The Mobile Lowdown 03-28-11: Apple WWDC; AmEx; Nokia; Google Tablet?

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Our look at some of the big stories today in mobile: Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) announces the dates for its developers’ conference; American Express launches a new payments platform; Nokia (NYSE: NOK) tries out a new font; and LG (SEO: 066570) reportedly developing a Google-branded tablet.

Apple: Dates for the Worldwide Global Developers Conference are now out. Apple will hold the event June 6-10, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. As usual, there is little detail about what news might get announced, but judging by the home page for the WWDC (pictured) at least one main theme will be around the “future” of Apple’s two main operating systems, OS X for Mac and iOS for wireless devices, and the app framework that Apple has created for them. Tickets are selling for $1,599, and people must be registered with Apple as developers in order to attend.

Updated: 4:00 p.m.: Apple sold out the conference in just one day.

American Express: One more major payment provider wades into the digital payments game. AmEx today launched a new service, called Serve, which will let users make payments for goods and services, and transfer money, using their mobile handsets or via a computer. Users link up a credit card, debit card, or bank account to the Serve platform (it does not need to be an American Express card), and the payment is taken from that.

For now the company does not seem to be interested in taking this to the next level and exploring NFC payments, calling the technology “incredibly uninteresting” in an interview with AllThingsD. Serve is launching with Android and iOS apps with a BlackBerry app already in the works; and the service will theoretically work everywhere that AmEx works today.

Nokia: This is pretty far from a revamp of Nokia’s operating system, but a new look can sometimes do wonders. Nokia is launching a new typeface, Nokia Pure, as part of its strategy to “reinvent and revitalise” its brand and accessibility. Not clear whether this new typeface will be used in the iteration of Windows Phone 7 that is due to be used as the primary OS for Nokia phones in future.

Can this help Nokia turn around its image for those who have written it off as yesterday’s mobile leader? “A coherent typeface is an essential part of a coherent branding strategy,” says Bruno Maag, the Swiss designer who Nokia enlisted to create Pure. That may be so, but Nokia will need a lot more in place to keep a typeface change from looking like a mere folly.

Google (NSDQ: GOOG) tablet: The latest device rumor gets a run-through on the Russian blog Mobile Review. Apparently, Google is looking to develop an own-brand tablet, similar to its work on Nexus handsets. These new devices, guesses the site, will be built by LG and will be released in the autumn, coinciding with the newest Android OS.

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Ingrid Lunden

Margaret: Apple will happily let us all continue to guess the real answer to that one. For the record, the consensus right now seems to be “no” iPhone 5 coming during WWDC.


Could there be a “one more thing…” to introduce the iPhone 5 during the keynote? for obvious reason Apple doesn’t want to tip anymore about any timeline of the coming release of iPhone 5. Unless Apple feels really cocky about the iPhone 4 that it doesn’t think there is any need to release an iPhone 5 in the summer.
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