FirstNews Briefs for July 1, 2009
• Motorola has joined a patent pool for near field communications (NFC) along with other companies including France Telecom, Inside Contactless and NXP. The pool covers NFC-compliant devices like phones and consumer electronics. Noncompliant technologies such as smart cards are not covered by the NFC pool license. The effort is being run by Via Licensing, which is also administering a joint licensing effort for LTE and was recently chosen by the Open Patent Alliance to handle that group’s WiMAX patent pool effort.
• The Nokia 6300 has topped the list of Swedish case manufacturer Krusell’s best seller list for the month of June. The list is based on the number of model-specific cases ordered from Krussel and reflects the sales of phones on six continents in more than 50 countries around the globe. The Apple iPhone 3G came in second on the list, followed by the HTC Touch Diamond 2.
• Mobile internet company Novarra has been recognized by the GSMA for its widget and mobile content delivery framework. The software was named the "Most Innovative Value Added Service (VAS) Platform" in the EMEA leg of its 2010 Mobile Innovation Grand Prix competition. The prize was awarded based on the solution’s market potential, cost efficiency and ease of integration. Novarra's widget is built on the company’s core mobile internet platform and browser. Widgets can be published once and then delivered consistently to a variety of handsets, even those without a native widget runtime environment.
• ABI Research has named Fidelity National Information Services as the No. 1 mobile banking vendor. Fidelity’s FIS Mobile Banking is a two-way mobile banking solution that provides mobile banking through SMS, mobile web and downloadable applications. FIS Mobile Banking is also iPhone certified. ABI analyst Mark Beccue cited Fidelity’s range of solutions and extensive reach into worldwide financial institutions in granting the ranking.
• Former Yahoo! advertising executive David Karnstedt has joined the board of directors at mobile advertising firm Jumptap. Karnstedt is currently the president and CEO of Efficient Frontier, which specializes in search engine marketing. He has extensive experience with online marketing and both search advertising and display advertising.
• Bsquare has developed an Adobe Flash plug-in for ARM-based devices running the next version of Google's Android operating system, Cupcake. Bsquare says the port helps original equipment manufacturers optimize rich media content for devices running on the Android 1.5 platform. The company has worked on more than 50 different Flash projects for customer devices including handsets, set-top boxes, digital signage, consumer devices and netbooks.
• Mobile payments company Zong has announced a partnership with online game service Outspark. Outspark members can now use Zong’s mobile payment service to buy the game’s virtual currency, SparkCash. Outspark has grown to nearly 5 million users since its 2007 launch and publishes several popular MMO games, including Fiesta, Secret of the Solstice, Wind Slayer and Project Powder.
• Wireless antenna company SkyCross has acquired Shanghai Universe, an antenna manufacturer based in China. The combined company serves a range of market segments including handsets, data cards and USB dongles. The deal will boost the company’s global sales, engineering and manufacturing capacity. Time-to-market is expected to shorten thanks to the company’s newly acquired Shanghai Universe manufacturing facilities, which already serve Tier 1 customers and are certified for high quality and environmental standards.
CenturyTel and Embarq have completed their merger. The combined company, which will be known as CenturyLink, serves more than 2.1 million broadband customers, more than 440,000 video subscribers and about 7.5 million access lines in 33 states. The new company expects to generate about $400 million in “annual full run-rate operating and capital synergies” by 2011, excluding charges rated to the merger. CenturyLink expects to continue its current annual dividend of $2.80 per share. Embarq stockholders received $1.37 CenturyTel shares for each share of Embarq owned at closing. The company’s stock will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “CTL.”