MediaFile

Will Blackberry “Torch” catch fire?

blackberry

The makers of the Blackberry, Research In Motion, unveiled a new version of the smartphone with a touchscreen and slideout keyboard, which is aimed squarely at the iPhone. It runs on AT&T’s network and is called “Torch” –but will it catch fire in world of popular consumer gadgets?

The event occurred as attendees and analysts also wondered how Research in Motion would respond to questions about the security of its messaging system.

Check out the live blog that we conducted during the Blackberry event — with a little help from our friends using  Twitter — with lots of opinions and fact about the new product.

Telcos are winning the cable TV battle but are they losing the broadband war?

War scene

The latest quarterly numbers from AT&T and Verizon Communications points to steady addition of TV customers which they are very likely winning from the cable companies as well as satellite players. AT&T said it posted its first ever billion-dollar revenue quarter for its U-Verse services (which includes Internet).  It added 209,000 U-Verse TV subscribers and now has 2.5 million in total. Meanwhile Verizon said it added 174,000 FiOS TV subscribers and now has 3.2 million in total.

Together the telcos, wh0 only launched their competing services less than five years ago now have a more than 5 percent share of U.S. pay-TV homes.

So well done to the telcos! Or is that the whole story? Analysts at Bernstein Research point out that both phone companies lost a combined 65,000 Internet access subscribers (after netting out additions from U-verse/FiOS and losses of DSL customers).

Analyst sees T-Mobile USA as iPhone contender

Kaufman Bros analyst Shaw Wu threw his hat in the ring on Thursday with an answer to one of the mobile industry’s favorite questions of the season: Which US carrier will be next to get their hands on Apple’s popular iPhone?

According to Wu, the answer is likely  T-Mobile USA, a distant fourth in the cutthroat US mobile service market.
This would be a surprise, as most of the rumors have surrounded Verizon Wireless, a Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc venture, because that company is the market leader and has made no secret of its desire to get the Apple phone on its shelves.

But Wu says T-Mobile USA may be the best candidate to get the phone first because it uses the same network technology as AT&T Inc, currently the exclusive US iPhone provider. While Verizon Wireless has more customers than T-Mobile USA, its network runs on a technology that Apple currently does not support. Interestingly enough, Wu said, the newest version of iPhone would also work on 2100 Mhz frequency of wireless spectrum, which T-Mobile USA uses.

Verizon Wireless CEO: We don’t need the iPad — yet

Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdams kindly spent some time with us this afternoon and spoke at length about the future of LTE (Long Term Evolution) 4G high speed Internet from the No.1 U.S. wireless phone company.

Asked if there was “any hope” that Verizon would have the iPad anytime soon, McAdams laughed:

Any Hope!? Any Hope!?

For McAdams tablets will be a big part of Verizon’s offering in the second half of 2010 with Android-based tablets from the usual suspects including Motorola, LG and Samsung.

Dell says it won’t chase Apple in tablet race

dellstreakThe iPad is officially on the market, and here come its rivals. Dell and HP, among many others, are planning to bring their own touchscreen tablets to consumers some time this year.

Dell will launch a 5-inch tablet (said to be called “Streak,” although the company has not officially bestowed a name) in the next three to six months with a yet-to-be-named wireless carrier (AT&T would make a lot of sense, given that it will carry Dell’s first U.S. smartphone later this year).

Neeraj Choubey, general manager of Dell’s tablet division, said the company deliberately stayed clear of the iPad launch so as not to be too closely associated with the device.  The iPad, at 9.7 inches, is nearly twice the size of Dell’s tablet.

IPad pre-orders begin, and so does the speculation

ipadApple began accepting pre-orders for the iPad tablet this morning, around three weeks ahead of the April 3 launch date in the U.S.  Only the WiFi version of the tablet will be available on that date, with the 3G version shipping later in April.

Apple is limiting pre-orders to two devices per customer, which one prominent Apple blog said suggested the company is stretched thin on supply. Analysts over the past two weeks have noted some hiccups in iPad production.

Here’s Oppenheimer & Co analyst Yair Reiner in a research note earlier this week:

Apple: AT&T a “great” partner (but will they get the tablet?)

appleiphoneFew relationships in the technology world are as closely scrutinized as that between iPhone maker Apple and its exclusive U.S. carrier, AT&T. Complaints about AT&T and its network have reached a crescendo in recent months, and most analysts believe it is only a matter of time before rival Verizon Wireless gets the iPhone, perhaps as early as this June.

When Apple executive were asked about AT&T on a conference call Monday — following its strong December quarter results — Apple executives played nice, to no one’s surprise

“AT&T is a great partner,” said Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook.  He continued: “in the vast majority of locations we think that iPhone customers are having a great experience, from the research that we have done. As you know, AT&T has acknowledged that they are having some issues in a few cities and they have very detailed plans to address these. We have reviewed these plans and we have very high confidence they will make significant progress towards fixing them.”

from DealZone:

DirecTV adds to media merger excitement

With media titans GE and Vivendi still negotiating a deal to bring cable operator Comcast into a mega-media joint venture, a management move at DirecTV is giving dealwatchers a fresh programming alternative.

Yinka Adegoke and Sinead Carew report the appointment of PepsiCo veteran Michael White (pictured below), who has no experience in pay TV, as DirecTV CEO is being read as a sign the company's parent, Liberty Media, just wants a baby-sitter until its sells the operation in the next couple of years.

Telecom leaders Verizon and AT&T approached Liberty earlier this year, they report. Both have cross-marketing deals with DirecTV and would leapfrog the rest of the market with the addition of DirecTV's subscriber base. But fears of insurmountable regulatory resistance put those talks on ice.

Apple hasn’t rejected Google Voice iPhone app after all

Apple, Google and AT&T all filed their responsesFriday to the FCC’s requestfor more information in the Google Voice app saga. The story line thus far has been trying to determine the reasons behind Apple’s decision to reject the iPhone app.  Some blamed AT&T for the thumbs down, believing that the iPhone’s exclusive U.S. carrier feared the app would provide competition for voice services on the smartphone.

But Apple said AT&T played no role in the rejection. In fact, the iPhone maker said the Google Voice app hasn’t even been rejected.

“Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it,” Apple said in its response. “The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhone’s distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail.”

Google Voice app rejected for iPhone

Apple has rejected Google’s application to place its  nifty Google Voice phone call and voice mail app on the iPhone, the latest twist in the closely-watched relationship between the Silicon Valley giants.

In a statement, Google said it submitted its App Store application six weeks ago, but that Apple failed to approve it. Apple declined to comment.

In addition, GV Mobile — a third-party Google Voice iPhone app — has been removed from the App Store, accordingto developer Sean Kovacs. He said Apple informed him that his app duplicates iPhone features.