Happy New Year from Gadgetorama

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Dec 312010
 

Happy New Year!

As festivities welcoming 2011 begin in other parts of the world, I would like to wish everyone a very happy New Year. Thank you for your ongoing support and for making Gadgetorama a regular stop for your mobile gadget news.

2010 proved to be another interesting year. Gadgetorama headquarters are still under renovations (although we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now) and life outside of Gadgetorama continues at its breakneck speed. Just keeping up with the news was a challenge at times and my ambition to do more reviews and a site redesign remain just that for now. Hopefully things will quieten down a bit in 2011 and allow me to focus more energy in these areas.

In the meantime, I will continue my Gadgetorama tradition and look at the stories I found the most interesting in 2010. CES 2010 held much promise for tablets and Apple, much as it did with the iPhone, set the standard that competitors are and will be measured against (at least for the next year or so). Will Android and webOS tablets live up to their expectation? Meanwhile, the growing influence of Canada’s new wireless players (Mobilicity, Public Mobile, Wind Mobile, and Videotron in Quebec) is slowly beginning to change the Canadian wireless landscape. How will the Big Three (Bell, Rogers, TELUS) respond in 2011? Lastly, Microsoft finally released Windows Phone 7. It’s too early to call this one but 2011 will be a critical year for it. More device differentiation and timely upgrades (not tied to the carriers and their certification processes) should help it catch up…

All in all, 2011 is shaping up to be another interesting year…

Again, thank you for all your support and Happy New Year!

LG to unveil 8.9-inch tablet at CES?

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Dec 312010
 

The Korea Times is reporting that LG will unveil a tablet of its own at CES 2011.

According to the Korea Times’s sources, the LG tablet will come with an 8.9-inch display, placing it squarely between the Samsung Galaxy Tab and its 7-inch display and the larger Apple iPad with its 9.7-inch display. It will likely use Honeycomb (Android 2.4?), the upcoming version of Android with tablet enhancements.

LG’s dual-core smartphone, the Optimus 2X is also expected at the show. If so, hopefully LG will reveal which North American carriers will offer it.

The report also suggests that Samsung will unveil new versions of its Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S smartphones at the event.

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HTC trademarks Scribe for upcoming tablet?

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Dec 312010
 

HTC

HTC has filed trademark applications for the terms ‘HTC Scribe’ and ‘Scribe.’ They are to be applied to a device described as “handheld wireless device, namely, a tablet computer,” giving credence to older rumours that HTC, like many others, was also working on a tablet device.

HTC’s tablet is rumoured to be powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor and Honeycomb(Android 2.4?). It is also expected to come with a display running at a resolution of 1280 by 720 and 2GB of internal memory. The ‘Scribe’ name also suggests that we could see some sort of stylus

With an HTC tablet almost a certainty, the question becomes whether we will see this next week at CES 2011 or later (MWC?).

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Google Honeycomb to be known as Android 2.4?

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Dec 312010
 

Google Android

We know that the next version of Google Android is codenamed Honeycomb. Widely expected to be version 3.0, there is now some evidence that, much like Gingerbread (version 2.3) before it, it will be a point increase rather than a full number. An AndroidAndMe.com source reports that Honeycomb will bear version number 2.4 when it is released around the time of the Mobile World Congress in February (a bit earlier than last reported).

Since the rumour broke, a number of sites, including Pocketnow.com and AndroidPolice.com, are reporting seeing traffic from devices running Android 2.4.

Whatever its version number, Honeycomb will focus on improvements for tablet devices.

Will the next version of Android, codenamed Ice Cream, will be Android 3.0?

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Bada 1.2 update headed to Samsung Wave in Q1 2011

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Dec 302010
 

Samsung Wave

Samsung confirmed via Twitter (tweet 1, tweet 2) that the Samsung Wave will receive an update to bada 1.2 in Q1 2011. It will offer a number of bug and security fixes, some UI changes, and Samsung’s T9 Trace input (an alternative to the Swype virtual keyboard).

Specific release dates will vary by country and operator. There is no word yet on when the Bell Mobility and Rogers Wireless versions of the Samsung Wave will be released.

Developers will be interested in the new in-app advertising feature. Available as of January 1st 2011, Samsung will turn over all in-app revenues to the developers.

Verizon iPhone announcement to skip CES?

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Dec 302010
 

Verizon Wireless

New speculation suggests that Verizon Wireless will not announce the Apple iPhone 4 at CES 2011. Instead, the company will focus on the launch of new Android-based 4G LTE devices with a January 6th event. A morning keynote speech by CEO Ivan Seidenberg could still see an iPhone announcement but a Bloomberg reports otherwise.

Instead, it appears that Apple rather than Verizon will make the announcement after CES 2011. Citing “a person familiar with Apple’s plans,” Bloomberg suggests that it will happen by Valentine’s Day.

Timing aside, this latest rumour makes sense if only for the fact that it would be very unusual for Apple to let another company make an announcement regarding one of its products. It’s more likely that Apple will have its own press event with Verizon representatives in attendance. Perhaps this event will also see the introduction of the iPad 2, especially if a CDMA variant is launched as recent rumours suggest.

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Skype adds new video calling to its iPhone app

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Dec 302010
 

Skype

Skype today announced its latest version of its application for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch comes with Skype video calls for the first time.

“With video calling representing approximately 40 percent of all Skype-to-Skype minutes for the first six months of 2010, our users have been eager to get Skype video calling on their mobile phones,” said Neil Stevens, general manager of Skype’s consumer business. “By bringing video to mainstream users at their home or work via their desktops, on the go with their mobiles, or into their living room via their TV, Skype has made it possible for millions of people to share video moments wherever they are.”

Skype video calls work over 3G or Wi-Fi (Skype recommend the latter). Two-way video calling works on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and the fourth generation iPod touch. The iPad and iPod touch 3rd generation can only receive video calls (given the lack of camera).

The Skype for iPhone application is available for free download from the App Store or at www.skype.com/go/iphone.

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RIM denies alleged PlayBook battery issues

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Dec 302010
 

Research In Motion

Research In Motion has responded to claims made by Kaufman Bros. analyst, Shaw Wu, that RIM would delay the launch of the PlayBook due to battery performance issues. The statement reads:

“Any testing or observation of battery life to date by anyone outside of RIM would have been performed using pre-beta units that were built without power management implemented. RIM is on track with its schedule to optimize the BlackBerry PlayBook’s battery life and looks forward to providing customers with a professional grade tablet that offers superior performance with comparable battery life.”

RIM has not provided specific availability dates beyond saying that the PlayBook will be available in the United States in early 2011.

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More evidence Apple iPad 2 to have USB port?

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Dec 292010
 

Apple

Remember those rumours last month that the Apple iPad 2 would have a USB port? It gained some credence this week when Eldar Murtazin, Mobile Review’s editor-in-chief, tweeted that a source had confirmed the presence of the port to him:

Talked with colleague which working with some ODM vendors connected with Apple. He is research guy. According to his sources iPad2 will have usb port.

The addition of the micro-USB port could replace Apple’s 30-pin iPod connector used to sync and charge many of its devices, including the current iPad model. Whether or not the integrated port would offer normal functionality or would be limited as the current iPad USB adapter (which is designed to only import photos from cameras) is remains to be seen.

Source: Apple Insider

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BlackBerry 6 update coming to TELUS Curve 3G in January

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Dec 292010
 

RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G

According to a TELUS Support tweet earlier today, the TELUS version of the BlackBerry Curve 3G will get an update to BlackBerry 6 in early January.

When RIM announced the BlackBerry Curve 3G back in August, it confirmed that it was BlackBerry 6 ready. It also promised an update “in the coming months”, pending carrier certifications.

Hopefully this is a sign that we will soon see updates for the BlackBerry Bold 9700, BlackBerry Bold 9650, and BlackBerry Pearl 3G which are also BlackBerry 6 ready.

Source: MobileSyrup.com

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MSI to unveil WindPad tablets at CES2011

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Dec 292010
 

MSI WindPad

You can add MSI to the list of manufacturers who will unveil tablets at CES 2011. Two models will be introduced, one powered by Microsoft Windows 7 and the other by Google Android.

The MSI WindPad 100A will be powered by an ARM processor and Google Android. It will come with a 10.1-inch multitouch display, GPS, Wi-Fi, and optional 3G connectivity. Measuring 14 millimeters at its thinnest point and weighing 800 grams, it promises up to 10 hours of battery life.

The MSI WindPad 100W will be powered by an Intel processor and Windows 7 Home Premium with MSI’s own Wind Touch software. It will come with a 10.1-inch multitouch display, a 32GB SSD, and Wi-Fi.

Further information will be made available at CES 2011.

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Sprint turns on 4G in San Francisco Bay area

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Dec 292010
 

Sprint Wireless

Sprint yesterday announced that it has launched 4G coverage in the San Francisco area.

“The Bay Area is responsible for creating so much new technology and today we are bringing the power of 4G to our customers in that region who are hungry for fast mobile broadband,” said Matt Carter, president-Sprint 4G. “The introduction of Sprint 4G will be a great asset for this area, and we encourage customers to try it by using one of our well-regarded 4G mobile devices.”

Sprint 4G service covers San Francisco, San Jose, Palo Alto and Oakland.

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T-Mobile USA to launch Dell Streak 7 and Motorola CLIQ 2 on January 19th?

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Dec 292010
 

T-Mobile USA

T-Mobile USA could launch the upcoming Dell Streak 7 tablet and Motorola CLIQ 2 as early as January 19th. TmoNews.com does warn that the date is still tentative.

A number of rumours about the Dell Streak 7 have been floating about but less is known about the Motorola CLIQ 2. Or was until CellPhoneSignal.com landed pictures and details. Powered by Android (version not known yet) and an updated version of MOTOBLUR, it comes with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, A-GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, a 5MP camera with LED flash. The keyboard features a honeycomb design that seems to give the keys rather unique shapes. It is also expected to come with HSPA+ connectivity.

Rumoured Motorola CLIQ 2

Both the Dell Streak 7 and Motorola CLIQ 2 are expected to be formally announced next week at CES 2011.

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Palm Pixi 2 revealed?

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Dec 282010
 

A Sprint promotional page may have inadvertently revealed the Palm Pixi 2. While the page advertises the original Palm Pixi, the device shown sports a few differences that could suggest it it none other than the original’s succesor.

Rumoured Palm Pixi 2

The key difference appears to be the addition of a front camera next to a sensor in the top left corner. The background wallpaper is also different from any other pictures in the gallery.

Will the Palm Pixi 2 (assuming that this is in fact it) follow in the footsteps of the Palm Pre 2 which essentially featured a number of hardware upgrades to the Palm Pre without really changing the form factor? The Palm Pre 2 does not come with a front-facing camera so it’s unclear whether webOS 2.0 even supports such a feature. If not and if the image is legitimate, it would suggest that the Palm Pixi could be running a slightly updated version (2.1 or even the rumoured 2.5.1 that the PalmPad could run?).

HP has promised big things for webOS devices in 2011 but it’s not clear whether we will learn more at CES 2011 or will have to wait a bit longer.

Source: Ubergizmo

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Verizon HTC Thunderbolt 4G LTE in pictures

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Dec 282010
 

DroidLife.com has landed a number of pictures of the upcoming HTC Thunderbolt 4G headed to Verizon’s new LTE network. One shot pretty much confirms that Verizon will use the Thunderbolt name rather than Incredible HD as initially rumoured.

Rumoured Verizon Thunderbolt

DroidLife.com also reports that the Thunderbolt 4G will not come with a dual-core processor but will pack a 4.3-inch display, 8MP rear-facing camera, a front-facing camera, a kickstand, and perhaps even Dolby Mobile SRS virtual surround sound.

Verizon is widely expected to unveil the HTC Thunderbolt 4G on January 6th at CES 2011.

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