Top Ten Mobile Phone News Stories of the Week

Enjoy our round-up of ten mobile phone related news stories you may have missed including the cost of Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet, Skype’s impressive download numbers and a great new advert for Internet Explorer 10.

1. Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet Priced in the USA

Microsoft’s other tablet, the Windows 8 Surface Pro, will be released in the USA in January, where it will cost $899 for the 64GB model. While the Surface tablet that has already gone on sale runs Windows RT, the Pro version will run full Windows 8, giving access to all those Windows applications and programs. The tablet has a 1080p display, an Intel Core i5 processor and a choice of storage sizes. There’s no word on a UK release yet.

2. Research Shows China Will Overtake USA in Smartphone Ownership Charts Soon

Research carried out by analytics firm Flurry shows that although the USA tops the global smartphone ownership charts at the moment, with 181 million active iOS and Android devices, China is close behind with 167 million. Flurry predicts China will take the top spot early next year. The UK sits in third place with 35 million active smartphones.

3. iTunes 11 Finally Available for Download

Apple promised it would arrive in November, and although it has cut it very fine, iTunes 11 is finally available for download. The new software features a visual makeover, more iCloud integration, better playlist creation, and improved AirPlay features too. Check software update inside iTunes, and you should find it ready to go, otherwise, you can grab it from here.

4. Skype Reveals Download Numbers

At the same time as announcing the availability of a new update, the Skype team has revealed its iOS application has beendownloaded 120 million times since release, and that 20 million photos have been shared using its Photo Share feature. The new update merges Windows Live Messenger and Outlook.com accounts with your Skype contact list.

5. New BlackBerry Developer Phone Revealed

Research in Motion has announced another developer phone. Named the Dev Alpha C, it has a physical QWERTY keyboard and joins the all-touchscreen Dev Alpha A and B units already in circulation. RIM will be launching BlackBerry 10 on both the L Series touchscreen phone and the N-Series QWERTY device, and although it’s not going to be exactly the same hardware, there’s a good chance the Dev Alpha C will be similar to the N-Series. Developers interested in obtaining the new phone will have to prove themselves to RIM first, as there are limited numbers and they’ll only go to those who meet a strict criteria.

6. Ballmer Boasts About Windows Phone 8 Sales

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has boasted to gathered shareholders that since the introduction of Windows Phone 8, sales of its mobile operating system have quadrupled. “Windows Phone 8 has been on sale for a few weeks and is off to a great start”, he trumpeted, adding many models have already sold out after receiving “rave reviews”. What he didn’t do, however, was put an actual figure on Windows Phone 8 sales. Perhaps that little detail will be revealed next year?

7. Internet Explorer’s Getting Better, so says Microsoft

Everyone has been down on Internet Explorer for a long time, and Microsoft knows it, so to push the release of IE 10 it has come up with this wonderfully self deprecating advert. Will it make you download Internet Explorer and abandon your current browser of choice? Microsoft certainly hopes you’ll give it a try.

8. Galaxy S III Mini Variant Launched in US

The Samsung Galaxy Axiom has been launched on the U.S. Cellular network, and it’s a variant of the Galaxy S III Mini. The design has stayed the same, but the processor has been swapped for a 1.2GHz Snapdragon and it now has 4G LTE connectivity. It’s not all good news though, as it uses Android 4.0 rather than 4.1, and has only 4GB of internal memory. A SIM-free model costs $400, or about £250.

9. EE Changes 4G Mobile Broadband Prices

Although many think EE should change its 4G phone tariffs too, the company has announced this week that it has altered its mobile broadband packages for the better. The prices remain the same, but the amount of data provided has been increased, for example £16 per month used to provide 2GB of data, but now has 3GB. In most cases you still have to pay for the Huawei router or dongle though, and this ranges from £30 to £50 depending on which package you choose.

10. Windows Phone 8 Bug Fix Update Coming Soon

Following reports of certain Windows Phone 8 devices randomly rebooting, Microsoft has made a statement saying it’s aware of the problem and “has identified a cause with our partners”. It adds “We are working to get an over-the-air update out in December”. With no exact date to work on, those with affected phones can do nothing but hope it’s closer to the beginning of December than the end.

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