Leading iPhone eBook Reader Stanza Acquired by Amazon


People who like to read books on their iPhones (including myself) will be pleased to hear that Amazon (s amzn) has grown tired of playing catch-up with Stanza on the platform and instead bought out the much smaller company behind the app, Lexcycle. The Stanza makers are reportedly “very excited” by the development, which is understandable considering the gobs of cash Amazon no doubt threw their way. I’d be jazzed, too.

While it looks like the Stanza devs will continue to work on the app under the Amazon banner, and they claim that no major changes to the app will result from the purchase, Amazon no doubt has big plans for the platform, which it will likely integrate with its existing iPhone app for Kindle titles. Hopefully they don’t just shut it down in favor of their own app, or rebrand it, because I think the Stanza name at this point has become a force to be reckoned with in the world of iPhone apps. Read More about Leading iPhone eBook Reader Stanza Acquired by Amazon

Viacom to Lay Off 850

In an effort to cut costs, Viacom (S VIA) announced today that it will be restructuring its organization, resulting in layoffs of 7 percent, or 850 positions that will be implemented across all divisions of the company, as well as suspending pay increases for senior management in 2009.

Is T-Mobile Spinning on Google Phone Bandwidth Caps?

There are many problems with T-Mobile USA’s 3G plans, as we outlined yesterday. None compare to the seemingly foolish 1 GB bandwidth cap on “unlimited” data plans they are hawking along with the Google Phone. Today, in response to a New York Times query, they seemed to have backed away from the cap.

We removed the 1GB soft limit from our policy statement, and we are confident that T-Mobile G1 customers will enjoy the high speed of data access over our 3G network. The specific terms for our new data plans are still being reviewed and once they are final we will be certain to share this broadly with current customers and potential new customers.

The Times might be satisfied by the explanation, but like some others, I am not buying this story just yet. When T-Mobile says they are still figuring out specific terms for new data plans, it smacks of double speak. Does the company really mean to say that they are going to be imposing a bandwidth cap, though it would be north of 1 GB? If not, they could simply would have said: no caps whatsoever.

By the way, Verizon Wireless, the master of double speak, imposed a 5GB bandwidth cap on its “unlimited” data plans. As an aside, I think it’s time folks stop issuing misleading advertising by saying “unlimited” data for X-amount of dollars.

Will the Google Phone Give T-Mobile USA a Boost?

T-Mobile USA needs a picker-upper. Its number of new subscribers is slowing, as is revenue from its voice ops. Meanwhile, its data revenue lags that of its rivals. But help may be on the way — in the form of the Google phone.

Data Shows That 3G Still Has Room to Grow

We’re pretty darn future-focused on 4G technologies over here, with LTE and WiMax dominating a lot of our coverage. But sometimes it’s good to check in with what we’ve already got, so we pulled some numbers on wireless broadband in the U.S. and the world. The data shows that the early deployments of EV-DO (CDMA variant of 3G) networks by Verizon Wireless and Sprint back in the early 2000s kept it ahead of rival GSM standards in the U.S., but shows that all variants of 3G have room to grow on a worldwide basis.

Data released by the GSM Association counted 50 million HSPA 3G subscribers in the world at the end of June, up from 11 million at the same time last year. As T-Mobile rolls out its HSPA network in the coming months and more folks buy iPhones, those numbers will continue to grow.

On the CDMA side, Chetan Sharma Consulting tracked 115 million CDMA 3G subscribers worldwide and 65 million in the U.S., current as of July 2008. HSPA networks have a theoretical download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps vs 3.1 Mbps on the latest CDMA technology. Ironically, as AT&T and T-Mobile ramp up their 3G deployments, Verizon and Sprint are working on their 4G plans. Verizon is going down the LTE route, while Sprint is moving down the WiMAX path.

chart compiled by GigaOM with data from GSMA and Chetan Sharma Consulting

Finally, T-Mobile Launches a U.S. 3G Network

T-Mobile USA, the company known for its ultra-affordable voice plans, is launching its 3G Network in New York City, ushering in what we hope will be competition in the market leading to the lowering of 3G data costs for mobile phone users.

For now, the new UMTS/HSDPA network is available only in New York, but there are plans to roll out the network in other cities later this year. The company is being vague about in which cities it will launch the network. There are four handsets that can be used with this network: Nokia 3555, Nokia 6263, Samsung t819 and Samsung t639.

T-Mobile claims that AWS spectrum effectively doubles their spectrum and makes it easy for them to manage future growth. The network operates over 1.7 and 2.1 GHz bands. T-Mobile had spent a total of $4.2 billion in the AWS spectrum, and there are rumors that the company might look at buying even more AWS spectrum from Nextwave. We had reported earlier that Ericsson and Nokia were equipment suppliers for the network that was originally supposed to launch in 2007. Read More about Finally, T-Mobile Launches a U.S. 3G Network

The Google Phone: The Story So Far, Some Launch Details & What’s Next

The Wall Street Journal has been reporting on Google’s mobile phone efforts and how it is beginning to draw some interest from carriers, especially in the United States. Sprint (S) and Verizon (VZ) are in talks with Google (GOOG), according to the Journal, and an announcement by the company is expected sometime in November. Here is what I have been able to gather from my sources:

* An announcement will likely be made Nov. 13th or Nov. 18th.
* Handset makers will use a Google Mobile OS platform.
* Google Mobile OS uses a highly optimized Mobile Linux; developers will be able to use a Java Development Kit. Google is said to have developed a highly optimized Java running on top of the OS. (Read our previous post, Five Facts about Google Phone.)
* Most major handset makers, with the exception of Nokia (NOK), have devices with Google Mobile OS under development; Samsung and Motorola (MOT) are being linked to it as well. (as are HTC and LG Electronics, according to the Journal.)
* The operators who are likely to be part of the big announcement will be T-Mobile’s USA division and Bharti Airtel, one of India’s largest cellular carriers. [digg=http://digg.com/gadgets/The_Google_Phone_The_Story_So_Far_and_What_s_Next]

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