We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2010, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live in 2010, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
Fring App Brings Skype Video Calling to iPhone 4 over Wi-Fi and 3G:
Sure, Skype just formally announced video calling in the Skype 3.0 iOS app, but Fring brought us Skype video calls months ago! The thing is, Skype pulled that feature from Fring with the quickness, but that didn't stop this from being the most read story we published in 2010!
Best Buy is giving away free 8GB iPhone 3GS smartphones to customers today. Supplies are limited, and you can only get the deal in-store with two-year new or upgrade activation. Sure, the iPhone 3GS is a year-and-a-half old, but this is the first time we've seen any iPhone given away free with contract. With the holidays and all, you can certainly bet that any teens in your household would love to unwrap this one on Christmas morning. Speaking of which, be sure to peep our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide!
Microsoft's latest foray into the mobile space, Windows Phone 7, is now for sale throughout the US. How do these new devices fare? Should you throw your iPhone or Blackberry out of the window for a brand new Windows Phone? Or is this just another device for the history books? Well, we've given you our Windows Phone 7 review (as well as a review of the HTC Surround!), but if you wanted a second opinion, here's a list of reviews to help make up your mind:
- Engadget has a very in-depth review, going point by point over every feature of the phone, along with pictures and commentaries. They refer to their initial preview, saying that "it finally has the fit and finish of a fully realized product" and "there's a lot to like or even love in WP7". At the end of their review are also links to more reviews on the individual Windows Phone devices.
- Gizmodo follows in with another slightly less extensive review, in which they conclude with their stamp of approval.
- The New York Times has a fairly short review that asks several questions such as "will these battle plans help catapult Microsoft’s latest smartphone attempt into a relevant standing in this important space" and concludes by saying that "so far the new AT&T phones seems to have everything going for them".
- Apart from the written reviews, what I typically prefer are video reviews such as this one from MobileTechReview in which they go over every feature in this very in-depth 27 mins 2-parts review. They also have videos about the individual devices.
We'd love to hear from anyone who's decided to pick up a Windows Phone 7 device - what do you think?
Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's latest foray into the mobile space, is now available to all in the US. The company's primary partner is AT&T, and they have the Samsung Focus and HTC Surround (see our HTC Surround review and photo gallery) for $199 with a 2 years contract, with the LG Quantum launching in a few days. The phones are also available without a contract for $499. Meanwhile, T-Mobile has the HTC HD7 for $199, with the Dell Venue coming in later this year. Microsoft has stated that they will put $400 million towards advertising Windows Phone 7 as they hope to compete with the iPhone and Android phones this holiday season. Gartner predicts the company's share of the mobile space will climb above 5% by next year.
Read More | Microsoft
Not to be outdone by Amazon, Target, and Walmart selling the iPad, Verizon Wireless and AT&T brick-and-mortar locations will begin selling the Apple tablet beginning October 28. This marks the first time that Verizon is carrying an iOS device to date, and likely fuels speculation that the iPhone is coming to VZW in early 2011. They'll be bundling the iPads with their MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, with pricing set at $630, $730, and $830 for the 16, 32, and 64GB models respectively. Users will get 1GB of monthly data allowance for $20, contract-free. On the AT&T side of things, they'll be selling the WiFi + 3G model of the iPad, which connects to the AT&T 3G network, and users there will pay $15 for 200MB of data, or $25 for 2GB monthly, no contracts.
Read More | Verizon
Yesterday Microsoft held a joint press conference with AT&T to launch Windows Phone 7. We’re sure you’ve probably read all about the news, but that’s never as good as taking in the information first-hand, is it? Well, now you can watch the press conference in its entirety, and we’ve embedded it above. It’s an hour long, so you may wanna grab a snack, but it’s definitely full of good info about what Microsoft plans on doing to try and win back their place in the mobile wars.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is readying plans to mass produce a CDMA version of the iPhone 4 that would allow Verizon Wireless to sell the phone early next year. They say their sources are “people briefed by Apple,” and we know that we’ve all gone over this rumor numerous times over the past couple of years, but it seems that 2011 marks the end of the AT&T exclusivity on the iPhone in the US, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit Verizon in the first quarter of 2011.
In other news, WSJ reports that Apple is already hard at work on the iPhone 5. Of course, with it expected to launch in just 8 months, that really isn’t news at all.
Read More | WSJ
We were just sent a pretty awesome story about a blind users first week with the iPhone that we just had to share. For those unfamiliar, the iPhone has some pretty extensive and amazing accessibility features aimed at blind users that helps them use the seemingly impossible to navigate (without sight) device. I’ve seen those features in action, but of course, I’m able to see…so it’s hard for me to judge them in practical use, despite coming easy feeling like Apple did a great job in planning their accessibility features.
Now we get to hear first-hand what the iPhone can do for the blind. Even more impressive than just acting as a phone and testing device, the right apps are able to offer insights into the world that the blind have never had easy access to. Particularly awesome is the part about the app that uses the iPhone camera to tell you what colors the phone is “seeing.” You’ll have to read it for yourself to get the full picture.
The one glaring problem? The fact that Apple forces you to use iTunes with the device, which is apparently a chore for the blind. Hell, it’s hard enough for a sighted person to get through that mess.
Read More | Behind the Curtain
Verizon Wireless has confirmed that they will not be one of the carriers of Microsoft’s product when Windows Phone 7 launches in just a few weeks. While the Kin’s lack of any commercial viability led Verizon to stop carrying the product a mere few weeks after launch, Verizon and Microsoft’s relationship is reportedly intact. This leaves AT&T as the flagship carrier, as no others are known at this point. We’ll see at the launch if Windows Phone 7 can compete with the iPhone on its platform, and whether or not Verizon sitting out of the launch fray will have any negative impact on the success of WP7.
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