Thursday, February 26, 2009

AT&T and Verizon win FEMA contract

Poor Sprint. After soliciting bids from wireless carriers, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has selected various services from AT&T and Verizon to serve the next major emergency (within the next year at least). Verizon will be responsible for emergency communications, with Stratus Technologies selected to power satellite communications. AT&T will provide wireless and Wi-Fi service on a daily basis as well as up to 16,000 cell phones, data cards, Blackberries and PTT phones to government workers (with Verizon stockpiling handsets for use in the event of an emergency). The contracts are good for one year, with the option for FEMA to extend them by an additional four years. This has got to sting for Sprint after its very public $2 billion disaster communications proposal.

Nokia to enter laptop industry

Usually we hear of a computer manufacturer making the plunge into the mobile phone industry, not the other way around. Nokia decided to break the mold. The company’s CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, said during an interview to the Finnish national broadcast YLE that Nokia is "looking very actively at this opportunity."

Kallasvuo also spoke about the progressive convergence between cell phones and computers. We’ve seen Acer make the transition, and with other manufacturers following suit it seems this is becoming a popular trend. It’s been rumored that Nokia would make this leap for some time now, and with the recent confirmation from the company’s big chief, it seems this rumor turned into fact.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Important: AT&T Quickfire

AT&T pulled the Quickfire from its shelves last week. Apparently a faulty charger connection is to blame with claims of "significant overheating." Whether or not that means fire hasn’t been confirmed, but don’t risk it and find out yourself. If you have a Quickfire take extra precaution to follow the diagram above and remember what you learned in elementary school: Stop, drop and roll.

Official Word from Steve Ballmer

In a recent Strategic Update Meeting, Steve Ballmer discussed Windows Mobile current and future standing within Microsoft. In a effort to reinstate confidence, Ballmer confirmed Windows Mobile is one of its core seven businesses with 2,000 employees and nearly a billion dollars in yearly operating expenses. Ballmer also went on to explain despite trailing Symbian and RIM as well as stiff competition from Apple and Android – the low price point of some Windows Mobile devices will prove to be a positive for its software.

Sad news cometh for all your Zune-heads out there; Ballmer squelched rumors of a Zune phone stating, “Microsoft will not manufacture its own phone. Microsoft will remain focused on the software side of business, producing a platform that can run on different devices and different carriers.”

So there you have it folks. Enjoy this year’s Windows Mobile 6.5 and let’s hope Microsoft pulls through with Windows Mobile 7 and knocks our socks off! Ballmer said that Microsoft plans on releasing WM7 in 2010, which is far earlier than anyone anticipated considering WM6.5 devices won’t be coming out until mid-to-late (mostly late) 2009.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


When it comes to caller ID for your cell phone there are a couple of options available. We previously did a "buyer beware" post over Trapcall. If you receive a call from an anonymous or blocked caller, Trapcall forwards the call to a 1-800 number. Why? They are taking advantage of a loop-hole in privacy laws that allow a 1-800 number to unblock a call. They then route the call back to your phone using a "spoofing" tool to show the number of the blocked call. For all other caller ID notifications, they will send you a text message after the call. You may know spoofing from your junk email where the sender’s name and address have been falsified to try to get you to believe the email is actually coming from the US government or that prince from Ethiopia. Well, people can do it for your Caller ID as well and its criminal use has lead to a significant increase in the number of cases of identity theft over the past few years.

We’ve heard complaints this service sends a text message after every single call, blocked or not. I don’t know about you, but that would be a lot of text messages for me. If you don’t have unlimited text messaging on your plan, that would amount to a costly little operation. Also, I can’t help but still believe there are people out there who NEED their number blocked for whatever reasons. Whether they’re abuse victims or just have reasons to be concerned with their personal privacy. TrapCall’s "if you’ve got nothing to hide…" argument oversimplifies things and is a complete fallacy.

This whole situation is very similar to a court case in Australia from a few years ago where the telephone companies were disclosing blocked call number to ISPs and it was concluded that those companies were indeed breaching the law. For those of you not in the mood to deal with government loopholes or allowing someone else to receive your calls before you do, you might want to check into some of the other options for caller ID on your cell phone.

Motorolla Gets Retro

Yesterday I had an encounter with an old Motorola "Brick Phone" that still has me reeling. In honor of this encounter, I'm bringing 1986 back via YouTube. Enjoy... I know I did!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Samsung's Budget Friendly Touchscreen

Samsung has a new "budget" touchscreen device that everyone seemed to miss at Mobile World Congress last week. The S5600 is said to be a "rival" of the mid-level touch screen LG Cookie. All we really know other than price range is the device will use the TouchWiz interface and will feature an optical mouse. We’ll let you know when more specs come out.

HP announces Windows Mobile 6.5 for future devices

HP announced that Windows Mobile 6.5 will be the OS of choice for the company’s future devices. HP listed Windows Mobile 6.5’s "Key enhancements to business productivity, personal messaging and mobile Internet capabilities," plus its "new visual appeal" as some of the reasons for its choice. There was no specific information given about these future devices, but we can’t wait to hear more.

Friday, February 20, 2009

LG Android coming Summer 09?

It was about a year ago when word of an LG Android began to spread and it looks like those rumors will be coming to fruition sometime this summer. According to T3, the company’s pre-released KS360 will be re-launched with Google’s Android OS with all other specifications remaining the same. At Mobile World Congress 2009 LG’s marketing manager, Jeremy Newing, also confirmed the company would be releasing two other Android phones this year.

Google offline Gmail demo reveals U.S.-bound HTC Magic

Engadget reports Google used an HTC Magic device with a U.S. T-Mobile logo to demo offline Gmail support. There has been a ton of speculation that the Magic will come to the U.S. as a T-Mobile G2. This should come as a tiny sliver of hope for all of you holding out for a keyboard-less Android device. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Buyer Beware: Trapcall

Trapcall is a beta application offering a variety of features including number unmasking (for blocked callers), blocking unwanted callers, showing the caller’s name, call recording, sending your voicemail transcriptions via SMS managing your Trapcall account online. Sounds good, right?

The first thing I find alarming about Trapcall is the voicemail transcription. By using the service, you are granting "individuals working for" to access your mailbox and listen to your voicemails. This makes using Trapcall on your business phone a big no-no. I’m sure there’s nothing better for your business than allowing a third party access to confidential information.

Next, the ability to record calls can get a little dicey. Although the service is set up so that when you activate the automatic call record function, each caller hears a message before the call is answered informing them that the call will be recorded and asking them to hang up if they do not wish to be recorded. Of course you have the ability to override the warning message, however I suggest checking your local state laws before doing so – unless you want to make future phone calls collect from the "big house."

Third, you had better make sure you have unlimited text messaging! The service sends you a text message after every call. Also, Trapcall will not defeat caller ID spoofing.

Yahoo introduces Yahoo Mobile at MWC 2009

Yahoo launched a new mobile product called Yahoo Mobile, and all of the reviews so far have been good touting the application/browser to be very user-friendly. Yahoo Mobile is compatible for the iPhone and Windows Mobile, Samsung, BlackBerry, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Nokia smartphones. The product will be made available via application or browser, and both essentially tie all of Yahoo’s mobile services into one user interface.

The applications has five tabs containing separate content: Yahoo’s news feed, your news feed, messaging, connecting and a Yahoo Mobile services directory. The user interface is very customizable, and varies from phone to phone. Want a visual demonstration? Check out the video below brought to you by Phonescoop.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

HTC and Vodafone announce the Magic

The Magic is essentially a G1 without the keyboard which makes the device noticeably slimmer, 
while keeping a very clean and minimalistic aesthetic. The phone runs Google’s Android application with hardware designed for European 3G networks (supporting only the 900 and 2100 MHz.) The Magic will be launched in the UK, Spain, Germany, France and Italy in the spring.  Will this little beauty make its way to the grand ole' USA? Only time will tell. Of course you want specs, so let’s get right to it:
  • HSDPA 7.2 connectivity
  • 3.2-inch QVGA capacitive touchscreen
  • Trackball
  • GPS with compass for pedestrian navigation
  • 500 MB of memory plus microSD slot
  • Wi-Fi
  • And of course all the Google goodies your little heart desires

Acer at Mobile World Congress 2009

Acer had a bigger showing at MWC this year than I had previously anticipated with four new smartphones launched, a couple of rumored Android devices and another four devices in the works. First Acer announced the Tempo line of smartphones, which if I might add, seem a bit outdated running Windows Mobile 6.1 and possessing specs that would have been on par about two years ago. All personal opinions aside, take a look at the specs for this sleek quartet of Acer devices and come to your own conclusion:
X960 & F900
2.8-inch VGA touchscreen
HSPA connectivity
Virtual Keyboard
Access directly to key applications via widget-based home screen
3.2 megapixel Auto-focus camera
QWERTY keyboard
3.8-inch WVGA touchscreen
Fingerprint reader
5 megapixel auto-focus camera
Windows Mobile 6.1, Outlook, Office

QWERTY keyboard
3.8-inch WVGA touchscreen
Fingerprint reader
5 megapixel auto-focus camera
Windows Mobile 6.1, Outlook, Office
Standby time 160h/Talk time: 5h

Maybe an Android device is more your flavor? Engadget reports an Acer representative whipped out a notebook and a sketch of Acer’s product road map when a MWC attendee asked him about the rumored Android handsets. The articles revealed two “secret models” under the heading “Android” and another four yet-to-be-announced handsets set for a second half of 2009 release. The representative conveniently let this unnamed MWC attendee snap photos of said notebook. Let’s just hope these four new devices posses some tech specs that knock our socks off rather than put us to sleep.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mobile World Congress 2009: Take Two


Of course the new TouchWiz UI was debuted along with the Omnia HD. The Omnia HD is equipped with 720p video and 3.5-inch display. We are hearing amazing reviews of the HD video. Click here for the hands-on from Engadget. Samsung also announced the Ultra Touch. This device is thin, stylish and powerful. Sporting a 12-key slideout dialpad, large touchscreen, and an 8 megapixel camera this little phone is lookin’ mighty fine.


Garmin-Asus made the trip to Barcelona to show off its new nuvifone devices, the G60 and M20. Click here for detailed review.


Samsung announced their new “S-Class” user interface which as we said before is very widget-y. The Arena was made available for a closer look - click here for a hands-on video. The GM730 brings a 3D interface into Windows Mobile, along with 7.2Mbps HSDPA, quadband EDGE, and Internet Explorer Mobile 6.0.


The N86 is a dual-slider with a keypad on one end, and camera and playback controls on the other. This device centers on its 8 megapixel camera, which includes a Carl Zeiss Tessar lens, AutoFocus, a mechanical shutter and dual-LED flash. The device also touts 8GB of storage, a 2.6-inch OLED screen, TV-out and microSD slot, Nokia Maps, and Ovi integration. The phone is set for a Q2 2009 release in Europe.

Mobile World Congress 2009

Sony Ericsson

Sony Ericsson started off MWC with a less than dazzling keynote. The manufacturer announced a fully conceived phone and teased us with scant facts about another. The W995 made an appearance and dazzled those who like a music-slash-phone conglomeration. The Idou is the unfinished device, so it’s hard to get a grasp of what it has to offer. It will eventually run the Symbian Foundation’s OS and the touchscreen is already getting great reviews.

Click here for a hands-on video from Engadget.


This exclusive T-Mobile USA camera with phone functionality made an appearance at MWC, click here for details.

Windows Mobile 6.5

It’s finally official (man that feels really good to say!) The latest rendition puts an emphasis on touch-friendliness and sports a honeycomb-style main menu that Microsoft says is easier to finger than a traditional grid layout. The OS has a new lock screen that can be slid on different alerts to automatically call up texts,

 voicemails and so on. The thoroughly restyled Internet Explorer Mobile features a touchable zoom slider and frequently used commands, while the redesigned menus go stylus-free. I know some people were hoping for more changes, but in my opinion this is a vast and long overdue improvement.


It was round two for last years HTC Touch Diamond and Touch Pro, and at first glance you might think the Touch Diamond2 and Touch Pro2 are just updated versions with tweaked specs, but there are a lot of major differences. Both devices said adios to the d-pad and circular touch wheel and upgraded to a larger screen with more pixels. HTC TouchFlo 3D UI also got an overhaul – find more details here.


Nokia announced its latest additions to the E series, which all seemed to be very “messaging” oriented:

E75 – This device offers a full QWERTY keyboard, 3.2 megapixel camera with flash, microSD slot, S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2, and every messaging and e-mail service Nokia offers.

E55 – Watch the hands-on video from phonescoop here.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Skyfire Gets Hotter With Update

Skyfire users will be happy to know Skyfire delivered an early Valentine’s Day present full of mobile-browser goodness. The 0.9 update enables a brand new start page with RSS, Twitter and Facebook support as well as some updated page rendering. Additionally, the browser now offers widescreen support so all you Omnia, Xperia and N80 users can dump your embedded browser for something a little more user-friendly.

The update also brings nice multimedia features such as media downloading and Flash 10, QuickTime and Silverlight support. There were a few other minor tweaks here and there so make sure to hit that update button. New users have a few ways to download so check out the video below, dance to some cheesy techno and then head over to the site and grab it.

Windows Mobile 6.5 Leaks Show New Signs of Life for Zune

Well there was quite a stir up at the Zune offices today. At first, we thought we might be losing some members of the Zune team, but now it looks like Microsoft might just e so impressed with what they’ve done that it’s looking to spread Zune’s influence to other areas. These “leaked” WM6.5 screens show a nifty little icon for a marketplace. Combine that with the acknowledgement that the Zune team was split-up into software and services and hardware divisions, one of which (hardware) is being headed up by Tom Gibbons who is coincidentally also in charge of Windows Mobile hardware, and you’ve got an interesting scenario on your hands.

We’ve even got the software and services head-honcho saying that they are definitely looking to expand the Zune experience to other services and devices outside of just a portable media player. This news goes along very nicely with the alleged Project Pink as well as the inclusion of the on-board MP3 trimmer. I for one couldn’t be more excited. The Zune subscription model is a great way to find new music and now that they’re giving you 10 DRM-free tracks every month in addition to unlimited music downloads, it’s well worth it. My Zune is the main reason I don’t use iTunes or the music functions on my iPhone so having it in WM is a sure-fire way to put up a fight against the iPhone as well as branch out the Zune subscriber base to a group that might have otherwise never gotten to experience it.

If Microsoft’s press conference at MWC wasn’t already one of the most anticipated, it sure is now. And they need it. With the Pre going from unknown to highly anticipated and some new iPhone casing showing up as well as RIM’s never-ending onslaught of revision to the Curve, Microsoft needs to show WM-loyalists why they shouldn’t be tempted. Just a few more days and all will be unveiled…hopefully.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

i-mate offering an “eternal warranty” on the new 810-F

When a company exclaims its about to release something “revolutionary,” the text preceding said claims immediately come to life in my mind as a Billy Mays infomercial. So naturally when I read i-mate was getting ready to reveal something “revolutionary” at MWC 2009, I didn’t flinch. But I can admit when I’m wrong, and i-mate’s new 810-F is pretty stinkin’ cool. The device comes with an “eternal warranty” and has been manufactured according to military standards. This hardcore device can withstand extreme temperatures (ranging from -10 to +60 degrees centigrade), hard hits and a nice dunk into a body of water of your choosing. Its body is covered by waterproof rubber coating attached with overt screws, runs Windows Mobile 6.1, a full QWERTY keyboard, QVGA touchscreen, 624 MHz PXA processor, 2-megapixel camera, GPS, Wi-Fi, digital compass, accelerometer and Bluetooth. The internal memory is 2.2 GB and supports global 3G. Just when you think you can’t pack another unique feature onto this phone, i-mate includes the Secure i-Q service which deletes or locks up your entire personal information in case its been stolen or lost – not to mention it will probably outlive mankind. I’m excited to see this bad boy at MWC!

Acer DX650

Take a look-see at what we have here. This is the “big bad” new touchscreen from Acer dubbed the DX650. This new device (pictured above…twice) is a clunky dual-sided mobile. Side note: I think I will pay homage to Batman’s lovable DA turned mangled nemesis by referring to the DX650 as “Two-Face” from here on out. Moving on, “Two-Face” has Windows Mobile pumping away underneath a 2.8-inch QVGA touchscreen on one side and a 1.27-inch OLED display with full numeric keypad on the other side – because a software-based keypad or full QWERTY keyboard on a smartphone is insanity! Inside you will find HDSPA, GPS, microSD, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Samsung to Bring Wireless USB to Phones

Samsung announced a new system that allows wireless USB to be added to devices such as mobile phones. This form of short-distance wireless transfer permits users to place a phone on or near a target device, connect the two and transmit data wirelessly. This wireless USB technology combines an SD card, an MMC, a NAND flash memory and a high-speed USB 2.0 On-The-Go interface. The system can reach up to 480Mbps and 128-bit AES encryption to protect data from being hacked during transfer. Word is the chips are already sampling and will be in full production in the second quarter of 2009.

Privus Mobile Video

What is Mobile Caller ID from Privus Mobile -- Privus Mobile shows you how true Caller ID for cell phones works. This is an actual demonstration of a cell phone without Mobile Caller ID service from Privus Mobile and the same phone using the Privus Mobile service. Get Privus Mobile, do it now!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Samsung TouchWiz

Surprise, surprise! Another phone manufacturer’s getting touchy. Samsung will launch an impressive new finger-friendly touch interface, the TouchWiz. Word on the street is Samsung’s UI is quite pleasing for thine eye with new 3D effects, enhanced haptic feedback and new gesture and voice controls. Got a soft spot in your heart for widgets? You’ll be happy to hear that this new UI comes with a widget dock, allowing you to easily manage a variety of friendly downloadables. The TouchWiz is also said to incorporate face recognition technology into its Photo Contact feature which adds an extra dose of cool. Can’t wait to get a better look at MWC next week!

Windows Mobile 6.5 Screenshot

Is anyone else seriously disappointed by the picture above? That’s a screenshot of Windows Mobile 6.5 still rockin’ that tired, dated and boring Programs screen with the exception of the new “sky features” and Outlook Live. I guess manufacturers are going to have to continue designing new skins to match the flashy new phones.

Friday, February 6, 2009

New LG Arena KM900 gets official

LG is giving us a whiff of its new touchscreen before they pull it out of the oven at MWC. The Arena bears a strong resemblance to the Samsung Omnia, and boasts a 5-megapixel camera, built in GPS and Wi-Fi. LG’s throwing some sprinkles on top with an “innovative S-class 3D interface” and a secondary camera for video calls. 

[Photo credit:]

Toshiba TG01 Video

We’ve posted a hands-on video of the Toshiba TG01 courtesy of The screen looks a bit confusing and the three-panel flipping made me dizzy after a while, but you make the call. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Samsung leaks its newest fancy device

Samsung’s newest device, the Acme i8910, is loaded with high-end features sure to get a lot of attention at MWC in just a few days (at least we’re hoping it makes an appearance at MWC.) What high-end features am I speaking of? Well, I’m so very glad you asked. The Acme is said to have HD video recording capabilities. In addition to this tasty technological nugget, this new Samsung device utilizes an HDMI port, which combined with its DivX capabilities will make for a real portable multimedia player than can easily be attached to an HDTV. Oh, so you got some great footage of your friend, Bill, falling flat on his back after attempting to show-off? Let’s plug that Samsung Acme into my flatscreen and watch it over and over in HD while pointing and laughing!

The phone also offers a built-in GPS receiver, Wi-Fi, a 3.5mm jack, DNLA support and a sleek exterior. The Acme is said to come in two versions – 8GB and 16GB. We’re definitely on the lookout for this little slice of Samsung pie.

Samsung to showcase at least nine phones at Mobile World Congress

The number two phone manufacturer lets us all know about the nine phones it will be debuting at MWC. Check out some of the EDGE-powered middle range devices below.
  1. S5050: Slider, 3.2 megapixel camera: 2.2-inch QCGA AMOLED display, dual SIM slots and the EDGE network.
  2. B5702: Slider, 3.2 megapixel camera, 2.4-inch TFT display
  3. C5212: bar, dual SIM, 2.2-inch color display, microSD slot, 1.3 megapixel camera
  4. SS3310: Bar, supports micro SD expansion, 2.1-inch QVGA display and FM radio.
  5. E1360: slider, 1.77-inch CSTN display, dual band GSM support and really nothing else.
  6. E2210: clamshell, 160 x 128 display and a ho-hum VGA camera.
  7. And the very bottom range candy bars: E1100, (8) E1125, (9) E1100

And there you have it! It looks like Samsung is staying true to its usual “go big or go home” showing.

[Samsung S5050]

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Verizon BlackBerry Pearl 8230 Flip Commercial

I saw this BlackBerry flip commercial this morning and had the inkling to share it with you…it made me chuckle.

I love what one of my colleagues said, “I just don’t understand why someone would sit down with their phone in the pocket. It’s got an LCD screen. Why would you sit on an LCD screen?”

Regardless, I like this commercial.

More news from Acer

We recently covered Acer’s “new” smartphone with hopes to hear of more devices to come, and it looks like we’re in luck. This awkward little device will be released at MWC in a couple weeks with a swivel QWERTY and touchscreen, but no word whether it runs on a Windows Mobile or Android OS. No specs were given, but a little Acer birdie told Boy Genius the company has an iPhone competitor in its arsenal…imagine that!

Source: Boy Genius Report

Sprint release list leaked

A Boy Genius “ninja” has provided an internal Sprint document shedding some light on release and end of life (EOL) dates for some of its 2009 devices. The post goes into further explanation as to how to decipher the cryptic list, so I won’t waste my time and yours trying to hammer it out. Although the list covers many devices, let’s get real here. We are only concerned with one potential release date. The highly anticipated Palm Pre is chalked in for a Mar. 15 release, but an interesting EOL date in late May. Now don’t quote me on this, but I am assuming the people over at Palm have hopes of bringing their bundle of mobile goodness to multiple carriers, and if Sprint doesn’t cough up more denero the device might be released to other carriers after that May EOL date.

Click here for the Boy Genius Post.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Toshiba unveils TG01 smartphone

Toshiba delivers a couple of jabs directed at the iPhone with its unveiling of the newest touchscreen smartphone, the TG01. Toshiba calls the Windows Mobile 6.1 device “faster, slimmer and better than the iPhone.” This aesthetically pleasing device packs a powerful punch with its specs. Let’s take a look, shall we?

  • full Flash support (take that iPhone!)
  • 1GHz snapdragon processor from Qualcomm
  • aGPS
  • G-sensor
  • microSDHC support
  • DiVx support

Toshiba boasts that “we’ve taken all the technology from our TV’s and put that into the screen.” We can’t wait to hear more at MWC, especially when it comes to carrier support.

Acer brings rebranded Glofiish to the Table

Do you remember E-Ten’s Glofiish DX900? It appears that Acer’s first smartphone, to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress, will be no more than a rebadge of the DX900. The Windows Mobile 6.1 device was announced the first time around in mid-2008 with GPS, a 3 megapixel camera, and a 2.8-inch VGA touchscreen – and it appears not much has changed except for the logo swap. While this leak may be spot-on, we’re hoping to see something else by way of smartphones from Acer at MWC.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Verizon Hub Home Phone available

Just reminding all of you lucky Verizon users out there: the Verizon Hub Home Phone is now available! I have a huge crush on this genius bit of technology from the wireless carrier with the big red check… here’s to hoping I see a version of the Hub with my carrier soon. 

Until then…..

T-Mobile Announces Installment Plan for Devices

If you’ve been eyeing a G1 but you’ve been strapped for cash, this announcement should be ringtones to your ears. T-Mobile’s new equipment installment plan lets those in good standing pay for purchases in four monthly interest-free installment payments instead of paying the full purchase price upfront. I can’t tell you how much money AT&T would have made from me if it had a similar plan in place. There are no additional fees associated with the program, but customers will have to be approved for it.