AT&T and LG unveil the LG eXpo

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Nov 302009
 

LG eXpo

Some of us in Toronto may have been among the first to see LG’s upcoming 1GHz Snapdragon-powered smartphone but AT&T appears set to be the first carrier to launch it in North America. Known as the LG eXpo, it will be available starting on December 7th. It will also be the first device in North America that will come with an optional integrated pico projector.

The LG eXpo is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional with LG’s S-Class user interface. It comes with quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band (850/1900/2100MHz) UMTS/HSDPA connectivity, a 3.2-inch WVGA touchscreen display, a 4-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, a 5MP auto-focus camera with flash, a microSD card slot, a d-pad doubling as a biometric scanner, and a 1,500mAh battery.

AT&T will sell the LG eXpo for US$199.99 after a US$100 mail-in rebate and a two-year contract (minimum US$69.99 plan required). The optional LG Mobile Projector will be available for US$179.99.

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Bell introduces Novatel Wireless MiFi 2372 Mobile Hotspot

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Nov 302009
 

Novatel MiFi 2372

The Novatel Wireless MiFi 2372 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot is now available from Bell Mobility. The device creates a Wi-Fi hotspot that lets up to five devices located within 30 feet (about 9 meters) connect to the Bell HSPA network delivering download speeds up to 7.2 megabits per second with enhanced performance for simultaneous uploads/downloads and large file transfers.

“Bell Mobility continues to introduce innovative wireless devices that increase productivity by delivering fast and reliable mobile Internet access,” said Adel Bazerghi, Senior Vice President of Products at Bell Mobility. “We’re excited to be the first wireless provider to introduce Canadians to the Novatel Wireless MiFi 2372 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot and the convenience of portable Wi-Fi access.”

The Novatel MiFi 2372 also comes with a microSD card slot and supports cards up to 16GB in capacity.

Bell is offering the Novatel MiFi 2372 Mobile Hotspot for CA$99.95 with a three-year contract, CA$149.95 with a two-year contract, or CA$199.95 with a one-year or no contract.

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Caught up in the hell of cell phone activation with TELUS

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Nov 302009
 

TELUS Mobility

I’ll post more details once this adventure ends (whatever the outcome may be) but I’ve been going in circles for the last couple of days with TELUS looking for help in activating a phone with them. So far, they’re doing a stellar job of convincing me to stay with my current provider.

In short, with their HSPA network up and running, I decided to port one of my two numbers from Rogers over to them and get a HTC Hero. I now have the Hero but porting the number over is turning out to be a Herculean task fraught in frustration.

If the new players can deliver on their promises of focusing on customer satisfaction, they might find a flood of new customers knocking at their door when they launch.

I’ll keep everyone posted on my adventure!

Samsung tops sales of 50 million touchscreen mobile phones

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Nov 302009
 

Samsung sold its 50 millionth touchscreen mobile phone earlier this month. Clearly demonstrating the growth in touchscreen phones is the fact that about 40 million of those were sold this year.

“We’ve seen remarkable growth in full touch screen mobiles this year as consumers increasingly enjoy the user experience and convenience that these devices put at their finger tips,” said JK Shin, Executive Vice President and Head of Samsung Electronics’ Mobile Communications Division, Samsung Electronics.

“Samsung’s ability to deliver devices that appeal to a broad demographic of users has enabled us to accelerate the evolution toward full touch mobiles as mainstream devices. Samsung will continue to expand the global full touch phone market by introducing phones tailored to individual regions and user requirement with stylish designs, intuitive UIs and cutting edge features,” he said.

Samsung also looks set to exceed its 2009 sales target of 200 million mobile phones with 20 percent of sales being touchscreen phones (up from 5 percent in 2008).

Europe was responsible for the bulk of Samsung’s touchscreen phone sales, accounting for some 19 million devices. The United States and China follow with 6.3 million and 3.4 million respectively.

Google Phone rumours resurface

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Nov 302009
 

Google Android

Rumours of Google building its own mobile device for its Android operating system have been around as long as rumours of the operating system itself. Despite steadfast denials from Google, they have now resurfaced as Gizmodo reports that the Google Phone is “a certainty.”

According to their source, the Google Phone will not only consist of Google-branded hardware but a yet-unseen version of Android as well. Details are slim but the device will apparently feature a large display. Early prototypes are expected to arrive at Google in the next few weeks, suggesting that we could see something final sometime in 2010.

Also interesting is an offhand remark that the current Android versions are not the “real” ones. What is that supposed to mean?

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Google Android 2.1 spotted on HTC Hero

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Nov 302009
 

Google Android

Google Android 2.0 is still a rare sight, showing up only on the Verizon DROID and Milestone so far. HTC has confirmed it will offer it on the HTC Hero but the update is not available yet.

Now come screenshots of an HTC Hero running Android 2.1 with the HTC Sense UI. There are no details beyond what the pictures reveal (which is little). Hopefully these are legitimate and indicative of an imminent general release.

Could Android 2.1 be the end-of-year minor version update promised by Google or will there be more to it? Will HTC offer HTC Hero users an upgrade to Android 2.1 rather than 2.0? And what about other devices running older Android versions? So many questions for so few pictures…

Note: The ‘Read more about this story’ link is in French. [Google translation]

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Lenovo to buy back mobile device division

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Nov 292009
 

LenovoLenovo is buying back the mobile-phone division that it sold off last year. It sold the money-losing division in January 2008 for US$100 million. It will now buy it back for US$200 million.

Today’s announcement signals that Lenovo is gearing up its efforts in the burgeoning mobile Internet market in China. Lenovo Mobile now ranks No.3 in China’s mobile handset market and is the No.1 domestic brand.

The handset division made a profit last year as demand in China continued to grow. Estimates now suggest that China mobile Internet market could top US$16 billion by 2014.

Lenovo will first focus on growing its market share in China. Later, it will offer its handsets globally.

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Nokia X6 now shipping but not to North America

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Nov 292009
 

Nokia X6

The Nokia X6, announced back in September, has begun to ship and will be initially available in Europe, Eurasia and Middle-East and Africa. It will be bundled with an ‘all-you-can-eat’ music offering.

In addition to the unlimited access to millions of tracks available in Nokia Music Store, Comes With Music subscribers will be able to download exclusive content directly to their device or PC from both, international superstars and favorite local artists. Fans will have access to bonus tracks, remixes and other additional content, free of charge as part of the Comes With Music subscription.

The Nokia X6 is powered by a 434MHz processor and the Symbian OS with S60 5th edition 5.0. It comes with tri-band (900/1900/2100MHz) GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band (850/1900/2100MHz) HSDPA connectivity, a 3.2-inch 16:9 nHD touchscreen display, 32GB of internal memory, a 5MP camera with dual-LED flash, aGPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, and a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack.

The Nokia X6 will sell for €450 before taxes and subsidies.

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WIND Mobile launches Canadian wireless awareness campaign

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Nov 272009
 

WIND Mobile

WIND Mobile, whose Canadian launch has been stalled by the recent CRTC decision that its ownership structure did not meet requirements, is launching an advertising campaign to let Canadians know that they deserve better wireless service.

“The heart of the issue is that Canadians pay some of the highest rates for some of the most complained-about wireless service in the world,” said Anthony Lacavera, Chairman of Globalive and WIND Mobile. “This campaign is about focusing the conversation to the need for real wireless competition in Canada in order to lower prices, increase penetration and finally deliver the kind of customer service that has been sorely lacking for Canadians.”

The campaign will focus on the themes of high prices (on average 60 percent higher than those in the U.S.), high customer dissatisfaction with current carriers, a weak wireless industry with low penetration rates, and an oligopoly that stifles competition.

In a separate post that addresses some common questions, WIND Mobile acknowledges that it may not launch by Christmas as a result of the CRTC ruling and the current review of this decision by Industry Minister Tony Clement. It also expects that DAVE and Public Mobile will face similar CRTC scrutiny before their launches.

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Samsung to unveil bada SDK on December 8th

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Nov 272009
 

Samsung bada

Samsung will use a December 8th launch press event to unveil the bada SDK. The event will take place in the London with another event to follow later in San Fransisco. Samsung will also reveal details about its mobile strategy and its vision for mobile content.

Rumours suggest that bada will not be a full operating system but a software layer on top of Samsung’s proprietary operating system (or perhaps another such as Android?).

Samsung announced its open source bada mobile platform earlier this month. The first devices to run bada are expected in the first half of 2010. And it could displace Symbian entirely on Samsung devices by 2012.

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At the LG Canada Blogger Night: LG IQ revealed

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Nov 272009
 

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the first LG Canada Blogger Night where the company presented three new smartphones (including the LG IQ which has yet to be announced but expected by the end of the year). The event allowed us to get plenty of hands-on time with the new LG Chocolate (BL40), the LG Eve and the aforementioned LG IQ (the first and third being exclusive to TELUS Mobility).

The event kicked off with an overview of the three devices. The balance of the evening was spent playing with the new devices and participating in a series of challenges to win CA$5,000 for the winner’s charity of choice.

One disappointing piece of news that I learned is that LG has no current plans to provide updates to Google Android 1.6 or 2.0 for the LG Eve (running Android 1.5).

As for the LG IQ, despite there not being an announcement, earlier specification rumours have been confirmed. It will be powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional with LG’s S-Class user interface. It will also come with a 3.2-inch WVGA touchscreen display, a 4-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard, Bluetooth 2.1, a 5MP camera, a microSD card slot, d-pad doubling as a biometric scanner, and a 1,500mAh battery. It will also come with an optional pico-projector (around the CA$150 price point) that attaches to the IQ after you remove the battery panel and worked surprisingly well.

On a personal note, I will bring a better camera next time. It was quite dark and my pictures did not turn out very well.

Could Microsoft ditch Windows Mobile within two years?

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Nov 272009
 

Microsoft Windows Mobile

A recent article by UK’s The Guardian suggests that Microsoft could abandon Windows Mobile entirely should its next version, Windows Mobile 7, fail to reverse the decline of its market share in the mobile device space.

Recent numbers give Windows Mobile a 7.9 percent share in Q3 2009, a drop from 11 percent in the same quarter a year ago. And things do not appear to be getting rosier with an increasing number of device manufacturers throwing their support towards other operating systems. Among these, HTC (Windows Mobile’s largest partner) and Motorola both have plans to offer more devices powered by Google Android. In fact, Android’s share has grown to 3.9 percent in the same period that Microsoft’s dropped 3.1 percent. Add Apple and RIM’s growing shares and it’s clear that Microsoft has some fearsome opposition.

Should Windows Mobile’s market share continue to decline, a number of analysts have speculated that Microsoft could simply stop developing Windows Mobile and possibly even withdraw entirely.

Personally, I don’t see Microsoft abandoning the market. Instead, I would expect Microsoft to buy out a competitor like Palm or even RIM and take its strategy in a new direction if things do not improve in the next couple of years.

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Proporta offers 20 percent discount for Black Friday

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Nov 272009
 

Proporta

Proporta may be based in England but that is not stopping them from getting in on all the Black Friday shopping fun.

In England we don’t have Black Friday, but the idea of national discount day sounds pretty good to us. Whether you’re interested in kitting out your iPod or protecting your PDA, Proporta is offering an exclusive 20% discount to all customers who place orders on Black Friday.

When placing your order, be sure to enter the promotion code FRIDAY20 at the cart page to receive your 20 percent discount. Just be sure to place your order today.

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Rogers Wireless launches Samsung Forever

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Nov 262009
 

Samsung Forever

The Samsung Forever (model SGH-A886) is now available from Rogers Wireless.

The Samsung Forever is powered by Samsung’s TouchWIZ user interface. It comes with quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual-band HSPA connectivity, a 3-inch WQVGA touchscreen display, 72MB of internal memory, A-GPS, Bluetooth, a microSD card slot (supporting cards up to 32GB), a 2MP camera with auto-focus, and a 1000mAh battery.

Rogers is offering the Samsung Forever for CA$79.99 with a three-year contract, CA$129.99 with a two-year contract, CA$229.99 with a one-year contract, and CA$279.99 without one.

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Saskatchewan latest to ban use of hand-held cellphones while driving

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Nov 262009
 

Saskatchewan is the latest Canadian province to pass into law a ban on hand-held cellphones while driving. The new law received final reading yesterday and will come into effect on January 1st 2010.

“Distracted driving is a serious road safety issue,” Minister responsible for SGI June Draude said. “With the passing of this law we are fulfilling our commitment to make provincial roadways safer.”

The new law prohibits the use of hand-held devices to talk, text, email or surf the Internet while driving. Experienced drivers will be allowed to use hands-free devices but new drivers still in Saskatchewan’s Graduated Driver’s Licensing program will not be able to use any devices at all.

Drivers caught not following the new law will receive a CA$280 fine and lose four demerit points.

A similar law went into effect in Ontario back on October 26th.

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