Week in review: Public Wi-Fi isn't dead yet, Apple security tsar's crazy idea

Week in Review

It's now more than a month since Christmas and if you're feeling the January blues, then not to worry. There's the boundless joy of Valentine's Day to look forward to. No? How about Chinese New Year?

If we can't cheer you up, then we'll give you something to think about instead as the relentless pace of the tech industry marches onwards to an ever brighter, more prosperous future.

The second coming of Wi-Fi

Despite all the fuss about 3G and 4G networks, there's clearly still a place for public Wi-Fi judging from this week's news (and our own experiences with shonky 3G).

Sky has confirmed its acquisition public hotspot provider The Cloud. Although best known for its satellite TV subscription service, Sky is also a major home broadband and phone provider. The acquisition therefore makes sense to help it compete against BT which has its own Openzone Wi-Fi network to complement its own phone, broadband and on-demand TV services.

No one outside Rupert Murdoch's inner circle currently knows what Sky's plans for The Cloud are. It would have been safe to assume it'll continue charging for access, while giving subscribers to other Sky services free access, if it wasn't for O2's news. The mobile network has announced it will be deploying a free, nationwide Wi-Fi network.

Good news for both the business traveller and the average user on the street.

Get a move on

In news that shouldn't surprise anyone, the worldwide mobile phone market is booming, due in large part to the increasing popularity of smartphones.

There are winners from this boom, including ZTE, a Chinese manufacturer of low-cost smartphones, becoming one of the world's biggest mobile phone manufacturers. This not only underlies the popularity of affordable Android smartphones in the huge Chinese domestic market, but also the rise of China's economic clout.

Then there are the losers. Although the newly independent Motorola Mobility has increased its revenue and is making a moderate profit, its shipments of smartphones for this quarter were lower than expected. Whether this is a one-off or a sign of trouble on the horizon for Motorola Mobility remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the profits of Finnish giant Nokia continued to slide as the company struggled against more successful smartphone manufacturers. We have our own thoughts about whether Nokia can pull itself out of its current slump.

Taxing thoughts

David Rice, Apple's new security overlord, has an interesting background in the American military. Even more intriguing are his ideas from before he joined the Mac manufacturer on how to make companies produce more secure software including a vulnerability tax.

Tom Brewster took a closer look and was intrigued, but not completely convinced. Hard to please, is our Tom.