By Megan Fleet
The changing of the guard from one year to the next brings inevitable changes. This is especially true with mobile technology which is arguably one of the most competitive and innovative segments of the tech industry as traditional feature phones and carriers are challenged with smartphone technologies and apps and unlocked phones.
So even if you keep half an ear to the latest happenings in this niche of the world market, there is a plethora of information, rumors, and announcements to keep track of. To help make the focus more manageable, here are a few noteworthy notices to kick off your 2012 mobile tech watch.
First, the continuing saga of the king of feature phones as it endeavors to make its mark in a smartphone world: Nokia. The mobile OS this manufacturer chose for its foray into smartphones is Symbian. Clearly this pairing didn’t fare well in the global marketplace. As a farewell gesture that is bound to drive the final nail in the coffin of Symbian, Nokia has opted to rebrand its latest smartphone as Nokia Belle. No Symbian to be mentioned in association again it seems. Perhaps the best rebranding for Nokia would be launching a new tablet featuring its next mobile OS choice.
Not to be left out, Google Android is bound to make this list. And, it is no surprise that it is causing waves with its much-buzzed-about OS upgrade: Ice Cream Sandwich. Global rollouts of this Android 4.0 update were supposed to have begun for Nexus S customers a few days ago, but according to the Google Community Manager, Paul Wilcox, announced that they are pausing updates to better monitor feedback for a while (this sounds oddly familiar to CarrierIQ scandal which highlighted the benefits of customers choosing unlocked devices).
On a more positive note for Google, they are now globally activating approximately 700,000 Android devices daily. The company’s willingness to work with many manufacturers (creating more opportunities for customers to choose carrier neutral unlocked phones), is significantly contributing to their continued growth around the world.
To follow on the heels of Google’s customer driven philosophy, carriers are having to fight the loss of their exclusivity on smartphones, tablets and accessories by dropping their prices. Recent reports show that 4G LTE pricing may drop by as 60% by 2016 as the additional speeds aren’t worth the cost for heavy users and the carrier specific devices that enable 4G are markedly more expensive than their 3G counterparts as well.