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At Last: HTC’s One V Is Now Available At Virgin Mobile For $199

one-v-virgin

It’s bigger brothers have long since made their debut in the U.S., and now the smallest member of HTC’s One series is joining them. HTC’s pint-sized (relatively speaking) One V is now available for all you no-contract types on Virgin Mobile’s website, where it’ll set you back a cool $199.

In case you’ve forgotten about the ICS-powered One V (I don’t know that I can blame you), it sports a 3.7-inch display running at 800 x 480, a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor, 512 MB of RAM, and a 5-megapixel camera around the back. What’s more, the stock Ice Cream Sandwich UI is still covered up by HTC’s Sense 4.0 overlay, though I expect Virgin to have tweaked it a bit before letting the One V out into the wild.

Oh, and unlike the rest of its brethren, it retains the handsome, Leno-esque chin as seen in its forebears.

Alright, fine, the One V’s spec sheet may not be the most thrilling — even compared to some of the other devices in Virgin’s lineup — but it’s still a damn sight cheaper than the pair of iPhones that will soon hit the carrier’s virtual shelves. And hey, it’s always nice when a family manages to reunite in a different country, right?


At Last: HTC’s One V Is Now Available At Virgin Mobile For $199

FreedomPop’s New iPhone Case Promises Users Free Wireless Data

FPcase

Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom’s new FreedomPop project was initially shrouded in secrecy, but they’ve recently become a bit more talkative about how the company plans to offer “free wireless broadband” to their customers.

FreedomPop CMO Tony Miller spilled the beans about the company’s WiMax-based freemium wireless data service to Forbes, but left yet another question unanswered — what’s the “innovative” new wireless device they’ve got in the works?

Well, according to a high-level source inside FreedomPop, it’s an iPhone 4/4S case… with an integrated WiMax radio. Think of it as a mobile hotspot squeezed into a case — I’m told that it’ll run for up to 30 hours, and can share its Internet connection with up to eight devices (including the iPhone that it’s attached).

As I understand it, each FreedomPop iPhone case user will have free access to a 1GB data plan right off the bat. That’s the only plan that FreedomPop will offer for the sleeve, though their overage fees seem strangely familiar: each MB over the limit will cost a penny, which means every gigabyte over the limit is $10. That’s not to say that FreedomPop users can ditch their carriers entirely — the case alone isn’t enough to let users place voice calls, and major carriers generally won’t let you buy a smartphone without a data plan to go with it.

There are still some costs involved though, specifically a deposit that each user has to shell out for a WiMax-friendly iPhone case of their own. My source tells me that the deposit will be under $100, and will be fully refundable to customers if they ever choose to discontinue their service so long as the sleeve is still in good condition.

Users will also be running on ClearWire’s 4G network, and while that isn’t as fast as AT&T or Verizon LTE, it’s often more than enough to give 3G networks a run for their money (depending on their location, anyway). Their reliance on ClearWire could prove to be a bit of a stumbling block since it doesn’t have the biggest footprint, but FreedomPop is currently in talks with other “major” wireless providers about the possibility of branching out.

FreedomPop isn’t doing this out of the goodness of their hearts — they’re obviously in it for some cold, hard cash. Their plan is to make money off of a slew of value-added services they intend to roll out in coming months — it’s their hope that they’ll be able to convert 10-15% of their free users into paying customers, which will subsidize the service for everyone else. Whether or not that actually pans out is another question entirely, but we’ll have to wait and see how much momentum FreedomPop will be able to build first.

As far as how innovative this thing is, well, that’s debatable. It’s a concept that we’ve seen pop up a few times in the past, perhaps most notably when Sprint started offering the ZTE Peel, an add-on for the iPod Touch that gave the device a persistent wireless Internet connection. But hey, free Internet thanks to some low-cost, low-risk hardware? Giddy up.


FreedomPop’s New iPhone Case Promises Users Free Wireless Data

Nokia Maps Arrives On iOS & Android (But Only As A Web App)

Nokia-Maps-Public-transport-view

Nokia has just announced the launch of an iOS and Android-compatible version of its mapping service known as Nokia Maps. The service, which powers Nokia’s native mapping applications on its own devices, has not arrived as a native iOS and Android app, however, but as a HTML5-based web service available at m.maps.nokia.com.

In addition to basic mapping, Nokia Maps provides navigation support, through separate sets of directions for those who are driving, walking or taking public transport. There are also audio directions available, but for now, these are only offered when you’re on foot.

There are multiple map views available in the online service as well, including a default map view showing streets and labels, a satellite view, a public transportation view and even a live traffic view, which can help you better plan your route.

However, there are drawbacks to using a web-based application over a native one. For starters, the app will need your permission to access your location in order to provide you with directions – and unlike native apps, it won’t remember your response to its prompt the next time you go to use the app. Also, when Nokia Maps provides audio directions, you have to wait while it downloads a 2 MB audio file to your device, as opposed to just having the audio play. And of course, mobile web apps are limited in terms of the background processing they can do, which could impact your ability to multitask during navigation.

In early tests, it seems that the resolution of the online maps offering isn’t comparable to what you’ll get with a native application like Google Maps on iOS or Android, but the service itself was solid enough. It even has a nice, British-sounding man who prompts you to “start your journey,” which would make driving to a store feel like an adventure, I have to admit.

Nokia Maps, you’ll remember, became core to Microsoft’s mapping service when the companies aligned their mobile strategies in early 2010. That’s why it’s interesting now to see the company attempt expansion to other non-Microsoft platforms. However, if Nokia really wants to compete with Google Maps (and perhaps Apple’s own forthcoming mapping service), it will need to release a native version that more seamlessly integrates with users’ phones and tablets. A web-based version of Nokia Maps would be a good first step toward that goal, though.

The new web app works on iPhone, iPad or Android (2.3+) device, and is accessible from m.maps.nokia.com.


Nokia Maps Arrives On iOS & Android (But Only As A Web App)

Report: Video Accounts For Half Of All Mobile Traffic; Android Biggest For Mobile Ads

Screen shot 2012-02-23 at 05.21.31

Mobile video now accounts for half of all mobile traffic; and on some networks, that number is as high as 69 percent — a testament to the rise of smartphones and tablets as the mobile devices of choice for consumers, and their growing interest in using these devices to do a lot more than just make phone calls.

The data, from quarterly report on mobile data usage out today from mobile analytics firm Bytemobile, also found that Android is generating more mobile ad volume than iOS devices, and that Google now accounted for 75 percent of ad-generated data across all platforms.

Bytemobile says it has collected this data from a cross-section of its mobile carrier customers. It focuses on usage of two main platforms, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

As many have already suspected, tablets are driving significantly more data traffic than smartphones. On Apple’s iOS platform, an iPad user generates three times as much traffic as someone using an iPhone; while on Android, the figure is twice as much when comparing Android tablets and handsets.

This is not too surprising: tablets’ bigger screens are that much more conducive to consuming video and other content than the smaller screen of a smartphone; and in the case of something like video, those tablets will require higher resolutions, which also translates to heavier data use.

Indeed, video, along with other streamed services, are proving, once again, to be bandwidth hogs. The most-used application on iOS, for example, is Safari, accounting for 61 percent of all transactions. But when it comes to what takes up the most data volume? Bytemobile says it’s the Media Player, with 47 percent of all volume:

The same goes for individual applications. Although users spend slightly more time per session on Facebook than they do YouTube — 9.06 versus 8.51 minutes, respectively — YouTube generates, on average, 40 megabytes per session, compared to 120 kilobytes for Facebook or 170kb for Twitter. Twitter’s average session usage is 4.57 minutes.

Bytemobile also took a look at where mobile advertising is sitting in the mix. As ad networks have also been demonstrating for the last several quarters, Android devices are edging out over Apple’s iPhone and iPad in terms of generating mobile advertising traffic.

Yes, part of that is because collectively there are more Android devices on networks than iPhones — Android now accounts for half of all smartphones worldwide, says Gartner.

But perhaps just as importantly, those Android devices appear to be generating more ad impressions and engagement — collectively called “transactions” by Bytemobile. On Android, some nine percent of all data transactions were ad-related, while on iOS the proportion was five percent.

Why is that? It could be down to the fact that Android generally has less paid apps in the Market than Apple’s App Store, and those more popular free apps are pulling more ads down from networks when they get used.

But if you are reading this and starting to worry about how mobile ads are draining your monthly data allowances on your contracts, save your worries for the future: Bytemobile notes that ads accounted for only two percent of data volume on Android, and only one percent on iPhone.

As with online, Google dominates the mobile ad space with its owner of AdMob, AdSense and DoubleClick holdings. Together, these accounted for 75 percent of all ad data. But when it comes to the single-most consuming ad network, that dubious honor goes to Apple’s iAd: its video-rich ad units generate nearly 16 MB of data per transaction, while the lowest were AdMob’s display units, which generated less than 4MB.


Report: Video Accounts For Half Of All Mobile Traffic; Android Biggest For Mobile Ads

The Number Of Mobile Devices Will Exceed World’s Population By 2012 (& Other Shocking Figures)

multiple-devices-2016

Despite its long and boring name, Cisco’s “Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update” is one of the more fascinating data-filled reports you’ll read this year. The report examines the dramatic growth we’re seeing in the mobile Internet space, including the massive demands for mobile data, the growth of mobile video, and the rise of the smartphone as new gateway to the web itself.

Globally, mobile data traffic grew 2.3-fold over 2011, more than doubling for the fourth year in a row. The traffic even grew faster than Cisco had earlier predicted: they had pegged growth at 131% year-over-year. In actuality, traffic grew by 133%.

In 2011, mobile data traffic was 8 times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000 (597 petabytes vs. 75 petabytes). That was only a dozen years ago, but it may as well have been eons.

And, in one of the report’s more telling figures, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth by the end of 2012. By 2016, there will be 1.4 mobile devices per capita. That year, there will be over 10 billion mobile-connected devices, including machine-to-machine (M2M) modules. Again, the number will exceed the world’s population at that time (7.3 billion).

VIDEO

The mobile web’s growth, and its unending need for more data, more connectivity and more bandwidth, shows no signs of slowing. One of the top activities for mobile users in particular, is mobile video. For the first time, video accounted for over half of all traffic (52%). This is, in part, due to the increases in connectivity and phones capable of video viewing. By 2016, video will be over 70% of traffic.

Video’s growth can also be attributed to the increases in devices that can do more, faster at greater speeds, which help to impact the global bottom line in terms of data usage. Case in point: 4G phones, only 0.2% of mobile connections, are already accounting for 6% of mobile data traffic. By 2016, 4G will reach 6% of all connections, but 36% of total traffic, or 9 times that of non-4G phones.

The top 1% of mobile data subscribers, meanwhile, account for 24% of data traffic. And smartphones as a group, still a minority representing only 12% of the total handsets in use today, now account for over 82% of global handset traffic.

MOBILE CLOUD

In some cases, mobile cloud apps are video apps (think YouTube and Netflix), but other times they’re music (Pandora, Spotify), gaming, or social networking apps. But the increases in mobile connectivity have allowed what would otherwise be limited hardware devices to function as tools for media consumption.

A user with an 8 GB smartphone who streams music and video will consume more content over 2 years that can be stored on the device itself. And a smartphone owner who uses Netflix, Pandora and Facebook will generate more than twice the volume of traffic as generated by a smartphone owner only using email and web apps.

SMARTPHONES

Smartphones are growing in popularity and usage, too, as indicated by the increases in the group’s data traffic demands. In 2011, the average smartphone usage nearly tripled, up from 55 MB/month last year to 150 MB/month today. By 2012, over 100 million smartphone users will be using over 1 GB/month of data. And by 2016, the monthly global smartphone data traffic will pass 10 exabytes per month, with the average smartphone generating 2.6 GB/month, a 17-fold increase from 2011′s average.

FEATURE PHONES

Even though the perception in developed markets like ours is that smartphones are everywhere, the majority of the mobile market is still using basic handsets. In 2011, these devices accounted for 88% of the mobile landscape, and their mobile data usage increased 2.3-fold to 4.3 MB from 1.9 MB last year. In other words, even “dumb phones” are getting smarter, and capable of consuming more mobile data.

TABLETS

But the mobile web is no longer accessed by handsets alone. Tablets are a growing group, too, with their own data demands. The number of mobile-connected tablets tripled last year to 34 million, each generating 3.4 times more traffic than the average smartphone (517 MB/month vs. 150 MB/month for smartphones). By 2016, tablets will be 10% of global mobile data traffic.

Or, in what may be my favorite number from the report: by 2016, mobile-connected tablets will generate almost as much traffic as the entire global mobile network does in 2012, 1.1 exabytes per month. (The global network will reach 1.3 exabytes/month next year). Think about that: the tablet Internet will grow that quickly to become the size of this year’s mobile Internet. If you’re working on anything in the mobile space and have put off addressing how you’ll meet the needs of the tablet user, you’re already behind. And it goes without saying that if you’re building for the web and haven’t addressed mobile, you’re basically just lost.

ANDROID VS IPHONE

Finally, what good mobile data could refrain from weighing in on the Android vs. iPhone battle? In terms of data consumption, it appears Android is winning (well, using more data – I’m not sure if that’s “winning.”) As Android apps are freer to run in the background, the figure is not so surprising. But this is also a function of Android’s increased global market share. Today, Android devices’ data consumption is 29% higher than Apple devices in terms of megabytes used per month per connection.

There’s tons more data in this report – I’m barely scratching the surface. To read more, head over here.


The Number Of Mobile Devices Will Exceed World’s Population By 2012 (& Other Shocking Figures)