Mobile news recap: 4G all over, Nokia and Windows Phone wed, and more

In the world of mobile, everything moves quick. Well, maybe not everything. There are few things more painful than trying to load a webpage while the “1x” symbol is flashing where it should say “4G.” But in general, everything moves fast. That’s why we get rumors that appear, evolve, and vanish before a full twenty-four hours can even pass. A company can go from the top of the heap to the bottom of the barrel in a matter of months. A company can go from the poster child of innovation to just trying to keep up. That’s what it must feel like at Apple’s headquarters. It has been a tough news cycle for the fruit-themed computer company. As it continues to struggle, its competitors seem to get stronger. We’ll cover all that and more as we look back on the biggest narratives in mobile news from the week of January 20-26, 2013.  

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More Internet, please

2012 was the first year that 4G really became prevalent. Even though the 4G LTE network is designed to make you more mobile, If you found a sweet spot where the data was flowing it became hard to leave it behind and brave the streets where service might drop. If the mobile industry has its way, in 2013, there won’t be any dead zones. Google making a big push too, as it made its intentions more clear this week. The search company requested permission to build an experimental radio network at its headquarters, which many are interpreting as a venture in mobile networks. While Google dons its lab coat to perform the experiments of a deranged billionaire with good intentions, it’s expected that 4G LTE usage will double this year. To capitalize on this, AT&T has purchased Verizon’s 700MHz spectrum, just one of its big purchases this week. The other was for the leftovers of Alltel‘s network, which marks the second time AT&T took Verizon’s leftovers this week. We’d hate to pay AT&T’s credit card bill at the end of this month.

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Breaking: Samsung sells a lot of everything

If a week goes by where there isn’t a story about a new Samsung device, we will become very suspicious. The South Korean company seems to keep finding various sized pieces of plastic and LCD screens to slap onto them. This week, the Ativ Odyssey made its way to Verizon and the Galaxy Note 8 got leaked and confirmed. The Galaxy S4 got a rumored release date in April, and while Samsung didn’t confirm it, it did say that whenever it does come it, it plans to sell the crap out of it. Samsung’s aiming at pushing out 10 million units of the Galaxy S4 every month. A bold prediction, but when you’ve got the numbers to back it, why not? Samsung led the way in a year of crazy growth in 2012 by moving 213 million units. A huge Q4 for the company boosted profits, as if it needed a boost.

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BlackBerry 10 still not here, but seems exciting

The hype train keeps on chugging for Blackberry 10, the new operating system from Research in Motion which isn’t out yet but will totally blow your mind when it’s here. Probably. Honestly, we really don’t know. But the mobile OS has stayed a steady part of the news cycle for the last few weeks, which is not something we could say about RIM’s current phones. A video leak this week suggested which models of the BB 10 phones would be available come launch day and just how much they would cost – around $150 – but none of the information has been confirmed. What is confirmed: BB 10 will have plenty of apps. Another 19,000 apps were submitted by developers before the submission deadline and while it’s unclear exactly how many apps will be available at launch, we know it’ll be a lot. A heads up to early adopters, though: The apps are now in a rebranded Blackberry World app store, which sports a new look to go with the name change. If all goes according to plan for Research in Motion, the company might have just a big enough hit to … sell itself to Lenovo

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Nokia wants to go steady with Microsoft

Nokia is totally done with Symbian. The company has been through enough pain with that operating system. It’s ready to move on to a better relationship. One that’s more mature, more refined. To prove its commitment, Nokia is putting a $1 billion ring on the finger of Windows Phone. Relationships can be a real money suck, huh? But can you really blame Nokia for wanting to go steady with Microsoft’s mobile OS? The phone maker’s Q4 results for 2012 were padded nicely thanks to sales of the Lumia phones. To prove its dedication, Nokia is bringing its PureView camera technology to a Windows Phone, which is the mobile equivalent to moving in together. This could be the start of a beautiful relationship – or a really ugly break up in just a few months. 

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Apple’s Math – and math – just don’t add up

After all is said and done, pretty much nothing of interest happened this week for Apple. No new products were announced, it fell short of earnings expectations by just a smidgen while still setting records in revenue and profit while selling 10 devices a second. How successful of a company do you have to be to set records while falling short of goals? Ridiculous. And yet, the most interesting Apple news this week was about things that apparently aren’t even real. The Apple Math, a supposed new iPhone model, was revealed in a mock up early this week. It came equipped with a 4.8-inch display and was going to be one of three iPhone models introduced this year. Turns out none of that is true. Honestly, we’re glad. The Math sounds like Apple’s take on a calculator and graphing calculators already cost as much as some phones, so we don’t even want to imagine how much an Apple-made one would run.


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