A look at some of the big stories in mobile today: more details reported the iCloud service from Apple; (NSDQ: AAPL) Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) gets heat over its Egypt claims in an ad; AT&T (NYSE: T) talks up its 4G ambitions; Motorola (NYSE: MMI) chief admits its Atrix mistakes; HTC tries a new trick with its Sense UI; some numbers underscoring the Android fragementation, and reports of delays on updates; new numbers show how RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) is dropping at Apple’s expense.
— iCloud: The speculation looks like it will continue all the way up to Monday. On the heels of reports that Apple has now secured agreement from all four major music labels for its iCloud streaming service, the LA Times is reporting a pricetag: it will cost $25 per year for the basic service. There will be advertising sold alongside it, and it would probably be fair to guess that Apple might come up with an offer to discount iCloud subscriptions for those that buy iTunes downloads. Meanwhile, several pictures of the new iCloud icon (one is pictured, via Apple Insider) are now popping up, too.
— Vodafone: The mobile operator is coming under fire for suggesting it played a positive role in the recent revolution in Egypt. The operator had to shut down its data network in the country, on orders from the government (via Guardian). Vodafone Egypt has come out with a statement saying they were not responsible for the advertisement.
— AT&T: CEO Ralph de la Vega says that it probably won’t be until 2013 or 2014 that AT&T will be able to catch up to Verizon on mobile data quality. The operator is launching its first LTE services in the second half of this year. (via CNN and ATD)
— Motorola: Frank words from Motorola Mobility’s CEO Sanjay Jha, who goes through some of the company’s problems in marketing the Atrix, its groundbreaking device that works like a phone as well as a dock for larger devices, as well as its 4G products, the Droid Bionic and the Xoom tablet. (Dow Jones (NSDQ: NWS) via MarketWatch)
— HTC: The handset maker is stepping up its strategy to grow its ecosystem, taking a page from Google’s book. It’s making its Sense user interface open source to attract more developers to working with it. (via The Next Web)
— Android: The latest numbers from the Android Developers’ blog show that earlier versions of Android are still hugely in use compared with the more updated releases of the OS. The majority (more than 68 percent) are still using 2.2 (‘Froyo’), with the second-highest number going to 2.1 (‘Eclair’). Meanwhile, the blogger Eldar Murtazin, who has been spinning apparently untrue rumors of Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) buying Nokia’s devices unit, claims that the newest edition of the OS, 3.1, (‘Honeycomb’ specifically for tablets) is going to be delayed in ‘most countries’ until August, specifically with Samsung delaying 3.1 tablets in Europe until that time. “It’s Google’s decision,” he writes.
— Mobile stats: Numbers from Strategy Analytics show that RIM’s BlackBerry Bold 2 9700 has lost its leadership as the world’s most popular smartphone. It’s been replaced by Apple’s iPhone 4. Full story here.