BlackBerry Storm to land at TELUS before Christmas

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Oct 312008
 

RIM BlackBerry Storm

TELUS is getting close to launching the BlackBerry Storm. The promotional page that TELUS had launched in early October has been complemented with new information, including photos and specifications.

TELUS remains coy on the specific launch date but has narrowed it down to sometime before the holidays. Fortunately for us, BlackBerrySync.com sources are reporting that November 17th will be the launch date.

Pricing also remains a mystery.

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Sony recalls another 100,000 notebook batteries

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Oct 312008
 

Sony is recalling about 100,000 lithium-ion batteries due to overheating problems that can lead to fire and burn hazards for consumers. To date, there have been 19 reports of batteries overheating, including 17 reports of flames/fire (10 resulting in minor property damage) and two incidents where consumers experienced minor burns. The U.S. recall affects about 35,000 batteries but there are another 65,000 batteries affected in other countries.

The following notebooks are affected in the U.S.:

Computer Manufacturer Units Notebook Model Battery Model
Hewlett-Packard About 32,000 HP Pavilion: dv1000, dv8000 and zd8000
Compaq Presario: v2000 and v2400
HP Compaq: nc6110, nc6120, nc6140, nc6220, nc6230,
nx4800, nx4820, nx6110, nx6120, nx9600
Recalled batteries will have a bar code
label starting with A0, L0, L1 or GC
Toshiba About 3,000 Satellite: A70/A75, P30/P5, M30X/M35X, M50/M55
Tecra: A3, A5, S2
n/a
Dell About 150 Latitude: 110L
Inspiron: 1100, 1150, 5100, 5150, 5160
OU091

For more information, get in touch with the manufacturer:

This is not the first time that Sony has had to recall batteries. Back in 2006, it recalled several million batteries.

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Rogers begins mobile phone payment pilot with Visa

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Oct 312008
 

Rogers Wireless

Rogers Wireless is joining forces with Visa and RBC for a mobile phone payment pilot. Once launched, customers will be able to make payments simply by waving their specially-equipped mobile phones at Visa payWave-enabled checkout readers. A number of retail stores and quick-service restaurants will participate in the pilot.

Like a similar program already underway from Bell and MasterCard, the mobile phones (in this case provided by Motorola) use Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless chips to securely exchange information over a short range (no more than a few centimeters) and Over the Air delivery of mobile payment software and credit card information.

The pilot will start with an employee-only program before a customer phase begins in mid-2009.

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Skyfire mobile browser now available in Canada

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Oct 312008
 

The Skyfire mobile browser is now available here in Canada.

Skyfire is a free, downloadable mobile web browser that allows you to experience the internet on your phone exactly like on your PC. Now, you can use the full web from your mobile phone with unprecedented speed and simplicity – without the typical restrictions and limitations that current ‘mobile web’ efforts offer. It’s “The Web”, not some mobile web.

Skyfire uses a proxy server to do much of the work of rendering the pages, including streaming Flash video and support for Ajax and Quicktime, to lighten the load on the mobile client.

Skyfire is still in beta (currently on version 0.8) and is currently available for Windows Mobile (versions 5 and up) and Nokia N or E series (3rd edition) phones.

Skyfire also expects to announce new countries fairly soon.

To download Skyfire, you will need to register, including providing your mobile number.

Source: CNET

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Asustek planning USD$200 Eee PC for 2009

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Oct 312008
 

Netbooks may finally be about to start fulfilling their promise of being inexpensive devices. Jerry Shen, Asustek’s CEO, indicated that the company expects to launch an Eee PC that will sell for about USD$200 sometime in 2009. No details about specifications were revealed though.

Shen also indicated that the company has adjusted its market and pricing strategies for entry-level and mid-range netbooks. It expects to grab 30 percent of the netbook market in 2009 with a shipment target set between 6 and 7.5 million units. We will also see a gradual phasing out of 7- and 8.9-inch models in favour of more 10-inch models.

As part of the company’s Q3 2008 financial results announcement, Shen also revealed that the Eee PC was responsible for 22 percent of the company’s revenues. HDD-based models lead shipments over SSD-models by a ratio of 70 to 30 percent and Windows XP holds a 7:3 lead over Linux.

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Celebrate Halloween with a Proporta discount

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Oct 312008
 

Halloween

In celebration of Halloween, Proporta is offering customers in Canada and the U.S. a 15 percent discount on all its Proporta branded hardware. Use the promotion code TREAT in the shopping cart page to enjoy the discount.

The promotion is only available to orders placed to the U.S. and Canada only and is only valid on October 31st.

Thanks, Proporta!

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North American version of Nokia N85 gets FCC approval

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Oct 302008
 

Nokia N85

The North American version of the Nokia N85 is one step closer to release after getting its FCC approval. The documentation shows that this new version of the N85 supports quad-band (850/900/1800/1900MHz) GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band UMTS/HSDPA (850/1900/2100MHz) connectivity.

Other specifications should be the same as the first N85 announced: Symbian 9.3/S60 operating platform, a 2.6-inch QVGA OLED display, N-Gage gaming, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, an FM transmitter, a 5MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics and geotagging capabilities, GPS/A-GPS, a microSD card slot, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and a 1200 mAh battery.

We will hopefully find out soon which carriers will offer the Nokia N85 in our neck of the woods and for how much.

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Is Microsoft working on Windows Mobile 6.5?

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Oct 302008
 

Microsoft Windows Mobile

A shift to the Google Android operating system may not the most interesting bit of news to come out of Motorola’s Q3 financial results announcement. During a call to financial analysts. Sanjay Jha, Motorola’s co-chief executive officer and CEO of Mobile Devices, said:

“Windows Mobile 6 has not delivered the experience that I think Apple has been able to deliver, but as you look at the plan that is Windows Mobile 7 and even 6.5, I think there are significant new added features which will help the platform,” Jha said. “We have now targeted new teams which are focused – in California and Seattle – to deliver experiences. That is where we have to differentiate."

With Windows Mobile 7 delayed to the second half of 2009, is Microsoft looking at another interim release in response to the threat posed by new devices such as the Apple iPhone 3G and the expected flood of Android-powered mobile phones? It would appear so as Motorola is already planning to release a phone based on the mysterious Windows Mobile 6.5 platform in the second half of 2009.

If so, what new features will Microsoft bring to the arena with Windows Mobile 6.5?

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Apple iPhone 3G Proporta Alu-leather case meets James Bond

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Oct 302008
 

Aluminum Lined Leather Case for the Apple iPhone 3

Proporta must be a little excited about the upcoming ‘Quantum of Solace’ (James Bond’s latest adventure if you have been living under a rock). They announced a new limited edition Aluminum Lined Leather Case for the Apple iPhone 3G to celebrate the new movie. The case will soon be as elusive as Bond himself, as Proporta have made just a limited few. No frills or fuss. Just super sleek protection from the school of hard knocks.

Its rigid Aluminum lining provides the toughest of protection against crushing and impact shocks – vital when thinking of your precious iPhone 3G touch screen (and if getting into awkward scrapes sounds all to familiar). No frills or fuss. Just super sleek protection from the school of hard knocks.

The Limited Edition Aluminum Lined Leather Case for the Apple iPhone 3G is available (for now) directly from Proporta for USD$48.95.

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Motorola to jump on Android bandwagon

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Oct 302008
 

Motorola

A few weeks ago, a rumour surfaced that Motorola was looking to grow its Android team from about 50 to 350. Now comes word from The Wall Street Journal that Sanjay Jha, Motorola’s co-chief executive officer and CEO of Mobile Devices, is planning to use Google Android for its mid-tier devices. Business-focused devices will continue to use Windows Mobile and low-end devices will use its own P2K platform. While three operating systems may sound like a lot, it is better than the half dozen or so that Motorola currently offers.

It is also likely that development of Windows Mobile devices will be outsourced. There is no word on who this company could be though.

In their Q3 2008 financial results announcement today where the Mobile Devices division recorded an operating loss of USD$840 million, the company confirmed plans to go ahead with spinning off its Mobile Devices division but has pushed back the timeline primarily due to the macro-economic environment, stresses in the financial markets and the changes underway in Mobile Devices. In the meantime, the company plans to drop a number of phone designs and significant job cuts.

Note: The original Wall Street Journal article requires a subscription.

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Asustek planning Google handset for mid-2009

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Oct 292008
 

According to DigiTimes sources, Asustek is looking to launch its own Google Android-powered mobile phone sometime in the first half of 2009. Not only is the company looking to offer it under its own brand but it could also offer OEM versions to companies overseas.

Unfortunately, there are no details about this device yet.

Asustek currently offers a number of Windows Mobile phones like the recently unveiled Glide-enabled P552w PDA phone. I suspect that Asustek will offer a few Google Android devices in addition to Windows Mobile devices to gauge market demand.

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Electronic Arts announces three games for Google Android operating system

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Oct 292008
 

EA Mobile, a division of Electronic Arts, is releasing three games for Google Android-powered mobile phones. The three games are Tetris, Bejeweled and Monopoly Here & Now Edition.

Tetris is available immediately (although I could not find it on the EA Mobile site) with Bejeweled and Monopoly following in November. Pricing information was not disclosed either. For now, the audience will be limited to T-Mobile G1 users but that should change in 2009 when other manufacturers and carriers start launching their own Android mobile phones.

EA Mobile also promised that more games are on their way.

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Garmin nüvifone remains on track for 2009 release

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Oct 292008
 

Garmin nüvifone

Garmin announced today its Q3 2008 financial results. As part of the announcement, the company provided an update on its nüvifone. Originally expected in the third quarter of 2008, Garmin delayed the release to the first half of 2009.

The update confirms that the nüvifone remains on target for a first half of 2009 launched. Garmin also revealed that it had signed letters of intent or agreements with some carriers but will not provide details until closer to the launch date.

The company is also bracing itself for difficult economic times and cut its outlook on the rest of the year.

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MSI Wind U100 BIOS upgrade now available

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Oct 292008
 

MSI has released a BIOS update for its MSI Wind U100 netbook. BIOS version 1.09 includes the ability to overclock the Atom processor by 8, 15 or 24 percent. It also increases the available video memory from 64MB to 128MB or 224MB depending on how much total RAM is available. It also comes with a number of fixes, including fixing a keyboard I/O resource issue and fixing sleep and hibernation issues.

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HP unveils new HP Mini 1000 netbook lineup

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Oct 292008
 

HP Mini 1000 netbook

Today, Hewlett-Packard announced three new HP Mini models in a new HP Mini 1000 family. The announcement was expected after the HP Mini 1000 surfaced on the HP U.S. online store earlier.

This array of minis – one of the widest offerings in the industry – addresses the needs of Internet-centric consumers, mobile professionals, always-on social media enthusiasts and fashion-forward women.

Not only as HP dropped the VIA C7-M processor in favour of the 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor with Intel GMA 950 chipset, but prices are also lower than those of the Mini.

The HP Mini 1000 base model will come with Windows XP Home, an 8.9-inch WSVGA LED-backlit display, a keyboard that is 92 percent the size of a standard keyboard, 512MB RAM, an 8GB SSD, a webcam, 802.11g/g Wi-Fi, and a 3-cell battery for USD$399. Upgrade options include a 10.2-inch WSVGA LED-backlit display, up to 1GB RAM, 16GB SSD or 60GB hard drive, and Bluetooth.

The HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition will come in vibrant red with a peony-flower inspired design and a 10.2-inch display. Like the base model, it will run Windows XP Home. It will sell for USD$699.

The third model is the HP Mini 1000 with MIE (Mobile Internet Experience). It will be powered by Linux and a user interface developed by HP. It will come pre-loaded with a number of applications such as instant messaging, an email client, Skype, and more. The starting price is USD$379.

The HP Mini 1000 is available now in the U.S. through www.hpdirect.com. The HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition will follow in mid-December and the HP Mini 1000 with MIE is expected in January.

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