Archive for September, 2010

Mobile Quick News: Vodafone’s New Phones and More

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Vodafone UK has confirmed that it will be launching three new devices for the holidays and considering the line up, we cannot help but think that they should be releasing the phones as soon as possible because plenty of people will certainly be interested in the new phones.

First up the list is the Miss Sixty version of the Vodafone 543 handset. The device is a basic touch screen device, but it certainly has that unique factor and style. While the look does get old after a while, it still provides users with a refreshing change of pace every once in a while.

The Vodafone 553 on the other hand, is a direct update to the 543. Vodafone has given this handset a 2 mega pixel camera, a slide out QWERTY keyboard, a 2.8 inch resistive touch screen and more. The phones’ biggest features are the integrated Vodafone 360 access apps and the Opera Mini 5 browser.

Lastly, Vodafone will be offering the Android running Vodafone 945. The handset is, as expected, the next device to follow the previously launched 845. While the processing speed on this handset has not been confirmed, we do know that it packs a 3.2 inch WQVGA capacitive touch screen display, a 5 mega pixel snapper and about 300 MB of internal storage –not to mention all the other features that one would expect from a modern day smart phone.

In other news, Dell has announced that they will be coming up with two new tablets to follow the 5 inch Dell Streak. The new Streak devices are confirmed to be 7 inch and 10 inch tablet gadgets, though it has yet to be confirmed if making and receiving calls is a feature that is present in the new tablets. Expect to hear more about Dell’s new toys in the coming weeks.

HTC Goes All White, Streak on Super Size

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

It seems that Dell had decided that the 5 inch touch screen display on the Streak Android smart phone is no longer cutting it.

The Dell Streak is your typical high end Android smart phone –really fast 1GHz CPU, 5 mega pixel camera, the open source Google Android operating system; except for the fact that this handset is also packed with what is probably the largest touch screen to be used in a modern smart phone. With the device’s massive 5 inch display screen, it was easy to see how Dell intended to grab the attention of the market.

With the success of the Streak, Dell has decided to follow up the handset with two new devices: a 7 inch and a 10 inch Streak. The Samsung Galaxy Tab set the bar for 7 inch devices and the Apple iPad is already at 9.7 inches; it is easy to see Dell’s two pronged strategy in taking over the tablet industry.

In other news, Taiwan based phone maker HTC has confirmed that the white versions of the HTC Desire and the HTC Wildfire will be available in the UK in a few short weeks. While no specific launch date has been confirmed, the devices are already available on pre-order. The lowest contracts place the devices at 15 Pounds a month for two years. On this rate, the Desire is about 200 Pounds and the Wildfire is 30 Pounds.

Aside from the colors, nothing has changed in specs and form for the two phones. Both of the devices are in all white versions though the Wildfire seems to have a more silver like look than the enamel white color on the Desire.

Speaking of the Desire, this high end Android is already compatible with the new 2.2 Froyo operating system. The new update to the OS brings speed boosts to the UI and the WebKit as well as plenty of other new features.

Tablet and Social Networking on BlackBerry, O2 Android Launched

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Technically, the O2 Android 2.2 Froyo update for the HTC Desire should be considered as a re-launch. According to reports, the update of the Android handset came out as scheduled but O2 UK was forced to shut it down after several reports of freezing issues came in. While the exact cause of the problem was not detailed in the reports, there were enough cases to warrant the removal of the update for a small period of time.

This situation is similar to the one Orange Mobile UK faced with the same Android 2.2 Froyo. When installed successfully however, the new OS is a charm to use on the HTC Desire. The speed is significantly faster and all the new features are certainly quite useful too –particularly the update to the camera’s user interface.

In any case, the update for 2.2 Froyo is finally back online and HTC Desire owners under the network can start downloading the update –just be sure to do so under a secure and stable connection as the update file is pretty big.

Moving on, Research in Motion has announced not only their plans for the BlackBerry tablet, but they have also announced the new systems and features that will be available to BlackBerry users. The new tablet will be named as the BlackBerry Playbook and will feature a 7 inch capacitive touch screen display, a 1GHz Processor and dual cameras. While the launch is still pretty far away –around the second quarter of 2011, it is a pretty decent tablet to look forward to.

As for the new systems and apps for the BlackBerry OS, users have plenty to be excited about with the new BBM. The BlackBerry messenger has always been a core function for RIM handsets and now users will be able to do more things such as being able to invite friends to app games or actual events.

Mobile News: Nokia N8 in October, Facebook Free on 3 UK

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

The Nokia N8 smart phone would have been an interesting media based handset. The OS itself is the new Symbain^3 operating system –which is supposed to be the Symbian of the new generation of mobile phones. And it is packed with a 12 mega pixel camera, an impressive capacitive touch screen display and even an HDMI output port

However, instead of being released on time last April, the phone was delayed –almost once each month pushing it to the next.

In the end, people lost interest in the handset as new Android smart phones arrived, the iPhone 4 was launched, the BlackBerry OS 6 was introduced and now, the Windows Phone 7 mobile platform is about to be released. Simply put, there really is no love left for Nokia –which is why they should have released the phone on time.

Anyway, despite the last reports that the Nokia N8 would be released by the end of this month or on the first week of October, the new announcement is that the phone will not be available until late in October. With the Nokia N9 (which uses the far more interesting MeeGo operating system) due to be released on the holidays, it seems that the N8 has been doomed to fail before it has even hit the shelves.

In Facebook related news, virtual mobile network operator 3 UK is making use of the fact that they have the largest 3G network in the UK. And now, users under them will be able to access Facebook for free through a special website. This version of the site is able to access the latest updates and other similar content, though images and other media are not available in order to help conserve the bandwidth. According to reports, 0.facebook.com is now available to all users under 3 Mobile UK.

How Much Torture Should Phones Endure?

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

There are some things that are simply not meant to be abused. Take HDTVs for example. Unlike regular television sets that you can easily toss into the back of a van, the HDTV needs to be transported a lot more carefully. The same goes for many smart phones. While regular candy bar handsets would not mind being knocked aside a few times, the same cannot be said for touch screen devices with large, fragile displays.

Sure there are cases and scratch proof surfaces that are used, but these devices can only bear with so much wear and tear. Of course, buyers are meant to take care of their phones –these are never really meant to be subjected to harsh environments in the first place.

But the functionality of the handset is not something that can be spared regardless of the situation and in times or locations when the regular mobile phone simply will not survive, there is the Sonim XP1300.

What makes the XP1300 impressive is how tough it is. The phone packs a solid casing that will stand drops of up to about 2 meters high –enough to crack apart the average smart phone. Granted that the XP1300 is a 2G device, the argument stands that gaming apps will see only a little purpose during times of emergency; though opposite situation also stands.

For the standard phone user, the Sonim XP1300 is not a good choice. Sure it is tough, but when the roughest pat of the day is standing near the copier waiting for the latest prints to finish, then the extra protection is pretty much wasted.

But when you are on the road, hiking, or on the beach a lot, then you might want to consider investing in this super tough device. Currently, the XP1300 has an IP68 rating making it shock resistant, water resistant (up to a meter for 30 minutes) and completely dustproof.

Windows Phone 7 Launch Date Confirmed by Microsoft

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

It is official, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is about to arrive and there is only a few short weeks to go before we are flooded with a wide array of new smart phones from most major phone makers.

Already confirmed in the list are Samsung, Asus, LG, Motorola, HTC and other phone makers as well. This is certainly going to be one exciting month for Microsoft and the mobile phone industry as well. According to Microsoft, the big launch event will be held on October 11 while the actual commercial launch of the system and the phones will be done on October 21 –an exact ten days after the official launch.

Are we excited? Most certainly so, after several years of trudging along with the Windows Mobile operating system, it seemed that Microsoft not going to do well in the mobile phone industry. Despite several successful WinMo devices, the fact of the matter is, the OS simply did not catch on. For the more modern smart phone user, the WinMo OS is old, archaic and far too static to be fun (or even easy) to use. For business users, the OS was decent and stable, but lacked many of the things that made the BlackBerry OS number one in that industry.

Simply put, the rehash of the Microsoft mobile platform was long overdue. This is why Steve Ballmer’s initial unveiling of the Windows Phone 7 OS during the last Mobile World Congress was so important for Microsoft’s mobile division –it showed that the Silicon Valley based company still had what it takes to take on an industry and dominate.

Of course, the WP7 is not without competition. At the moment, Google’s Android is the biggest fit for industry leader. With the iPhone 4’s poor performance, the distribution of the iOS has been easily surpassed by Google’s open source OS –giving Microsoft a tough market competitor.

Massive News Wrap Up: Everything Mobile

Monday, September 27th, 2010

For those of you who have little time to spare but still need to get up to date with the latest, here’s the quick wrap up of everything that’s happening in the world of mobile phones.

First up, the BlackBerry Storm 3 has been leaked in images again. While the name is unconfirmed, the close resemblance to the Storm 2 and the fact that it is running the BlackBerry OS6 on a full touch screen handset is hard to argue with.

In more BlackBerry related news, Vodafone UK has confirmed price plans for the BlackBerry Torch –the device is available on two year and 18 month plans starting at 40 Pounds monthly. The Torch also sports the BlackBerry OS 6 which is a very media based platform while waiting.

Chip manufacturer Marvell has confirmed that they now have a 1.5 GHz ‘tri-core’ CPU for mobile handsets. The only question now is how much power will these things drain and how long before Qualcomm or another manufacturer solves the issue. In any case, expect to see the Armada 628 in more highlights in the days to come.

Mozilla, creators of the highly successful Firefox browser, has hinted at the possibility of having their own self branded device. While this is all just in concept images, it would actually be interesting if there was a Mozilla branded handset that could actually do better browsing and other Mozilla features. The device is said to be named Seabird.

Dell will also be jumping into the large screen devices market with their confirmed list of Android devices. So far, there is no word yet if this is simply the Dell Streak on steroids or if the new 7 inch tablet would not be able to take calls. For now, all we can do is to simply wait until the supposed January unveiling of the device.

Is Nokia Going to Make a WP7 Handset?

Monday, September 27th, 2010

The Windows Phone 7 handset might be one from Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia –or so speculations states. With Stephen Elop at the helm of the world’s largest phone manufacturer, one must wonder what the former Microsoft strongman must think about the upcoming WP7 mobile platform.

From the beginning, Nokia has been a Symbian based company. All their handsets have been using the S-series mobile platform and it was not until last year that they tried something new: the Nokia-made Maemo. This was followed by the development of the MeeGo platform in cooperation with the Moblin developers from Intel.

Still, despite that, the Symbian is still the signature OS for Nokia. In this state, the company is at the risk of losing a serious chunk of market share to the fast growing Android OS from Google. In fact, they also stand to lose against the BlackBerry OS, and the iOS. Should Windows Phone 7 be a successful platform –and many believe it will be, it too shall surpass the Symbian OS.

Nokia’s only game plan now would be to sink or swim –unless they are confident that the upcoming MeeGo OS would be more than enough to take care of the company and keep their market share steady. For some, the solution would be to create a Windows Phone 7 handset.

The company has previously stated that they would not be using the Android operating system –despite the obvious advantages of such as move. But now that Elop is handling the direction of the company, things could possibly take a very turn and Nokia might start opening up to new mobile platforms as well.

In the meanwhile, the Finnish phone maker is still struggling to get the Symbian^3 based N8 and the upcoming N9 MeeGo devices ready for their respective launches.

XPERIA X10 Froyo Update Delayed and the LG Town C300 Now Released

Friday, September 24th, 2010

It seems that Sony Ericsson XPERIA owners are going to have to wait for quite some time before their devices are updated to a newer version of the Android operating system.

There are several XPERIA Android phones; the XPERIA X10, the X10 Mini, X10 Mini Pro and the XPERIA X8. All of the phones use the older Android 1.6 Donut. While the platform itself is pretty functional, stable and reliable, it is missing out on many core features that are present in the newer 2.1 Éclair –most particularly, support for the 2.2 Froyo update.

The worst part of it all is that Sony’s smart phones are not cheap devices, these are pretty expensive devices with some cutting edge hardware, but in terms of the OS being used, these phones are on the lower end of the Android food chain. If the Timescape user interface was not as good as it is, then Sony Ericsson would have had to rethink their Android series.

Anyway, it seems that instead of getting the Éclair update this September, the phones will be getting updates on November instead. With that late a release date, Sony has yet to announce a tentative release date for an actual Froyo 2.2 update post-November. This means that the wait for Sony users has moved from long to indefinite.

In other mobile phone news, LG has finally made the Town C300 handset available to consumers. This BlackBerry style handset is a messaging based 2G device. In terms of form, the lower portion of the phone seems a little too curved to be gripped properly when typing, so expect a bit of an adjustment period when using this device. Spec-wise, the handset seems to reflect a lot of the features present in the original GT350 (which as the first Town series device).

HTC News Update: Orange Froyo, HD2 Details and New Sense

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Orange Mobile UK has finally brought out the Android 2.2 Froyo update for the HTC Desire. Many android users under Orange have been worried over the past few days wondering if the update would ever be re-released after major issue popped out when the Froyo patch came out over a week ago.

While no specific details has been released regarding the true nature of the issue, it has affected several users badly enough to prompt Orange to pull out the patch shortly after making it available. In the meanwhile Vodafone and T-Mobile users are now enjoying the latest version of the Android OS.

Speaking of the Android Froyo, it appears that the new HTC Sense user interface has been designed to work in conjunction with the new Google OS. The Taiwan based phone maker has confirmed that they are already working on releases of the Sense UI for the HTC Legend, HTC Desire and the HTC Wildfire. While not exact release date has been given, it was made clear that the new UI would only be compatible for any of the models as long as they are updated to the Froyo OS.

The new Sense user interface is going to be a pretty useful tool for many people since it will allow users to remotely access their handsets. While this is pretty convenient for anyone who might have accidentally left the device at home, it is even more useful for times when a device is lost or stolen as it allows users to either ring, lock or even completely wipe out the memory on the device.

Lastly, HTC is revealing the final bits of information for the upcoming Windows Phone 7 handset, the HTC HD7. According to the spec sheet that was recently given out, the new device will be coming with a big, 4.3 inch WVGA capacitive TFT touch screen, a 5 mega pixel camera and of course a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU.