Details of Verizon 2009 product roadmap revealed

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Jan 312009
 

Verizon Wireless

Engadget Mobile has obtained some details about what Verizon has in store for 2009. Not surprisingly, Verizon will focus on increasing the adoption of data plans, both domestically and globally. To help with the latter, Verizon will launch at least one global EV-DO/HSPA modem. Also expected are pre-paid data plans.

There are also a number of details on what we could see in terms of mobile phones:

  • Motorola will be well represented with a new QWERTY phone, a new slider, a new clamshell and a Push-to-Talk model.
  • HTC is supposed to offer up a version of the HTC Touch Diamond and a new device very similar to the HTC Touch HD.
  • The BlackBerry 8830 will be replaced by a new global phone with Bold-like styling.
  • The VX9600 Versa from LG could be aimed at gamers. It will come with a detachable keyboard and add-on modules like a gamepad.

Verizon is also looking at offering netbooks with integrated 3G. The first model could be from HP.

Unfortunately, there are no details as to when these will hit the Verizon site and stores and how much they will go for.

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Opera Mini 4.2 for Android released

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Jan 312009
 

Opera

The final release of Opera Mini 4.2 for Android-powered mobile phones is now available. It first came out as a beta back in November 2008 with a number of features being disabled. The final version now lets you type in URLs directly in the address bar and support video playback. You can also zoom in and out using a double tap.

The final release also comes with a number of bug fixes, including the masking of your passwords as you type them in. Its performance has also been improved.

Opera Mini 4.2 for Google Android is now available as a free download from the Android Marketplace.

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Nokia releases cleanup tool for Curse of Silence

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Jan 302009
 

Nokia

Do you remember that nasty “Curse of Silence” that could stop all incoming SMS and MMS messages on S60 devices? Nokia has now released a free cleanup tool called SMS Cleaner.

While many carriers moved quickly to block such attacks, not all did so the risk remains out there. Nokia’s fix will certainly help but it is not the same as a firmware update that would eliminate the vulnerability entirely. Nokia warns that other “Curse of Silence” messages may be queued up, waiting for you to clean up your phone. If so, you’ll need to rerun the cleanup tool as many times as you get these SMS (not my idea of fun).

The SMS Cleaner is available at www.europe.nokia.com/smscleaner. You can download it directly to your phone or to your PC and then transfer it and install it via Nokia PC Suite or using a memory card.

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Microsoft to launch new Zunes in 2009

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Jan 302009
 

Microsoft Zune

While Zune sales may not exactly be setting records, Microsoft does not appear ready to concede defeat yet. With Apple selling over 22 million iPods last quarter, Microsoft recognizes that there is a market there, even if it has not cracked it yet. So, the company is getting ready for another charge.

New Zunes will be announced in time for the 2009 holiday season, according to Zune marketing director Adam Sohn. No details were given but Sohn promises that they will be a surprising step up from the current models. Will we see something truly unique from Microsoft so that the Zune can have a chance against the Apple iPod juggernaut? Or will it continue to be a distant also-ran?

Sohn makes no mention of the Zune software but I suspect that we will see it jump onto other Microsoft platforms such as the Xbox and Windows Mobile.

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More rumours of Dell smartphone

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Jan 302009
 

Dell

The Wall Street Journal is the latest to report that Dell is about to step into the smartphone arena. According to people familiar with the matter, Dell engineers have been working on the project for at least a year.

Dell is apparently working on prototypes powered by both Google Android and Windows Mobile. On the hardware side, one model features a slide-out keypad while another lacks a physical keyboard and relies on a touchscreen interface instead.

Silicon Valley Insider reports that its own sources indicate that Dell will call its smartphone the “MePhone”. Let’s hope that this is no more than a codename. The same source reports that Dell wants to start selling on September 9, 2009 (09/09/09).

An announcement from Dell could come as early as next month at the Mobile World Congress. But I had a quick look at the Mobile World Congress exhibitor listing and Dell is not listed though. Maybe the announcement will come later. Or not at all if Dell pulls the plug on the project as it recently did on its aborted return to digital media players.

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

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Nortel bows out of WiMAX

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Jan 302009
 

Nortel, which declared bankruptcy earlier this month, is getting out of WiMAX. It announced yesterday that it has decided to discontinue its mobile WiMAX business and end its joint agreement with Alvarion Ltd. Under the agreement, Nortel had sold Alvarion WiMAX products and had contributed funding and resources to Alvarion.

The move promises to allow Nortel to focus on more profitable areas of its business.

“We are taking rapid action to narrow our strategic focus to areas where we can drive maximum return on investment. We will work closely with Alvarion to transition our mobile WiMAX customers to them and assure customers that they will continue to benefit from leading-edge technology and high-quality service,” said Richard Lowe, president of carrier networks, Nortel.

Alvarion, for its part, is analyzing the details of actions it will take to mitigate the impact on its business.

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More Windows Mobile 6.5 screenshots leaked

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Jan 292009
 

Microsoft Windows Mobile

If the first leaked pictures of Windows Mobile 6.5 were not enough, head over to xda-developers.com for a number of new screenshots.

The new pictures give you a better sense of what Microsoft is doing to make Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional more finger-friendly. For example, a couple of shots show new buttons for Internet Explorer Mobile.

Source: GadgetMix.com

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Latest iPhone software update reveals new iPhone?

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Jan 292009
 

Apple

MacRumors.com spent a bit of time digging into the latest iPhone software update and has found evidence of a new iPhone model. Listed on the USBDeviceConfiguration.plist key in the firmware is a new and so far unknown model number. The new designation is iPhone2,1.

Apple uses model numbers to identify the different hardware models. To date, new model numbers have only been rolled out when new models gained new functionality, rather than more minor updates such as capacity upgrades. The original iPhone is known as iPhone 1,1 and the iPhone 3G as iPhone 1,2.

The uptick from 1 to 2 on the first digit could be indicative of a significant upgrade. Whether this is the iPhone nano, an iPhone using a multi-core processor , or something completely different remains to be seen though. The when for this unveiling also remains unknown although Apple could announce it in June, the time it has traditionally unveiled other iPhone models.

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Palm Centro to launch at Bell on February 2nd

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Jan 282009
 

Palm Centro

When the dummy phones start to show up at your local cellular carrier, you know that the real thing cannot be far behind. Such is the case with the Palm Centro which will launch on Bell Mobility’s network on February 2nd.

Pricing will start at CA$49.95 with a three-year contract (during the launch promotion). They will rise to CA$249.95 with a two-year contract, CA$349.95 with a one-year contract, or CA$399.95 with no contract. A minimum CA$45 per month plan is required to qualify for these prices.

Will the Centro be enough to tide you over until the Palm Pre arrives in Canada?

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i-mate to unveil revolutionary mobile device at MWC

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Jan 282009
 

The upcoming MWC is getting more and more promising. Beleaguered manufacturer i-mate has announced that it plans to unveil a new device at the show. The company promises a revolutionary mobile device that’s like nothing else.

It is likely that this new device will be powered by Windows Mobile given i-mate’s history of devices. Other than that, details are slim to none at this point.

Hopefully, i-mate has learned from the unveiling of its Ultimate line. It announced the Ultimate line back in February 2007, promising 5 devices. Months later, no Ultimates had yet hit the street an i-mate announced two new models (the 8502 and 9502). It then took several more months for these to hit the street. By then, much of the excitement over the Ultimate line had vanished.

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Acer smartphone to be announced on February 16th

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Jan 282009
 

We have known for a while that Acer is planning to unveil a new smartphone in Q1 2009. Acer has now extended an invitation for an event on February 16th (during Mobile World Congress).

The invitation mentions a smartphones launch. The plural suggests that we could see more than one model being unveiled.

I hope that Acer will also clarify what will happen with its Glofiish line (acquired when it bought E-TEN last year) during the annoucement.

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Kogan indicates that Android-powered Agora redesign underway

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Jan 272009
 

Kogan Agora Pro

Earlier this month, Kogan was forced to delay the Android-powered Agora and Agora Pro due to potential future interoperability issues. The Agora’s screen size and resolution appeared to be at the root of the problem. But Kogan promised that they were not done with Google Android smartphones.

Today, Ruslan Kogan confirmed to Engadget that his company has begun redesigning the Agora to address the problems and ensure that the new device meets Android requirements. Unfortunately, the confirmation came without any further details, including availability and price.

It’s not even clear at this time whether the new device will carry the Agora name or not.

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Apple releases iPhone 2.2.1 software update

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Jan 272009
 

Apple iPhone 3G

Apple has released a new iPhone software update. Version 2.2.1, now available via iTunes, delivers a more stable version of Apple Safari, and fixes an issue where some images saved from Mail do not display correctly in the Camera Roll.

The iPod touch received the same update but with an additional fix for the issue that caused some Apple Lossless audio files to skip during playback.

Those who have jailbroken or unlocked iPhones may want to wait a bit until they hear that the update won’t cause any nasty surprises.

General Mobile planning dual-SIM Google Android mobile phone?

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Jan 272009
 

General Mobile DSTL1

Dual-SIM phones are not new to General Mobile, having released the DSTW1 about a year ago. It is about to launch new dual-SIM models, perhaps at the upcoming Mobile World Congress. One in particular, the DSTL1, appears quite interesting.

According to the specifications published, it is possible that the DSTL1 could be powered by Google Android. While the specific OS is not revealed, it will use the Linux 2.6 kernel, the same as Google Android.

The DSTL1 will be powered by a 624MHz Marvell processor. It will come with tri-band (900/1800/1900MHz) GSM/GPRS/EDGE connectivity, a 3-inch WQVGA touchscreen display, 128MB RAM and 256MB ROM with an additional 4G of internal memory, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR/A2DP, an FM radio,a 5MP auto-focus camera, and a 1200mAh battery.

The General Mobile DSTL1 should ship in Q3 2009. Pricing information has not been revealed yet.

The other two upcoming dual-SIM models are the DST700 and the DST250.

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LG Canada recalls LG 150 mobile phone

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Jan 272009
 

LG Canada is voluntarily recalling some 45,000 LG 150 mobile phones after it was decertified by Industry Canada. The LG 150 failed a radio frequency exposure test performed recently. Specifically, it failed the Radio Standards Specifications 102 (RSS 102), Radio Frequency Exposure Compliance of Radiocommunication Apparatus.

Fortunately, Health Canada has determined that the past and current use of the LG 150 should not pose immediate or long-term health concerns

The LG 150 was sold in Canada by Bell Mobility, including partners such as Virgin Mobile, MTS Allstream, SaskTel, Aliant Mobility, KMTS, NorthernTel, Sogetel, Télébec and TBayTel. Customers should contact their carrier to arrange an exchange for a comparable LG model. The exchange program will run until March 31, 2009. Additional information is also available at www.lg.ca/lg150 or by calling 1-866-940-6508.

No other LG phones are affected by the recall.

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