Week that was

PG.biz week that was: Samsung snubs webOS, Windows Phone gets app happy, and Apple, RIM, HTC and HP are dragged into the dock

PG.biz week that was: Samsung snubs webOS, Windows Phone gets app happy, and Apple, RIM, HTC and HP are dragged into the dock
Even taking the Bank Holiday Monday into account, it's been an typically busy – if somewhat shorter - week at PocketGamer.biz; the world of app stores, smartphone platforms, developments in mobile game making and assorted technology.

The last seven days has seen the mobile industry turn into something of a soap opera, with the aftermath of HP's pending withdrawal from the market resulting in commentators talking up one or two potential suitors.

The most likely buyer for HP's webOS business at the beginning of the week was Samsung – reportedly on the look out for additional avenues outside of Android following Google's move for Motorola.

Such talk was put to bed a few days later, however, when CEO Choi Che Sung indicated his company would "never" pursue the acquisition of another OS, branding the whole thing as a "fashion".

Indeed, Samsung spent much of its week bigging up its own OS bada. Three new Wave handsets are on the way – the first since launch, sporting the forthcoming bada 2.0 – while the firm is also touting the OS at Android developers, releasing a document detailing the process of porting from one platform to another.

"Android has greater generality at the cost of higher overhead and more complexity, bada's streamlined, targeted features offer less overhead and (in most cases) complexity," the document concludes.

Not so happy HP

The OS it has effectively turned down, however, showed brief signs of life this week.

HP announced it would deliver an over-the-air update for version 3.0 for TouchPad, improving functionality for a userbase of (presumably) hundreds of thousands, most of which picked one up when prices fell below the £100 mark.

TouchPad's userbase will swell further in the weeks to come, with HP announcing it is to deliver one last batch of devices to market, albeit in the US only. The exercise is one designed to use up parts already on order, rather than breathe new life into the device.

The most likely buyer for TouchPad's OS, however, is now HTC. The Taiwanese firm is a growing force on Android – and, indeed, this week saw the unveiling of the firm's first Honeycomb tablet, dubbed Jetstream and due for launch in the US on September 4 – and is also a major player on Windows Phone.

On that score, the firm has two new handsets on the way for Microsoft's OS – Titan and Radar, due for launch this October and running the next version of the platform, Mango.

Android continues to attract new backers, however. At the very end of the week, TechCrunch lifted the lid on a new 7-inch tablet running Google's OS from Amazon. Running with the Kindle name, the device is likely to be priced below $250, launching in November.

Amazon will be boosted by the suggestion made by market research firm Forrester that any Amazon tablet coming in at $300 or less could shift 3-5 million units in its first quarter alone.

Appetite for Android

The online retail giant will enter a market that's picking up players almost by the day.

This week, for instance, saw Sony finally lay out its plans for its first two Android tablets – the Sony S and Sony P. Both devices will launch in Europe and Asia this month, the cheapest coming in at €479.

In contrast, Windows 8 tablets are still some way off, and Microsoft will be hoping the growth of that particular OS tops that of Windows Phone 7, which is only now beginning to find its feet on a sales level. Its marketplace, however, is expanding apace, with 30,000 apps on board little over 10 months into its life.

It still trails its major rivals by some distance, of course, but crucially, that means it's growing at a faster rate than Android Market did at the same stage.

It'll be further boosted by the formation of investment fund Vision+. Set up by now departed Nokia VP of services Tero Ojanperä, the firm will invest in "product-orientated projects", with a view to expanding the Windows Phone ecosystem.

A logical aim, given Microsoft's new best friend Nokia is an anchor investor in the firm.

But though Nokia continues to lose executives as its restructuring continues, arguably bigger news is the departure of RIM's head of developer relations for BlackBerry Mike Kirkup.

His announcement comes as the first BlackBerry developer has been drawn into Lodsys's IAP patent claims – a reaction from RIM expected in the near future.

And if legal wranglings are your thing, news that mobile internet pioneer Openwave is suing both Apple and RIM over alleged patent infringement, coupled with similar action against Apple, HP and HTC by Canadian IP specialist Wi-LAN, will make your week.

What a time to be a lawyer, eh?

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.


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