Top Ten Mobile Phone News Stories of the Week

Enjoy our round-up of ten mobile phone related news stories you may have missed this week including estimates that 50% of the world will have 4G by 2017, a new SIM card size approved and a very blue Facebook concept phone.

1. Ericsson Estimates 50% of World’s Population to Have 4G by 2017

A report by Ericsson has made a bold statement: It believes 50% of the world’s population will have access to a 4G network by the year 2017, and that 85% will have 3G too. Additionally, it estimates that there will be three billion smartphones in operation, up from the 700 million there are right now.

2. New SIM Card Size Approved

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute, or ETSI, has approved a new type of SIM card, which is smaller than the existing micro-SIM used in devices such as the Apple iPhone 4S and Nokia’s Lumia series. Called the nano-SIM, it’s 40% smaller than the micro-SIM and has been adapted from a design submitted by Apple. Functionality remains the same, but its introduction could result in slimmer handsets being made.

3. HTC Desire V Announced

You’ve met the HTC Desire C, now meet the Desire V, a new phone destined only for certain markets due to its dual-SIM configuration. It’s equipped with a 1Ghz processor, a 3.5-inch touchscreen, a 5 megapixel camera and Beats Audio technology. The phone runs Android 4.0 with HTC Sense 4.0 over the top, making it very similar, feature-wise, to the Desire C.

4. No Windows RT Tablets from HTC

It’s being claimed that Microsoft has declined to have HTC join its initial run of manufacturers who’re making Windows RT tablets. There are two possible reasons for this: Microsoft considers HTC to inexperienced in the tablet market, or that it wouldn’t allow HTC to use a custom homescreen skin.

5. Four Phones From Gigabyte

The HTC Desire V isn’t the only dual-SIM phone announced this week, as the Taiwanese firm Gigabyte has introduced four at the Computex show. All are members of the GSmart range and vary in power from 800Mhz to 1GHz, and screen sizes from 3.5-inch to 4.3-inch.

6. 16GB PlayBook Discontinued

Research in Motion has discontinued the 16GB PlayBook tablet, but it will continue to make the 32GB and 64GB versions. A considerably lower profit margin on the basic model may be the reason for the decision, but RIM say it’s still committed to the tablet space, so the move shouldn’t be viewed as the beginning of a complete withdrawal.

7. Tactus Touch Technology Teased

Take¬†a look at this video, which sounds like it’s narrated by Agent Smith from The Matrix, where a new type of touch technology is demonstrated. Called Tactus, it adds a physical element to touchscreens, by raising little bumps where the keys would normally be if it were a regular keyboard. It’s certainly unusual, and Tactus hopes to have it ready by the middle of next year.

8. Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 Out Now

T-Mobile has begun to sell the Samsung Galaxy Mini 2, a low-end Android phone announced back in February, and Orange will also stock the device in the near future. Equipped with a 3.3-inch touchscreen, a 3 megapixel camera, an 800MHz processor, it runs Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

9. High Migration Rates Gives the iPhone a Boost

According to a survey of US iPhone users, 38% of new owners switched from an Android or BlackBerry device, which is an increase of 9% over figures recorded in February. Of the total amount of iPhones sold, 75% are the new iPhone 4S, but 22% are for the older iPhone 4 model, which is available for half the price of a 4S.

10. Concept Facebook Phone is Very… Blue

Talk of a Facebook Phone being produced has flared up again recently, and an enterprising designer has come up with a striking concept to show what such a device could look like. Resplendent in Facebook blue, it’s a very slim, very HTC-like phone, with a 4.2-inch screen and an 8 megapixel camera.

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