Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Google's G1 Updates Coming Soon?

More news on the Android front! As many of you know, Google is rumored to be working on a giant update undertaking nicknamed "Cupcake." There haven’t been many details, but word is there are a plethora of fixes and updates to existing G1 features. A picture has surfaced of a G1 with an on-screen keyboard (which is rumored to be a likely fix), and with the changes already made to the Google account, I can only imagine the integration possibilities. There has been no official date or time frame given for the release of this uber-hyped and sweetly frosted update, but I have a feeling it shouldn’t be too much longer.

New Apps coming to Android Market in 2009

There are so many exciting possibilities when it comes to the Open Handset Alliance, and we are slowly starting to see things come together. Google executive Eric Chu is telling registered Android Market members via email that the rollout of paid apps is still coming in Q1 of next year. It is reported to occur in stages, starting with the U.S. and the U.K. Followed by Germany, Austria and the Netherlands for phase two. Phase three consists of France, Italy and Spain, with more countries to be announced by the end of Q1 2009.

Sounds like the Market website will be getting a makeover mid-January that will allow developers to target specific countries for their apps. We have a feeling developers have been withholding the good applications until they can get some money for their hard work (and rightfully so, might we add.) We expect some really cool stuff to be out for the Android devices in 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

SlingPlayer Mobile now available for BlackBerry

Little did you know when you purchased your Slingbox and BlackBerry that soon these two devices would be a match made in heaven. Sling Media now brings you SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerrys. If you are unfamiliar with Slingbox, basically it’s a box that allows you to watch your TV, DVR or DVD player over the Internet. Sling Media announced earlier in December that it was going to make the SlingPlayer available to the public in beta form on Dec. 30. Looks like they are a company who stands by its word, because today the download is available for the following BlackBerrys:

  • Pearl 8120
  • Pearl Flip 8220
  • Curve 8320
  • Curve 8820
  • Curve 8900
  • Bold 900

Unofficially, the EDGE-only 8100, 8300, 8310, and 8810 also will work. All models must have firmwire revision 4.5 or later to install SlingPlayer Mobile. So get out your BlackBerrys and start watching!

Leave Sprint with no Early Termination Fee

Now we are by no means encouraging the action that the title implies, however, if you have been coveting thy neighbor’s new BlackBerry Storm or perhaps the HTC G1 but you’re locked into a Sprint contract – you might just be in luck. Sprint raised their non-government-mandated administrative fee from 75 cents to 99 cents effective Jan. 1, thus putting them in a material breech of contract. This means you should be able to terminate your contract with Sprint without having to pay that hefty early termination fee. Word is you are going to have to be pretty persistent on the phone. This will need to be done before the end of the year, so if you’re looking to jump-ship it’s now or never.

Monday, December 29, 2008

BlackBerry Phones for 2009

A leaked blueprint has surfaced showing changes being made to current models said to be released next year. The Bold is going to be available in a CDMA version, which will be called the BlackBerry 9030 or Niagara. Two other CDMA models are said to be the 8230 Apex based off the Pearl Flip, and the 8930 Jupiter (yet another model of the ever-present Curve). Looks like Verizon and/or Sprint users are finally going to have a crack at RIM’s latest designs.

Speaking of milking the Curve for all its worth, it is speculated the 8900 Curve will get a 3G version as well as the Curve 9220 Magnum. The 9900 Pluto is another Bold derivative and keeps the current features of the first 3G BlackBerry, but adds a touchscreen along with an updated web browser. While we’re on the subject of touchscreens, let’s talk about the changes supposedly being made to the newly released Storm. Word is the Storm will make its way over to Europe with a slider QWERTY keyboard and, unfortunately for those of you across the pond, Wi-Fi instead of EVDO. Here’s to hoping some of these refreshed models will be making their way to the U.S., except for the Wi-Fi-only Storm. The Europeans and Vodafone can keep that.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Handmark can make Holiday Travel a breeze

Those of you braving the airports tomorrow or hitting the road to grandma’s house, might want to consider downloading some new mobile applications to help pass the time. We’ve been on Handmark today ourselves in preparation for our own holiday travels. They have a nice range of applications, from entertainment to travel or reference and even healthcare. Handmark makes applications easy to find by providing plenty of different ways to peruse. You can search by category, phone, operating system, most popular or recently added. The app store supports numerous different operating systems and phones:

8830, 8800, 8703e, 8300 (curve), 8100 (Pearl), 7250, 7100i

755p, 750, 700 wx, 700p, 680, 650

Windows Mobile
HTC 6900 TOUCH, PPC 6700, HTC 6800 Mogul, Motorola Q, Motorola Q9, Samsung Blackjack, T-Mobile Dash, T-Mobile Wing, AT&T 8525

Apple iPhone

Well, there you have it. Get online and start downloading!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Samsung Attempts to set World Record for Fastest Texting While Skydiving

Samsung is proving itself to you (the consumer) that you can text faster on their phones. Samsung managed to round-up 10 skydivers and provide them with a Propel, Alias, Gravity, Rant or Messenger in attempt to set the Guinness World Record for Fastest Text Messaging while Skydiving. The team videotaped two attempts and now it’s up to the Guinness World Record officials to decide whether this publicity stunt, er I mean these jumpers, set the record. I know I’ll be awaiting the results with bated breath.

Palm Nova and Palm Treo Pro Coming to a Carrier Near You

Palm CEO, Ed Colligan, hasn’t been terribly loose-lipped concerning his big announcements at CES next month. He has been reported spilling the beans about the new direction they are taking with their smartphones, as well as information about their new operating system, Nova. Colligan says Nova’s platform is of great significance for regaining their leading position on the smartphone market. The Nova has been said to have been delivered to a selection of developers with hopes that by the time their first devices hit the market in the first half on 2009, they will have a wide variety of programs at their disposal.

In their other markets, the company is going to continue selling PDA devices but won’t develop any new ones moving forward. So those of you still using PDAs (for whatever reason) will need to get them while you still can. We have a feeling Palm is only continuing to sell them so they can clear their inventories and become solely a smartphone manufacturer. For all of you business users worrying about having to learn a new operating system, don’t fret. Windows Mobile will be used with all business-class devices, while Nova is destined for the mass models. Kind of makes you wonder what exactly Palm has up their sleeve with Nova since the aging Palm OS was a pretty business-centric operating system.

In further news about Palm’s Windows Mobile offering, Palm is also looking to bring the nice, but expensive Treo Pro to a “major US carrier” to hopefully cut down on the initial cost. Of course, this goes hand-in-hand with a little Sprint leak we saw not a few months back.

Here’s hoping to a rejuvenated Palm in 09!

Friday, December 19, 2008

HTC Touch HD with 3G?

Apparantly HTC has been keeping a secret from us. A manual has been uncovered that shows there is/was a version of the HTC Touch HD in existence with support for AT&T’s 3G network! It’s hard to tell whether or not this manual refers to a build of the handset that was axed prior to production or if this bad boy is lying around abandoned somewhere. Will we be seeing the Touch’s predecessor state side? Not likely, seeing as how HTC has already announced there will not be a US version of the Touch HD. Looks like all of you HTC lovers are just going to have to the plain ole’ Touch with its smaller screen and WiFi.

2009 Smartphone Roadmap

As 2008 draws to an end we thought we would go ahead and share our unofficial 2009 Smartphone roadmap.

  • January- Nokia N97
  • January/February- Motorola Moto Q11
  • March- Nokia “Corolla"


  • July (at earliest)- Samsung Google Android
  • July (at earliest)- LG Google Android
  • July (at earliest)- Sony Ericcson Google Android


  • November/December- Motorola Google Android

Undetermined, but confirmed for 2009 release date

  • Motorola Calgary (Verizon)
  • Motorola Rush 2 (Verizon)
  • Motorola Flash (Verizon)

2009 Industry Predictions:

  • Windows Mobile 6.5 (Pink) will be revitalized and refreshed before Windows Mobile 7 is released in 2010. Because of this, their market share will drop in comparison to competitors.
  • LG will attempt to capture a larger share in the smartphone industry to compete with Samsung.

  • Every major operating system will have its own application store.
  • Palm’s NOVA OS or OS II will be announced Jan. 14 at CES, and will likely be released spring or summer of 2009.

  • Nokia’s play into the consumer market will gain more carrier support for Symbian stateside.
  • HTC’s purchase of design firm One & Company could lead to an increased presence in the consumer market

  • Android and Tegra may enable several overseas manufacturers to enter the US market such as Asus.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

High Return Rates for BlackBerry Storm

When there is such an incredible amount of hype for a gadget, you’re always going to have unmet expectations and people who are very vocal about their disappointment. Post after post, our excitement and projections were voiced concerning the BlackBerry Storm. The feedback since its launch has involved copious amounts of negative comments and discussions. BlackBerry tried to fix some of the bugs with an OS upgrade shortly after it was made available to the general public, but it seems the update isn’t cutting it. Return rates are being reported from the 30-50 percent range in some markets, which is absurdly high. Boy Genius Report finally got a comment from Verizon concerning the Storm:

 “The Storm has the lowest return rate of any of our PDAs and at this point in its life cycle, it has the highest return rate of any PDA we currently sell.”

 Ouch. So, what went wrong? I believe there are two major factors that lead them to this point. One, BlackBerry really missed the mark when it came to marketing the Storm. BlackBerry has always been for the business professional. They found their niche and perfected a device to serve said niche. I’m all about expanding your brand to serve different markets, but if you’re going to go after the iPhone’s key audience, you’d better have a killer marketing strategy. They had their chance to be a cultural icon and strong competitor to the iPhone. It will be interesting to see if they take another crack at it, or if the Storm simply becomes just another touch device that gets lost in the crowd. Poor marketing on RIMs behalf also lead a lot of BlackBerry addicts to purchase this phone with misguided perceptions. This isn’t a business-savvy device with a touchscreen feature, it’s a media-focused device. Of course their current die-hard following comes up a little miffed. I could go on-and-on about the flaws in their marketing campaign, but let’s move on.

The second mistake, was not testing the device long enough to get the bugs out. With current upgrades rolling out and a sizeable amount of users still unhappy, one has to wonder if the return rate will continue to rise. The worst part of this return rate is now you have a bunch if people stuck on Verizon with their high rates and terrible phone selection.

One thing I feel the need to mention, however, is that there are people who are happy with their Storm. Matter of fact there are people who love their Storm. If you’re a recreational smartphone user, who doesn’t really care if there is a little lag when you switch from portrait to landscape mode, or whether or not it has some obscure feature you absolutely loved in your last BlackBerry – than you’re probably a pretty happy camper. If BlackBerry wants to please both their current market and projected market with this phone, they still have some work to do.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

BlackBerry Suite for Windows Mobile?

All of you former BlackBerry addicts who for one reason or another are running Windows Mobile, listen up! posted pictures of an HTC Fuze running what appears to be BlackBerry OS, and since then word of a “BlackBerry Suite” has been buzzing around the blogosphere. Essentially, the BlackBerry OS is running as an application on Windows Mobile, virtualizing the BlackBerry OS. Word is this will have all the BlackBerry 4.2 OS features in it. Presumably, users of this service will be able to run BlackBerry-specific applications on non-RIM devices. No official word from BlackBerry about the application, but we’re guessing since the screenshots have leaked, there might be an announcement coming soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pandora goes mobile with Windows Mobile

Is anyone else as addicted to Pandora as I am? I know myself and pretty much everyone at my office listens to Pandora all day – while working, of course. Matter of fact, my Pandora is currently blowing holiday cheer through my speakers and throughout my office. Pandora has decided to team up with Windows Mobile devices to bring its users Mobile Pandora. This version will have many of the same features as the online version, such as creating new stations, bookmarking songs and rating songs with thumbs up or thumbs down. Pandora will initially support the Motorola Q9c and HTC XV6900 on Verizon’s network, and the Motorola Q9c and HTC Touch on Sprint’s network. Pandora will add support for other Windows Mobile devices gradually. This news is even better if you can hook your phone up to you car. Oh Windows Mobile, I love you more and more with every day.

Palm Partners with PocketGear to launch App Store for new OS and Windows Mobile

Palm is making news again with the upcoming release of its new OS and first generation of new devices. How could it not follow suit with its very own app store? Palm has partnered with PocketGear to offer over 5,000 apps (1,00 of which are free) for "Nova." After personally taking a gander, I can tell you the apps offered look pretty good. Here's to hoping for a seamless integration with the new OS and device rollout!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Cell Phone News Roundup

Nothing particularly earth-shattering today by way of cellular news, but some little tid-bits popped up here and there. So, here are some interesting news bites for you:

Fennec to come to Symbian S60 phones

For those of you with Windows Mobile, or any device other than the iPhone for that matter, that are stuck with a lackluster browser holding out hope that someone, someday, will develop something to fulfill your dreams – unfortunately, Mozilla’s Fennec won’t be your browser in shining armor. That is unless you’re packin’ a Nokia smartphone. The reason Mozilla went ahead and went monogamous with the global giant was simple – the large market share of Symbian smartphones (about half of the entire market.) More information should be made available as we near April 2009, when advanced testing will begin.

[more here]

Estonia to allow voting via SMS by 2011

Not only will Estonia be using SMS to vote for American Idol (or the Estonian equivalent), but they will be using SMS to vote in national elections by 2011. In order to make the vote legit, citizens must obtain a chip to be inserted into the phone before election day. Wonder what else this chip will be used for? Sorry, sometimes I get a little George Orwell with technology (I’m working on it). However, with the technological progress Obama made during his campaign, I can’t help but wonder if someday the U.S. will implement this kind of technology in some form or fashion.

[more here]

Palm is going to introduce a new OS next month

Information has been leaked about Palm’s new operating system, code name “Nova.” This OS is expected to be demonstrated together with the first device to use it, during the CES 2009 expo next month. Said to balance the business and multimedia needs of its projected users, I can’t wait to see if this star shines brightly or falls flat.

[more here]

iPhone Nano revealed by (another) silicone case mockup?

Although this isn’t the most official way to announce an important Apple product, I just can’t help fan this rumor’s flame. Apparently, iDealsChina is reporting the XSKN is working on a skin for the iPhone’s mini-me. It’s reported to be shorter and chubbier than iPhone 3G, but surprisingly identical in specs (except for the fact it will support the EDGE network, isn’t that a step back?) Word is this new handset will be unveiled at Macworld next month and leaked photos should be surfacing within the next couple of days. Can’t wait to see how this rumor pans out.

[more here]

Sprint launches push-to-talk BlackBerry Curve 8350i

Sprint is hailing the Curve 8350i as the “most advanced push-to-talk BlackBerry smartphone ever.” It’s been getting some pretty good reviews, so why don’t you go check it out yourself. If you like BlackBerrys and walkie-talkies, this just might be your dream phone!

Best Phone Apps This Holiday Season

ShopSavvy likes to think its making Santa’s job easier this holiday season, and Big in Japan, creator of the application, might be on the right sleigh track. This Google Android application has been winning awards and getting some serious press. Users can scan the bar code of any product using their phone’s built-in camera. Shop Savvy will then search for the best prices online and through the inventories of nearby stores using the phone’s built-in GPS. Currently, ShopSavvy works only on the Android platform, but it should soon be available for iPhones, BlackBerrys and Windows Mobile handsets.

Shop Savvy isn’t the only price comparison software available. Free programs from Amazon and SnapTell allow iPhone users to take pictures of entire products rather than barcodes. Frucall compares prices on all smartphone platforms by providing a toll-free number for users to enter the queries’ barcode. Google and Yahoo also have jumped on the mobile comparison bandwagon using voice recognition software to speak queries that work on most platforms, while Vlingo provides the same voice recognition software for the iPhone. Get out there and start saving!

Rentobile is like Netflix for Smartphones

We stumbled upon Rentobile this weekend. It’s a nice option for those who like to try out the latest phones but despise dealing with contracts. Similar to the Netflix business model, you can go to the Rentobile site, select which phone you want to rent and the company ships the rental phone for you to keep as long as you like. You can either pay your dues to become a member or rent as a guest. Of course, members receive the best rates. There are three membership options; one month for $9.95, three months for $19.95 ($6.65/month), or one year for $59.95 ($5/month). Insurance is available on a per-item basis, and there is a $9.95 charge for standard roundtrip shipping with each order. Rentobile carries an impressive list of phones, both new or “like new” including:

  • Apple iPhone 3G, 16GB ($34/month member, $51/month guest) 8GB ($28/month member, $42/month guest)
  • BlackBerry Bold ($24/month member, $36/month guest)
  • BlackBerry Storm ($30/month member, $45/month guest)
  • HTC Touch Pro ($24/month member, $36/month guest)
  • HTC T-Mobile G1 ($24/month member, $36/month guest)
  • Nokia N95 8GB ($28/month member, $42/month guest)
  • Nokia N96 ($36/month member, $54/month guest)
  • [click here for more phones]

So if you become a member, it’s going to cost you anywhere from $29 to $41 per month, plus your monthly data plans. The good news is since you are providing your own phone, you won’t be locked into a two-year contract. If you fancy the frequent phone swap (or the trendy practice interests you), this is a great option. Ever since catching a glimpse at Nokia’s N97 touchscreen, the anticipation has been growing as I try to justify spending $700 on a phone. Hopefully, Rentobile will solve my problems by having the N97 available to rent.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Skype 2.5 Available for Download on Windows Mobile

The Skype 2.5 beta for Windows Mobile was released this week. According to, the application already has over 200,000 registered users. In college I used Skype to talk to friends studying abroad so I am familiar with its features, but if you aren’t check out their Web site for more details. However, I do not possess a phone with Windows Mobile, nor do I have an overseas acquaintance who would appreciate hearing from me. In light of this, I have decided to look to The Download Blog:

"The application’s display is compact, intuitive, and full-featured.” This application has already registered more than 200,000 downloads from The mobile version places tabs for your various actions at the bottom of the app. By switching among them, you'll be able to change your online status and see missed calls and instant messages, initiate IMs, or place a call to your contact's Skype account, mobile number, or land line if you've purchased Skype Out. There's also a dialing pad to directly dial a call using an international format.
The call quality is going to vary based on your phone model, your headphones, and how fast and stable your data connection is. Test calls were excellent on the Samsung Omnia. The app's biggest drawback--on the touch-screen Omnia at least--is that the tiny icons and links are difficult to accurately press.”

Lenovo's Android for China

Most Americans may associate Lenovo with their office printer, or maybe those who own an IBM laptop may know them as a computer manufacturer. Lenovo has its hands in a lot of cookie jars, and today everyone is talking about their new Android phone which apparently makes the HTC’s G1 look like “a first-year design student’s mid-term project.” After having a look, I must admit she is a beauty.

Although this handset is much more attractive than the G1 – and maybe it’s just my untrained eye – but it looks like an iPhone to me, except with a different button on the bottom. Apparently, this phone is nothing more than an early version of the “Ophone”, a handset designed to comply to China Mobile’s Open Mobile System that combines Android’s core with integration and support from the carrier’s own TD-SCDMA 3G network. For those of you who have found “love at first sight” with Lenovo’s new phone are going to be in for heartbreak – this baby will never see the light of day stateside.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

RIM Actively Hiring

Looks like Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) is bucking the unavoidable current trend of slashing employees to cut costs. According to Financial Post, RIM is looking to fill more then 1,250 positions across the world, although the vast majority are located at the company’s headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario. Although RIM remains quiet before it releases its Q4 reports, an unnamed source said, “For the past three or four years, RIM has done the same thing companies like Nokia are doing now with a fraction of the workforce. Right now, for every engineer who is promoted, RIM is hiring two or three to replace them. Probably in a few more years RIM could do some restructuring but not now.”

RIM's aggressive hiring tactics appear to fall in line with its current growth strategy. It has released four new BlackBerry models since August -- the Bold, Storm, Pearl Flip and on Monday, the Curve 8900 -- and has sold about 5.8 million devices during the third-quarter of the year. The booming sales have positioned RIM as the second-largest smartphone maker in the world with 15.9 percent of the market, according to Gartner Inc. Still, its full-steam-ahead approach is a stark contrast to how investors view the company's stock. Since reporting its second-quarter earnings that missed consensus targets by one penny, RIM shares have fallen roughly 30 percent due to fears of incoming competitive pressures from Nokia and Apple Inc. as well as the economic impact a recession may have on the company's sales.

[Read full story here]

T-Mobile Responds to G1 International Roaming Issue

I’m not sure why I haven’t been following G1 news. Worry no longer! I have come to my senses. Clarification has been made available to you G1-toting jet-setters. T-Mobile recently issued a statement, “If a T-Mobile customer would like to use their T-Mobile G1 while outside the country, they should contact Customer Service Care before they leave to ask that the WorldClass feature be added to their service at no additional charge. If they choose, customers can also disable data roaming on the G1.” It should be noted, however, that some third-party applications available for download can turn data roaming back on, negating the “off” setting. In short – if you don’t want an asinine bill upon your return stateside, you should check each downloaded application to see if, and when, it uses the internet and disable before traveling.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Verizon-Alltel Deal Complete

The proposal has been made; the vows have been recited; and the Federal Trade Commission says, “I now pronounce you one company; you may kiss your acquisition.” On the heels of approval by the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department, and now the FTC, the Verizon-Alltel deal is done. The $5.9 billion acquisition was finalized much quicker than we first speculated, but not without stipulations. Verizon will divest more than 100 markets around the country in order to meet the FCC’s requirements.

A Look at the "Luxury" Phones of 2008

I watch every morning as my local news channel reports on recession. I also read mobile phone news and blogs every day. When I see a new “luxury” phone launching, it generally has the following three reactions: eye roll, giggle and gag. In light of this, I thought it appropriate to feature a few luxury phones of 2008 for your entertainment. Just remember, no matter how bad the economy gets, there will always be someone willing to spend $30k on a cell phone. They will likely use that phone to call their buddies to congratulate one another on their government bailout packages.

Mobiado Professional 105GMT

Entire front and back created from sapphire crystals, Swiss automatic mechanical gold-plated watch movements, Dual inset 24 karat gold-plated CNC machined/brass frame, 24 karat gold hand-painted lettering and symbols, sapphire crystal buttons. *diamond option available

Quadband GSM and dual-band WCDMA, speaker phone, 3G luxury phone, 2MP camera, 1GB internal memory, 2-inch display with up to 16 million colors, music and video player, micro USB port

Vertu Boucheron

Crafted from solid gold, this phone took 1,000 hours to cut into shape, 700 hours to hand polish and more than 500 hours to build. The keypad is made of sapphire crystal and the wooden case of Noce Pedullo walnut tree courtesy of Reuge of Switzerland (what?).

Technology: 3G

Christian Dior “Lady Dior” by ModeLabs
The Lady Dior is $3,500 to $5,000 depending on whether you have it bejeweled with 640 real diamonds or Swarovski crystals and hand-brushed stainless steel engraved with Dior and CD logos. Comes with a black sapphire crystal while the matching “My Dior” mini-phone comes with a diamond.

2.6-inch touchscreen with QVGA resolution, 2MP camera and already downloaded ringtones!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

RIM’s BlackBerry Curve 8900 arrives at Rogers

With all the hype of BlackBerry’s Bold and Storm, we figured we would pay some attention to its lesser-known brother, the next-generation Curve a.k.a. Javelin. First released at T-Mobile in Germany and now available at Rogers in Canada, we’re thinking this phone should make its way to the States early next year. So you’re a more traditional BlackBerry lover and could go without the glitz and glamour of RIM’s flashiest additions to the BlackBerry family? This phone might entice you. Here’s what people are saying about the Curve 8900:

  • Good size – small enough to pocket, but so small you sacrifice keyboard space.
  • Although the screen is smaller than the Bold, it’s said to be a higher quality display.
  • Lots of reports of a more spacious keyboard.

Here’s the specs:

  • 480x360 display
  • miscroSD support to 16GB
  • 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus
  • Integrated GPS
  • EDGE (ugh)/WiFi

To our friends up north, this phone is now available at Rogers for $179.99 with a ridiculously lengthy 3-year contract. Personally, I’m not sure how people can get away with making a smartphone without 3G. It just doesn’t seem right.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Intel in initial phase of harvesting free energy for personal electronic devices

Can you imagine a world where you never have to charge your mobile phone, Bluetooth or mp3 player? Intel is working on tiny sensors that can capture and harvest free energy from the environment, such as sunlight and body heat, which could lead to personal electronic devices running for indefinite periods without recharging.

There are already watches that are powered by body heat, as well as prototype smartphones with display screens that double as solar cells. Intel is looking at powering a mobile phone by harvesting the energy users generate by moving a phone’s trackball. The radiation of cell phone or TV signals could also be used to power devices. I am the world’s worst when it comes to leaving my charger at home, and my cell phone is generally on silent to avoid the repetitive “I’m dying, please charge me” beeping. This is some news I can really get excited about!

Click here for more of the nitty-gritty technical details.

Wal-Mart iPhone more expensive than anticipated

Looks like we got excited a little early about the $99 4GB iPhone at Wal-Mart. The latest word is that the iPhone will indeed be available at the mega-chain, but instead of the aforementioned $99 4GB model it will be an 8GB model for $197. That’s a whole $2 cheaper than you can get it at Apple or AT&T. In light of this news, we won’t be making any special trips to Wal-Mart to purchase an iPhone, but at least now I know if I get a wild hair and feel like purchasing one while in the frozen food section, I can wheel my cart on over to electronics and pick one up.

Friday, December 5, 2008

MobileMe pushed as Exchange alternative

Since we blogged about Windows Live going mobile yesterday, we figured we would go ahead and cover all the features of Apple’s MobileMe, or as they like to bill it “Exchange for the rest of us.” Say you have a Mac at home and a PC at work, with MobileMe you can sync both up to your iPhone.

MobileMe keeps all of your information on a “cloud” server, which is a nice way of saying online storage. The difference between this and something like is that MobileMe will sync the file automatically, you don’t have to re-upload it. Billing itself as the Exchange alternative for personal users, it’s only logical that MobileMe would be able to push new contacts and calendar appointments to your iPhone as you make changes in Outlook. It will also automatically push email to your phone, but only if the email came to your MobileMe email account. It can’t push outside POP/IMAP accounts at this time. MobileMe works with all of the native Mac applications as well at Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Express, Windows Mail and Windows Contact. Here is a link to easy setup with the Windows Control Panel.

You can access your “cloud” anywhere from, a suite of Web applications that is similar to accessing a remote desktop, although it doesn’t include any word editing software, so don’t expect to edit documents. The site gives you access to your calendar, contacts, a photo gallery, a webmail viewer and your iDisk storage. Besides the basic applications accessible on mobile, there is one cool feature: the iDisk. With the iDisk you can upload documents at work, store them, and download them to your computer when you get home, or any computer for that matter. You have the option to make any folder on your iDisk public and users can not only download items from your public folder, but upload files as well. As a MobileMe user, one upcoming feature that I am excited about it the ability to email large files. You will have the ability to send an iDisk link to emails too large to send through email.

MobileMe is a viable option for all of you die-hard iPhone users without Exchange support, but who just can’t get over not having things pushed to your phone. It’s also a great tool for Mac users looking to dive into “cloud” computing or for those who find themselves needing to go back and forth between a PC and a Mac in two different locations – aka work and home. It’s a little costly at $99. You can actually go through a hosted Exchange service for free or $4 per month such as mail2web if you’re only looking for push email, calendars and contact, but if you think you could use the online storage capabilities in addition to the push email then it’s a great option…and your only option to be honest. You can try it out for free for 60 days here.

BlackBerry Storm Firmware Update

Rumor has it that Verizon will “officially” be unleashing OS for the BlackBerry Storm to up date its initial bug-ridden OS This rumor should excite those of you who haven’t downloaded and installed the leaked copy that has been floating around for a while now.

OS reported updates:

  • reduced lag and response time
  • faster landscape-to-portrait switching
  • better battery life
  • better touch screen response
  • more natural browser orientation in the landscape mode
  • faster response in the music player application
  • faster navigation through the photo gallery

Of course, there are still some bugs that need to be worked out and users that have been running the leaked version for a while now will have to wait longer for yet another update, but overall we think any step towards progress is a good one. Boy Genius Report is reporting updates will be available in the afternoon around noon, followed by computer-based upgrade downloads in the evening. If/when the update is available, you can find it here. Let the waiting begin…

On another note, it seems Verizon has unlocked GPS on certain BlackBerry models (Pearl 1830 and Curve 8330). Before you get too excited, it has only been unlocked for BlackBerry Maps, not for other third party GPS applications on the platform, and it has been reported to only work with these phones if you upgrade your software to

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Windows Live Goes Mobile

The re-launch of the new Windows LIVE is, well, live and part of this includes some significant upgrades to Windows LIVE Mobile. There are a ton of Windows LIVE features you can access for free on your mobile phone now such as; Hotmail, Messenger, Live Search, Live Spaces, Local Search, MSN Mobile, and special features for your Nokia and BlackBerry devices. You can find full features list here.

The really cool part is how it will allow your cell phone to sync-up nicely with the new version of Outlook Connector, so with this new service you basically have the capabilities of an Exchange server… without actually having an Exchange server.

Now, here’s to hoping Windows will bring Live Mesh into the mix and we can have a central mobile platform for all of our social networking and cloud computing needs. I’m looking at you Windows 7!

Not familiar with all the nifty things Windows Live can do for you? Watch this video.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nokia Buys Symbian and Looks to Linux?

Leave it to Nokia to cause puzzled looks and intrigue in one fell swoop. In continuation of the Barcelona event, Nokia announced that it has officially bought Symbian. Yea, that’s right, Symbian wasn’t actually a part of Nokia, but Nokia did own a big chunk of it. Well, now Nokia owns the whole thing and the world’s largest smart phone manufacturer is the proud owner of an antiquated operating system.

This, on its own, isn’t that big of a news item. Sure it’s a little surprising that it took Nokia this long to actually follow through with the buyout, but it’s not like anyone else was going to pick up Symbian’s operating system. What’s truly interesting is when you combine this announcement with a little tidbit Nokia’s CEO threw in during an interview today.

Evidently, Nokia is interested in using Linux in the future for some of its high-end phones. Why would Nokia buy an operating system and then say that it’s interested in using Linux in the future? That is truly the intriguing part of this equation.

We’ll probably hear more Thursday at the Symbian’s partner meeting, but until then my head will still be running rampant with ideas and possibilities! How awesome would it be if Nokia was able to create an experience similar to the instant-on Linux we’ve seen in netbooks but for your phone. Give me that and I’ll definitely pay $700 for your phone.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nokia World 08 – Day One Summary

It appears Nokia is kicking things into high gear for 2009 as numerous announcements are being made at its two-day event, Nokia World 08, in Barcelona, Spain. As if the announcement of the N97 wasn’t enough to whet our appetites, Nokia announced a fresh version of Nokia Maps as well as Nokia Messaging.

First, let’s talk about Nokia Maps, which includes “a number of new features such as high-resolution aerial images, 3D landmarks for 216 cities and terrain maps, as well as a new route overview during routing and during drive, the purchasable turn-by-turn car navigation guidance.” In addition, users will find new options such as access to real-time information (camera alerts, safety spots, traffic information, etc.) and Wcities event guides that give real-time information for events and movies in over 450 destinations. Take that Google Maps!

Next, let’s talk about Nokia Messaging. The service is essentially a combination of messaging applications rolled up into what should be a nice, little package. Mobile e-mail, PIM management, Instant Messaging, push delivery services and more are all covered by the new Nokia Messaging product. There also will be an available Web portal into the service that allows users to send and receive e-mail, manage files and more from any Web browser.

As we wrote before, Nokia tops the global market despite its lack of pizzazz here in the states, but with the N97 and day-one updates from Barcelona, it appears they’re poised to make some noise in the West – and we like what we see.

Nokia Announces N97 Touch Phone

For more photos, click here.

Nokia announced its new flagship model N97 touchscreen phone, the company’s second smartphone with touch-sensitive display. With a slide bar QWERTY keyboard, it isn’t as sleek as some of its competitors; however, with cramped and inaccurate touchscreen QWERTY keyboards being a big complaint of the most recent touchscreen smartphones, I think Nokia went in the right direction with the N97. The N97 is set to arrive in the first half of 2009 and word is it will cost you (brace yourself) about $700 before taxes. Of course, we’re always hoping for the price to drop with a standard 2-year contract, but given Nokia’s history of carrier-support with the N-series, it looks like we’ll have to settle for our first-born child.


  • 5MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens and DVD-quality video
  • 640x360 resolution
  • Haptic feedback
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Tri-band HSDPA 3g
  • Wi-Fi
  • AGPS and Stand-alone GPS
  • Flash Support and Flash Video!!!
  • A whopping 32GB internal memory plus microSD slot for up to 16MB additional memory
  • Symbian S60 operating system with fully customizable home screen

Monday, December 1, 2008

Samsung Omnia Review Roundup

Translated from Latin, the name of Samsung's new model means “everything” and its main purpose is to fully satisfy the needs of the modern cell phone user. But, does the latest smartphone live up to its name?
Alright, here are the specs:
  • 7.2Mbps HSDPA 2100
  • Quadband EDGE
  • 5 megapixel autofocus camera
  • 3.2-inch capacitive WQVGA touchscreen
  • GPS
  • Windows Mobile 6.1
  • WiFi
  • 8 or 16GB of flash with microSD expansion

Thumbs Up :

  • The user interface, TouchWiz, gets points for raw usability and functionality.
  • Built-in FM radio
  • Support for numerous audio and video formats, including Ogg and Xvid
  • Browser Opera 9.5 offers solid page rendering, nice zoom and tabs
  • Provides haptic feedback with a slight vibration.
  • Customized home page widgets

Thumbs Down:

  • Samsungs decision to forgo a triband 3G chipset.
  • The keys on the QWERTY were too narrow to be reliably and consistently pressed accurately, and auto-correct is frequently wrong.
  • Disappointing screen resolution, just 400x200

The basic consensus is, when it comes to WinMo devices this is one of your best options with Verizon. Samsung’s redesigned interface for Windows Mobile’s homescreen offers a much-needed refresh to the antiquating operating system and the out-of-the-box support for Opera is much appreciated. That being said, it is missing 3G, which might be a dealbreaker for quite a few people. Also, for those of you who are very message oriented, this might not be the phone for you due to the cramped keyboard. With the recent $50 drop in pricing, which was a smart move on Samsung’s part, the phone will now cost you $199 with 2-year commitment.

More reviews: