BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 launches at Bell Mobility

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Feb 282009
 

RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230

Bell Mobility has launched a CDMA version of the BlackBerry Flip. This makes it the first CDMa-based carrier to offer the BlackBerry Flip which had launched in GSM configuration last November.

The BlackBerry Flip 8230 comes with dual-band EV-DO Rev. A connectivity, two displays (2.4-inch QVGA internal and 1.6-inch external), a 20-key SureType QWERTY keyboard and trackball navigation, 128MB Flash memory, GPS, Bluetooth 2.0, a 2MP camera, and a 900mAh battery. Bell also throws in a 2GB microSD card with NHL content preloaded and a free NHL decal.

Bell pricing starts at CA$29.95 with a three-year service contract. Prices jump to CA$349.95 with a two-year contract, CA$449.95 with a one-year contract and CA$499.95 with no contract.

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HTC releases HTC Touch Diamond ROM update

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Feb 282009
 

HTC Touch Diamond

HTC has released a new ROM for the HTC Touch Diamond. The list of fixes and enhancements is the same as that of a ROM update released in January. HTC asks that anyone who installed this update before February 27th reapply the update. It’s not clear what caused HTC to update and reissue this ROM.

The new HTC Touch Diamond ROM is available in English (Pan Europe and UK), Italian, Dutch, German, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Norwegian, and Finnish.

Note: The update will replace the current ROM image and will erase partnership and all user data and programs on your device. Be sure to back everything up before you start.

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VITO Technology updates Winterface

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Feb 282009
 

VITO Winterface

VITO Technology has released an updated version of Winterface, its user interface shell for Windows Mobile devices. It comes with a launcher, a task manager, and multitude of Today plug-ins to let you customize the interface as you want it.

Winterface 1.3 adds new features like a new skin with colourful icons and 3D images, the ability to use a full screen mode that can hide the standard top Windows Mobile bar, support for Opera Mobile favourites, and a host of bug fixes, including for SMS notifications and the Weather icon.

VITO Winterface is available for US$19.95 from our affiliate Handango. A trial version is also available.

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ASUS announces P835 mobile phone with 3.5-inch display

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Feb 272009
 

ASUS P835

ASUS is the latest manufacturer to offer a mobile phone with a large 3.5-inch display.

Designed for business-savvy professionals who appreciate a screen as big as their ambitions, the P835 is equipped with a large 3.5″ touchscreen that runs at WVGA resolution – offering five times the number of pixels of most phones and delivering the best document, photo, movie and website viewing experience possible.

The ASUS P835 is powered by a 528MHz Qualcomm 7201A processor and Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional with an updated version of the Glide user interface. It comes with quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri band (900/1900/2100MHz) HSPA/UMTS connectivity, the aforementioned 3.5-inch WVGA touchscreen display, 288MB RAM and 256MB ROM with an additional 4GB of internal storage, GPS/AGPS, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, a microSDHC expansion slot, a 5MP auto-focus camera, and a 1100mAh battery.

On the software side, the P835 comes with Opera Mobile and an updated version of Glide, the ASUS user interface for Windows Mobile. Glide has been given a significant facelift over its predecessor, including new icons and a new theme. It also comes with a number of keyboard options including 2-key, half QWERTY and full QWERTY virtual keyboard modes.

ASUS has yet to reveal pricing and availability details.

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3G quad-band BlackBerry Bold available in Japan?

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Feb 272009
 

RIM BlackBerry Bold

It looks like the Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo may have managed to convince Research In Motion to include support for quad-band 3G in the Japanese version of the Bold. Then again, it may all be a misunderstanding due to conflicting information.

The BlackBerry Bold page on the NTT DoCoMo site showed “FOMA Plus Area”, suggesting that the Bold covered not only the 850, 1900 and 2100MHz bands we expected but also the 800MHz band used in some rural areas of Japan. Interestingly, the Japanese RIM specification sheet indicates that FOMA Plus Area (800 MHz) is not available. So, does the Japanese Bold claim bragging rights as the first quad-band 3G device or not? Granted, I am relying on Google translations of both pages so something could have gotten lost in the translation.

The point may be moot as DoCoMo has pulled the BlackBerry Bold due to overheating issues while charging. RIM has confirmed the issue and has indicated that it is limited to the Japanese Bolds which had only gone on sale last week.

Source: The Boy Genius

ASUS to launch new ultra-thin netbook in April?

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Feb 272009
 

According to the Chinese-language Commercial Times, ASUS will unveil a new ultra-thin netbook in April. Reportedly called the Eee PC Shell, it will feature a 10.1-inch panel and higher specifications than the Eee PC S101. Details are slim but the Shell is expected to be lighter and offer better battery life.

The Eee PC Shell will apparently sell for between about US$490 and US$575, presumably based on configuration.

The same report indicates that Acer is set to unveil its own ultra-thin netbook in April.

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Bell Mobility launches Palm Treo Pro

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Feb 272009
 

Palm Treo Pro

Earlier rumours turned out to be right. Bell Mobility announced today that it has begun to offer the Palm Treo Pro.

Treo Pro offers Bell Mobility clients simplicity and productivity – including email, Wi-Fi, GPS, web and CDMA EV-DO Rev. A network capabilities – to meet the needs of businesses and end users alike. Treo Pro’s thin design blends a flush, high-resolution colour touch screen, one-touch buttons and a full QWERTY keyboard. The removable battery packs up to four hours of talk time and enough strength for the business user’s needs, offering a powerful yet effortless mobile experience.

The CDMA version of the Palm Treo Pro is powered by a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7501A processor and Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional. It comes with dual-band EvDO Rev. A connectivity, a 320×320 touchscreen display, 128MB RAM and 512MB ROM (300MB user available), a QWERTY thumb keyboard, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi with one-touch Wi-Fi button, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, built-in GPS, a 2.0MP camera, a microSDHC card slot, a 3.5mm stereo headset jack, and a 1500mAh battery. It is available in Obsidian black.

Bell is offering the Palm Treo Pro for CA$199.95 with a three-year service plan (higher than rumours had suggested). The price will jump to CA$449.95 with a two-year plan, CA$549.95 with a one-year plan, and CA$599.95 with no contract. All service plans require a minimum voice and data plan of CA$45 per month. The Palm Canada site shows 3-year pricing starting at CA$99.95 during a promotion that runs until March 31st.

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Dell Inspiron 10 now available for pre-order

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Feb 262009
 

Dell Inspiron Mini 10

As expected, the QVC shopping network is no longer the only place to order the Dell Inspiron Mini 10. As of today, you can also pre-order it directly from Dell (in the United States).

The Dell Mini 10 will be offered with a choice of either the Intel Atom Z520 or Z530. Other standard features will include a 10.1-inch display (16:9 aspect ratio), 1GB RAM (not upgradeable), a 160GB hard drive, an integrated 1.3MP webcam, 802.11 g Wi-Fi, a 4-in-1 media reader, an HDMI out port, and a 3-cell battery. It will be available in Obsidian Black, Alpine White, Promise Pink, Cherry Red, Ice Blue and Jade Green.

A number of other options will be available later on. These include the choice of Ubuntu, RAM upgrades, a higher resolution 720P display panel, an integrated TV tuner, Bluetooth, integrated GPS, and mobile broadband (the Ovation U727 Sprint Mobile Broadband USB Modem is already being offered).

Shipment dates appear to have slipped a little as the Dell site shows a Preliminary Ship Date of April 2nd. Prices start at US$399.

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Indigo launches Shortcovers ebook store

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Feb 262009
 

Indigo Books and Music today launched a new ebook service that takes a different approach than that taken by Amazon with its Kindle. Rather than focusing on dedicated hardware to purchase and read ebooks, the service will let users download books onto their smartphones or computers.

Shortcovers is launching with about 50,000 book titles priced from $4.99 to $19.99. A number of free public domain books can also be downloaded. Customers can also get individual book chapters for $0.99. Some 200,000 sample chapters are also available for free.

Shortcovers plans to add more books as well as magazines and newspapers later this year. Yearly subscriptions, individual issues and even specific articles will be available.

The Shortcovers application is now available for the iPhone and BlackBerry devices ((Storm, Bold and Curve). A beta version is also available for the Android-powered T-Mobile G1.

Unlike the Amazon Kindle service, Shortcovers will be available in both Canada and the United States. There are plans to expand further in 2009 as well.

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Details on revised Android-powered Kogan Agora

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Feb 252009
 

Gizmodo got to spend a bit of time with a prototype of the aborted Android-powered Kogan Agoras earlier this week. At the same time, they had a chat with Ruslan Kogan who revealed plans for the future revamped Kogan Agora.

Few details were revealed but the new Agora could ditch the QWERTY thumb keyboard and 2.5-inch touchscreen display in favour of a larger 3.8-inch touchscreen display. It would run on an updated version of Android (codenamed Cupcake) which will feature a virtual keyboard.

No hint about a release date was given.

Let’s hope that Kogan has more luck with this second iteration of the Agora than it did with the first one.

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Microsoft confirms 2010 release for Windows Mobile 7

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Feb 252009
 

Microsoft Windows Mobile

To date, Microsoft has been coy about when Windows Mobile 7 would be released. All we had to go on were rumours suggesting a 2010 release. That changed yesterday when, during the latest “Microsoft Strategic Update Meeting” conference call, Steve Ballmer confirmed that Windows Mobile 7 is coming next year.

Ballmer noted that there is increasing integration between Windows and Windows Mobile.

Windows, Windows Mobile, and those two will become I’d say closer in many ways. There’s still a real distinction between what’s a phone and what’s a PC. And yet the amount of technology that can be shared across that border continues to go up.

You can also look forward to more services, including the Zune Entertainment Service which will span PCs, phones and televisions.

Ballmer also said that Windows Mobile remains one of Microsoft’s key business areas. As such, Microsoft is currently spending about 4 percent of its operating expenditures on the platform. It also employs about 2000 people. In comparison, RIM has about 2900. But Ballmer recognized that Windows Mobile is still “somewhat unprofitable”.

Ballmer also once again reiterated that Microsoft has no plans to make its own phones. It remains committed to the licensing model currently in place.

The full transcript (MS Word document) is available from Microsoft.

i-mate unveils Centurion and Legionnaire mobile phones at MWC

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Feb 252009
 

i-mate Centurion

During MWC, i-mate showed off three new devices. The i-mate 810-F has already been announced. The other two devices, the Centurion and the Legionnaire, are still in development but show that i-mate is trying something new in an attempt to come back from a number of setbacks over the last couple of years.

The size of a credit card, the Centurion could be the smallest Windows Mobile phone. Despite its size, it packs a full QWERTY keyboard (with keys larger than those on the Nokia E71), HSDPA connectivity and a 2MP camera. It is expected to run Windows Mobile 6.5 Standard. It should be available in the summer for about US$550.

The Legionnaire appears to be a much more conventional device. Sporting a large touchscreen, and an 800MHz processor, it looks like yet another iPhone competitor. Where i-mate’s vision stands out is when you pair the Legionnaire with a shell-device called the Warrior. The touchscreen Legionnaire becomes a trackpad for the device packing a 10-inch XVGA display, a full-sized keyboard, additional ports and slots. It is also expected to run Windows Mobile 6.5.

The Legionnaire is also expected to sell in the US$500 price range. The Warrior shell will cost an additional US$199 or so.

Let’s hope that i-mate is able to bring them to market on schedule.

Google Mobile App now available on Windows Mobile

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Feb 242009
 

Google has launched a version of its Google Mobile App for Windows Mobile. Not only does it give you Google searching right from the Today screen but it provides easy access to a number of Google applications as well. It can also be added to the Start menu or configured to work with a hardware button.

Google Mobile App is available for all devices running Windows Mobile in the US, UK, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany. Versions are also available for iPhone, iPod touch and BlackBerry devices.

You can download Google Mobile App for Windows Mobile by visiting http://m.google.com/search with your Windows Mobile device.

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Canadian mobile phone shipments top 3 million in Q4 2008

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Feb 242009
 

Some 3.1 million mobile phones were shipped in Canada in the last quarter of 2008. While shipments grew 3 percent over the previous quarter, they dropped 8.4 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. Canadian results essentially followed a similar global trend. Canadian demand for smartphones and the iPhone were one of the few bright spots.

IDC Canada also expects that the Canadian mobile phone market will struggle to grow this year (again following a similar global trend) and possibly even next year.

According to IDC Canada’s “Quarterly Mobile Device Tracker” report, Samsung took top spot in market share, shipping 793,500 handsets in the quarter. This marked Samsung’s fourth consecutive quarter at the top.

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Marvell unveils plug-sized computer

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Feb 242009
 

Marvell Plug computer

Marvell announced today its Plug Computing initiative. The Plug computer, not much larger than many power adapters, is designed to run all the time and power network-based
services that normally require a dedicated personal computer. It consumes less than 5 watts, making it a power efficient alternative to typical PCs for any number of applications.

Unlike other embedded networking products, a plug computer is designed to offer PC-like performance. The plug computer simplifies the porting of existing applications and the development of new ones.

The SheevaPlug uses a 1.2GHz Marvell Kirkwood processor and comes with 512MB RAM and 512MB of flash memory. It runs on Linux and can potentially run any service required of it. It connects to a network using a Gigabit Ethernet and comes with a USB port, the latter allowing developers to do some simple debugging and reprogramming. The whole thing comes in a plastic case that also contains a universal power supply.

Marvell hopes that its Plug computer will be used by other device manufacturers to offer a host of applications and services, including digital content sharing and management. For example, you could easily plug an external hard drive to it. You could just as easily plug a webcam into it.

If you want to experiment for yourself, the SheevaPlug development kit (with included plug computer) is available for US$99 through www.marvell.com.

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