Google strategically purchased Motorola in 2012 for £7.9 billion to make Android-powered smart phones and utilise their patent portfolio to fight patent attacks aimed at their Android platform. This week Google announced the sale of Motorola’s mobility unit to PC manufacturer Lenovo for £1.8 billion. Google will keep the 17,000+ strong patent collection, whereas Lenovo gets the phone-making unit itself and Motorola’s strong brand (needed to tackle the US market). It is safe to assume Motorola will continue to create Android phones, but an additional Windows Phone line which has synergy with Lenovo’s laptops would make a lot of sense too. If Lenovo was to split up its new phone unit into commercial and business offerings, they would be in a unique position to offer businesses, security and productivity focused smartphones. Could this be the move that sees Blackberry being squeezed out of corporate contracts completely?
Motorola see a future in Modular smartphones
Motorola has announced that it’s developing a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. The idea is that you can build a phone like you can a PC. Priorities battery life? Then fit in an extra battery module, Camera enthusiast? Then pick out the best camera module available and snap it in. A company could even build their own company standard phones. The possibilities, especially with an open platform are potentially endless. Naturally as Motorola is owned by Google, it is of no surprise this project, titled Ara is exclusive to the Android platform however it is likely a necessity to turn this seemingly farfetched idea into reality.
Lenovo fights against fall PC decline in the UK
Gartner reports that PC sales in the UK continue to fall. Between July and September 2013 PC sales fell by more than a quarter. The reason for the decline should surprise no one. “The transition from PCs to tablets continued to reduce PC sales” said Meike Escerich of Gartner. In fact of the top 5 PC OEM’s including Apple’s unit shipments were down with one big exception; Lenovo, who managed to increase shipments by 26.4%. Gartner’s reasoning on Lenovo’s rise is their ability in successfully delivering mobile PCs to businesses whilst continuing to grow their consumer market.
EE set to launch the world’s fastest 4G network in London
UK mobile network EE which launched last year combining T-mobile and Orange is getting ready to launch what it claims as the world’s faster 4G network, starting in London. The LTE-Advanced network will be capable of speeds up to a scorching 300 Mbps. This takes advantage of spectrum EE acquired in the Ofcom auction earlier this year. EE announced the network is aimed at business users who wish to access cloud–based business systems such as SAP and other ERP solutions. In addition to business users the new super speed network will likely also attract mobile enthusiasts which will help EE secure itself as the go to name for 4G who so far have 1.2 million 4G users.
The Blackberry saga continues
In a move that will surely turn heads, BlackBerry has now decided against selling off the company and instead axing chief exec Thorsten Heins in the hopes of a billion dollar bond deal. Fairfax will arrange this billion dollar bond deal, investing $250m, Canso investment Counsel putting in $300m, Mackenzie Financil $200m, Market Corporation $100m, Qatar Holding, another $100m and Brookfield Asset Management $50m. There is also an option for Fairfax to arrange another $250m. This billion dollar deal is expected to be completed within two weeks. Blackberry has not revealed what their plans are next, but it seems we are unable to count them out yet.
Private Cloud in a box
Microsoft is finally ready to deliver a private cloud in a box, with the Windows Azure Pack. This lets you take advantage of Windows Azure technologies inside your own datacentre, providing self-service, multi-tenant services. Traditionally to use Azure services you would be reliant on Microsoft’s own hardware. This will enable MSPs more flexibility in providing different Cloud services to customers in addition to satisfying dataflow transparency needs.
Microsoft details Windows 8.1
Although many rumours have been spun about Windows Blue or 8.1 as we now know it, Microsoft for the first time has confirmed certain details and functionality Windows 8.1 will bring. By popular demand the Start button is back, however the old menu is still not. Microsoft is focusing on their Start screen with more personalisation options, and improving the consistency from Desktop mode to the new Start screen. In addition to OS tweaks, all the main built in apps are getting updates and some like the Music app are getting a complete overhaul. Microsoft is betting on these updates to give users another excuse to check out Windows 8 and by listening to customer feedback they should be able to convert back some previously alienated fans.
Motorola looking into future password replacements
Motorola who is now owned by Google has been tasked with looking into future alternatives to the traditional password. Motorola have shown off two concepts in trials. The first is an electronic sticker that is worn on your body, a circuit inside will be able to confirm your identity to nearby devices. The second is a ‘password pill’, a pill the user will swallow which is then powered by your stomach, the pill notifies nearby devices on who you are. Will we see either of these security methods take off one day or even become the de facto method of signing in to your devices?
Foxconn developing 5 Firefox OS devices
Mozilla is setting up partners to get phones running its new mobile operating system Firefox OS out into the market. Mozilla has signed a deal with Foxconn the world’s largest smart phone manufacturer to produce 5 different mobile devices running Firefox OS. With incredible competition from Google, Apple, Microsoft and even BlackBerry, Mozilla has a long and uphill battle on their hands. If they can convince their 20% desktop browser market share to go out and buy a Mozilla device, they may stand a chance yet.