Manual labor is dead. You know how we know? Foxconn announced today that it would start phasing out its rampant hiring, and add over 1 million robots to its manufacturing process over the next three years. A spokesmen for the company claims the robots will help cut rising labor costs, improve efficiency, and help keep Foxconn competitive.
Intel's taken some shots to the ribs recently. Several tablets have gone with ARM-based chipsets rather than Intel's old standby, x86. Then, Nokia left Intel at the Medfield processor altar, running off into the sunset with Windows 7 phones instead. So what's a down-on-its-luck processor manufacturer to do?
Grit its teeth and double-down on technology, that's what.
Google Maps is awesome. With it, not only can you figure out which pizza place is closest to your house, you can also get the joint's phone number and even see what the place looks like (as long as that pizza joint is not also a nuclear power plant or ammo depot). Bing Maps? Not quite as cool, but that may change shortly if a recent Search Engine Land report is any indication.
In an article on May 15th, Search Engine Lander writer Greg Sterling cited an anonymous source claiming that Microsoft and Nokia are in talks to replace Bing Maps' engine with Nokia's Navteq mapping software. Nokia would supply the guts powering Bing Maps, while Microsoft would focus solely on outward appearances.
Now's not a particularly good time to be working for Nokia, not unless you can handle the stress of wondering if you'll still have a job once the company eliminates 12 percent of its workers. As part of a new strategy to "align its global workforce and consolidate site operations," Nokia said it plans to hand out about 7,000 pink slips, including laying off 3,000 staff and transferring 3,000 more to Accenture, which will take over Nokia's legacy Symbian software division.
Rovio, the Finnish developer of the Angry Birds mobile game franchise has announced a new installment of the popular bird launching game. Before you get your hopes up, the new Angry Birds Magic will only be available on Nokia phones running the newest "Anna" update, and will require users to interact with NFC tags to unlock levels.
As far as Finnish phone manufacturer Nokia is concerned, those dirty, rotten, no-good buggers at Apple keep getting away with patent infringement, and on a large scale. Nokia's latest lawsuit accuses Apple of infringing patents in "virtually all" of its mobile phones, portable music players, tablets, and computers. That's quite the laundry list of devices.
Back in July 2010, Nokia announced plans to acquire most of Motorola's wireless network infrastructure assets for $1.2 billion, a move that would make Nokia second only to Ericsson. That deal was supposed to close by the end of 2010 but was delayed until the first quarter of 2011. Now Nokia is saying the deal is again on hold, only this time the company has no idea when it's expected to close.
There has been some back and forth as people try to sort out the details of the Microsoft-Nokia deal. Some said that Nokia was only accepting software and marketing assistance from Microsoft, but many suspected there was a cold, hard cash payoff going on. Today Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft has committed to pay the Finnish company $1 billion to promote and develop Windows Phone 7 devices.
If you think Microsoft was unopposed in their courting of Nokia, you'd be wrong. According to Google (still) CEO Eric Schmidt, they did attempt to get Nokia to use Android instead of Windows Phone 7. Schmidt refused to go into details when questioned on the matter, but did say that Google talked to Nokia to encourage them to join the Android Army.
At Mobile World Congress today in Barcelona, Microsoft announced some of its plans to update Windows Phone 7 in 2011. Over the course of the year, the company has plans to roll out a number of updates to the operating system, offering several new features.