Google announces SDK support for Android 2.0

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Oct 272009
 

We knew that Android 2.0 (codename Eclair) was on its way with all the Droid advertising hyping it. Today, Google announced that its Android SDK now supports Android 2.0.

Android 2.0 brings new developer APIs for sync, Bluetooth, and a few other areas. Using the new sync, account manager and contacts APIs, you can write applications to enable users to sync their devices to various contact sources. You can also give users a faster way to communicate with others by embedding Quick Contact within your application. With the new Bluetooth API, you can now easily add peer-to-peer connectivity or gaming to your applications.

Google also expects release a minor version update of Android 2.0 by the end of the year.

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TELUS HSPA device pricing revealed?

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Oct 272009
 

TELUS Mobility

Yesterday, TELUS announced that it would launch its HSPA network on November 5th. They also revealed a number of devices that will launch at the time but did not provide any pricing except for the Apple iPhone. But it did not take long for the pricing to leak:

  • Device – No contract pricing / 1-year / 2-year / 3-year contract
  • LG Chocolate – CA$499.99 / CA $449.99 / CA$399.99 / CA$99.99
  • BlackBerry Bold 9700 – CA$649.99 / CA $599.99 / CA$549.99 / CA$249.99
  • HTC Hero – CA$499.99 / CA $449.99 / CA$399.99 / CA$99.99
  • Nokia E71 – CA$329.99 / CA $279.99 / CA$229.99 / CA$29.99
  • Sierra Wireless USB 306 Modem – CA$249.99 / CA $129.99 / CA$79.99 / CA$79.99

All phones will require a voice and data package of CA$50 or greater per month.

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HTC Dragon headed to Verizon as HTC Passion?

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Oct 262009
 

That mysterious Android-powered HTC device spotted last week and suspected to be the HTC Dragon looks like it could be headed to Verizon. According to The Unlockr.com, this CDMA-based variant will be known as the HTC Passion.

The HTC Passion is expected to be an Android version of the HTC HD2 with a Snapdragon processor and Google Android 2.0.

It appears that Verizon is looking to have some user interface consistency among its Android-powered devices, hence the buttons and notification bar that looks similar to that of the Verizon Droid.

Availability details are slim but it appears that Verizon could announce the HTC Passion before the end of the year.

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HTC goes global with Quietly Brilliant brand

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Oct 262009
 

We first caught the new ‘Quietly Brilliant’ brand on HTC’s U.S. site a couple of weeks ago. Today, HTC announced that its new brand was going global in a new advertising campaign that would span some 20 countries. Featuring the tagline ‘You don’t need to get a phone. You need a phone that gets you.’, the YOU campaign will focus on “driving broad, global visibility and understanding of HTC’s unique brand promise – that it’s all about YOU, the consumer, and in fact not the device."

The campaign will appear on TV, billboards and other outdoor campaigns, and major web sites. Up to 95 percent of U.S. cellphone users are expected to see at least one YOU campaign ad by the end of the year.

HTC’s new campaign will run well into next year although it will slow down after the holidays. It will then ramp back up as needed when HTC introduces new devices. The ad campaigns will refer customer to carrier partner sites as HTC does not sell phones directly to customers.

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Sprint announces November 15th availability for Palm Pixi

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Oct 262009
 

Palm Pixi

Sprint announced today that it will begin to offer the Palm Pixi on November 15th.

“We are excited to offer the new Palm Pixi to our customers in time for the holiday season, and it’s a great addition to Sprint’s industry-leading device portfolio,” said Kevin Packingham, senior vice president – Product Development, Sprint. "Simply put, this phone is fun and easy to use; with its multi-touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard, it’s a great device for messaging and social networking at a price everyone can enjoy, and delivers so many of the great features people love about Palm Pre in a fantastic new form factor, making it a huge hit for consumers."

The Palm Pixi is powered by a Qualcomm MSM7627 processor. It comes with dual-band CDMA and EV-DO Rev. A connectivity, a 2.63-inch touchscreen display (320 by 400) with a ‘gestures area’ and support for multi-touch, a QWERTY keyboard, 8GB of internal user storage, built-in GPS, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR with A2DP, a 2MP camera with fixed-focus and LED flash, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microUSB connector, and a 1150mAh battery.

Sprint will offer the Palm Pixi for US$99.99 after a US$50 instant rebate and US$100 mail-in rebate and a two-year service contract (with unlimited data such as Sprint’s Everything Data plans).

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Verizon announces BlackBerry Storm2 and BlackBerry OS 5.0 upgrade for original Storm

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Oct 262009
 

 RIM BlackBerry Storm2

The oft-rumoured launch by Verizon of the BlackBerry Storm2 has now been confirmed. The company announced today that the BlackBerry Storm2 will be available as of October 28th.

The BlackBerry Storm2 with BlackBerry OS 5.0 evolves the BlackBerry touchscreen platform with hundreds of hardware and software enhancements – including new SurePress "clickable" display technology and built-in Wi-Fi – delivering the exceptional multimedia experience and communications capabilities customers have come to expect from their BlackBerry smartphones.

Verizon will offer the BlackBerry Storm2 for US$179.99 after a US$100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year contract.

Verizon also announced that existing BlackBerry Storm customers will be able to upgrade to BlackBerry OS 5.0 as of today. The upgrade is available via Web software load (www.blackberry.com/update), BlackBerry Desktop Manager, or from Verizon Wireless’ download site (www.verizonwireless.com/storm).

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TELUS to launch HSPA network on November 5th

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Oct 262009
 

TELUS

It’s confirmed: TELUS Mobility will launch its new HSPA network on November 5th.

The new next generation wireless network is the latest enhancement to TELUS’ multi-network mobile strategy, offering customers the technology for increased wireless data download speeds of up to 21 megabits per second, access to a world class selection of compelling mobile devices and international roaming service to more than 200 countries. This initiative also ensures a smoother transition to fourth generation (4G) wireless technology known as long term evolution (LTE).

With the launch, TELUS will offer a number of devices, including the iPhone 3GS and 3G, the HTC Hero, LG New Chocolate (BL40), BlackBerry Bold 9700, Nokia E71, and the Sierra 306 Internet key. Other devices, including some from Huawei and Samsung and some that will be offered on an exclusive basis, are also expected in time for the holidays,.

Pricing and plan information was not revealed but TELUS did confirm that the Apple 32GB and 16GB iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G will be offered as of November 5th for CA$299, CA$199 and CA$99 with select three-year contracts with a Smartphone voice and data rate plan of CA$50 or greater per month).

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Ontario ban on cellphones while driving begins today

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Oct 262009
 

If you live in Ontario, today is the day that Bill 118 goes into effect. Bill 118, known as “The Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act” bans the use of hand-held devices and viewing display screens unrelated to the driving task. Drivers are now not allowed to use hand-held wireless communication devices and hand-held electronic entertainment devices unless used in hands-free mode. The ban covers activities such as talking, dialing, texting, and typing emails.

Exceptions include 911 calls, calls while parked on the side of the road, and GPS devices providing voice directions. Emergency services such as ambulances are also exempt.

Drivers caught by the police face a CA$500 fine although the police may simply give drivers a warning for the first three months. Drivers could also be charged careless driving laws and face additional fines, demerit points, license suspension or jail.

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TELUS HSPA network launch on November 5th?

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Oct 262009
 

TELUS

The Boy Genius Report is reporting today that one of its sources has revealed that TELUS will officially launch its HSPA network on November 5th. An announcement is imminent.

The same source also reports that on the same day, TELUS will begin to offer the Apple iPhone 3GS (CA$299 and CA$199 for the 32GB and 16GB models respectively with service contracts) and 3G (CA$99 with service contract). Other devices from HTC, Huawei, LG, Nokia, RIM, Samsung, and Sierra Wireless are also on tap. No word though on specific pricing and plans yet.

Stay tuned for more…

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What BlackBerry devices will be upgradeable to OS 5.0?

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Oct 252009
 

With the imminent launch of the BlackBerry Storm2 and BlackBerry Bold 9700, an official BlackBerry OS 5.0 announcement by Research In Motion is expected to take place fairly soon. A support document published by RIM has identified the BlackBerries that will be upgradeable:

  • BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8200 series smartphones
  • BlackBerry Curve 8330 smartphones
  • BlackBerry Curve 8350i smartphones
  • BlackBerry Curve 8900 smartphones
  • BlackBerry Bold 9000 smartphones
  • BlackBerry Storm 9500 series smartphones
  • BlackBerry Tour 9630 smartphones

The support document outlines a couple of caveats. The upgrade will be offered at the discretion of carriers and devices must have more than 64MB of memory to support this version of BlackBerry Device Software. (i.e., no upgrade for some older Curves such as the 8300, 8310, and 8320).

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Nokia delays N900 shipments to November

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Oct 232009
 

Nokia N900

Nokia will not ship the Nokia N900 in October as initially announced. The shipment date has been pushed back to sometime in November, according to Peter Schneider, Nokia’s Head of Marketing, Maemo Devices.

The Nokia N900 is a great example of what we and the open source community have been able to achieve with Maemo software. We are working closely with open source developers and for example, at the Maemo Summit in October, we loaned 300 pre-production units to get more feedback from the community. This feedback is extremely important to us and as such we also want to provide the best user experience with the Nokia N900.

We expect it to start shipping during November 2009.

It sounds like Nokia is ironing out a few last bugs…

The Nokia N900 should sell for about €500 (about US$715) before subsidies and rebates in “select markets”.

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Amazon announces free Kindle application for PCs

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Oct 222009
 

Amazon announced today that it will soon offer a free application called “Kindle for PC” that will let users read Kindle books on their PCs.

“Kindle for PC is the perfect companion application for folks who own a Kindle or Kindle DX,” said Ian Freed, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “Kindle for PC is also a great way for people around the world to read the most popular books of today even if they don’t yet have a Kindle.”

Kindle for PC will offer a similar experience to that of the Kindle:

  • Purchase, download, and read hundreds of thousands of books available in the Kindle Store
  • Access their entire library of previously purchased Kindle books stored on Amazon’s servers for free
  • Choose from over 10 different font sizes and adjust words per line
  • Add and automatically synchronize bookmarks and last page read
  • View notes and highlights marked on Kindle and Kindle DX
  • Zoom in and out of text with a pinch of the fingers (Windows 7 users only)
  • Turn pages with a finger swipe (available in a future release for Windows 7 users)
  • Support for Amazon’s Whispernet technology to automatically save and synchronize bookmarks and last page read across devices

Kindle for PC will be available for free starting next month.

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Bell Mobility lands Nokia N97 exclusive in Canada?

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Oct 222009
 

Nokia N97

Official confirmation is yet to come but it appears that Bell Mobility has scored the exclusive for the Nokia N97 in Canada. MobileSyrup.com has landed a picture of a Bell presentation that shows that it will be a Bell exclusive (presumably for their HSPA network launching in November).

The N97 comes with HSDPA connectivity, a 3.5-inch 16:9 widescreen touchscreen display that tilts above a slide-out QWERTY keyboard (virtual touch input also supported), 32 GB of on-board memory, integrated A-GPS, Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth, an electronic compass, a 5MP camera, a microSDHC card slot (supporting cards up to 16GB), and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

There is no information yet on availability, pricing and the length of the exclusive.

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Nokia sues Apple over iPhone patent infringments

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Oct 222009
 

Nokia

Nokia announced today that it is suing Apple alleging that the iPhone infringes on some Nokia wireless communication patents. The suit covers some ten patents for GSM, UMTS (3G WCDMA) and wireless LAN standards and cover wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption.

“The basic principle in the mobile industry is that those companies who contribute in technology development to establish standards create intellectual property, which others then need to compensate for,” said Ilkka Rahnasto, Vice President, Legal & Intellectual Property at Nokia. “Apple is also expected to follow this principle. By refusing to agree appropriate terms for Nokia’s intellectual property, Apple is attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation.”

Don’t expect a speedy resolution to this one…

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Amazon merges U.S. and International Kindle models into one

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Oct 222009
 

Amazon Kindle 2

Going forward, Amazon will offer a single 6-inch Kindle model which it will offer in both the U.S. and internationally (sadly still not in Canada though). Amazon also reduced the price from US$279 to US$259, the price of its now discontinued U.S. model. Customers who had bought the international version earlier will or have received an email announcing the price drop:

Hello,

Good news! Due to strong customer demand for our newest Kindle with U.S. and international wireless, we are consolidating our family of 6-inch Kindles. As part of this consolidation, we are lowering the price of the Kindle you just purchased from $279 down to $259. You don’t need to do anything to get the lower price–we are automatically issuing you a $20 refund. This refund should be processed in the next few days and will appear as a credit on your next billing statement.

We’ll also send you a follow-up e-mail to confirm the refund once it has been completed.

We hope you enjoy your new Kindle. Please send us your feedback at: Kindle-feedback@amazon.com

Sincerely,

The Kindle Team

The converged model (if I can call it that) comes with HSPA wireless connectivity that works in the U.S. as well as internationally, eliminating the need for a U.S.-only model. Other specifications remain unchanged.

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