In today’s mobile news roundup: Ubuntu phones coming in October; Twitter app update brings better search and discovery; Facebook working on software, not actual phone; Microsoft hints at charging Surface Pro covers; and iPhone sales bumped Sprint’s Q4.
Ubuntu phones coming in October
Canonical founder and CEO Mark Shuttleworth announced that smartphones running on Ubuntu, the mobile version of the Linux-based operating system, will start shipping by October 2013. Ubuntu phone is optimized for the Galaxy Nexus, the handset created by Samsung. App developers will have access to the mobile OS later this month.
Canonical aims to deploy Ubuntu in a full range of devices, such as desktop and tablet computers, to reduce the number of devices purchased and managed by corporate IT executives. Ubuntu smartphones can be docked to larger displays, wirelessly connected to keyboards and other peripherals, and have Windows-based applications streamed to them from corporate servers, so users can access corporate data in a single, pocket-sized device.
Twitter app update brings better search and discovery
Twitter announced an update to its mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms, as well as mobile.twitter.com. The update organizes content to make search and discovery much easier by providing a single stream of content in each tab.
Mobile Twitter now features a Discover tab where you can find Tweets, Activity, Trends and suggestions of accounts to follow; Search tab shows relevant mix of Tweets, photos, and accounts based on your query plus the search button previously available for Android and iPad is now available for iPhones; the default view for the Connect tab is Interactions which shows new followers, retweets and mentions but you can edit it to show “Mentions only;” and tapping on a link now directs you to the site instead of expanding the tweet first before you can click on a link to go to it.
Here with more details on Twitter’s update is Senior Managing Editor Kristen Nicole, who appeared on this morning’s NewsDesk segment with Kristin Feledy.
Facebook working on software, not actual phone
If you’re still waiting for Facebook to unveil its very own smartphone, you might want to sit down for this. Facebook isn’t making one. According to sources, the social networking giant is focusing on software instead of hardware, to ensure that all smartphone owners will have access to its mobile apps.
Facebook is said to be working with Chinese chipmaker Spreadtrum to embed its software directly into inexpensive smartphones, guaranteeing that emerging markets will have access to Facebook ready phones. Mobile users would no longer have to search for the app in the mobile app store and download it. It will be pre-installed on devices before they’re even shipped out.
Microsoft hints at charging Surface Pro covers
During Microsoft’s Surface AMA on Reddit, the company may have hinted at the possibility of releasing Surface Pro covers that can charge the tablet.
“At launch we talked about the “accessory spine” and hinted at future peripherals that can click in and do more,” says a Surface spokesperson. “Those connectors look like can carry more current than the pogo pins, don’t they?”
The connectors on the Surface RT were slightly modified for use in the Surface Pro tablets (which has extra points of contact) that could carry a stronger current, so an external battery or a keyboard with an extra battery will be compatible with it.
iPhone sales bump Sprint’s Q4
Sprint reported a net loss of $1.32 billion, or 44 cents a share, for the fourth quarter, but its revenue rose to $9 billion. The company reported a loss of $45 million because of Hurricane Sandy, but stated that it wasn’t as bad as AT&T and Verizon.
Sprint added 401,000 postpaid subscribers, 525,000 new subscribers on pre-paid, and its postpaid net additions are up 18 percent year-over-year, but lost 1.02 million Nextel subscribers who, instead of signing up for Sprint, opted for other carriers.
The company saw huge increase in sales when it started selling iPhones, reporting 2.2 million iPhones sold during the fourth quarter, out of a total of 4 million 4G LTE smartphones, or 6.6 million iPhones throughout the year. Thirty-eight percent of those who got an iPhone were new Sprint subscribers.