Top IT stories of 2010 - June

iPhone 4 antennagate, consoles get motion controlled, Middle East mobile users hit 200m

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Top IT stories of 2010 - June Holding the iPhone 4 'incorrectly' could greatly reduce signal strength
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By  Mark Sutton Published  December 23, 2010

June was a good month for consumer electronics, with big launches from several leading players.

Apple launched its iPhone 4, billed as the "the biggest leap since the original iPhone". The new handset, the thinnest iPhone yet, included a host of new features, including an enhanced screen, new design with glass on the front and back, and stainless steel round the sides, and improved camera. Apple also released an update to the operating system, iOS 4, with 100 new features.

Predictably, iPhone 4 was a runaway success, selling over 1.7 million units in the first three days.

Not so predictable was a design flaw, which meant that signal strength was drastically reduced if the handset was held in a certain way. Apple tried to claim that there was no problem, then blamed everyone else in the industry, then said it was simply a software problem, before finally owning up and admitting the antenna problems was down to a hardware design issue. In July the company released a fix in the form of plastic case that prevents a user's hand from making direct contact with the external antenna.

The popularity of Apple's devices got a nod from Abu Dhabi media content generation centre Twofour54, which  launched a new fund programme dedicated to Arabic application development on the Apple iPhone platform. The AppsArabia fund and community website was formed to encourage and invest in the most promising ideas for applications on the Apple iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

At the E3 expo, Sony revealed its new motion-sensitive Move controller, along with stereoscopic 3D games and an all-in-one surround sound system for the PlayStation3. The Move controller would act as an add-on to the Playstation console.

Microsoft went one better and did away with the controller altogether for its new Xbox 360 Kinect system. The Kinect allows users to play games simply through making gestures and movement, using a sensor that contains a camera, audio sensors, and motion-sensing technology to track the human body.

ITP hosted its Network Middle East Innovation Awards 2010, which brought together nearly 200 IT managers, vendors, channel partners and service providers to honour companies, projects and individuals in the IT infrastructure sector in the region.

In the telecoms sector, Jordan emerged as the country with the most competitive telecom sector in the Arab world, followed closely by Saudi Arabia and Palestine, according to a survey from research firm, Arab Advisors Group.

Arab Advisor's annual Cellular Competition Intensity Index, also found Lebanon to be the least competitive marketing the region, followed by the UAE, Syria and Libya.

Adding to the competition in Jordan's telecom sector, MVNO provider Friendi officially launched its services in Jordan. The company, launching its second MVNO for the region, said it would focus on attractive pricing for the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, research company Dataxis Intelligence, predicted that the number of mobile phone subscribers in the Middle East region would hit the 200 million mark this year. Middle East subscriber numbers rose from 53 million in 2005 to more than 185 million in 2009 and Dataxis predicted the would jump to 296 million by the end of 2015.

Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), the majority stakeholder of Globalfoundries, announced plans to set up a technology cluster in Abu Dhabi, to become the Middle Eastern hub of ATIC's global technology and manufacturing network.

CA, formerly known as Computer Associates, announced a shake up of its operations in the region, going from an indirect approach to form a new strategic partnership with UAE-based Midis Group. CA MENA became the sole representative of CA Technologies in the Middle East, Levant, North Africa and Pakistan. CA said the move would help it better address the region.

HP began the hunt for a new managing director for the Middle East, following the departure of John Hoonhout. Hoonhout left HP to pursue a new venture.

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2010 retrospective