Mobile Miscellany: week of January 21st, 2013

Mobile Miscellany week of January 21st, 2013

If you didn't get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we've opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week brought a new smartphone from Xolo to India, HTC's crackdown on a custom ROM distributor and the UK's largest mobile spectrum auction to date. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore the "best of the rest" for this week of January 21st, 2013.

Xolo A500 debuts in India with Android 4.0

Mobile Miscellany week of January 21st, 2013

A new Android 4.0 smartphone known as the Xolo A500 became available within India this week, and from all appearances, it's entirely run of the mill. That said, with a price of ₹6,999 ($130), it may just turn a few heads. The Xolo A500 sports a 4-inch WVGA (800 x 480) display, along with a dual-core 1GHz CPU (Snapdragon S4 Play) and dual-SIM functionality. You'll also find a 5-megapixel rear camera, along with a front-facing VGA shooter. The device includes a 1,500mAh battery, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of built-in storage and supports microSD cards up to 32GB in size. [Fone Arena]

Ofcom kicks off 4G spectrum auction in UK

The largest mobile spectrum auction to date in the UK began this week, which is set to nearly double the wireless resources available to Britons. In all, 28 lots of spectrum are available across the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands, which will add 250MHz of spectrum to the 333MHz in use today. Telefonica (O2), Vodafone, EE, Hutchison (Three), Niche Spectrum Ventures (BT), HKT and MLL are participants in the auction, which carries a total reserve price of £1.36 billion. According to UK regulator Ofcom, the auction will take place in several rounds over the coming weeks. [Android Central]

AT&T CEO reveals interest in smartphone financing

Mobile Miscellany week of January 21st, 2013

Verizon's Lowell McAdam now has some company. During this week's earnings call, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson revealed that AT&T is similarly monitoring T-Mobile's shift to drop the subsidized business model and instead provide customers the ability to finance their new smartphone purchase. While Stephenson may lack grace with his words, the intent is clear: "We expect there to be some dynamics in the marketplace that -- and we'll have to respond to some of it -- we find interesting, like the handset financing that they're doing." Curiously, Stephenson admitted that AT&T has considered the approach in the past, but like Verizon, much of how his company responds will depend on consumers' reception of T-Mobile's new approach. [FierceWireless]

US Cellular now offers carrier billing for online shopping

Mobile Miscellany week of January 21st, 2013

US Cellular announced this week that it now supports carrier billing for online purchases. The system was launched in partnership with Boku, and subscribers may pay for goods at participating merchants by entering their mobile number at checkout and then confirming the purchase with a text message. From there, customers will find the total amount of the purchase added to their wireless bill. [PhoneScoop]

AT&T working to integrate Data Sense for Windows Phone 8

Data Sense is one of the more unique features of Windows Phone 8, which allows users to monitor their data usage and squeeze more from their data plan through the magic of server-side compression. Verizon is the only carrier to support the feature within the US, but that may soon change, as AT&T has revealed that it's "exploring Data Sense and how to optimize the experience" for its subscribers. About damn time, right? [FierceWireless]

HTC forces shutdown of custom ROM site

Mobile Miscellany week of January 21st, 2013

A provider of many popular Sense-based ROMs is no more. This week, HTCRUU closed its doors and took its repositories offline in acquiescence to legal threats from HTC. Historically, HTC has taken an admirably lax approach to distribution of customized Sense ROMs, which are popular among enthusiasts of the company's smartphones. Naturally, many other sources exist for custom Sense blends, which raises the question of whether this move was but a one-off showing of legal force, or whether HTC will take a more active approach to ending the underground custom ROM community. Those interested can learn more of the situation on Reddit. [Android Police]

Other random tidbits

  • Following in the footsteps of Android and iOS, Microsoft has upped the mobile data cap of app downloads and updates for Windows Phone to 50MB. [WPCentral]

  • The Meizu MX2 is now available as a subsidized handset for customers of China Unicom. The smartphone can be gotten for free with all two-year plans of ¥226 or more per month, or with all three-year plans of ¥156 or more per month. [GSM Arena]

  • Colombia's state-owned telecom, UNE EPM, announced that it would invest $2.5 million to bring LTE services to Barranquilla -- the country's fourth most populous city -- which sports a population of approximately 1.8 million. [RCR Wireless]

  • An internal leak has revealed that the HTC 8S will become available at Bell Mobility on February 1st. [MobileSyrup]

  • Videotron has announced that it'll begin selling the Nexus 4 on January 30th. Similarly, Fido is accepting reservations (and a requisite $40 deposit) for the smartphone, which it's targeting for an early February arrival. [MobileSyrup 1, 2]

[Buy More Stuff photo credit: jbhthescots / Flickr]

[Mobile Miscellany photo credit: Thristian / Flickr]