Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission is investigating Samsung over fabricated posts in local online forums that defamed HTC products, which could lead to Samsung receiving penalties for false advertising and a potential fine of around €640,000.

The investigation was started after a Taiwanese blog called “TaiwanSamsungLeaks” was set up, accusing the handset manufacturer of “evil marketing” – i.e. paying Taiwanese students to anonymously post comments on local gadget site forums which criticised rival products, particularly the HTC One X and HTC Sensation XL devices.

The website published a series of documents which catalogued the various disparaging forum posts, that are allegedly from the marketing firm hired by Samsung in Taiwan.

When we tried, it was still possible to download an outlook email xml file showing an email sent from the marketing firm to several individuals in Samsung Taiwan, with an “S3 Viral Plan” powerpoint presentation on how to market the Samsung Galaxy S3, including targeting local bloggers and social media.

Internal viral plan showing the Taiwanese marketing firm’s plans to market the Galaxy S3

“We are disappointed that a competitor would resort to misleading consumers to discredit our innovation. HTC values its product innovation and design, and we will take appropriate actions to protect the interests of the company and our customers,” commented a HTC spokesperson.

Besides posts from users complaining about the HTC One X not working properly, benchmark reviews favourably comparing Samsung’s Galaxy S3 to the HTC One X were posted, stating that the S3 outperformed the HTC One X in terms of graphics and battery life, as well as comments praising Samsung.

Some of the forum posts made about Samsung and HTC

Samsung Electronics has admitted to the “unfortunate incident” which it “regrets” and has promised to “reinforce education and training” for its employees.

“Samsung Electronics Taiwan (SET) has ceased all marketing activities that involve the posting of anonymous comments, and will ensure that all SET online marketing activities will be fully compliant with the company’s Online Communications Credo,” said a Samsung spokesperson.

“Samsung Electronics remains committed to engaging in transparent and honest communications with consumers as outlined in the company’s Online Communications Credo.

“We have encouraged all Samsung Electronics employees worldwide to remain faithful to our Credo. The recent incident was unfortunate, and occurred due to insufficient understanding of these fundamental principles.”

HD voice IP routing service by TATA

Tata Communications has launched an international HD voice termination service platform that aims to help MNOs route international HD calls using end-to-end IP without transcoding.

The idea is that operators would use the vendor’s platform and leverage its network, which currently offers IP voice interconnections – 26 of which are HD-ready – to 210 mobile operators.

The India-based firm said four operators are currently deploying HD voice on its network.

“Our focus on improving voice quality through innovations such as HD voice has led to 28 percent year-on-year volume growth from key retail service providers (MNOs and OTTs),” commented Tata Communications’ president of global voice solutions, Michel Guyot.

“We will leverage our community of IP-connected MNOs to quickly enable HD voice calls between the widest possible range of destinations, maximising the benefits of premium call quality for our partners and their end users.”

Based on the ITU standard known as “Wideband audio” first coined in 1987, the first HD voice service for mobile phones was launched by FT- Orange in Moldova in 2009.

In March this year, Telenor launched HD voice services on its 3G network, with plans to add HD voice to its 2G network later this year, and an eventual aim to be able to support HD voice call handover between 2G to 3G networks.

The same month, OTT communications app Viber announced that it had updated its app for Windows Phone 8 in order to offer free calls with HD sound, designed to be routed over VoLTE.

However, given only the most recent of smartphones support HD voice, there is a lot more interest in the potential for Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services to work on new 4G LTE deployments.

Mindful of the fact that LTE is key on operators’ minds, during Mobile World Congress at the end of February, Ericsson and China Mobile demonstrated the first dual-mode HD voice call over LTE between TD-LTE and LTE, using Ericsson’s converged LTE TDD/FDD network infrastructure, which is based on the 3GPP standard.

Mobile phones DO harm aircraft electronic equipment

Plane cockpit

Mobile phones can interfere with cockpit equipment
Mobile phone calls made by passengers on aeroplanes can seriously affect the aircraft’s on board equipment,The Civil Aviation Authority carried out tests on two parked aircraft at Gatwick Airport to find out the potential dangers of mobile phone use.It found evidence that calls produced interference levels which could disrupt aircraft systems.Faults that could be attributed to mobile phones use include false cockpit warnings, the malfunctioning of aircraft systems, interference in pilots’ headsets and the distraction of cabin crews from their normal duties.

 The Authority carried out the research on aircraft equipment certificated before December 1989 which has not previously been tested for immunity from interference from mobiles.The CAA bans the use of mobile phones from its flights once a plane’s engines start running.

Equipment manufactured after 1989 has higher levels of immunity.

The Gatwick tests revealed that a plane’s internal doors do not block mobile phone signals but that passengers in the path of the transmission did reduce the signal.

Prison penalty

Dan Hawkes, head of the avionics section of the CAA’s safety regulation group said: “The tests showed that a mobile phone used near an aircraft’s flight deck or avionics equipment bay will produce interference.”

The CAA is now recommending that notices reminding passengers of the mobile phone ban are placed in airport departure lounges.

It also suggests airlines should be encouraged to look into installing mobile phone detection equipment which would warn crews if a phone was in use.

In June last year, Neil Whitehouse, of Mansfield, Notts, was sentenced to 12 months in prison after being found guilty of “recklessly and negligently” endangering a British Airways flight from Madrid to Manchester.

‘I love you’

A Manchester Crown Court jury heard that Whitehouse, an oil worker, had repeatedly refused to switch off his phone after being spotted with it on the Boeing 737.

Experts said the plane’s navigational systems could have been affected by radio waves from the phone even though no calls were made during the flight.

Whitehouse was asked by cabin crew to turn the mobile off after he was spotted typing “I love you” onto the text face.

When told it might interfere with navigation, he replied: “Why? Are we going to get lost?”

The judge hearing the case called for the ban on mobile phones on aircraft to be reiterated.


Mobile Technology is Fuelling Growth in the UK

The UK gaming sector is dominated by independent brands developing game titles for mobile and tablet devices, according to new research by TIGA. The trade association, which represents the UK games industry, extensively studied British game businesses and found that 37% of all UK games studios are primarily developing game titles for mobile users.

“Increasingly studios’ preferred platform for games is mobile and tablet: almost two-fifths of the UK studio population now primarily make games for these platforms,” said Dr Richard Wilson, the CEO of TIGA. “The attraction of the mobile and tablet market to UK developers is clear. The mobile and tablet market is substantial and growing: sales of smartphones are expected to hit 1 billion globally in 2013.”

He added: “There are few barriers to entry in the mobile and tablet market, the cost of game development on these platforms is relatively low and it is comparatively straightforward for developers to update game content.”

The research comes in the same month that the International Data Corporation (IDC) announced figures that show mobile gaming will overtake handheld products in sales. Although the average revenue per user for handheld console games will be higher in 2013, players will be spending more money on tablet and mobile game apps. As the mobile gaming industry swells in popularity, there is more opportunity for the independent studios to turn a profit.

London based developer Hutch produced the title Smash Cops, which has generated more than 10 million downloads. “TIGA’s research shows that the UK games sector is shifting rapidly towards mobile and tablet games development,” said Shaun Rutland, the CEO of Hutch. “Smartphone and tablet gaming presents the greatest opportunity and our own experience at Hutch shows that the right game and business model can be extremely successful in this market.”

With the UK gaming market facing a potential boom, developers are calling on the government to introduce the Games Tax Relief as soon as possible. Dr Wilson described this as “vitally important” as the Relief “effectively reduces the cost of games production, improves access to capital and will stimulate the production of culturally British games.” TIGA have stated that the UK government has assured that they will be legislating for the tax breaks in the current Finance Bill.

In addition to this, gambling brands are calling on the government to re-think regulation on the industry, in order to support economic growth. The Rank Group, operators of Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino, have devised a ‘Game Plan’ report that shows how a different approach to the UK’s gaming policy could be beneficial. The Chief Executive of Rank, Ian Burke stated: “We believe that the over-arching role of gambling legislation should be to maximise the benefits to society and the economy while minimising costs.”

The report has been presented to over 150 members of parliament and states that greater support from the government is needed. In the ‘Game Plan’ Burke states that Rank and other gambling brands in the UK could “contribute a great deal more to life in Britain through job creation and economic development, revenue generation for government, our work in communities and our capacity to bring people together for shared experiences.”

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