Save the date folks. Wireless carrier MetroPCS has set March 28th as the date to vote on its merger with T-Mobile. The two phone carriers have been in talks to merge that was reported as early as October 2012. According to reports, this merger will be classified as a “reverse merger” meaning that T-Mobile will merge into MetroPCS’ structure rather than the opposite. Deutsche Telekom will benefit from this merger by getting 74% of the company’s shares. The remaining 26% will go to MetroPCS shareholders which equals a total amount of $1.5 billion.
While the date has been set, there looks to be some potential roadblocks in the form of some opposition to the merger. Among the different opponents out there is P. Schoenfeld, a firm who holds a total of 8.3 million shares, or about 2.3% of shares in MetroPCS. The firm has expressed the intention to vote against the merger using its shares. Along with them is another firm expressing opposition to the merger, Paulson & Co. Paulson & Co. has a total of 8.7% of shares in MetroPCS and may join in the efforts to oppose the merger of the two wireless carriers.
It will be interesting to see how this developing T-Mobile/MetroPCS saga will play out.
Let’s face it— rugged smartphones are certainly a godsend for those of us that happen to work in some extreme condition, but the devices often times have some pretty outdated technology. Fortunately, Caterpillar is coming to the rescue by introducing the CAT B15 smartphone— a Jelly Bean-powered all-purpose smartphone. The device comes in an aluminum-and-rubber shell, can withstand 5.9-foot drops on to hard concrete, be submersed in 3.3 feet of water for half an hour and oh yeah— can operate in temperatures between -4F to 122F. Outside of the heavy duty shell, the CAT B15 also features your typical run-of-the-mill lower-end specs including a 4-inch WVGA screen, dual-core 1GHz Cortex-A9 chip, 512MB of RAM and 5-megapixel camera.
The device is due to arrive in March and will run customers something in the neighborhood of £299/€329 (around $437 USD).
Good news for you Android stans out there— the Android platform has once again been the OS of choice during the holidays for those of you living out in the States. According to the latest study done by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech for the past 3 months ending in January 2013, Android smartphones accounted for 49.4% of overall smartphone sales, seeing a 6.4% growth compared to the same period last year. Android’s competitors did well also, though not as well as the Android platform. iOS was right behind Android for the period, accounting for 45.9% of overall smartphone sales, down 4.7% versus last year, while Windows Phones moved up to 3.2% of smartphone sales.
Additionally, the major wireless carriers in the U.S. had a fairly successful holiday period as it gobbled up the overall market share as well. Thanks to some great promotions and exclusives, Verizon moved back to the top spot by accounting for 35.2% smartphones, while AT&T fell to second with 28.2% of smartphone sales and Sprint held steady at third with its 14.2% share.
One of the great things about events like MWC is the fact we can see new and innovative technologies that can potentially revolutionize our lives. As electronic giants such as LG develop Ultra HD TV sets, it’s only natural to wonder when it is we can push high quality content and streams from our smartphones to these cool TV sets, right? Well wonder no more as LG has announced it is using the trade show to showcase the first Wireless Ultra High Definition Transmission technology out there in all the land. The aim of the technology is pretty simple: the Wireless Ultra HD Transmission technology looks to ensure the smooth delivery of smartphone content to TV sets faster and more efficiently than previous mobile video compression and transfer systems. There’s less lag and the technology can easily optimze resolution sizes of what’s found on smartphones— so the result is what can be considered smooth and pretty visuals. Oh and LG also claims that its technology can consume less than half the power of other similar transmission standards. Nice.
No word on when we’ll see this device implemented in its TV sets, but we suspect it shouldn’t be too long before we see it in action. Hit the break for more deets from LG in the press release.
Android has grown more than I could ever imagine, and the biggest player responsible for that surge is Samsung. They now represent about 40% of the Android devices sold, but is that too much? If you’re Samsung, it’s probably not enough, but if your Google, you might be worried that Samsung could start flexing their muscles and attempt to change the entire Android strategy. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal suggests that Google fears Samsung and is hoping other manufacturers will step up their game to keep Samsung in check.
LG is using MWC to formally announce its WCP-300 wireless charging accessory. The charger was developed for portability and convenience for consumers— so you know it’s going to come with some pretty impressive dimensions. The unit comes in at only 6.9cm in diameter, effectively making it the world’s smallest wireless charger. In addition to that impressive feat, the charging unit is also Qi-certified and features electromagnetic induction, which produces a magnetic field that creates an electric current in order to give those batteries in devices placed on the charging pad some extra juice. As of this time, the WCP-300 is only limited to the LG Spectrum 2 and Nexus 4 smartphones, but we’re hoping that we more devices compatible with the unit sooner than later.
More details can be found once you hit the break to check out the full presser from LG.
HTC is bringing the One SV to Boost Mobile beginning on March 7th, 2013. This mid-range device will use Boost’s LTE network, which is great news for Boost customers. The One SV sports 1GB of RAM, a Snapdragon S4 processor and Jelly Bean making it a very capable device for consumers. Boost will offer the device under its no-contract with shrinking payments plan that allow customers to pay an initial cost of $55 and then $5 less every month until their bill comes to $40. The device will cost $299 which may seem high to many but keep in mind this is an off-contract price which is a lot less expensive than some of the competition. Click the break for the official press release and additional info.
Noted Android developer Koushik Dutta has released ClockworkMod Superuser beta. And yes, this is the guy behind ROM Manager and Carbon Backup. CWM superuser is free but isn’t yet available at the Play Store. It can be downloaded here and flashed manually in recovery or via ROM Manager. Although there are a couple other Superuser options out there, this one is open source and has multiuser support. See the full list of features at the source below.
Qualcomm has teamed up with the developers of doubleTwist to create an open sourced media streamer for all Android devices called MagicPlay. Well, all devices with a Qualcomm chip with their AllJoyn protocol, that is. That AllJoyn protocol will allow a device to stream media to any other device, and it’s being positioned as a competitor to Apple’s AirPlay.
MagicPlay will let users wirelessly stream media through WiFi, completely skipping Bluetooth connectivity. It’s also to bet set up so manufacturers can add a single component to devices to allow streaming, and developers can freely embed MagicPlay streaming in their applications. Hopefully we’ll see this take off as well as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips have done in the past few years. Hit the break for the press release, and be sure to check out the rest of our MWC coverage here.
NVIDIA took some time today to post more details regarding their Phoenix reference phone powered by their new Tegra 4i chip on their company blog, including a hands-on video with the device. NVIDIA’s Tegra 4i chip comes with a built-in 4G LTE chip and promises to be better than the current generation Tegra 3 chip by most any measure. To help accelerate adoption of the chip by phone manufacturers, NVIDIA has created the Phoenix reference phone. The video shows some of the physical features of the device and also shows a little bit of what performance will be like for gaming or video playback. One of the features covered in the video is NVIDIA’s technology that allows for lag-free HDR photos, videos, and panoramic shots.
Check out the video after the break for more on NVIDIA’s new reference phone.
We’ve seen Google make some pushes into augmented reality with their recent push with Google Glass, and Google’s Direct of Android User Experience, Matias Duarte, fully agrees with that direction. At MWC, Duarte talked about gestures and tangibility being the next step for mobile devices, saying “computers have to work the way people expect, and not the other way around.” He also talked about the importance of users interacting with objects similarly to how they interact in real life, going beyond just your fingers and the palm of your hand. Google revolutionized the mobile space with Android’s open-source nature, and it looks like they’re attempting to spearhead the next revolution in mobile computing.
As a side note, Duarte also had a few comments about the customizability of Android, promising that Google would never clamp down on what makes our Android devices unique. To keep up with the rest of the news from MWC, click here for our latest coverage.
Earlier today we saw ASUS release a new promo video for one of their new devices from Mobile World Congress 2013, the ASUS Padfone Infinity. Following on the heels of the Padfone Infinity video, ASUS has released a couple new videos showcasing their new 7-inch tablet, the ASUS Fonepad. While the Padfone Infinity is touted as a two-in-one device, letting the user pick the size for their current need, the Fonepad is a single device aimed at being either a large phone or a small tablet.
One of the videos shows some of the features of the device and provides some background into design decisions. The other video showcases a Chicago tour guide and how he uses the Fonepad to connect to his customers. Check out both videos after the break.
Earlier today, ASUS revealed their latest PadFone device, the ASUS PadFone Infinity, and now they released a promo video.showcasing it’s attributes. The promo makes note of all the features of the PadFone including the 5-inch full HD display of the phone as well as the 10.1-inch tablet dock. It shows how a veterinarian and designer use the PadFone to be efficient on the go, so check out the video after the break.
Today at MWC, Sony announced that its Xperia Z and Tablet Z devices will go on sale globally on March 1st, 2013. The Xperia Z, Sony’s latest flagship phone, is already available for pre-order and available in some parts of the world with varying storage capacities. The Tablet Z, however, was announced back in January, but we didn’t have any details concerning a launch date or pricing. Check out the press release after the break and sure to follow us as we bring you all of the latest news coming out of Mobile World Congress 2013.