Industry News

GSMA Releases European Mobile Observatory

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The GSMA launches the European edition of the Mobile Observatory report outlining the state of the industry, including the development of competition, innovation, services and technologies in the continent. 

EU“The Observatory’s findings show that the mobile industry is a critical business sector in Europe," the GSMA says. The European mobile industry is currently larger than pharma and nearly the size of aerospace, with total 2010 revenues reaching €174 billion (1% of total European Economic Area GDP). 

The industry directly employs 370000 Europeans and induces the employment of a further 1.3M, and contributes €83BN in taxes (€65BN of which from mobile operators).


WikiLeak's Hall of Shame

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"Mass interception of entire populations is not only a reality, it is a secret new industry spanning 25 countries," claims WikiLeaks: The Spy Files. "It sounds like something out of Hollywood, but as of today, mass interception systems, built by Western intelligence contractors, including for ’political opponents’ are a reality.

SpyFilesWikiLeaks is releasing a database of hundreds of documents from as many as 160 intelligence contractors in the mass surveillance industry.

It's important to note the difference between mass surveillance and security: security involves blocking access to outsiders while mass surveillance depends upon gaining access to a large number of individual communication devices and networks.

For example, software that allows intelligence operations to take pictures without your knowledge, read and alter messages, and track your location. Software that allows your phone to be used to record and upload data-- even when in standby mode--including your location, any images on your camera, and any recordings of conversations.

Seen in the left-hand column of their Spy Files web site, WikiLeaks list of "contractors" includes many of the West's famous security and telecom companies.

Unfortunately, as well as revealing the security vendors, this list creates a "shopping list" for any government looking to take control of their telecom networks.

Go The Spy Files, WikiLeaks

Ten Times the Capacity from Li Ion Batteries?

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Researchers at the Northwestern University claim they managed to increase both charging capacity and speed of lithium ion batteries by 10x-- potentially pointing to the future of mobile power.

Li IonLi ion batteries are not only found in most mobile devices-- from mobile phones to laptops-- but also in electric cars and even "exoskeleton" robots.

Current Li ion batteries create charge by moving lithium from one end of the battery to the other (from anode to cathode), and recharge through the sending of ions from electrolyte to the anode. Inside the batteries are layers of carbon-based graphene sheets, in which lithium ions are "packed."

The new process involves making millions of tiny holes in the graphene sheets (each 10-20nm in size), creating a "shortcut" for ion movment. In addition, the team also sandwiches small silicon clusters between each graphene layer, allowing the increase of lithium ion density-- whereas x6 carbon atoms can accomodate 1 lithium ion, 1 silicon accomodates x4 lithium ions.

The researchers say charging capacity and speed does fall sharply after 150 test charges, but "after 150 charges, which would be one year or more of operation, the battery is still five times more effective than lithium-ion batteries on the market today." They believe the technology can become commercially viable within 3 - 5 years, following work on an electrolyte system shutting down the battery automatically at high temperatures.

Go Better Batteries (Northwestern University)

EU Growth Forecast: "Growth at a Standstill"

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One can describe the Autumn EU economic growth forecast with a single word-- austere. The title "Growth at a Standstill" is bad enough, and the EC report says the going might get even worse.

EU MapIn a few words-- EU GDP will stagnate into 2012, while 2012 EU growth is forecast at around 0.5% before reaching 1.5% by 2013. Inflation will return to below 2% and unemployment will remain at around 9.5%.

Recession risks are not negligible either.

The Eu forecasts annual 2012 GDP growth will reach 0.6% in EU and 1.3% in the euro zone. No member state group will escape the slowdown despite varying growth differences.

Public finances will eventually improve-- but only gradually.

The main drivers of 2011 inflation, energy prices, are set to gradually decrease, with headline inflation falling back below 2% in 2012. The EU expects wages will only grow "moderately," while persistent slack in the economy continues holding back underlying price pressures.

The report lists 3 main risks weighting down the EU and euro-area economy-- continued debt-related uncertainty, the weakness of the financial industry and sluggish world trade. Potentially, the future can go both ways, withe either slower growth or a faster-than-assumed return to confidence.

Go EU Autumn Forecast 2011-2013: Growth at a Standstill

2012: The Year of the Bendy Mobile Device?

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Nokia flexibleWhile Windows Phone-powered Nokia handset reveal was meant to be the highlight of Nokia World 2011, one unlikely demo unit at the Future Technology booth stole a fair bit of attention-- the "Nokia Kinetic Device" one can simply describe as... the bendy mobile device.

Soon afterwards, at the Samsung Q3 2011 earnings call, company investor relations VP Robert Yi says the company has plans to have mobile devices carrying flexible screens ready for launch by 2012.

Will 2012 be the year of the bendy device?