January 26th Apple event to focus on mobile products

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Dec 312009
 

Apple

Fox News is reporting that one of its sources inside Apple has confirmed rumours that Apple will hold a “big” event on January 26th. According to the source:

This event will focus on the mobility space, meaning we’ll see something related to the iPhone/Touch product line.

Could Apple really announce its long rumoured Apple tablet (the iSlate?) at the event?

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Happy New Year from Gadgetorama

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Dec 312009
 

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish everyone a very happy new year! 2010 is not quite here in Toronto but festivities have begun in other parts of the world. As always, thank you for your ongoing visits to Gadgetorama.

2009 was not without its challenges: Life left little time for the site and my hopes to have the site redesigned once again fell through. I also had hoped to cover more news and do more reviews. Hopefully things will get better in 2010 but there are new challenges on the horizon, the most significant one being that Gadgetorama headquarters will undergo significant renovations (essentially top to bottom) starting next week. That should make life very interesting…

Continuing a Gadgetorama tradition, I will spare you the top whatever list of 2009. But a couple of stories that I followed with interest this year were the WIND Mobile launch saga here in Canada as well as the growing adoption of Google Android by device manufacturers, carriers and users. It will be interesting to see if and how WIND Mobile changes the competitive wireless landscape. And will Android adoption continue as it did in 2009? Could fragmentation (Android 1.5/1.6/2.0/2.1) lead to trouble? And what about new operating systems such as BREW and Samsung bada? Other questions that we will hopefully see answered: Can Microsoft turn the tides with Windows Mobile 7? What does Apple have in stock for us?

All in all, I have a feeling that 2010 will be another exciting year in the world of mobility gadgets and news.

Happy New Year!

Free WIND Mobile SIM cards now available

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Dec 312009
 

WIND Mobile

WIND Mobile SIM cards are now available for free. This will allow customers to sign up for a WIND plan without having to buy a new phone assuming that the one they now have is compatible with WIND’s network.

WIND Mobile asks that you take your existing phone or data stick with you to a WIND Mobile store. They will confirm that the phone is compatible and will set you up so that you’ll be able to leave with everything up and running.

Source: MobileSyrup.com

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Google Nexus One pricing revealed?

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Dec 312009
 

Google Nexus One

Details about the upcoming release of the Google Nexus One continue to surface. The latest information to make its way online is the pricing.

According to a Gizmodo source, the Google Nexus One will sell for US$530 unsubsidized. It will also be available subsidized with a two-year T-Mobile plan for US$180. A single plan will be offered: Even More plan with Text and Web for US$79.99 per month. Existing T-Mobile customers will need to change their plans if they want the subsidized phone.

Google will limit sales to five Nexus One phones per Google account and will apparently support shipping outside of the U.S. (good news for us in Canada).

It is widely expected that a Google event planned for January 5th will formally unveil the Nexus One. It should go on sale the same day at google.com/phone.

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HP files trademark applications for Airlife and Zeen

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Dec 302009
 

HP

Earlier this month, Hewlett-Packard revealed that it plans to release one or two more Windows Mobile phones in the U.S in 2010. Thanks to The New York Times, we may know the name of one of these devices. HP recently filed two trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the terms ‘Airlife‘ and ‘Zeen‘.

The Airlife application comes with the description: “handheld computers; personal digital assistants; mobile telephones; computers; computer hardware; computer software; computer peripherals”, suggesting that it could be one of these upcoming smartphones.

The Zeen is a bit more intriguing. It is described as a “portable handheld device for receiving and displaying text and images and sound; computer software for use in transmitting and displaying text, images and sound; computer peripherals; computer hardware.” Could HP be about to launch its own MID or tablet device?

Will CES 2010 reveal more about the Airlife and Zeen? We can only hope…

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Only HTC HD2 to get Windows Mobile 7 upgrade from HTC?

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Dec 302009
 

HTC

A now-deleted tweet from HTC Russia appears to confirm that the HTC HD2, HTC’s flagship device of the moment, will indeed receive an upgrade to Windows Mobile 7 when it comes out (late 2010?). Unfortunately, it also appears that it could be the only existing HTC device to receive the upgrade. The translated tweet read:

For Diamond 2 firmware is not planned. Of the existing communicators on the market, only the HD2 firmware to get WM7.

As Engadget points out, it is possible that this statement is specific to the Russian market only. But it’s not a promising start…

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Motorola announces MOTO XT800 for China

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Dec 302009
 

Motorola MOTO XT800

Motorola announced the MOTO XT800 today but it will only be available in China through China Telecom.

The MOTO XT800 is powered by a 550MHz TI OMAP3430 processor and Google Android 2.0. It comes with quad-band (850/900/1800/1900) GSM/GPRS and dual-band (800/1900MHz) CDMA/EV-DO Rev.A connectivity, a 3.7-inch FWVGA capacitive touch screen, 256MB RAM and 512MB ROM, GPS, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR and A2DP, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 5MP autofocus camera with dual LED flash, and a microSD card slot (supporting cards up to 32GB).

The MOTO XT800 will be on display at the upcoming MOTODEV Summit in Beijing, China on January 13th.

There is no word at this point on pricing and whether it will be available outside of China later.

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Windows Mobile 6.5.3 confirmed by MSDN

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Dec 302009
 

Microsoft Windows Phone

Since Microsoft released Windows Mobile 6.5, there have been expectations that Microsoft would continue to update the latest version of its mobile operating system. A number of such ROMs have surfaced occasionally but now comes an (official) confirmation of the presence of such an update. MSDN’s Widget Engine documentation now makes mention of Windows Mobile 6.5.3:

Beginning with the Windows Mobile 6.5.3 release, touchable tiles replace soft keys. For developers, the change from soft keys to touchable tiles is automatic starting with Windows Mobile 6.5.3. All of the following applies to touchable tiles and to soft keys.

With CES just around the corner, maybe Microsoft will officially announce the update and reveal its plans for it. Hopefully those plans include pushing it out to existing Windows Mobile 6.5 devices.

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LG pulling out of Mobile World Congress?

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Dec 292009
 

Nokia has already confirmed that it will not exhibit at MWC 2010. Now comes word that LG may follow in its footsteps. The news was apparently confirmed by LG Netherlands to AllAboutPhones.nl yesterday.

Two reasons were given for the decision. The first is that LG feels that the show is not as effective as it was in the past. Secondly, it appears that Samsung has bought up the majority of hanging banner ads, a move that could reduce the attention focused on LG during the show.

LG is apparently planning instead invite its guests to another location.

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Rumours of 8GB Apple iPhone 3GS resurface

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Dec 292009
 

Rumors of an 8GB iPhone 3GS have resurfaced thanks to a German forum post. The poster bought a refurbished 8GB iPhone 3G but the device label indicates that it’s a 8GB iPhone 3GS instead. While the model and part numbers are those of the 8GB 3G, the packaging also references the 3GS model leading to speculation that Apple is about to unveil the new model.

Rumoured 8GB iPhone 3GS label

If so, it would not be the first time that Apple introduces a model with a different capacity. It did so in early 2008 when it unveiled a 16GB iPhone months ahead of the introduction of the Apple iPhone 3G. Could it be announced at that rumoured Apple upcoming event?

Rumours of an 8GB version of the Apple iPhone 3GS have been around since August 2009.

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

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Google to hold Android press event on January 5th

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Dec 292009
 

Google has sent out press invitations to a Google Android press gathering to take place on January 5th. Isn’t that the rumoured launch date of the Google Nexus One?

January 2010 Google press event

With the launch of the first Android-powered device just over a year ago, we’ve seen how a powerful, open platform can spur mobile product innovation. And this is just the beginning of what’s possible.

Please join us in Mountain View on January 5, for an Android press gathering

The event comes just days before CES 2010. Could the company hope for a similar coup as Apple achieved in 2007 with its original iPhone announcement just ahead of CES?

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Google to sell Nexus One online exclusively?

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Dec 292009
 

New details appear to have emerged about Google’s plans for the upcoming Google Nexus One smartphone. According to a leaked internal T-Mobile document, the Google web site will be the only place where it will be available.

The same document also indicates that T-Mobile will provide support (including billing, coverage, features, and rate plans) for the Nexus One (treating it like any other unlocked device?) but that Google and HTC will provide troubleshooting and exchange services.

Rumours suggest that Google will begin to offer the Nexus One on January 5th possibly with a T-Mobile contract.

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Sprint begins pushing out webOS 1.3.5

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Dec 282009
 

Sprint

Sprint has begun to push out the latest update to Palm’s webOS operating system to its customers. The changelog for webOS 1.3.5 is quite extensive but here are some of the highlights:

  • An improved App Catalog experience including simultaneous downloads and improved download management
  • Full storage capacity of the phone now available to users, providing more control over memory allocation for applications, music, photos, and other media
  • Improved battery life in areas of poor wireless network coverage
  • Security updates

At this time, webOS 1.3.5 is not available on the Bell side but I expect it will be available soon.

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WIND Mobile to offer Koodo-like tab for new phones?

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Dec 272009
 

WIND Mobile

Another interesting rumour: WIND Mobile is apparently considering an option of letting customers run a tab to offset the price of a new device. The tab system has been offered by Koodo Mobile since its launch in March 2008. Essentially, Koodo sets aside 10 percent of your monthly bill for your tab. If you used your tab to buy a new phone, the amount goes towards paying that off. If not, it is set aside to reduce the cost of a future phone.

WIND Mobile does not subsidize its phones. This option could help it attract customers looking to offset the initial cost of a new device.

According to The Mobile Ninjas, the tab option is now available in WIND’s inventory system. But there are no details on how it will work exactly (will it follow Koodo’s model or be different) or when it could be announced.

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T-Mobile G1 to get Google Android 2.0 update?

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Dec 272009
 

T-Mobile G1

Here is an interesting rumour: The very first Google Android device, the T-Mobile G1, could be in for an update to Google Android 2.0 or 2.0.1, according to AndroidSPIN.com.

The update will be at least Android 2.0 but more likely Android 2.0.1 as both versions have already been prepared as OTA updates. An anonymous source of ours has confirmed that both the Android 2.0 and the Android 2.0.1 are in the hands of some very fortunate people.

The T-Mobile G1 was launched with Google Android 1.0 but has since received a number of updates, the latest being Android 1.6 and Google Maps Navigation.

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