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Trending Tech: Apple strengthens ties with China, RIM in trouble and smartphone market booming

March 30, 2012

Apple’s China headache continues to get headlines. In smartphone news, Nokia introduces Lumia 800C to the Chinese market and Samsung ships 5 million Galaxy Notes in 5 months and RIM contemplates the acquisition path.

10. BlackBerry maker RIM posts big quarterly loss; announces high-level departures
The most anticipated fourth quarterly reports of the Ontario-based company came in with a huge loss. The BlackBerry smartphone maker reported a $125 million loss in the fiscal fourth quarter and announced a series of high level employees departures. Among them was former chief executive Jim Balsillie who resigned from the board. Blackberry is no longer the mobile fruit of choice it seems. Rumors have that Microsoft could be a good suitor.

9. Xbox adds HBO GO, MLB.TV, Xfinity, as it evolves from game console
Microsoft’s Xbox is expanding its games console into a non-game entertainment package. Microsoft, on Tuesday announced that it has added HBO GO, Xfinity and MLB.TV to the Xbox’s stable of video services. Xfinity TV on Xbox 360 will allow customers to stream as much video as they want on their Xbox consoles. The Xbox 360 is being repositioned as a connected device capable of more than online multiplayer gaming. With Microsoft continuing to make the game console into a one-stop entertainment hub, the traditional networks and cable TV are under pressure to rethink their content strategies to cover all devices.

8. Google releases Account Activity tool
Google’s new Account Activity feature released on Wednesday helps users keep track of their usage of Google services. The feature gives a monthly report of the user’s activities like the number of sign-ins, emails sent and received, browsers used, number of Google searches performed, number of places visited on Google Latitude, among activities. With this report users can be aware of unauthorized activity. It also turns out that users can see their own level of activity here which may be quite surprising.

7. A surge in software programming education
Everyone wants to be a software geek apparently. The market for night classes and online instruction in programming and Web construction, as well as for iPhone apps that teach, is booming. With the intent of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg, people are keen on learning new software skills. Internet has become a foundation for entertainment, education, and nearly everything else. To keep up with the Internet and technology more and more people are learning Web languages and various computing skills.

6. Retailers and Marketers Oppose New FTC Guidelines
The Federal Trade Commission’s new customer protection guidelines recommend companies to delete most electronic information about customers once the data is no longer relevant to a specific transaction. The FTC is pushing Congress to adopt this guideline as law to protect customer privacy amidst growing concerns about how online data is gathered and shared by companies and marketers. Retailers and direct marketers are resisting but do agree with the FTC that companies -not customers should get to decide how long and which electronic data is to be stored. Yahoo is leading the way with the implementation of a Do Not Track button for user privacy and protection.

5. Google offers up percentage of Android Revenue to settle Oracle’s patent claims
Google’s legal battle with Oracle over patent infringement has taken a new twist when Google proposed to pay a percentage of Android revenue to Oracle, if and only if Oracle is successful in proving infringement. However, Oracle has rebuffed the offer on the basis that the numbers are too low. Oracle has claimed that Android platform has infringed its copyrights. Since a settlement has not reached between the two companies, the trial is scheduled to begin on 16 April. Google also is talks with tablet makers to co-label, distribute and market Android-based tablets in order to combat the iPad.

4. Samsung ships 5 million Galaxy Notes in 5 months
Samsung has shipped 5 million Galaxy Notes. However, it has not revealed how many were actually purchased. Galaxy Note unveiled in October 2011, is a 5.3 inch, Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” smartphone that doubles as a tablet. It comes with a stylus pen for drawing and note taking. The ‘Phablet’  is “creating a new market for something between smartphone and tablet PC and the speed of the global sales is expected to accelerate further next year when it will be available in the U.S.,” commented the Korean-based company.

3. Nokia pins smartphone hopes in China
Nokia launched its first smartphone for China on Wednesday. The struggling mobile phone company went to China, the world’s biggest mobile market in an effort to ignite the company’s turnaround. The high end Lumia 800C smartphones that runs with Windows Operating System will be supported by mobile carrier China Telecom. Nokia has timed the introduction of its smartphone perfectly as there is an anticipated surge in the growth of smartphone market in China.

2. Apple’s New iPad faces snags outside of U.S
Apple’s new iPad faced rising complaints from several countries that it was incompatible with the 4G networks and has been falsely advertised. Following allegations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that Apple has been misleading consumers about the 4G networks that is supposed to be working in all countries, Apple has agreed to issue refunds to iPad buyers who believe they have been misled. With heat issues and network problems, the release of the new iPad has been eventful.

1. Apple bolsters tie with China’s leadership
As Apple’s manufacturing and retailing issues in China continue, its CEO Tim Cook met Chinese government officials in a move to build stronger ties to China’s government. Cook met with Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday to discuss intellectual-property issues and greater cooperation. Apple has faced scrutiny over the working conditions in its supplier factories in China. It is reported that Cook visited the factories on Wednesday to discuss the same with Li Keqiang.

Disclaimer: Samsung is a Weber Shandwick client.