TheTelecomblog’s Top Six Posts for August 2011

by Jeff Wiener on September 8, 2011

1. Google Grabs Motorola Mobility

In a move that’s likely to shake up the entire mobile market, Google announced this past month that it had acquired Motorola Mobility, the popular Android smartphone manufacturer, for a cool $12.5 billion. The acquisition gives Google access to Motorola’s veritable treasure trove of intellectual property, as the company has an extensive patent, with some 17,000 patents and an additional 7,500 patents pending.

Further, the move puts Google at the forefront of the mobile handset market, an area the company has struggled to break into after the flop of its Nexus One phone, a position that will also allow Google to bring its substantial resources to bear on the numerous patent lawsuits Android dealers like Motorola have been subject too lately.

2. Are We Turning Into Smartphone Slaves?

A recent Ofcom report indicates that nearly 60% teenagers are self-confessed smartphone addicts. The worrying part though is that adults are now almost as guilty of it as teenagers.

While the Ofcom report focuses on the UK, it’s the same story across all developed ’smartphone-friendly’ nations. People are prepared to give up sex, alcohol and even their toothbrushes for smartphones. I can’t help but ask – are we turning into smartphone slaves?

3. Verizon Hires Scabs to Break Strike

It was an interesting month for Verizon and tens of thousands of its employees across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States. In contract negotiations it was clear that Verizon was taking a particularly hard line, pushing for concessions that would allow the wireless giant to fire employees more easily, link pay increases directly to job performance, halt pension accruals this year (perhaps the reason Verizon was able to lure company retirees across the cross picket lines), and require all the union workers to contribute to health-plan premiums.

After the employee union called a general strike, Verizon decided to bring in scabs—strike breakers—and this post quickly became a forum for disgruntled Americans on both sides of the debate.

4. Rogers: Is “Beyond 4G” Beyond Bogus?

Rogers Communications is using “Beyond 4G” as its newest advertising slogan, but the Ottawa-based Public Interest Advocacy Group says that the claim is misleading. John Lawford (along with Mike Fujimoto), in a blog post on Open Media, said that Rogers’ network is “incapable” of reaching speeds over the upper limits of what is now considered 4G. This draws on the debate over what exactly 4G is, of course, as the semantics and terminology have become quite muddied over the last while.

5. RIM Unveils BBM Music

Amidst doom and gloom speculation of future takeovers and trying to capitalize on its most successful innovation, Blackberry Messenger, Research in Motion unveiled BBM Music this past month—a service designed to allow social and viral music discovery by allowing users to build a dynamic, community-based music library that can be shared along with BlackBerry Messenger goodness. RIM says BBM Music will offer tracks from all four major music labels which the BlackBerry owners can share on their “profiles”.

What remains to be seen is if this new music service has any hope in competing with better known rivals such as iTunes, Spotify and Pandora.

6. HP Terminates webOS

In a move that comes as a surprise to everyone, HP announced yesterday that it is discontinuing its use of webOS, the crown jewel of its Palm acquisition, in all of its current applications—including HP’s new TouchPad tablet and its smartphones—an announcement that effectively means the end of life for the once ambitious webOS.

The move has since had far-reaching ramifications. For one, the company quickly sold out its remaining stock of TouchPads after slashing the price of the tablet to $99, a move that will invariably hurt future tablet pricing. Second, the failure has hurt HP’s overall image, especially its credibility as a SMB network solutions provider.

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