Motorola Alexander and Attila to land in Q1 2009?

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Nov 302008
 

According to DigiTimes, Motorola has placed orders for both the Alexander and Atila Windows Mobile PDA phones with Compal. The news comes on the heels of pictures of the Atila surfacing earlier. Shipments are due for the first quarter of 2009 after a delay from the last quarter of 2008 for undisclosed reasons.

DigiTimes did not reveal any details about the two devices except to confirm that both sport 3.5G connectivity and Wi-Fi. The Alexander will sport a slide-out QWERTY keyboard while the Atila will feature a large touchscreen display.

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Pharos launches three new GPS smartphones

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Nov 282008
 

Pharos Traveler 127

Pharos has launched three new GPS smartphones. The first two, the Traveler 117 and 127 were announced about two weeks ago. The third, the Traveler 619, just launched on the Dell website in the United States.

The Pharos Traveler 619 is powered by a 201MHz TI OMAP processor and Windows Mobile 6.0 Professional. It comes with quad-band (850/900/1800/1900MHz) GSM/GPRS/EDGE connectivity, a 2.8-inch VGA touchscreen display, a QWERTY keyboard, 64MB RAM and 128MB ROM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 1.2, GPS, and a 2MP camera.

While the specs on the Traveler 619 may not light the world on fire, the price certainly makes it worthy of consideration. Dell is offering it unlocked for USD$199.95.

Both the Traveler 117 and 127 are powered by a 400MHz Qualcomm MSM7201-90 processor and Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional. They come with quad-band (850/900/1800/1900MHz) GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band (850/1900/2100MHz) UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA connectivity, 128MB RAM and 256MB ROM, GPS/AGPS, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, a 2MP camera, 0.3MP front-facing camera for video calls, and a 1410mAh battery.

Both also come with Smart Navigator, providing users with robust navigation support, including real-time traffic, maps on demand, dynamic points of interest (POI) search and an innovative Follow Me service that enables groups or families to view one another’s GPS-derived locations on their wireless Windows Mobile devices with GPS capability or on the Internet.

The two differ primarily in their form factor. The Traveler 117 comes with a 2.8-inch VGA touchscreen display while the Traveler 127 comes with a QWERTY keyboard and a 2.5 inch QVGA touchscreen display.

The Traveler 117 and 127 will be available starting December 1 for USD$529.95.

Merger talks between TELUS and Bell revived?

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Nov 282008
 

Rumours of a merger between TELUS and Bell are once again starting up as Bell’s privatization deal appears to be on its death bed. The $52 billion deal between Bell, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and U.S. private equity firms is in trouble as concerns mount that the new company would not survive in the current economic downturn.

A Scotia Capital analyst suggests instead that a merger between TELUS and Bell could once again be on the table. A similar deal had first surfaced in mid-2007 when BCE had been looking for buyers. Such a merger would give the combined company a market share of about 60 percent in the wireless space.

While neither company has commented on the rumours, sources at both companies have denied the rumours.

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New details on Rogers Wireless launch of BlackBerry Curve 8900

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Nov 282008
 

RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900

Rogers Wireless has not announced it yet but Boy Genius is reporting that the BlackBerry Curve 8900 is set to land at Rogers Wireless earlier than originally expected. Apparently, the Curve 8900 is already headed to retail channels, suggesting a launch is now imminent.

Pricing will start at CAD$179.99 with a three-year service contract (minimum of CAD$45 per month). Prices will rise to CAD$499.99 with a 2-year contract or CAD$549 without a contract.

The BlackBerry Curve 8900 comes with a 512MHz processor, quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE connectivity (no 3G), a 2.4 inch HVGA+ (480×360 pixels) display, a QWERTY thumb keyboard and trackball navigation system, built-in GPS, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, a 3.2MP auto-focus camera, and a microSDHC (up to 16GB) card slot.

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Asustek plans 10 smartphones for 2009

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Nov 272008
 

If DigiTimes sources are right, we could see some interesting things from Asustek on the mobile phone front in 2009.

Asustek intentions for 2008 had been to release up to 15 new smartphones. But the company committed most of its R&D resources to the development of a Google Android-based phone and the Garmin nuvifone and only managed to launch seven phones instead. A 3G chip platform transition during the year did not help either. It all translated into estimated total shipments of between 300,000 and 400,000 units (compare that to HTC’s estimated shipments of 12 to 13 million units).

The company will grow its R&D department for the upcoming year to allow it to release up to 10 new smartphones. Most of these new models will support both 3G as well as a touch-based user interface.

At this time, Asustek has 700 to 800 people in its R&D department compared to 2,200 at HTC. It’s not clear just how many more staff will be brought on.

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Proporta celebrates Thanksgiving with sale

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Nov 272008
 

Proporta

Proporta has decided to join in the U.S. Thanksgiving celebrations by having a turkey themed sale on their store today. Proporta understand that Thanksgiving is a bit of a big deal across the pond, and would like to mark the occasion by offering our American pals and Canadian friends (although we appreciate we’re a few weeks late on the latter) a yummy 15 percent off all Proporta branded hardware.

To take advantage of the 15 percent sale, enter the promotion code TURKEY on the shopping cart page to receive your discount. The sale is only good on Proporta branded hardware products ordered today (November 27th) from either Canada or the United States.

Happy shopping!

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Nokia to exit Japanese mobile phone market

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Nov 272008
 

Nokia

Nokia, the world’s biggest mobile phone manufacturer, has announced that it will stop selling mobile phones in Japan, the world’s fourth largest market. While it holds a nearly 40 percent global market share, Nokia has only a 0.3 percent share there. It had wanted to reach a goal of double digit share earlier. According to Nokia executive vice president Timo Ihamuotila:

“In the current global economic climate, we have concluded that the continuation of our investment in Japan-specific localized products is no longer sustainable,”

Nokia is not the only foreign company to have struggled against the dominant domestic brands. Part of the challenge is due to the fact that Japanese customers expect features such as TV broadcasting and electronic payment on their phones thanks to the advanced wireless networks already in use there.

Nokia is not completely giving up on Japan though. Its luxury Vertu brand with its gem-encrusted hand-built phones will continue to be sold there.

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T-Mobile begins to offer G1 in white

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Nov 262008
 

T-Mobile

It may have taken a bit of time but T-Mobile has begun to offer the G1 in white. It is in extremely limited supply so if you have been holding out for it, you had better move quickly.

Powered by a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7201A processor, the T-Mobile G1 comes with quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual-band UMTS/HSDPA (1700/2100MHz) connectivity, a 3.2-inch touchscreen HVGA (480 by 320 resolution) display, 192MB RAM and 256MB ROM, a QWERTY thumb keyboard under the sliding display, a trackball for one-handed navigation and one-touch buttons to access popular Google applications, built-in GPS, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (no A2DP), a 3.2MP camera, a microSD card slot (with 1GB card preinstalled) and a 1150mAh battery. It measures 11.7 by 5.5 by 1.6 centimeters (4.6 by 2.16 by 0.62 inches) and weighs 158.8 grams (5.6 ounces) with battery. It also features a digital compass and motion sensor.

As with the black and bronze versions already available, it sells for USD$179.99 with a two-year service contract.

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3G and new colour options for U.S. version of Dell Mini 9

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Nov 262008
 

Dell Inspiron Mini 9

Dell has added a few new options for its Inspiron Mini 9 netbook.

In the U.S., you can now add an AT&T HSPA 7.2Mbps HSPA option for USD$125. It is only available on Windows XP-equipped models due to lack of drivers for Ubuntu Linux.

In both Canada and the U.S., Dell has added also two new colours, Cherry Red and Pretty Pink, and three new designs by urban artist Tristan Eaton. The new colours cost an additional USD$25 and the designs USD$50 (same prices in Canada). These are also available for the Inspiron Mini 12.

Dell Canada also offers a 32GB SSD option for the Mini 9 for CAD$90. I’m not sure why a similar option is not offered on the U.S. site.

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Microsoft to unveil new Zune device in January?

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Nov 262008
 

Microsoft Zune

According to CNBC sources, Microsoft could unveil a completely new Zune device in early 2009. A prototype could be shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

The new device is said to combine elements and technologies from its recent Danger Inc. acquisition and current Zune. Codenamed “Pink”, it could use the Nvidia Tegra platform and offer telephony capabilities.

Let’s assume for argument’s sake that the rumours are all true. It will be very interesting to see how Microsoft will position Windows Mobile next to this new mobile phone. Will it get pushed further into the commercial space, leaving the consumer market to Pink? And how would Microsoft’s hardware manufacturers react? It could be quite the tightrope walking feat!

With CNBC reporting that Pink could be as much as a year away from hitting the street, we will have plenty of time to see how this story unfolds.

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BlackBerry Storm pricing rumours for Bell and TELUS

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Nov 262008
 

RIM BlackBerry Storm

It looks like pricing for both Bell and TELUS on the upcoming BlackBerry Storm has been revealed in two separate leaks.

TELUS could offer the Storm for CAD$299.99 with a three-year service contract, according to The Boy Genius. Prices would rise to CAD$549.99 and CAD$599.99 with a two-year and one-year contract respectively. Price would top out at CAD$649.99 with no contract.

Meanwhile, Bell pricing for the Storm may have been revealed by one of its dealers. A screenshot of a Baka Wireless store page (no longer available) shows the prices as CAD$479.95 with a three-year contract, $529.95 with a two-year contract, CAD$629.95 with a one-year contract and CAD$699.95 with no contract.

Any takers out there at those prices?

BlackBerry Curve 8900 headed to Rogers in early 2009?

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Nov 262008
 

RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900

Boy Genius sources are indicating that Rogers Wireless will begin to offer the BlackBerry Curve 8900 in January 2009. This is not the first time that this rumour has surfaced.

The BlackBerry Curve 8900 is already available in Germany through T-Mobile

The BlackBerry Curve 8900 comes with a 512MHz processor, quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE connectivity (no 3G), a 2.4 inch HVGA+ (480×360 pixels) display, a QWERTY thumb keyboard and trackball navigation system, built-in GPS, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, a 3.2MP auto-focus camera, and a microSDHC (up to 16GB) card slot.

The Boy Genius sources also indicate that a pink BlackBerry Bold is headed to Rogers and that the newly rebranded Fido (Rogers’ discount brand) will offer the BlackBerry 8120 Pearl in December and the BlackBerry 8220 Pearl in early 2009. New data plans could also be unveiled as early as Friday.

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Alltel announces Motorola Hint QA30 slider

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Nov 262008
 

Motorola Hint QA30

Alltel has announced the Motorola Hint QA30, a vertical slider that comes with a full QWERTY keyboard.

“Wireless customers communicate in so many different ways, and they want their cell phones to be a portal to their social networks and the Internet,” said Brian Ullem, vice president of device strategy at Alltel Wireless. “The Motorola Hint gives them a fun and sophisticated way to stay in touch with the people who matter most.”

The Motorola Hint QA30 comes with 1x-EVDO connectivity, a 2.5-inch QVGA display, 128MB RAM and 256MB ROM, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS (with Alltel Navigation), a 2MP camera, a 3.5 mm headset jack, and a microSDHC memory card slot (supporting cards up to 8GB).

Starting on November 28th, Alltel will offer the Motorola Hint for USD$99.99 after a USD$50 mail-in rebate and with a two-year service contract.

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Verizon Wireless announces Samsung Omnia

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Nov 252008
 

Samsung Omnia

Verizon formally announced today that the Samsung Omnia is headed to its wireless network just in time for the holidays.

The Samsung Omnia is powered by Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional and the TouchWiz user interface. It also comes with dual-band (800/1900MHz) CDMA/EV-DO rev.A connectivity, a 3.2-inch wide QVGA (240×400) touchscreen display with haptic feedback and an accelerometer to control screen orientation, a tiny trackpad, 128MB RAM and 256MB ROM, an additional 8GB of internal memory, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS (with VZ Navigator capability), an FM radio with RDS, a 5MP camera with flash and zoom, and a microSDHC expansion slot. On the software side, it also includes a full on-screen QWERTY keyboard and the Opera 9.5 browser.

Starting November 26th, Customers will be able to order the Samsung Omnia online at www.verizonwireless.com or through business sales channels. It will become available through all sales channels including Verizon Wireless Communications Stores starting on December 8th. It will sell for USD$249.99 after a USD$70 mail-in rebate and with a two-year service contract

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Opera Mini 4.2 heads to Google Android

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Nov 252008
 

Opera

Opera announced today that Opera Mini 4.2 is now available. Aside from the enhancements that mobile phone users will gain from the new release, Opera is also the first company to release a browser alternative for Google’s Android operating system. The latter is still a beta version but this is nonetheless a feather in Opera’s cap. According to Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software.:

“With Opera Mini 4.2, we are showing the world that Opera never gets complacent. We will always be improving our product, adding speed, new functionality and features, and ensuring that it is accessible by all. Our support of the Android platform helps fulfill our mission to be available on more platforms, for more devices and reach more users, anywhere in the world.”

Opera Mini 4.2 adds new languages (including Bengali, Mongolian, Punjabi, and others), new skins to personalize your browser, Opera Link support for notes to allow users to sync their notes between the PC and Opera Mini, and improved real time streaming protocol (RTSP) handoff. U.S. users will also see speed improvements of up to 30 percent thanks to the addition of a new Opera Mini server park in the United States.

Opera Mini 4.2 can be downloaded at www.opera.com/mini/ or via the Google Android Marketplace for free.

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