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Mobile

‘Skepticism’ Is One of RIM’s Many Problems

Research in Motion has got 99 problems and satisfying demand ain’t one. (Ha… groan.) Bloomberg reports that weak sales are leaving BlackBerrys and PlayBook tablets in warehouses to collect dust, the value of that inventory reaching $1 billion last quarter. Layoffs are in the offing. Losses are coming. They’ve hired JPMorgan and Royal Bank of Canada to reassess its strategy. Maybe they can do something about this.

Yesterday, trading on RIM stock was halted while CEO Thorsten Heins delivered some bad news. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that RIM is having a very hard time keeping up with Apple and the other competition.  The company is promising a new strategy, but an underlying issue the company has to overcome may be more insidious than the already huge business obstacles: “skepticism.”

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T-Mobile Gets Racy With Its Spokeswoman

Since her debut in 2010, we’ve gotten to know T-Mobile’s spokeswoman Carly Foulkes as the effervescent, pink-wearing promoter of T-Mobile goodness. For the latest ads, T-Mobile has turned her into a biker chick, doing away with the floaty dresses and putting her in a leather outfit and helmet.

T-Mobile’s SVP of brand, advertising, and comms tells Mashable that the ad is meant to convey the company’s status as a “challenger brand.”

“The makeover from the girl-next-door to an edgier, more tech-savvy and spirited Carly is synonymous with the evolution of the T-Mobile brand,” he says.

Jezebel, who isn’t a fan of the Foulkes to begin with, isn’t buying it.

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Facebook’s Instagram Acquisition Opens Doors in Mobile

According to GigaOm (a story that was mentioned during our chat with GalleyCat’s Jason Boog this morning), bringing the two companies together is sending some people elsewhere. But for the most part, this acquisition was a way for both Facebook and Instagram to add to their dominance.

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Three Tips for Getting Your Mobile Promotions Started

The world has gone mobile and the worlds of PR and marketing are racing to do a bit of catching up. As the lines between marketing disciplines blur, so do the lines between when and how people are logging on to the Web. They’re on their computers and watching TV at the same time. Or watching TV and tweeting from their mobile devices during the commercials.

In today’s guest post, Zach Hoffman, founder and CEO of Internet marketing company exults talks about how marketers and PR pros can make their mobile campaigns resonate with an ever-growing audience. Exults was rebranded this year, and Hoffman has more than 15 years of experience in the Internet marketing space.

According to Hoffman, by taking three basic factors into account, you can jump start your mobile efforts.

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Verizon Fee Goes Bye-Bye

We wondered how long this would last. Answer: about 24 hours.

That’s how long it took Verizon to back down from its absurd plan to charge wireless customers $2 for each one-time payment made online or over the phone, a.k.a, in Verizon parlance, the “convenience fee.”

The announcement was made in a press release on the Verizon website. According to the statement, they’re dumping the fee following “customer feedback about the plan, which was designed to improve the efficiency of those transactions.” In other words, the company was being skewered on social media and in the press and decided the $2 wasn’t worth the bad buzz and negative business consequences. Sounds very familiar.

According to The Huffington Post, there was online outcry, petitions, and even talk of an FCC investigation. Rather than charging the fee, the company says it will encourage customers to use one of the existing payment options. The fee was meant to go into effect in January.

AT&T Eyeballing Smaller Wireless Companies

Because there hasn’t been enough weirdness in wireless news, it’s being reported that analysts predict Leap and Metro PCS may be taken over by one of the monolithic carriers.

Businessweek says AT&T and T-Mobile USA are eyeing the smaller pay-as-you-go wireless companies because the AT&T/T-Mobile merger fell through this month amid antitrust problems. Vision2mobile.com also writes that the deal would be more likely to get approval. Metro PCS, based in Texas, has 9 million subscribers and Leap, 5.7 million. T-Mobile, by comparison, is the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., with 33 million subscribers.

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Verizon Learned Nothing from BofA, Will Charge ‘Convenience Fee’

A leaked memo posted on Engadget reveals Verizon’s plan to start charging customers $2 for each one-time online payment or bill payment over the phone on January 15. Verizon confirms this ridiculous plan. And they’re calling it a “convenience fee.”

Remember the uproar when Bank of America tried to charge $5 for debit card purchases? Apparently, Verizon doesn’t. Ultimately, BofA had to dump the plan because of the backlash and other banks, taking a hint, decided to dump theirs as well.

Both Engadget and CNET suggest alternatives to charging a fee, such as stiffer late fee penalties and (gasp!) a reward for loyal customers who sign up for an automatic bill pay.

Charging people more when they’re recovering from holiday spending during a tough economic period is simply wrong-headed. It’s made even more so when telecom companies were among those on a “most-hated” list published just a couple of months ago. Folks on Twitter and on blogs are already complaining. Moreover, this is happening while service outages are a problem. Let’s see how long this lasts.

Guest Post on Mobile: ‘Separating the Signal from the Noise’

Mobile, mobile everywhere. News from the mobile space keeps coming as the technology and business of mobility continues to sort itself out. For PR pros, it’s an area rife with opportunity.

In today’s guest post, Jonathan Heit, partner and head of digital media and technology, Allison+Partners, takes a closer look at some of the big stories and trends in mobile moving forward.

Click through for his thoughts and click here for more on the firm’s Naked Culture blog. And if there’s anything you’d like to add to the conversation, the comments section is open.

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Everyone’s Getting Connected with the Boob Tube

If Fred is the future of connected TV, please allow me to disconnect.

It is a time when TVs that are aligned with and act like our computers – smart TVs – are the ones on two-thirds of people’s shopping lists. And 40 percent of consumers say they will upgrade their TVs in 2012. Sites like YouTube are prepared to sidestep the television industry all together as video stars like Fred and The Annoying Orange (“Hey apple? Apple? Hey apple?”) launch their own channels.

Going to Saskatoon? This App’s Got You Covered

Saskatoon at night

Planning a trip to Canada soon? I wish this app was out when I was offered a free trip to a Slayer concert in Saskatoon last summer.
The Canadian Tourism Commission has launched a social media platform and mobile app called “Explore Canada Like a Local,” which offers locals and visitors’ inside tips on the best of Canadian attractions while traveling through the country.

Users can build an itinerary on the site or app and follow it on their smartphone while traveling; they can connect with other travelers and add photos and reviews, and more.

For example, had I used this app I could have learned there was a Fox & Hounds Pub and Brewery in Saskatoon.

“Chicken fingers and cross-tracks, enough said,” the description reads.

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