Cheap iPhone Rumors Continue, RIM Suffers Another Blackout

In today’s mobile news roundup: Cheap iPhone rumors continue to draw attention; RIM suffers another service blackout; and Nokia decrypts data in Xpress Browser but tells users not to worry.

Cheap iPhone rumors continue to draw attention

Earlier this week, rumors surfaced that Apple is planning on releasing a cheap iPhone later this year.  WSJ stated that it was a way to appeal to emerging markets such as China where cheaper smartphones dominate the market.

In an interview on Shanghai Evening News, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller allegedly stated that the company is not interested in making cheap iPhones.  Schiller’s statement was said to be verified by TheNextWeb.

“At first, non-smartphones were popular in the Chinese market, now cheap smartphones are more popular and non-smartphones are out,” according to Schiller’s controversial statement.  “Despite the popularity of cheap smartphones, this will never be the future of Apple’s products. In fact, although Apple’s market share of smartphones is just about 20%, we own the 75% of the profit.”

But reports are now dismissing Schiller’s claims, with Reuters even withdrawing their story.  So what does this actually mean?  First, Schiller’s alleged statements were either not true or he didn’t actually say those things, or Apple is in fact making a cheap iPhone.  It’s not entirely clear why Reuters retracted their story, but the knee-jerk reaction is only fueling the flames.

RIM suffers another service blackout

Fresh from positive news earlier this week, with US carriers announcing that they will sell the upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices at the end of the month, RIM’s been hit with another service blackout.

The good news, if you can look at it that way, is that RIM is not to be blamed – Vodafone is.  BlackBerry subscribers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa were affected with the e-mail and instant messaging outage due to a Vodafone router error.  Though Vodafone earlier denied being responsible for the mishap, they issued the following statement: “Services are in the process of being restored and we continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Nokia decrypts data in Xpress Browser but tells users not to worry

Nokia’s Xpress Browser was scrutinized for allegedly decrypting data.  Surprisingly, Nokia admitted that their Xpress Browser decrypts data that flows through HTTPS connections – which means that bank transactions, e-mails and other online activity using your Nokia Xpress Browser are vulnerable.  But Nokia says not to worry – they don’t access it.  They just decrypt it to de-bulk the data so they can compress it in order to deliver a faster browsing experience.

Security researcher Gaurang Pandya said on his blog that Nokia has access to these decrypted data, which means any Nokia employee can hi-jack a person’s e-mail or worse, their bank accounts.

“From the tests that were performed, it is evident that Nokia is performing Man In The Middle Attack for sensitive HTTPS traffic originated from their phone and hence they do have access to clear text information which could include user credentials to various sites such as social networking, banking, credit card information or anything that is sensitive in nature.”

But Nokia stated that they’ve “implemented appropriate organizational and technical measures to prevent access to private information. Claims that we would access complete unencrypted information are inaccurate.”