HP Kills Tablet

Hewlett-Packard has killed off its Windows 7 tablet computer, reports TechCrunch.

The device was first unveiled by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at CES 2010 in January and was supposed to hit the market in mid 2010. But TechCrunch says that HP is not satisfied with Windows 7 as a tablet operating system and has terminated the project (something CrunchGear mentioned months ago).

HP may also be abandoning Intel-based hardware for its slate lineup simply because it’s too power hungry. That would also rule out Windows 7 as an operating system.

In other news, this week Microsoft is rumored to have terminated their “Courier” project. The dual screen tablet Courier had never been publicly announced or acknowledged as a Microsoft product. Courier, along with the HP Slate running Windows 7, had industry watchers projecting that competitive offerings would bring down the cost of Apple’s iPad.

Apple’s iAd

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Apple is aiming to charge close to US$1 million for premium advertising slots on its new iAd platform. According to sources, Apple has indicated it could charge as much as US$10 million to be part of a handful of marketers at the launch. Ad executives say they are used to paying between US$100,000 and US$200,000 for similar mobile deals. Ads are likely to start appearing in applications on its iPhone and iPod Touch devices in June, and its iPad later in the year, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Apple says app developers will receive 60 percent of the revenue with Apple getting the other 40 percent.

Overall, 85 million iPhones and iPod touches have been sold to date worldwide, and Apple estimates users spend 30 minutes a day using applications. So, it’s still a large audience made up mostly of the types of affluent consumers marketers like to reach. Whether it’s worth as much Apple says is the $1 million (or $10 million) question.

A survey released by mobile ad network Millennial Media last November found that one-third of ad agencies expect to spend between $100,000 and $250,000 on mobile advertising in 2010, up 22% from a year ago, and 15% plan to devote more than $1 million to mobile efforts.

Mobile Phones: 21% Growth Q1

The worldwide mobile phone market grew 21.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010, according to new figures from IDC, a strong rebound from the market contraction seen a year earlier. Vendors shipped 294.9 million units in the first quarter of 2010 compared to 242.4 million units in the first quarter of last year, which had seen a 16.6 percent year-on-year decline.

IDC attributed the growth to increasing demand for smartphones and the global economic recovery. Growing demand for smartphones also helped BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) move into the top 5 vendor rankings for the first time, replacing Motorola and tied with Sony Ericsson at fourth place. They are expecting growth of 11 percent for 2010.

HP Buying Palm

HP has agreed to buy Palm, a provider of smartphones powered by webOS mobile operating system, for $1.2 billion, or about $5.70 per share of Palm common stock. The transaction has been approved by the HP and Palm boards of directors.

HP says their global scale combined with Palm’s webOS platform will enhance HP’s ability to participate more aggressively in the fast-growing, smartphone market. Palm’s webOS provides true multitasking and always up-to-date information sharing across applications.

Palm hoped to steal marketshare from Apple and BlackBerry, says the NY Times, but lackluster sales of their Pre and the Pixi phones, contributed to Palm’s putting itself up for sale. Dell, HTC and Lenovo had all been mentioned along with H.P. as suitors.

The $1.4 billion price includes the Series B and Series C shares, most of which are owned by Elevation Partners. Elevation invested about $460 million in Palm and will take out about $485 million.

Palm once held more than 70 percent of the handheld computing market, but several years of disappointing products and strong smartphone competition reduced its market share to single digits. HP plans to jump into the tablet market soon with the Slate, and webOS may help HP compete with the iPad.

AT&T is the only U.S. carrier to offer smart phones with all major operating systems, notes the Dallas News. They include:

WiMax Phone: $200?

Sprint’s WiMAX phone, the HTC EVO 4G, may have the same $200 price as Verizon’s 3G HTC Droid Incredible (video review), according to Intomobile.

Their source article by electronista says a Best Buy Geek Squad rep, reports the Sprint HTC EVO 4G will cost $200 on a 2 year agreement.

A $200 HTC EVO 4G would put in direct competition with the 1 GHz 3G HTC Droid Incredible, from Verizon, which goes on sale tomorrow — although it may well be wishful thinking.

NAB Defends Their Free Spectrum

National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith defended broadcasters’ right to free spectrum to Congress on Tuesday April 27 at a Senate Small Business Committee broadband oversight hearing.

Smith said he wanted to put on the record how much he appreciated FCC chairman Julius Genachowski’s speech to the NAB show where he stated that “this broadband plan would never devolve from voluntary to compulsory.” Smith said one piece of the spectrum plan that is “of great concern” is the spectrum fees that have been proposed in the national broadband plan. He said that a “punitive fee” could force some small broadcasters off the air.

The FCC is determined to auction off one ninth (300 MHz of spectrum, in total) of the 300 MHz to 3 GHz UHF zone in so-called “incentive auctions”.

Smith said that broadcasters were a highly efficient system, while wireless was a “spectrum hog” (pdf).

Smith said that the congressionally mandated spectrum inventory should come before any spectrum reclamation initiative. “It’s imperative that we get all the facts so that we do this right,” he said. But he also argued that the wireless industry could solve most of the problem without more spectrum by investing more and increasing the number of towers.

CTIA president Steve Largent countered that spectrum should be brought to auction as fast as possible. “We can’t afford to wait for spectrum to be auctioned in 10 or 15 years,” he said.

The hearing was about broadband and small business, and Smith said broadcasters were small businesses themselves. “We must not jeopardize this fragile communications ecosystem with policy solutions that jeopardize this,” he said.

Last Friday, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps — a longtime champion of public-interest media — said America’s broadband Internet needs openness and innovation to thrive. “At the end of the day, you have to come to the conclusion that we have a public interest in how [the Internet] is used to inform and serve the American people.”

Genachowski is a big believer in using mobile networks to bridge the digital divide.”