Digit Wireless was also present at CES Unveiled, showing off their innovative approach to cramming a full alphabetic key-set on a regular phone keypad called Fastap. If you haven’t seen it already, (it’s available on several LG phones, including the LG AX490) the alpha keys are placed as raised buttons in between the numeric keypad digits. The design is intelligent in that, if you try to mash down, say, five of the buttons at once, only the center key will be pressed. It’s pretty intuitive, and works with T9. It’s a pretty nice solution for budget phones that don’t have the complexity for a swivel qwerty-style keyboard, but nothing we haven’t seen before.
Sprint has announced that it will soon be offering its own Motorola Q, which has previously been exclusive to Verizon. In addition to the previous model’s features, the Sprint phone will also have push e-mail, a qwerty keyboard, Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, 1.2 Bluetooth capability, a 1.3 MP camera with 6x digital zoom, and an external mini-SD slot. The pearl grey Q is promised to be a sleek 4.6 x 2.5 x .45-inches and will be available online later this month for $200.00 after rebates with a 2-year service plan, and in Sprint Stores by February.
Read More | Sprint
Primarily known for providing various products to car manufacturers, Visteon has now ventured into the realm of car accessories. The in-vehicle wireless gadget sits in your cupholder, plugs into your car lighter socket, and can charge MP3 players, PDAs, cell phones, and digital cameras. It also contains an AI that can determine if the object to be charged is in close proximity and if it can be charged.
The device will be officially featured at next week’s CES 2007 where it has already received Design and Engineering honors. With the recent glut of cupholder products, we may get a bigger car just for all the new accessories.
Read More | Visteon In-Vehicle Recharger
On Friday, the FCC finally approved the merger between BellSouth and the company formerly known as SBC, now known as AT&T. As soon as AT&T got word of the green light, they released information on how the merger will affect both companies following the merger. Long story short, Cingular is going to be rebranded as AT&T early this year. While it would seem the obvious choice, AT&T Wireless will likely not be the name given to the service. Customer will be able to keep their current phones and plans, and if you live in what is currently an AT&T landline service area, you may even get bundled discounts out of the deal.
Verizon is ringing in The New Year by offering its customers a free ringtone download December 31. You just text the word “Tone” to the number 2007 with your cell phone and you will receive instructions. Unfortunately, the offer is only available to Verizon customers, which of course is their way of getting us to change our New Year’s resolution from “I will lose 20 pounds” to “I will change my phone carrier” before 2007. Check out the available tunes on the Verizon Get It Now website.
Read More | Mobileburn
We have told you about the less expensive end of cell phones, so we figured you might want to view the other end of the spectrum. A Nokia subsidiary, Vertu’s Signature Cobra series cell phones are surely the most expensive on the planet. Rumored to be the phone of choice by such trend-setters as Madonna, they are made of white or platinum gold and come with a pear-cut diamond, a round white diamond, 2 emerald eyes, and 439 rubies.
Only 8 of the $310,000 Cobras are to be made, so contact Vertu if for no other reason than curiosity. If those are out of your price range, there will be 26 Pythons to choose from for $115,000, which are devoid of rubies.
Read More | CNN Money
Turning from our usual geeky to mystical last minute holiday gifts, artist Karen Schuman has created this functional cell phone bag. It is hand-made out of turquoise, yarn, and a small snake vertebrae (which she assures us she acquired at an American Indian shop and did not slay herself.) The case, which is priced at $50.00, can be worn comfortably around your neck. If you are particularly in tune with the spirits, Karen may be able to create one to your specifications.
Read More | Karen Schuman
When was the last time you were sitting next to a wall outlet and heard a tune on your iPod shuffle and thought, “I wish I had real speakers.” Wish no more. Designer Jinseup Shin has created the Plug In & Enjoy speaker system. The gadget receives FM signals through your cell phone, CD player, or any other device that has an FM transmitter. When the device’s LED flashes green you turn the front to receive the signal and when it displays red after a few seconds, you adjust the volume. Check with Yanko Design for its elusive availability and price.
Read More | Yanko Design
SoftBank has just released its own version of Disney Mobile to assist you in keeping track of your kids. The 812T features Navitime GPS tracking, a 1.3 megapixel cam, a 2.4-inch LCD display, and music console. It also has “Circle Talk” for multiple communication, voicemail, and “Hot Status” for availability. Best of all, the phone has Yahoo Messenger so that you can tell them to come home and clean their rooms. Choose between six colors (three of them Limited Edition) and visit Softbank to select a plan.
Read More | SoftBank
Technology just keeps shrinking. Panasonic has created what they say is the world’s smallest micro-speaker. Their previous record holder was 2.5 mm, and at a mere 1.5 mm thickness and a size of 2 x 1 cm, they claim that the PED (Panasonic Electronic Device) loses no reduction of sound quality since its diaphragm is inserted on the top and bottom of its magnet, rather than making the magnet smaller. You will be able find them in cell phones and other portable devices in May 2007.
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