Five exciting things happening in mobile that aren’t the iPhone 5 or iOS 6
Verizon says "unlimited" doesn't mean anything, BlackBerry's data crashes, and in-flight data is about to become ubiquitous
Apple’s newest phone is out, and the operating system for said phone, complete with a weird and awkwardly unhelpful Maps app, is flowing through iTunes into many existing iPhones. There are far too many places to read about what the iPhone 5 looks and feels like, and how iOS 6 rates as an upgrade. What’s hard to find, actually, are stories about what else is going on in the mobile space.
Until you landed on this page, which will follow with five—count them, five—short dissections of what’s going on outside of products delivered by the fine folks at One Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA.
Verizon’s CFO: Unlimited is “Just a word, it really doesn’t mean anything”
Verizon doesn’t just believe its move toward structured data plans and the “Share Everything” model is going to be appealing to customers. Verizon also believes, according to CFO Fran Shammo, that the old model of offering unlimited plans was just too confusing to customers, according to Android Centrals’ keen reading of an investment conference transcript.
I think a lot of consumers think they consume a lot more data than they really do. So that whole unlimited thing I think is going by the wayside and they see the benefit of going to the shared.
Shammo isn’t entirely wrong, but it’s disheartening for some of us to see too much self-confidence on the part of any Big Four carrier.
Samsung Galaxy Camera is weird and maybe wonderful
Galaxy Camera? That’s right, Samsung has a Galaxy Camera that is, basically, a Galaxy SIII with more professional optical gear. The Camera has a 1/2.3-inch, backside-illuminated image sensor, 21x optical zoom, and it shoots 1080p video. It’s like an inexpensive but good pocket camera, with the built-in ability to connect over 3G/4G or Wi-Fi, and send your better-than-phone photos directly to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever service you’re looking to post to live.
Gizmodo has a hands-on video with the Galaxy Camera, and previously peeked at its specs. No U.S. cellular carrier has announced support for the Galaxy Camera. While it is a kind of weird prospect, it might be a perfect niche device for certain photographers and social media operatives, and would totally make sense with a pre-paid data plan.
BlackBerry network chooses opportune time for sizable outage
For three hours this morning, BlackBerry users in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa had no access to the internet, email, and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). Phone calls and text messaging kept up, but BlackBerry had to apologize to more than six percent of its user base for message delays. And for three hours, on the morning of the iPhone 5’s U.S. availability, it was a great time to have an overseas data problem for the company that was once at the front of the smartphone era.
Even second place in the song identification market is pretty sweet
Shazam is an app many iPhone and Android owners use to identify songs they hear in public spaces, on television, or while they’re driving (hopefully by passing to a friend). Their primary competitor is SoundHound, an app that does much of the same: listens through a cellphone speaker to playing music, then matches it with an artist/song/album entry. One big difference? SoundHound allows users to hum the melody of a song for identification. It’s really nifty, but also a total minefield for couples who disagree vehemently on music matters. Just sayin’.
TechCrunch details the rather impressive growth of Shazam to 100 million users. It’s one of those stories that makes you realize why the mobile space, more than anywhere else in technology, is seeing such growth and investment. Give people the ability to identify and buy any song they hear, wherever they are, and popular music might just get the shot in the arm they’ve been looking for.
In-flight cellular and data connectivity is becoming a standard
Starting before the end of 2013, every 747-8 and 777 plane that Boeing makes will have air-to-ground cellular and data connectivity built in as a default option. By 2014, all planes that Boeing makes will offer wireless media streaming, according to PCWorld. That means that, given enough time, in-flight Wi-Fi and phone calls won’t be a rare privilege, but a default offering on almost every airline that’s still in the habit of buying newer planes. Here’s hoping you even get to use that Wi-Fi before you reach cruising altitude, without the usually misplaced fear of killing everybody aboard.