Our look at some of the big stories in mobile today: More confirmation of the iPhone 5 being smaller and thinner; some doubt cast on Square’s new iPad cash register; T-Mobile doubles speeds and changes plans; Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) buys patents; Toshiba reportedly scales back its Chromebook and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) tablet roadmap; Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) recruits an ex-Nokia (NYSE: NOK) executive to leads its operations.
iPhone 5: More France Telecom confirmation of the iPhone 5 as a thinner device, this time from the CEO, Stephane Richard. How credible is he? Remember when he spilled the beans on Apple’s tablet before it was launched? Some of what he described (eg videoconferencing) did eventually make its way into the iPad 2, and after AT&T (NYSE: T), France Telecom (NYSE: FTE) is the world’s largest operator partner for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, so there may be good reason to believe him.
– T-Mobile USA: The mobile operator today announces that it has doubled its speeds up to 42 Mbps in 50 markets (and launched a new laptop stick, the Rocket, that will work that fast), but it is also coming under some scrutiny for changes to its new “unlimited” plans, which now throttle speeds when a user goes over his allowed data limit of 2 gigabytes. This will not come as a surprise to T-Mobile’s European users — T-Mobile already imposes these kinds of caps in markets like the UK.
– Toshiba: Are these the first signs of device makers getting bearish on the difficult-to-crack tablet market and other new horizons in portable devices? Toshiba is reportedly scaling back its plans for Chromebooks and tablets based on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform.
– Apple: In the midst of the scuffle between patent owner Lodsys and developers who make apps for Apple’s iOS mobile platform, Apple itself has invested in a further trove of over 200 patents. These were bought from the company Freescale Semiconductor, which had been spun off from Motorola (NYSE: MMI) in 2003. Patently-O writes that they cover hardware in computers and wireless devices, and were assigned to Apple in April, 2011, and at this point it is not completely clear whether Apple has bought the actual patents, or simply the rights to them.
– Sony Ericsson: The downsizing at Nokia could be benefitting its competitors in more ways than one. Sony Ericsson has now recruited an ex-Nokia executive as its new corporate vice president and director of operations. Tommi Laine-Ylijoki had previously been vice president of materials management at Nokia.