Back in 1997, HTC, then known as High-Tech Computer Corporation, was founded by Peter Chou, Cher Wang, and H. T. Cho (oddly familiar initials that guy, eh?) Ever since, the company has evolved from being an ODM for others like Compaq Computers and T-Mobile to becoming a standalone branded smartphone manufacturer.
It can't be easy to be a BlackBerry user these days. Despite the hardware and software maker's (arguably) best efforts, the company has fallen from its height as the undisputed king of the boardroom to shipping just one out every two hundred smartphones worldwide in the last quarter. The reasons for BlackBerry's decline are legion: a failure to innovate quickly as Android and iPhone adoption soared, an ineffective ecosystem and infrastructure, and hardware missteps like the Storm at critical junctures. But one thing tends to upset users more than any other: a lack of apps.
Sometimes you have to wonder if bombastic T-Mobile CEO John Legere actually believes the hyperbolically aggressive language he spews at his competitors. Then you watch something like this "Uncarrier Holiday" video, and you no longer have to wonder. This man appears to have a plush ornament of himself on his Christmas tree.
Legere doesn't tell us anything we don't already know as he lambasts AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint while rhyming about T-Mobile's speed, rollover data, and customer service. (You'll note he's uncharacteristically silent about T-Mo's less-than-stellar coverage area.) But we can't deny that he's much more fun to watch than any of his white collar contemporaries.
Last month Facebook bought WhatsApp for way too much money, making the app's developers very wealthy individuals. This deal, theoretically, gives Facebook access to the data provided by the app's nearly half a billion users. The companies behind the social network and the instant messenger have both promised that WhatsApp will continue to operate autonomously, but this hasn't completely alleviated privacy concerns. Thus WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has shared a blog post aimed at "setting the record straight."
In it he states:
Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible: You don’t have to give us your name and we don’t ask for your email address.
We've been trying to keep our heads up about the Lenovo-Motorola deal, but let's be honest: news like this is not encouraging. A Wall Street Journal report claims that Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside, whom many had credited with the company's impressive new product lines in 2013, is leaving for Dropbox. Woodside began working for Motorola after more than ten years at Google, succeeding Sanjay Jha after Google acquired the company.
The Wall Street Journal cites three anonymous sources in its detailed report, but Google confirmed the news shortly thereafter.
Dennis and the team have reinvented Motorola, with wonderful products like Moto X and Moto G," said Google CEO Larry Page.
The conferences put on by AllThingsD tend to be a bit sedate - Walt Mossberg gets on stage with some Very Important People and picks their brain in front of a live audience. Not so with tonight's interview of Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside and Research & Development head Regina Dugan. At the D11 stage, Woodside let loose with a flurry of information about the company's plans for the remainder of the year, starting with the much-rumored X Phone. Yup, it's real, and according to the interview, the "hero device" will be released by October 2013.
Woodside went on to say that the "Moto X" would be made in a Texas facility currently used to create Nokia phones, presumably through an OEM hardware partner.
I miss you, HTC. My Evo was the first phone I ever truly loved, and between 2007 and 2010, as a company you did remarkably well for yourself. Then the Thunderbolt happened, and then Beats got involved and... Well, let's just say it hasn't been a great couple years. So, when I hear that your CEO, Peter Chou, is planning some bold new changes for 2013, I'm hopeful. Skeptical, but hopeful.
We've reported on AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson's ideas on "toll-free" data usage, but it looks like he's expecting another big shift in data plans - the availability of data-only cellphone plans.
Indicating that we could expect such plans to arrive within two years' time, Stephenson said that text messages and phone calls "would be considered just another form of data." So, instead of having limits on minutes, text messages, and data usage, all would be combined under a single counter.
Carriers such as AT&T make a good deal of their profits from calling and texting plans because they use such little data, but Stephenson believes that these data-only plans are necessary because of the growing prominence of apps such as Skype that replace the functionality of phone calls using data.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, speaking at the Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decisions conference, teased a possible solution for customers who feel beleaguered by tiered data, and who have been avoiding data-heavy services due to plan limitations.
Stephenson suggested that, as part of new "toll free" data plans, certain data-hungry services' traffic would be excluded from users' monthly data allotment, meaning that services like, for example, Netflix, could be used without eating up your entire data plan.
According to FierceWireless, Stephenson indicated that content providers have been suggesting this approach prior to today's talk:
"I think you'd be stunned if we weren't getting those phone calls.
The CEO of AT&T's mobile business, Ralph de la Vega, told CNET in an interview that the company is working on family data plans that would give consumers one big pot of data that all devices could share. While minute plans have worked this way for years, since tiered data came along, customers have been waiting on a way to pool their data.
No details are available on how the plans will work, or how it will affect subsidized devices. It's also unclear whether or not devices like tablets would be entered into the mix. One of the biggest hang ups on selling network-enabled tablets (aside from the increased device price) is convincing customers to buy into yet another data plan.