Mobility

Smartphones news: WES 2010, acquisition rumors, Android Market, Nexus One

Mobile stories that caught Shawn Morton's eye this week include major acquisition rumors, app store milestones, changes in carriers' handset selections, and more.

Here are the mobile stories that caught my eye this week. We had everything from major acquisition rumors to app store milestones to changes in carriers' handset selections.

RIM unveils BlackBerry 6.0

RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis unveiled the BlackBerry 6.0 OS during the WES 2010 keynote in Orlando on Tuesday. TechRepublic's Jason Hiner provides a first look at BlackBerry 6.0.

While it promises complete upgrades of many key apps, the addition of a WebKit-based browser and new features like multi-touch and an RSS reader, the response from the mobile community has not been upbeat.

Check out this Black Eyed Peas-infused demo video to see the new OS for yourself.

BlackBerry, while still the smartphone marketshare leader, has lost a ton of momentum to the iPhone and Android platforms. I don't know if Tuesday's announcement was enough to get any of it back.

While at WES 2010, Jason Hiner also reported on the BlackBerry Bold 9650 and the BlackBerry Pearl 3G.

Rumor: Apple interested in acquiring ARM Holdings

Not only does Apple pride itself on making some of the best mobile hardware on the market, but it also likes to fend off competition. Apple is well-known for trying to patent just about anything related to mobile computing. Now, there is a rumor that Apple wants to acquire ARM Holdings.

ARM holds the licensing rights to the majority of smartphone processors. Apple, which is ARM's largest customer, is allegedly considering an acquisition that would be in the ballpark of $8 billion. Not only would this allow Apple to produce iPhones and iPods for less money, but it would have every other mobile device manufacturer in a very tough spot.

This type of acquisition isn't out of character for Apple; in April 2008, Apple acquired chipmaker PA Semi for $278 million.

While I appreciate Apple's desire to protect its intellectual property, I think buying up component makers could slow innovation, stifle competition, and get the attention of anti-trust investigators.

Android Market surpasses 50,000 apps

More than 9,000 apps were added to the Android Market in March. AndroLib is reporting that there are now more than 50,000 apps in the Android Market.

After starting 2010 with just 20,000 apps, the Android Market has averaged approximately 8,000 new apps per month in 2010. As a point of comparison, the Apple iTunes App Store, which has over 150,000 apps, had over 100,000 apps at the same point in its lifecycle.

While the number of apps is a great way to market a platform, we are quickly getting to a point where most smartphone users won't see a real benefit. The more apps, the tougher apps are to find. Plus, how many apps will the average smartphone user keep installed at a given time?

HTC no longer pursuing a Palm acquisition

According to Reuters, an unnamed source close to the proposed deal says that handset maker HTC is no longer interested in an acquisition of Palm.

Dell and China's Huawei also expressed interest and then passed on pursing a deal. Lenovo, who is rumored to be considering a $1.3 billion offer, appears to be the only suitor remaining (though, ZDNet's Larry Dignan says don't bet on it).

I still think Google should acquire Palm to help them refine the Android UI. While I love Android running HTC's Sense UI, the basic Android UI feels unpolished in spots.

Update: CNET News reports that Hewlett-Packard says it will buy Palm for $1.2 billion. Verizon passes on the Nexus One, retires Droid Eris

With the upcoming release of the similarly-equipped HTC Droid Incredible this week, Verizon has announced that it will not be carrying the Nexus One. This leaves T-Mobile and AT&T as the only two U.S. carriers supporting the phone that Google hoped would change the subsidy-based model of mobile contracts.

In addition, Verizon also announced that it would be retiring the Droid Eris, which has been on the market for just about six months in May. As I mentioned in my review of the Eris, it was (and still is) a great smartphone.

The HTC Droid Incredible is an absolutely amazing handset. It's just a shame to see the Eris go when Verizon could easily toss the Motorola Devour overboard instead.

What mobile stories got you talking this week? Share it in the comments.

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