Here are the top mobile news and stories of the day.
- CyanogenMod 10.1 Milestone 1 hits Nexus and Samsung devices - CyanogenMod is one of the top Android ROMs. This third-party solution focuses on delivering an AOSP experience along with some modifications intended for better performance and battery life. If you are looking for a rather stable first ROM, CyanogenMod is a great place to start. Via Engadget, more here.
- [Release] JB-MR1 Build 2 - My Android ROM of choice is AOKP. I've written about it often, and they have recently released their Android 4.2.1 Build 2. I have already downloaded it and find it does quite a good job of giving me the customization I've come to enjoy quite a lot. AOKP is out for a wide variety of top Android devices. Via AOKP, more here.
- Android Is Popular Because It’s Cheap, Not Because It’s Good/The Truth Is That Android Is Cheap, Not Good - Gizmodo and TechCrunch are two of my favorite sites to read. They have extensive sources, and often grab a ton of stories that aren't available elsewhere. However, sometimes they editorialize, and seem to display a ridiculous pro-Apple bias. As someone who forced himself to use the iPad Mini for all my tablet needs for almost a month while using the Nexus 4 as my smartphone of choice, I can say these guys are utter clowns. The only native feature that iOS features that is lacking on Android is the "Do Not Disturb" option (which is quite clever), but in every other facet Android 4 outshines it (oh and you can set up far more extensive profiles using apps in the Play Store). Google Now is a great tool, search is far superior (voice and other) and the Android homescreen is infinitely more useful. While Android is available on a whole range of products (including some awful ones), it is Google, not Apple driving mobile OS innovation. The assertion that the only inexpensive phones you can purchase are Android devices is also false, because iPhone 4(s) are available on most US contracts for $0 (subsidized). While I've written before about the need for Android OEMs to get smarter with branding and manufacturing, the best smartphones are Android. Sorry Sam (Biddle), Android is driving mobile innovation and Android devices are leading the way, Apple is now merely a follower. Via Gizmodo and TechCrunch, here and here.
- Latest Samsung Galaxy S IV Rumors Point To April Launch - The S3, with release on every US carrier, proved Samsung to be the smartphone manufacturer of note in 2012. For most of the year, it was the clear cut best smartphone, and is still highly regarded. The fourth version of the flagship device is accompanied by rumor after rumor, but one thing can be sure, it will be a solid smartphone. Via TechCrunch, more here.
- iPhone Sales At Verizon Top 6.2M, Or 63% Of All Smartphones Sold In Q4, Half Of Which Were iPhone 5 - 2/3s of all Verizon smartphones sold in Q4 were iOS. Of these, only half were the iPhone 5, instead users chose the iPhone 4 or 4S models. As I've already stated, Apple saw the success of "budget" devices, and priced their year and two years old offerings to match. The US public's appetite for substandard phones still amazes me (as the difference between brand new and year old tech is only $100 over 24 months, or roughly $4.40 per month for the life of the contract); however, there can be no accounting for good sense. While overall the numbers are good for Apple, the lack of iPhone 5 sales should be troubling. Via TechCrunch, more here.
- AT&T To Acquire Wireless Spectrum and Assets from Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc., Enhance Wireless Coverage in Rural Areas - This is nothing more than a pure spectrum grab, but as spectrum becomes more and more scarce, it will be more necessary for carriers to make such moves. After the T-Mobile merger was denied, it is not surprising to see AT&T on the warpath for more spectrum. Via Business Wire, more here.
- Stretch your pockets: 150M “phablet” sales expected in 2013 - the term "phablet" here is misleading, because the firm who did the research (ABI) considers 4.6" to 6.5" to be "phablet territory." This incorrect labeling puts devices such as the Nexus 4 and Samsung Galaxy S3 in the same category as the Galaxy Note and Note 2, which they are not. I find the assertion that 150M phones of that size will be sold, but calling them "phablets" is merely just stirring up mud. But that said, I guess 2013 will be the year of the "phablet." Via GigaOM, more here.