’s Top 6 Posts for February 2014

by Jeff Wiener on March 3, 2014

1. Mozilla Shatters the Smartphone Affordability Barrier

Almost a year ago I wrote a post outlining the future of the mobile market, one where companies would have to rethink their entire smartphone development strategy in order to reach the untapped markets in the developing world. In fact it was at last year’s Mobile World Congress that Manoj Kohli, CEO of carrier Bharti Airtel—which operates in India and Africa—gave a hard target for the mobile world to aim for; now, at this year’s MWC, that target has been hit.

This month Mozilla announced its plans to bring $25 smartphones to many developing markets, not only breaking the affordability barrier, but absolutely shattering it.

2. Vidéotron Emerges as Fourth National Player

The long-awaited results are in: after a five-week-long bidding process that involved 108 bidding rounds, Industry Minister James Moore has announced the winners of the 700 MHz spectrum licenses. As you may have already guessed, the incumbents have won prime licenses in all 14 areas of the country. But, in an interesting turn of events, a fourth player has emerged in the Canadian market: Vidéotron.

But spectrum alone doesn’t mean the Quebec-based carrier will automatically be granted the fourth place position, but given that Vidéotron’s spectrum acquisition allows it to effectively reach over 80 percent of Canada’s population means its certainly has the best chance to compete with the Big Three going forward.

3. FCC Charts New Path for Net Neutrality

It’s been a winding circuitous path for Net Neutrality over the last few years, and it looks like things aren’t about to change any time soon. In fact, having failed every legal challenge to its Net Neutrality standards to date, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced this week that he’s taking a different direction in his attempt to finally find legal footing for establishing a free and open internet.

Acknowledging that the old Net Neutrality framework was based on a faulty foundation, Wheeler has proposed an entirely new track for the Commission’s push for an open internet, throwing out all that came before and rewriting the rules entirely.

4. Long Term Study Finds No Link between Cellphones and Cancer

Mobile phones do not cause cancer, an 11-year study in theUKby independent research group MTHR recently reported. While it’s safe to say that such findings are still far from solving the ever-present medical controversy between cellphone radiation and adverse health issues, it is the first time we’re really seeing the result of long term studies, and such findings may help a few cellphone users to breathe a little easier…not to mention a few cellphone manufacturers.

Simply put, the study “found no evidence that exposure to base station emissions during pregnancy affects the risk of developing cancer in early childhood, and no evidence that use of mobile phones leads to an increased risk of leukaemia”.

5. Facebook to Acquire WhatsApp for $19 Billion

Facebook shocked the tech world this month with its landmark acquisition of mobile messaging service WhatsApp, purchasing the popular start-up for $19 billion in cash and stock options. Not only does this move give Facebook a viable messaging service, but it has changed the entire landscape for competing messaging services as well, with analysts suggesting that WhatsApp’s insanely bloated valuation has instantly increased the value of Blackberry’s competing BBM messaging service.

But given that most analysts agree that Facebook grossly overpaid for WhatsApp means that perhaps Blackberry should postpone any celebrations regarding its BBM cash cow.

6. BBC: Parents Unaware of Dangers Kids Face on Tablets and Smartphones

A recent survey from BBC Learning has discovered a startling fact, that most parents, even those ones who implement such controls on TVs and PCs, are largely unaware of the dangers their children are confronted with when using tablets and smartphones.

What’s strange is that underlying this paucity of parental supervision on tablets and smartphones is the bewildering assumption that somehow the internet kids access from mobile devices is different than the one they would access on a computer, meaning parents often feel more comfortable giving children carte blanche control of their iPad, while they would never dream of allowing such unfettered access on their PC.

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