Monthly roundup: 5 things you may have missed this month

The end of the month is upon us once more, and as usual a lot has happened in the mobile industry during May. Here’s our brief roundup of five newsworthy stories that you may have missed.

Project Ara modular phone launched date set for 2017

Google Project Ara Smartphone

In the past year, Google’s Project Ara modular phone seems to have almost disappeared from the tech press’ consciousness. However, at last week’s Google I/O it was revealed that the device will in fact be available to buy from next year.

Project Ara development kits will also ship to eager developers later this year, allowing third parties to start building all sorts of exciting modules.

Prices for both the developer and consumer versions was not revealed, but Google said that Ara will be a high-end device, at least in the beginning.

Swedish mobile masts possibly sabotaged by foreign powers

Mobile Phone Mast

In the last few weeks, several telecommunications masts in Sweden were damaged, suspected of being intentionally sabotaged. This has prompted fears of foreign spies, as well as calling into question the ability of Sweden’s security services to deal with such a situation, especially considering the country’s tensions with Russia.

A 300 metre mast in southern Sweden collapsed, apparently sabotaged according to the local police. Police also stated that it could either be a prankster, local extremists or international saboteurs.

“We are 100 percent certain the tower has been sabotaged”, investigators told the Aftonbladet newspaper. “It could be something international, that they want to test what happens when taking out a mast like this”.

Microsoft sells Nokia brand to Foxconn for $350 million

Nokia Feature Phones

Nokia is still on track to make a comeback, with a selection of new feature phones and tablets. The firm has entered into a deal with a new Helsinki-based firm, HMD, to make Nokia-branded phones and tablets, and will receive a percentage of royalties from every sale.

Foxconn’s purchase of Nokia was made in partnership with HMD, a new Finnish company that has an exclusive global license to build Nokia devices for next 10 years.

Manufacturing, sales and distribution will be handled by FIH Mobile Limited, itself a subsidiary of Foxconn.

It’s another positive for the Nokia brand, but comes after Microsoft hinted that its Lumia range may be in demise.

“Microsoft will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia phones such as the Lumia 650, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, and phones from OEM partners like Acer, Alcatel, HP, Trinity and VAIO”, said a statement issued by Microsoft.

The purchase of Nokia’s mobile business back in 2014 was an effort to challenge Google and Apple, but both Microsoft and Nokia largely failed to make any significant impact with the Lumia range.

BT will invest £6 billion in faster broadband and mobile

Fibre Optic

BT Group announced earlier this month its plans to invest more than £6 billion in faster broadband and mobile over the next three years.

Consumers will be offered “ultra-fast” broadband, reaching 12 million premised by 2020, in addition to boosting 4G mobile coverage.

BT’s competitors however aren’t impressed. Sky said BT’s plan had limited ambition and said BT should invest more in the UK’s fibre network, adding that Openreach (which operates the network) should be split off from BT.

Most of the 12 million premises will have access to BT’s technology which can deliver up to 300 Mbps today, rising to around 500 Mbps in time.

Australian study finds no link between mobile phones and brain cancer

Man Using Phone

“Mobile phones don’t increase the risk of brain cancer, 30-year study concludes”, claims a study reported in the Mail Online.

The study found the increase in mobile phone usage over the past three decades was not matched by a similar rise in brain cancer rates.

Today, mobile phone ownership in Australia is around 94 percent of the population.

One point of note however is that the researchers only had access to data regarding the number of people with mobile phone contracts, rather than individual data about how often or how long people had phones to their heads.

You can read the full article on the NHS UK website.

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