Why Verizon needs to stop offering unlimited data

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Chart: CNNMoney

Wonder why unlimited data plans are going the way of disco? Mobile Internet usage is exploding. In just 4 years, global mobile data traffic will grow by more than 11-fold to 6.2 million terabytes per month, according to Cisco.

Meanwhile, it’s costing carriers $50 billion each year to upgrade their networks in an attempt to meet customers’ demand for more mobile data.

That cost is getting passed on to you. (It’s so kind of you to pick up your wireless company’s tab!) -David

Pandora boots its outside ad platforms

Remember when Pandora got served a subpoena as part of a federal grand-jury investigation into the data mobile apps collect and pass around to their partners?

The company is taking action: Pandora said Wednesday that it will remove all embeddable third-party advertising platforms from its application.

That means goodbye for Medialets, AdMeld and Google.

Pandora emphasizes that it has no evidence that these partners were violating users’ privacy — but it’s taking the “better safe than sorry” route. It will keep serving ads in its mobile apps, but it will handle all the infrastructure itself. 

And although many apps track your location, Pandora says it’s not one of them.

Here’s the statement Pandora released to CNNMoney:

Recently, certain third party advertising software development kits
(SDKs) from Medialets, AdMeld and Google have been the subject of scrutiny and speculation in the media. While we have no reason to believe that any of these mobile advertising companies acted outside the scope of our privacy policy, we have decided to remove the advertising SDK’s entirely to ensure that our listeners have complete confidence in our commitment to their privacy. The revised versions of the Pandora application with these SDK’s removed will be available soon in Android Market and in the Apple App Store.

Furthermore, Veracode, a third party mobile security firm that recently highlighted the presence of these SDK’s in our Android app, has publicly retracted their assertion that our app was transmitting GPS location data and has confirmed that their original report was in error. The Pandora app does not transmit GPS location data.

We take privacy very seriously at Pandora. The trust that our listeners place in us at Pandora is something we value tremendously and we want to leave no room for doubt that we honor and respect their privacy.

And here’s our own investigation into Pandora’s app. -Laurie

Mobile equipment is a quarter-trillion dollar business

iSuppli just put out a staggering figure: Mobile equipment, including phones, cordless phones, battery chargers, mobile infrastructure, mobile and fixed broadband access devices and wireless LAN equipment such as routers will reach $235.5 billion in sales this year.

The biggest chunk of that? 3G cell phones and smartphones, which generated $86.4 billion in 2010, up 35% from last year. Yowsers! -David

When you thought mobile typing couldn’t get any crazier…

Typing on a mobile phone sucks. Even if you have a physical keyboard, Swype, SwiftKey, or any number of innovative mobile keyboards, all they really do is make a horrible situation slightly less bad.

So along comes 8pen. Its solution? Completely redesign the mobile keyboard. I can’t begin to explain how it works. Just watch the YouTube clip below.

So here’s the question: Will people be willing to learn a completely new way to type? Will school children have to take keyboarding and 8pen classes?

I’m going to guess no. But at least it’s not just another qwerty keyboard that makes my fat fingers feel just “chunky” rather than obese.

Facebook Phone, huh? Where have I heard this before…

From Facebook.com

The big tech rumor over the weekend: Facebook is designing its own phone, according to TechCrunch.

It’s unclear whether Facebook is developing an operating system, an actual device, a new mobile software — or even if the rumor is true (Facebook denied it, and then backed away from that denial in the same statement to the press).

But let’s say for a moment that it is true. Not a bad idea, right? Practically everyone with an Internet connection uses Facebook and 150 million people use Facebook on their phones — why not make a phone that seamlessly integrates a phone’s features with Facebook, just like Android seamlessly integrates a phone’s features with Google products.

On top of that, mobile advertising spending is expected to grow nearly 43% this year and will grow three-fold by 2014, according to eMarketer. Not a bad time to jump on board.

Except it’s a terrible idea.

Facebook expects to go head to head with Google, Apple, BlackBerry and Microsoft, get developers to add yet another platform to write to, and get the carriers on board with adding what will likely be the biggest bandwidth-sucking phone ever created. (Imagine a phone that automatically uploads all of your HD videos and photos to Facebook and constantly downloads the media that friends post. Yowser!)

For a giant “proceed with caution sign” on branded mobile services, Facebook need look no further than ESPN MVP, the Walt Disney Co.’s big mobile gamble. ESPN MVP flopped despite an enormous advertising campaign, including one during the Super Bowl. Disney shut down the service after one year, and Merrill Lynch estimated that ESPN lost about $135 million on the venture.

Here’s where Facebook should be devoting its resources: It should sign a deal with a carrier to make Facebook the primary search, sharing and social networking tool on Android phones, just like Microsoft signed a deal with Verizon to make Bing the primary search engine. 

Developers, carriers and smartphone users don’t want a Facebook phone. But they all want Facebook to be easier to use on mobile. If they all screw their heads on straight, that shouldn’t be too hard to do. -Dave