At this week's BlackBerry World trade show, everyone expected the top headliner to be the company's just-released PlayBook tablet and its new software offerings. As it turned out, the gadget ended up taking second spot to a surprise guest: Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer.
Ballmer came out during RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis' keynote yesterday morning to announce a partnership that would bring Microsoft's Bing search engine to BlackBerries. Search is a big deal in mobile devices, so it's fitting that a heavy hitter from Microsoft came to give its blessing, but many took the appearance of the CEO as a clear sign of bigger things to come.
Does RIM know what it's in for, though? There's considerable doubt over whether the company's strategy and platforms can be successful over the next couple of years. If they're not, Microsoft could end up owning RIM.
"Will Microsoft buy RIM? That is a possibility and a fast track for Microsoft to gain a foothold in the mobile hardware business," says Harry Wang, director of mobile research at Parks Associates. "RIM's market capitalization is only $25 billion and Microsoft has $48 billion in cash. If RIM's value drops to $15 billion, it will become an attractive target for Microsoft. Maybe Steve Ballmer was planting that seed during his keynote appearance at Blackberry World."
Separately, Microsoft also started rolling out the first security update for Windows Phone 7, which fixes nine fradulent third-party digital certificates.
Like other Windows Phone 7 users, those with an HTC Surround will receive two updates, the first of which will be for a minor update first rolled out in February. Once that's updated, users can move on to the March update, which includes copy and paste, improved Marketplace search, and faster app launching.
Windows Phones check for updates every three days, so it might not appear right away. If you don't want to wait, you can check for it manually via the Zune software on the PC. Just plug the phone in via USB and click "update now." Once the February update is installed, you will have to unplug the phone and plug it back in to receive the March "cut and paste" update. Microsoft has a how-to guide on its Web site.
Apple just released iOS 4.3.3, an update aimed to fix the location tracking issue that raised a bunch of concerns over the last couple of weeks. With this update, the consolidated.db database that stores the location data will be reduced in size, and that database will no longer be backed up to iTunes. In addition, if you turn Location Services off, the cache gets deleted entirely. Plug your iPhone in and have iTunes check for the update when you get a chance--jailbreakers, you'll wanna wait until there's a compatible fix.
The rumors continue to pile up that Apple won't release the iPhone 5 this summer as expected. The latest word reportedly comes from an AT&T rep, who confirmed to a customer that the next-generation iPhone won't make its debut in June or July.
According to MacRumors, Apple allegedly confirmed to AT&T that the phone is delayed, and that information was relayed to an AT&T customer.
"Apple has informed us that they do not plan to release the iPhone in the June to July timeframe, though there will be a newer version in the future," an AT&T rep allegedly said. "Unfortunately, we have not been given a release time for the new phone. We will release this information on our Web site when it is available to us."
iPhone Retina Display meet BlackBerry "liquid graphics." RIM today announced two powerful new BlackBerry phones with high-res touch screens, fast 1.2-GHz processors, and a new OS that offers better graphics than BlackBerrys had before.
The BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 are the HSPA and CDMA/HSPA+ versions of the same thing: a stretched-out BlackBerry Bold with a 2.8-inch, 640-by-480 touch screen. That isn't high resolution compared to other top-of-the-line smartphones, but it's a very rich, dense screen for its small size.
The two phones run 1.2-GHz Qualcomm processors and have 8GB of storage, 5-megapixel cameras with 720p HD video recording, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The phones also have built-in NFC, the much-touted technology that could enable phones to be used as mobile wallets, if banks ever decide to support it. NFC may have applications in businesses, though, for things like proximity-based ID cards.
Best Buy Mobile said that the company would offer three smartphones for free today, and stock the white iPhone, too.
The free phones? The Samsung Fascinate (Verizon), the Samsung Captivate (AT&T) and the BlackBerry Curve 3G (Sprint). But the offer is only good through Friday and Saturday, April 29 and April 30 - an extension from the "free phone Fridays" the retailer ran last year, including the offer of a free iPhone.
And if you're looking for one of those white iPhones? Well, they'll have those too, Best Buy said. The white iPhone will also be available online. There's no word on the available stock, however.
"We've had tremendous success with the 'Free Phone Friday' campaigns we ran last October and December, and we've been waiting for the opportunity to do it again with a great lineup of in-demand phones," said Scott Moore, vice president of Marketing for Best Buy Mobile, in a statement. "We've worked hard to make it as easy as possible for people to find the smart phone that's right for them with the most smart phones under one roof, exclusives and expert advice, and this is just one more reason to visit Best Buy Mobile."
Okay, so it turns out we were a day off when we reported that the white iPhone 4 should be going on sale today, as Apple just confirmed that tomorrow is the day. So if you've been holding out for the past 10 months (and have been ignoring eBay,) now's your chance. However, we're guessing that anyone who's wanted an iPhone 4 has already purchased one. Still, even those people can sell their units to buy a white one, if they really want them that badly, right? As a refresher, the white iPhone 4 is exactly the same as the black model in terms of pricing and features. It's just white.
The Samsung Nexus S 4G will be available from Sprint starting May 8, the carrier announced this morning.
Users can snap up the Android-based smartphone for $199.99 with a two-year contract in Sprint retails store, online, and at Best Buy.
Sprint and Samsung first announced plans for the Nexus S 4G in late March; it's Sprint's first pure-Google Android phone and the first stock Android phone with WiMAX.
The phone will run Android 2.3 Gingerbread and a 1-GHz processor. It features a 4-inch Super AMOLED 480-by-800 touch-screen display, a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera with camcorder and flash, and a front-facing VGA camera. The Nexus S 4G is Bluetooth-enabled, has stereo speakers, and a media player with 3.5mm stereo headset jack.
Sprint said the phone features a curved design that provides "a more comfortable look and feel," as well as a screen that "produces less glare than on other smartphone displays when outdoors, so videos, pictures and games look their best and the sun won't wash them out."
While the white iPhone 4 has continued to elude the public thus far, eBay has been full of them for some time now. However, a one-of-a-kind model showed up today. This prototype white iPhone 4 started bidding at $2,000. It's got a model number of 995-6364LL, and also has the indentifer DF3039 engraved on the front panel. You definitely won't find that anywhere else.
Read More | Prototype white iPhone 4 auction
You've seen rumors about when the fifth-generation iPhone is coming out, now check out a visualization (pictured) of what it will look like, based on the imagination and alleged sources of former Engadget editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky.
In his interim blog This Is My Next, Topolsky says the next iPhone will look "radically" different from the iPhone 4. For one, it'll be even thinner than the iPhone 4, which isn't unfathomable thanks to a recent patent Apple obtained, and boast a "teardrop" shaped profile similar to the Macbook Air.
The home button area will expand to act as a gesture area to support gesturing features in a future iOS update, Topolsky writes. The display could go up to 3.7 inches (thus making the bezel almost disappear) without decreasing much in resolution, so Apple can still claim it uses Retina Display technology.
Topolsky also says he saw in a drawing that the iPhone will come with cable-free, touch charging, though his sources wouldn't confirm that.