By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Irvine, Calif. — Boost Mobile, one of Sprint’s no-contract brands, has launched its first phablet, the ZTE-made BoostMax with 5.7-inch 1280x720 HD IPS display and a price tag of $299.
The Android 4.1 phone features 4G LTE, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB embedded memory, 8-megapixel main camera with 1080p video capture and 1-megapixel front camera with 720p video capture.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.
Waterloo, Ontario — BlackBerry released a BlackBerry 10 OS software update said to offer hundreds of improvements, many designed to help users find information they want more quickly.
London – Apple’s share of fourth-quarter smartphone sales to end users fell in the U.S., Latin America, China, Australia and each of the five largest European countries, while Android sales share in each of those countries gained, a Kantar Worldpanel ComTech survey found.
Sales of Windows OS phones also grew during that time in all regions but Latin America.
Bellevue, Wash. – T-Mobile reported that LG Electronics’ G Flex and Optimus F3Q will be available from the carrier on Feb. 5.
T-Mobile customers can get both smartphones with the Simple Choice Plan, which offers unlimited talk, text and web with up to 500MB of data as well as unlimited text and data in more than 100 countries — at no extra charge — all with no annual service contract on its nationwide 4G LTE network.
Chicago – Consumers have embraced cellular carriers’ phone-financing programs, according to a survey by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).
Under the plans, consumers pay full price up front for an unsubsidized phone or pay monthly to purchase the unsubsidized phone. Before the phone is paid off, users can also trade the phone in for an unsubsidized upgrade after a certain period of time.
Espoo, Finland – Nokia’s mobile-device dollar volume fell 29 percent in the fourth quarter and full year, and the business segment posted another operating loss in the quarter.
For the full year, however, the segment’s operating losses shrank 66 percent.
Unit sales of the company’s Windows-based Lumia smartphones fell sequentially to 8.2 million from the third quarter’s 8.8 million but were above the year-ago level of less than 5 million.
Bellevue, Wash. – T-Mobile entered the banking business with a MobileMoney service that provides banking services for subscribers on qualifying rate plans.
Mobile Money is positioned as an affordable alternative to checking fees for about 68 million adults who do not have traditional bank accounts and have to rely on alternative financial services such as check-cashing services and pay-day lenders, the company said. It will also benefit consumers who currently pay high overdraft and monthly maintenance fees through bare-bones checking accounts, T-Mobile added.
Bedminster, N.J. — Verizon Wireless grew its operating income by 30 percent in the fourth quarter and 19.4 percent for the year on single-digit gains in operating revenue in both periods.
The operating-income gains came from rising operating margins, rising average revenue per account, an expanded subscriber base, and a growing base of 4G LTE subscribers, whose data consumption rises as they switch to faster 4G phones.
Overland Park, Kan. — Sprint priced LG’s curved-screen G Flex at $299 with two-year contract and plans Jan. 31 availability through its website, telemarketing and business-sales channels.
The phone will be available in Sprint stores Feb. 7. Availability through indirect channels wasn’t available.
Port Washington, N.Y. – Smartphone penetration grew to 60 percent of the cellphone user base at the end of 2013, up from 2012’s 52 percent, and Apple and Samsung increased their share of the installed smartphone base to a combined 68 percent from the year-ago 57 percent, The NPD Group said.
Smartphone users’ data usage also grew during that time, in large part to stream music, the company said in citing the results of its “Connected Intelligence Connected Home” survey.