Enjoy our roundup of ten mobile phone related news stories you may have missed this week including news of Sony Ericsson’s re-branding, a new Motorola Defy+ and the chance of Instagram hitting WP7 before Android.
1. Sony Ericsson Has Become Sony Mobile Communications
Confirmation of the re-branding of Sony Ericsson came during Sony’s press conference at CES last week, and Sony Ericsson will from now on be known as Sony Mobile Communications. New phones will also only have Sony branding from now on too, which is far sooner than originally expected.
2. Motorola Teams Up with JCB for Special Defy+ Model
Motorola and JCB have teamed up to create a limited edition of the Defy+. The special phone has a shock absorbent case, a stronger battery and an exclusive app featuring several handy tools such as a spirit level, a torch and a decibel reader. In the pack there’s also a car charger and an extra-long charger cable, plus the phone comes with a two-year guarantee. Otherwise, it remains the same dust proof, water resistant Android Gingerbread phone with a 1GHz processor, 5 megapixel camera and 3.7-inch screen.
3. Nokia City Lens Demoed at CES
A new Nokia Labs app named City Lens was demoed at CES last week. The augmented reality app checks your location and locally maps out the resource you’ve requested – nearby hotels for example. By holding the phone in different ways, users can bring up different views, such as an overhead map when laid flat or selectable text in portrait. See City Lens in action below:
4. Sony Ericsson Talks About its Future Plans
With Sony taking over the reigns at Sony Ericsson long before the middle of the year, there was always a chance the team at Sony Ericsson would be moved off phone development. However, according to the company’s chief financial officer, the change will allow an ‘even deeper integration with Sony’ and they’ll continue to focus on Android smartphones.
5. Motorola Xoom Gets Ice Cream Sandwich
Updates for the Motorola Xoom tablet have begun, taking the Wi-Fi version up to the latest build of Google Android, which in this case appears to be 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. At the moment, the update seems to be arriving on Xooms all over the world, but in no particular geographical order, so just be patient if you haven’t seen a notification just yet.
6. Galaxy S II Sales Still Strong
The Samsung Galaxy S II has already been revealed to have sold more than 10 million units around the world, but now Samsung has revised its home sales figure too. The latest total is an amazing 5 million Galaxy S II sales in Korea alone, working out to mean 1 in 10 Koreans have an SGS II in their pocket. Quite amazing.
7. David Hockney’s iPad Art on Display
Famed British artist David Hockney will be displaying his iPad-created artwork at the Royal Academy of Art over the coming weeks. Beginning on the 21 January, there will be a variety of landscapes drawn by Hockney in his A Bigger Picture exhibition, all drawn on an iPad using the Brushes app. Take a look at the video below for a sneak peak.
8. Fujitsu Teases New ICS Tablet
Fujitsu may be planning to bring its smartphones to Europe and the US, but will it bring its tablets too? We hope so, as the Stylistic M532 looks great. Demoed at CES, the Android Ice Cream Sandwich device uses the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and has a 10.1-inch screen, 16GB of memory and will cost around 500 euros when it’s released in May. UK pricing and launch has yet to be confirmed.
9. Nokia Teams Up with EA to Offer Free Games
Nokia has struck a deal with Electronic Arts to add ten premium games free-of-charge to their Lumia Windows Phone 7 devices, plus further EA games from Chillingo and other publishers will be released over the coming months. Although no titles have been confirmed, games such as The Sims: Medieval, Mirror’s Edge, Real Racing 2, Spy Mouse and FIFA 12 have been reported as heading Nokia’s way.
10. Instagram Could be Coming to Windows Phone
The extremely popular iPhone-only photo-sharing app, Instagram, is rumoured to be heading for Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, and it could do so before it arrives on Android. The app has been confirmed as in production for Android, but the high standards, good quality cameras and serious financial backing behind Windows Phone could see the team make a WP7 version their priority instead.