San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
Providence, R.I. – Nortek, owner of multiple commercial and residential technology brands, signed a definitive agreement to acquire 2GIG Technologies, a privately held supplier of residential security and home-automation products.
The acquisition will “further our investment in home security” and “position us to participate in the lower end home-automation market,” Nortek senior VP/treasurer Ed Cooney told TWICE.
Washington — Wireless carriers are shedding low-income subscribers who get government-subsidized cellular service now that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has tightened the rules to reduce waste, fraud and abuse.
In January 2012, the FCC reformed the Lifeline subsidy program to require Lifeline customers to certify eligibility with carriers every year. Subscribers had to recertify by Dec, 31, 2012, and carriers were required to report the results to the FCC by Jan. 31, 2013.
Portland, Ore. — MVNO Consumer Cellular, which targets the 50-plus age group with no-contract postpaid service, signed up its 1 millionth subscriber, and to celebrate, it’s giving away $1 million to employees and charities.
Consumer Cellular’s 750-plus employees will split a portion of $500,000 based on tenure, and another $500,000 will be split evenly between the Alzheimer’s Association, American Cancer Society, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Meals on Wheels Association of America and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.
Miami — Blu Products, which was founded in 2009 and sells cellphones in more than 40 countries, has launched two new unlocked Android smartphones for the U.S. market.
The models, both priced at less than $200, are the Blu Studio 5.3 II and Blu Tank 4.5, each with dual-core 1GHz Cortex-A9 processor, 3G HSDPA connectivity, Android 4.1 OS and 1080p HD video playback.
The former features a 5.3-inch screen, and the latter features a 4.5-inch screen.
Reston, Va. – The Android OS remained the dominant OS among smartphone users in the U.S. at the end of 2012, but Apple’s iOS share is creeping up at a slightly faster pace, ComScore reported.
For the three-month period ending December 2012, an average of 53.4 percent of smartphone users ages 13 and older used the Android OS, up 0.9 percentage points from the average for the three-month period ending in September (see table).
Waterloo, Ontario – Sales of the BlackBerry Z10, the first phone equipped with the BlackBerry 10 OS, are strong and outpacing launch sales of any previous BlackBerry phone, the company said.
“In Canada, yesterday was the best day ever for the first day of a launch of a new BlackBerry smartphone,” said president/CEO Thorsten Heins. He said first-day sales were 50 percent higher than the first-day sales of any other BlackBerry phone in BlackBerry’s history in Canada.
Washington — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) scheduled a tentative Feb. 20 vote on stricter regulations to prevent fixed and mobile cellular-signal boosters from interfering with cellular carriers’ networks.
The rules include technical, operational and user-registration requirements that the FCC declined to reveal until the vote is taken.
The FCC has asked for comments on whether existing boosters now in use but not compliant with the proposed regulations should be phased out or certain models grandfathered in.
Basking Ridge, N.J. – Verizon Wireless wants to expand its small share of the prepaid cellphone market with the launch of two plans that are less expensive than the plan they replace.
3G iPhones are eligible for the prepaid plans, as they were under the previous plan.
Only 5.7 million of the carrier’s 98.2 million retail subscribers at the end of 2012 were prepaid-plan subscribers, the company’s financial reports show. Prepaid service is also the fastest-growing segment of the cellphone market, analysts said.
New York –Apple retained its lead in U.S. smartphone purchases by consumers in the fourth quarter and for the first time shipped more cellphones in the U.S. than any other vendor, two research studies show.
Although Apple’s share of unit smartphone purchases by consumers fell to 39 percent in the quarter compared with 41 percent in the year-ago quarter, the company remained ahead of number two Samsung, whose share nonetheless rose to 30 percent from a year-ago 21 percent, The NPD Group found in tracking purchases by consumes ages 18 and up.
Dallas – No-contract carrier MetroPCS expanded its selection of LG cellphones with the addition of the LTE-equipped Spirit 4G Android smartphone with a 4.5-inch touchscreen.
The direct price from MetroPCS to consumers is $199 after a limited-time $70 mail-in rebate.
With the launch, MetroPCS also adds one LTE phone with LTE’s Rich Communications Services (RCS) giving the carrier ten. RCS delivers such features as simultaneous voice and multimedia messaging as well as social presence. MetroPCS has branded its service with the Joyn name.