point. A strong point of ARM designs is that they shut down to very low power levels when they are idle - but a major point of the cloud is to avoid having idle hardware.
Australian cloudsters will be the first to try Windows Server 2012, with a local provider (did you know that none of the big clouds operates in Australia?).
Here's an interview about upgrading old data centres. The generation built in the .com boom is now looking distinctly wasteful of energy compared to the latest ones - retrofitting could be a cheap way to catch up.
It's Skype's 9th birthday. Dan York discusses its potential futures, and points to this MSDN blog post on the Microsoft/Skype submission to the WebRTC process, which differs substantially from the proposals so far.
BT Research, for its part, has a fascinating project trying to identify why so little social interaction translates on video, while the movies succeed in projecting it. Their answer is essentially that films have a director, and they tried to write software that automates that role, guessing which speaker is interesting to the viewer and cutting to that camera. The upshot is like this:
Facebook shares reached an all-time low on Friday, having fallen 50% since the IPO. One major brokerage has now announced a target price of $10-15 (against $38 at the float), a range which starts to touch our November 2011 call of $30bn maximum. Bargain hunters (or indeed, anyone who bought at the IPO) should bear in mind that another wave of lock-ups expires on the 15th of October.
Meanwhile, they updated the Camera app with more features, even though they bought Instagram. Discussion of how their stand-alone product teams function is at the link.
Facebook's security engineering team is trying to identify the source of fake "likes" and get rid of them. This seems to be a significant problem for advertisers, going by the stories regarding whole ad budgets eaten up by single bots and by the fact Facebook has apparently built software to identify them.
Some advertisers are furious, although it's not clear whether they thought the clicks were real or whether they were secretly paying the spammers to juice their numbers and are angry that they got caught.
Deutsche Telekom is going to offer Spotify Premium subscriptions bundled with some of its tariffs. Streaming will be zero-rated for data cap purposes.
O2 UK sues over the EverythingEverywhere 4G decision.