In brief: Wireless carriers enter market for phone apps under joint agreement
BARCELONA, Spain – The world’s largest wireless carriers, including the four largest in the U.S., announced Monday that they are combining forces to make it easier for software developers to write applications that will run on as many phones as possible.
The “Wholesale Applications Community” is an attempt to retake the initiative from phone makers like Apple Inc., Nokia Corp. and Research in Motion Ltd., which have applications stores of their own. Google Inc. is also building a significant store for its Android software.
The 24 carriers in the community, announced at the annual Mobile World Congress trade show, will let software developers write applications that will run on phones from many different manufacturers. While they won’t have a joint applications store, a developer will be able to submit an application and have it sold across several different carrier stores.
Demand for mobile phones rising despite global downturn, agency says
GENEVA – The number of mobile phone subscriptions worldwide reached 4.6 billion and is expected to reach five billion this year, the United Nations telecommunications agency said Monday.
Mobile phone providers in rich countries offer advanced services and handsets, while people in developing countries increasingly use the mobile phone for health services and banking, said the International Telecommunication Union.
“Even during an economic crisis, we have seen no drop in the demand for communications services,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure.
“The simplest, low-end mobile phone can do so much to improve health care in the developing world,” Toure said in a statement, citing examples of patients receiving reminder messages on a mobile phone ahead of a medical appointment or text messages instructing them how to take complex medication.
The number of mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide is expected to exceed one billion this year, the agency said. There were around 600 million such subscriptions at the end of 2009, it added.
Japan’s gross domestic product keeps it ahead of China’s economic growth
TOKYO – Japan held its title as the world’s second-biggest economy after fourth-quarter growth beat expectations and kept the country just ahead of surging China.
Real gross domestic product grew at an annual pace of 4.6 percent in the October-December period, the government said Monday. The average forecast of 15 economists polled by the Associated Press was annualized growth of 3.4 percent.
Japan’s nominal GDP for the 2009 calendar year came to about $5.1 trillion, topping China’s domestic output of $4.9 trillion.