A few months ago, Microsoft introduced the ill-fated smartphone called the Kin. The small feature phone was available on Verizon in two different form factors, and was then canceled faster than any other phone before. It became known as the least successful smartphone ever. Yet, a recent leak of a Verizon internal communication suggests that both devices are coming back to Verizon soon. But this may not be such a bad move. There was nothing wrong with a Kin perse, as the device felt solid, and it was fully integrated with social networks, as a modern feature phone should be. The main issue was that it was sold by Verizon as a full smartphone, with expensive data plans, when it shouldn't have been. According to the leaked papers however, it seems that Verizon may be willing to change their tune on that point. Will this make the Kin a success, or is it's time passed already? We'll see soon enough.
Read More | PPCGeeks
Skype update it's Android application today with version 1.0.1.
The first thing addressed is the support for screen resolutions common to more Android phones. Skype also announced that the hardware back key will now send the application to the background, while still allowing calls and IMs. Skype stated that this fix should also lesson battery consumption. Other fixes include:
- Signing out from Skype now exits Skype.
- Improved login stability and behavior.
- Improved performance with large contact lists.
- Reduced application size.
Problems having to do with the Galaxy S line of phones remain and Skype simply states that they "do not recommend installing Skype 1.0.1 for Android on this device with Android 2.1 and below."
Read More | Skype Blog
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
Verizon just announced a new plan for mobile users that distinguishes it from it's past offers, as it's the first time in a while that the biggest network in the US offers a truly unlimited data plan. Customers in select areas are reporting receiving the offer by mail. For $70 a month, one would get 450 minutes, with unlimited text and data. According to Verizon, this is a promotion, so there's no telling if this plan will hold for a long time. Still, this is a first move which hopefully other carriers will start following, as we users download more and more data on our iOS and Android phones. If you're already a Big Red customer, this may be worth looking into if you're a heavy data user.
Read More | Verizon
According to a Verizon statement, the Droid Incredible will receive an update soon that will include the V CAST apps. Here's the statement:
"Verizon Wireless will begin pushing a software update to the DROID Incredible next week. The update includes software enhancements that will pre-install V CAST Apps on the phone. We said earlier this year that we'd be expanding V CAST Apps to the Android platform, and the DROID Incredible is the first Android phone with the store. Developers continue to submit apps, and as a reminder, V CAST Apps allows carrier billing, so customers who purchase applications through our store will see those charges on their monthly bill. For more information about the update customers can go to www.verizonwireless.com/droidincrediblesupport."
It's worth noting that in the past, the Verizon apps have been unremovable, even though many users consider them to be of little use. It's too bad that such an open system like Android is being forced to host such carrier specific modifications. So look for that update hitting your device soon if you're using a Verizon Android device!
Japanese phones have been described lately as suffering from “Galapagos Syndrome”. This term comes from Darwin’s discovery that species in the Galapagos Islands seemed to evolve separately from the rest of the world. As such, Japanese smartphones have been criticized for not being accessible to the western market. The upcoming 3D phone from Sharp, ironically called the Galapagos, hopes to change the impression of Japanese smartphones in western minds.
The Sharp Galapagos is powered by Android, and includes a 3.8 inch glasses-free 3D screen set to rival the stereoscopic 3D of Nintendo’s 3DS. What’s more, the Galapagos is set to receive seven games at launch, such as: Resident Evil: Degeneration, Mobile Powerful Pro Baseball 3D, Mega Man, Taiko no Tatsujin, SLIPHEED Alternative, Ghost ‘n Goblins: Gold Knights, and Reikai Denwa. In addition to video games, the Galapagos will also be getting 3D movies like Shrek Forever After and Battle Royale 3D.
However, the Nintendo 3DS is much more powerful graphic-wise than the Sharp Galapagos, as is the iPhone 4 graphically. Though, this is definitely a great phone for mobile gaming in 3D without glasses.
Looks like pre-orders for the Palm Pre 2 will be started on November 8th! After what was an overlooked debut, the Palm Pre and it's new WebOS failed to gain much momentum. Still, HP is hoping that this new revised version will succeed where it's predecessor did not. Very little is known about the Palm Pre 2, but we do know that Verizon documents have it scheduled for November. So for those who liked the Palm device and want an updated version, more info should be coming out really soon, and seriously, webOS 2.0 is looking mighty fine.
Read More | HP Students
Apple has gotten creative with SIM cards in the past. They've done it before with the iPad, which uses a MicroSIM to connect to a 3G cellular network, and then the iPhone 4 followed suit. While they didn't exactly invent the technology, it's the first time that this gets used in a mass market device. Now, this morning, sources inside of some European carriers say that Apple is ready to pull a similar stunt. Apple and SIM maker Gemalto are reportedly about to implement a new SIM technology which would live permanently inside of the iPhone, and wouldn't need to be removed to switch carrier. The new SIM could be changed from one network to the next by the software, removing the need for it to be a removable card.
This is only rumor at this point, and if it was any other company it would be a dubious one at best. However, Apple's already proved that they can make carriers bend to their will to a certain extent, and this may be no different. The main benefit for Apple would be the ability to bypass the carrier. Consumers could buy a phone online, without any need to be pre-attached to a carrier like AT&T or T-Mobile, and then choose themselves which carrier to configure it for, at will.
Of course it's not all good for the end user. This would remove some of the control from the cellular network, but that control would be put straight into Apple's hands. So it remains to be seen what they would do with such increased power. Nevertheless, if they do manage this feat, it's clear others would be tempted to do so. Time will tell if Apple breaks the smartphone mold once more.
Read More | GigaOM
Last night, Apple put out a statement saying that the white iPhone 4 would be delayed again, this time until Spring 2011. This would mark the third time that the white device would be delayed by the company due to manufacturing issues. Apparently, the culprit behind this is that the white glass lets a little too much light through to the inside of the phone, which leaks into the camera sensor and results in washed-out images. The odd thing here is that we all expect that the next iPhone, iPhone 5 or whatever it may be, will be launching around June. Will Apple really release the iPhone 4 in a new color so close to the end of its cycle?
In the meantime though, we've had our white iPhone 4 for a while now, and we've seen no image quality differences between the our white model and black model. In fact, if you wanted one, you could get a white one yourself. Have a look at our white iPhone 4 video coverage for details.
Read More | Reuters
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