Thursday, April 29, 2010

Click here to find out more! HTC DROID Incredible sold out, new orders ship May 4th

In the real world, the early bird catches the worm..and in the world of mobile technology, the early bird gets the phone. Such is the case with the highly anticipated HTC DROID Incredible, which debuted early this morning on Verizon Wireless’ website, and sold out within two hours. We don’t know how many units Verizon Wireless had on hand, but the initial inventory is long gone, and all new orders will not ship until May 4th. If you absolutely must have Android’s latest and greatest handset, you will have to try your luck at your local Verizon Wireless store. Happy hunting!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Microsoft and HTC announce a patent licensing agreement

With Apple and its team of lawyers breathing down its back, HTC has been exploring opportunities to quickly bolster its patent library and provide protection for its Android efforts. HTC was rumored to be eyeballing Palm’s large treasure chest of patents, and its acquisition potential, but reportedly snubbed its nose at the ailing handset manufacturer after a closer look at Palm’s financial status. Rather than gamble on a sinking ship, HTC turned towards Microsoft and has signed a licensing deal with the software giant from Redmond. Under the agreement, Microsoft will provide broad coverage under it’s large patent library for HTC’s Android handsets while HTC, in exchange for this patent umbrella, will pay an undisclosed amount of royalties to Microsoft. Horatio Gutierrez, corporate VP and deputy general counsel of intellectual property and licensing at Microsoft had this to say about the deal:
Microsoft has a decades-long record of investment in software platforms. As a result, we have built a significant patent portfolio in this field, and we have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to ensure that competitors do not free ride on our innovations. We have also consistently taken a proactive approach to licensing to resolve IP infringement by other companies, and have been talking with several device manufacturers to address our concerns relative to the Android mobile platform.
What do we make of this? Is this strictly business, or is Microsoft simply getting back at HTC for all of their Android efforts?

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nokia says leaked N8 has early software, shouldn't be reviewed

It looks like Nokia isn't too happy that its big N8 / Symbian^3 reveal this morning was tarnished by Eldar Murtazin's harsh preview of the device and OS a few days ago: in a new Conversations blog post, the company says that Eldar's "salacious headlines" masked the fact that he was looking at a "very early, pre-production prototype with dated software that is not yet ready," and that it only ships products that are "refined, tested, re-tested, evaluated, [and] tested again." Now, Eldar says the devices he examined had the very latest hardware and software, so it's a bit of a he-said-she-said at this point, but there's no denying that Nokia's definitely shipped some not-quite-ready-for-prime-time devices lately -- the N900 and Maemo 5 shipped in pretty roughed-out form, and the company itself has said the N97 was a "tremendous disappointment." How that recent history reflects on Symbian^3 and the N8 remains to be seen, but it's clear that Nokia's feeling pretty defensive about things; Eldar's been scooping Espoo's gear for years now and the company's never made a peep about it. Either that, or someone at Nokia is just trying to cash in on all this iPhone 4 drama by saying things like "we want our prototype back" and "we are not the Secret Police, and we want to maintain our culture of openness," but come on -- that would be a pretty crass publicity stunt, right? We want to believe.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

BlackBerry Bold 9650 and BlackBerry Pearl 3G Leak Out

Whoops, looks like pressed "go" on two new BlackBerry models early—the Bold 9650 and Pearl 3G. Nothing too outlandish if the site is to be believed, but looks like Sprint's got dibs on the Bold.

Only Canadian carriers have been confirmed for the Pearl 3G according to, with Bell, TELUS and Rogers all down for it. The Pearl will be a GSM-only phone, with 3.2MP camera, GPS and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. No other details on that, except it'll also feature the new trackpad RIM is busy migrating all its phones to.

The Bold 9650 on the other hand doesn't sound too different to the 9700 which has been sat in my hot little hand since late last year. While that model is available just on AT&T and T-Mobile, the 9650 will be sold through Sprint according to, and will have a 3.2MP camera, GPS, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and yep, that trackpad.

RIM's WES show is kicking off in Orlando this week, but snapped what looks to be the Bold 9650 making an appearance on Verizon's advertising. Uh-oh. No more details on these two phones just yet, but hopefully we'll see something concrete this week.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Google navigation coming to the iPhone and other mobile platforms

Google has been slowly extending its Maps Navigation feature throughout its Android platform starting with Android 2.0 devices, then Android 1.6 devices, and most recently to Android-powered handsets in the UK. As part of its UK announcement in London, Google re-confirmed its intention to bring this free navigation to other platforms including the Apple iPhone. No timeframe for release was mentioned for any of the alternative platforms, but with Google and Apple’s relationship a bit strained, hell may have to thaw a bit before this comes to fruition on the iPhone.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

How Apple Conceals Prototype iPhones

There's a reason why more people haven't seen the next iPhones before Steve Jobs makes an announcement: They're in disguise.
This iPhone, which looks drastically different from the 3GS, was enclosed in a custom-molded plastic case so it could be used in public without attracting attention. In regular use, you would think that this was just a standard iPhone with the writing scratched off the back. Very clever.
The plastic case, which comes apart easily, looks just like a 3GS. When you pry the case apart, three bits—the power button, the mute switch and the volume rocker—quickly shed off. It's weird that these bits are made of plastic, when the corresponding parts on the 3GS are made of aluminum/metal.
To reassemble the case, all you have to do is make sure the little plastic bits are in the right place before popping the front back on. A very ingenious solution to protect future designs from lookeyloos. One of the best bits is that the case looks like a case FOR an older iPhone. iPhone cases are seen so often, that even if this one looks weird and doesn't match up to the 3GS body, it can be easily dismissed as just being a lousy case.

Watch the video

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cellphones, Mobile Handsets Dell Smoke slaps Android in the wild form factor you secretly wanted

Okay, so imagine a Pixi, but awesome. We think that what you'd get would closely resemble the phone that Dell's whipping up with a codename of "Smoke," running Android Froyo atop a 2.8-inch QVGA display (looks more like WVGA to us, but whatevs). Dell calls it a "non-conforming style," but we just call it drop-dead gorgeous -- assuming the final product even remotely resembles the company's renders -- and they're even promising a price that "won't break the bank," which is always a nice little bonus. The description we're reading of the phone leads us to believe that Dell will be targeting a corporate audience with the Smoke, and that's certainly the clique that tends to enjoy portrait QWERTY keyboards, so this should fit right in amongst the sea of BlackBerrys when it launches in the second quarter of 2011. That's a hell of a wait, yes, but in return, you'll be getting Qualcomm's next-gen MSM7230 processor at 800MHz, a 5 megapixel autofocus cam, 14.4Mbps HSPA, microSD expansion to 32GB, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and dual-mic noise canceling tech in a 12mm package.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why Didn't Anybody Ask Apple About the Lost iPhone?

Apple's quarterly earnings reports provide a rare opportunity for financial analysts to publicly pose questions to Apple executives. Today, no one granted an audience asked about Apple's lost iPhone.

Analysts aren't really expected to ask the kinds of questions journalists do. They're concerned about things like revenues and profits and margins. You know, money. But it's curious, to say the least, that not a single analyst participating in Apple's earnings call today asked about the lost iPhone. Not even in the cautious, veiled phrasing analysts tend to speak in when conversing with the upper echelon of Apple executives.

Given that $5.3 billion of Apple's $13.5 billion revenues this past quarter came from the record 8.75 million iPhones Apple just sold, there's certainly a pertinent financial question for them to ask: How does Apple think the lost iPhone's revelation potentially impacts the sales of the iPhones Apple's trying to sell right now?

There's still months before this next-gen iPhone could be sold, and while Apple's established June-July iPhone release cycle is knowledge geeks take for granted, it's news to the ladies of The View and Good Morning America faithful that another iPhone looms, that they'd be better off waiting to get that iPhone they were thinking about finally buying.

It's just a little odd no one asked, that's all.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Opera Mini for iPhone approved, will be available for free

Our man Thomas Ricker was just wondering how long it would take before Apple determined the fate of Opera Mini for iPhone, and we've got some good news -- it's been approved and will be available for free on the App Store within 24 hours! Can't say we were expecting that, since non-Safari-based browsers have typically been verboten from Apple's little kingdom, but we're certainly happy to be surprised. We'll do up a full hands-on when we see it in the store, but for now check the demo video after the break.

Watch The Video

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Video Chat Moderators, Chat Room, Encryption found in iPhone OS 4, Apple hosted service

Video conferencing seems to be a lock for the next iPhone at this point as more and more evidence from the SDK continues to mount. What we found in the 3.1 SDK (which was subsequently removed) pales in comparison to the truckloads of information in the 4.0 betas:

We've found references to moderators, chat rooms, encrypted video conferences and other features which could be even be used by developers in the future to add video chat to gaming applications, perhaps with ties to Gamecenter.

First, we have the conference.framework folder which shows the sounds that will be used to alert an iPhone 4.0 user about an incoming Video Chat Request. We've played them and they are the same sounds as the iChat Mac application.


In the CoreLocalizable.strings below you can see Video/Chat Room/Moderator/Encryption strings:


This Property List within an Apple Private Framework displays the default calls the iChat App will need to make. There are some strings within this Plist which are unique to the iPhone OS and aren't found in iChat for Mac. Most notably, Chat Rooms and Moderation. Our Speculation? Think the upcoming Game Center. Imagine being able to video/audio chat with the people you are playing the game with. How cool would that be?

If Apple is going to be hosting Chat Rooms, they'll need to be some moderation to fit the needs of Apple and its wholesome brand. Apple would never tolerate a ChatRoulette type of experience their network.

At the moment, this is a private framework. This is something that Apple is using themselves in their native applications, and is something developers won't be able to access.

However, this chat framework could very well become public in the future of iPhone OS. For Example, In-App SMS is a framework Apple has been privately using since 1.0, now in 4.0 developers can publicly use it. If/When this Chat Framework goes public, there could be an influx of Chat-related apps in the App Store (probably including thousands of Chatroulette clones).


The above strings indicate what video conferencing on an iPhone will include: One-on-One video chats and video conference calling (multiple people).

Apple is also testing Apple iPhone video conferencing services and already has an external server which is open for external testing.

Since the 4.0 firmware only somewhat supports it, we don't know how to operate it or the syntax, but one module that is up and running on the server is what kicks off the process, the VCInit module

Apple is also testing the Video Chat on three different servers on their private intranet, but that is obviously not accessible from the outside world.

Finally, we've heard separately that the iPad and likely the iPod touch will receive video camera updates in the Fall when the 4.x OS goes Universal. The timing would make sense for the normal iPod touch yearly updates. The iPad, until then won't have access to these camera strings, so it won't have much use for a camera. Apple's secrecy in building the iPad likely kept the iChat group out of the loop. Without them, there was no need for a camera on the first iPad.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

iPhone OS 4 versus Windows Phone 7: the tale of the tape

So now that Apple's finally addressed (well, sort of addressed) the 800-pound gorilla known as multitasking, it's time to take a good, hard look at how iPhone OS 4 stacks up against Redmond's completely redesigned mobile monster that's destined to hit handsets toward the end of the year. Though the two companies have taken vastly different paths to get to where they are with their mobile strategies today, there are some striking similarities between the platforms; take that multitasking we already mentioned, for example -- both iPhone OS and Windows Phone are looking to keep processor and battery utilization to a minimum by putting the emphasis on managed services for background apps rather than just letting them run roughshod over your fragile hardware. Of course, there are some striking differences, too -- so let's have a look, shall we?

OS 4

OS 3.1.3

Phone 7

Mobile 6.5.3

Kernel Type OS X OS X Windows CE 6 Windows CE 5
Platform Adaptability Good Good Good Excellent
Platform Age Adolescent Adolescent Young Mature
First-party Enterprise Support Exchange Exchange Exchange Exchange
Wireless Tech GSM, WiFi GSM, WiFi GSM, CDMA, WiFi GSM, CDMA, WiFi
Screen Gestures Yes Yes Yes Limited
Screen Tech Capacitive Capacitive Capacitive Capacitive / Resistive
Multitouch Yes Yes Yes Yes
UI skinning Limited No No Yes
Input methods Virtual / external keyboards Virtual keyboard only Virtual / physical keyboards Virtual / physical keyboards, T9 / triple tap, character recognition
Notification style Modal pop-up, icon badge Modal pop-up, icon badge Unobtrusive banner / pop-up Modal pop-up
Contact integration / management Exchange ActiveSync, Mac OS Address Book, Google Sync Exchange ActiveSync, Mac OS Address Book, Google Sync Exchange ActiveSync, Google Sync Exchange ActiveSync, Google Sync, Domino, BlackBerry
Multitasking Limited / managed No Limited / managed Yes
Copy / paste Yes Yes No Yes
Media support / ecosystem iTunes iTunes Zune None
Global search Yes Yes Yes No
Firmware updates Tethered Tethered Tethered, OTA Tethered, limited OTA
Browser Engine WebKit WebKit Trident (IE) Trident (IE)
Tethering Yes (varies by carrier) Yes (varies by carrier) Unknown Yes
Stereo Blutooth Yes Yes Yes Yes
SDK Availability / Support Yes Yes Yes Yes
Official App Store Yes Yes Yes Yes
App Availability High High Low (unreleased) Medium
Native Applications Yes Yes No Yes
Unsigned Applications No No No Yes
On-Device App Management Excellent Good
(no folders)
(no folders)

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Skyfire puts its BlackBerry plans on ice

Oh dear. It’s no secret that out of all the major mobile platforms, RIM’s BlackBerry OS is the easily one of the most difficult to develop for, but even with that in mind, we didn’t see Skyfire completely abandoning their BlackBerry client, even if they haven’t worked on it in months. In a blog post Wednesday afternoon, Skyfire’s CEO, Jeff Glueck, announced that his company has ceased all work on the BlackBerry version of their popular browser in order to focus on Android. Citing a poor developer environment with inconsistent and fragmented APIs, Glueck apologized to those who have been eagerly awaiting the release of the browser while vowing to return to development provided BlackBerry OS 6.0 delivers on RIM’s promise to bring much needed improvements from a developers perspective. Of course the release of OS 6.0 will see RIM release its WebKit-based browser, but then a little healthy competition is good for us consumers, right?

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Behold, the Nexus One car dock... and no, you still can't buy it

Mind you, this isn't the first time we've gotten a glimpse at Google's first-party car dock for the Nexus One; it got teased briefly back in February in the course of the phone's video docu-mercial series, yet we're well into the Spring months here and you still won't find any mounted on windshields. We're honestly not so sure how it can take four solid months for two corporate heavyweights -- Google and HTC, with a combined market cap of around $200 billion -- to put something like this together, but considering how prominently free Google Maps Navigation plays into Android's strategy these days, we'd argue there should be some serious pressure behind the scenes to get this thing launched. There's no launch date just yet, but the pretty picture comes courtesy of some new official documentation on the dock in Google's Nexus One website, touting its built-in speakers and charging capability -- so we're figuring (or at least hoping) that publishing this stuff is one of the last steps before these guys start taking orders. The dude who dredged up the help page says that he briefly saw the dock listed on Google's Nexus One order page for $55, $10 more than you'll pay for the desktop dock; that sounds about in line with what we'd expect, and it's still a hell of a value considering the additional street cred it affords your '77 Gremlin.
Update: And wouldn't you know, the dock just went on sale for $55. Enjoy!

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Samsung outs four new bada handsets

With everything that’s been going on in the tech world over the past few months, we think most people can be forgiven for forgetting about bada, Samsung’s new mobile platform. But excuses won’t cut it much for much longer, because it appears Samsung is on the cusp of assaulting the market with bada-toting handsets. During a developers conference in Russia, Samsung put up a slide which showed off four previously unknown bada-based handsets alongside the previously announced Wave 8500. While the company didn’t mention what the handsets will offer in terms of specs and features, it’s pretty clear from the $350 USD to $700 USD price points that the platform will offer smartphones that cover more price points that many other popular platforms simply can’t touch. That and the fact Samsung is one of the few remaining companies that think slapping on a horizontal QWERTY keypad on a touchscreen device is something people actually want.

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Nokia and Intel Now Offering MeeGo Code

Nokia and Intel recently made the core kernel and code of their MeeGo mobile operating system available to the open source community. MeeGo is the combination of Moblin and Maemo, and can be used on a number of different mobile platforms, such as mobile phones and netbooks. MeeGo is based on Linux, and this first code release includes the core operating system libraries, comms and telephony services, internet and social networking services, visual services, media services, data management, device services, and personal services. MeeGo is free to download.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 rumored to launch on Rogers within two weeks

Although interest in it seems to have declined, thanks to this week’s official confirmation that multitouch will never be a feature of the device due to a hardware limitation, that’s hardly going to stop Rogers from aggressively pushing the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10. According to MobileSyrup, a site that has a pretty squeaky clean track record, Rogers has narrowed down the release window for the Android smartphone to the week of April 7th to 14th and assigned tentative pricing — which could be as low as $149.99 on contract. Rogers had previously stated it would offer pre-orders, something which has yet to happen, but with a release that is potentially within six days we’d think they better get a move on it before peoeple’s eyes start to wander elsewhere.

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LG Portable Stereo Speakers MSP-100