ASiQ Limited has announced the release of the world’s first bluetooth access-point for commercial airlines. According to Ron Chapman, ASiQ’s CEO, airlines will now be able to offer passengers affordable SMS, MMS, Voice-messaging and text email capabilities while in flight via their new SafeCell app. Better still, SafeCell will also eliminate GSM roaming charges since it does not require a GSM connection to deliver its services. Bluetooth access points are far more efficient than their Wi/Fi counterparts, as they operate as a Personal Area Network (PAN) and unlike Wi-Fi do not have to waste time and money logging in to the internet in order to establish a link. The SafeCell App uses file sizes that are so small even a narrow band satellite link can accommodate the SMS/MMS/text-email needs of up to 192 individual passengers. Bluetooth also operates at up to 3 megabits per second making it compatible with any current data or media plan available. Besides giving you more options to drain your battery with whilst in-flight than just playing Bejeweled II, ASiQ’s service will also enable you to completely ignore the fact that you are crammed in a glorified cigar-tube built by the lowest bidder. Hopefully. I’ll be the guy directly behind you faking trying to light his shoe on fire.
Today, the uber-expensive and not-so-much-better-than-anything-else-out-on-the-market-already Sony Ericsson Xperia X2 becomes available on the Wiredia website. At nearly $700 this thing had better come with the entire DVD set of StarBlazers and 42 ninja stars, or I am going to be seriously disappointed. According to the press release, you are going to be able to do everything that other smartphone users can do, plus the X2 is Skype-friendly. Is this a bonus? Who knows? All I know is that, judging by what I look like while fielding phone calls in the morning, this might end up being more of a curse than a benefit. Plus, if you think that Skype isn’t going to drain your battery faster than choosing vibrate/full volume on your settings then you probably still believe in the moon-landing too. Hippie.
Read More | Wiredia
Need a reason to chuck your Garmin/Tom-Tom, etc. out of your car other than ‘has stupid name and labels me as a poor-driving tourist wherever I go’? Well wait no longer, avid reader: today Alpine announced a strategic partnership with the Finnish cel phone giant, Nokia, to fully integrate smartphones into car infotainment systems. While I was surprised that ‘infotainment’ was actually a word, I was more surprised that this type of alliance hasn’t been made sooner. Not only are these two electronics giants looking to elbow in to the lucrative GPS/Nav market, but they are also bringing a few bells and whistles of their own, namely widgets that can monitor fuel levels and direct you to the nearest and cheapest gas station. Might as well go ahead and chuck that gas gauge now, Chachi, ‘cause you’re not going to need it anymore; welcome to the future, only 48 years after your grandpa thought he’d have a flying car.
Read More | Alpine
We took some time to chat with MPower at CES 2010, and they gave us a quick demo of their Emergency Illuminator flashlight device. Definitely unique, as it has two battery compartments - one for standard, and one for a super-long lasting battery. In addition, the flashlight sports a USB port, which you can use to charge, say, your mobile phone, in the event of an emergency.
A big thank you to Bing for sponsoring our CES 2010 coverage!
We’ve finally got around to getting our hands on the Palm Pre Plus, Verizon’s version of the Pre, which Palm had hoped would spur the additional sales needed to take the company away from the brink of irrelevance at best, and extinction at worst. While that may not have happened, and while we can go over the myriad of reasons why (Palm, your App Store is atrocious…,) one that thing we are sure about is that the Pre Plus is a great phone. In fact, it has some features that you’d be hard-pressed to find in any other device, like the ability to act as a Mobile Hotspot for up to five other devices. We’ll be hitting you with a review of the Palm Pre Plus shortly, but in the meantime, go ahead and take a gander at our Pre Plus unboxing gallery.
Read More | Palm Pre Plus unboxing gallery
Gallery: Palm Pre Plus unboxing gallery
So last week when Windows Phone 7 Series was introduced to the world, one of the major bulletpoints was the fact that Xbox Live integration would be a big part of the platform, although Microsoft didn’t give too many details. That changed on during a conference call this morning, where Microsoft mobile communications chief Andy Lees gave a bit on insight on hat we can expect to see in the mobile version of Xbox Live:
“We are very excited about the way in which the platform works across screens, so we have commonality of platform across the PC, the Xbox, and the web and the phone. We provide a new set of tools that makes it easy and very fast for people to develop applications for the phone but also in a way that works across screens, and we’ll announce details of that at MIX. You’re also right to point out that a marketplace is included, and the marketplace will work for applications but also for games, so the gaming marketplace for the first time will utilize Xbox Live, and that enables you to create multiplayer, multiscreen games, and the marketplace will facilitate that, so that it will actually work across screens.”
We like it, especially that whole multiplayer, multiscreen aspect, although of course we have to see how it actually looks and feel before making final judgment. We’ll know about when Microsoft’s MIX conference kicks off next month.
Read More | TechFlash
Google Voice, formerly GrandCentral before Google acquired it, has been around for a few years, but the company is really just now starting to push the product hard. They’ve put together a great channel on YouTube that describes each major feature (like voicemail transcription, personalized greetings, SMS to email, the mobile app, and more) individually, but we figured we’d throw the Google Voice overview up there so give you a taste of what we mean. Hit up the Google Voice YouTube channel to check out the rest of the video series, and to request an invite to the service.
We are loving how mobile wireless carriers in the US seem to be opening up their previously locked down networks. First, AT&T allows 3G access to SlingPlayer Mobile, and now Verizon Wireless has just announced that they will allow unlimited Skype calling over 3G from their smartphones, starting next month. All you need is a smartphone with data plan, and you can both make and receive Skype-to-Skype voice calls right on your phone over 3G. You’ll also be able to use Skype Out, instant messaging, and remain online in the background to stay connected to the service. At launch, unlimited Skype services will be available on nine Verizon handsets, and you can take a look at the full list after the break.
Okay, so we’ve hit you with the Windows Phone 7 Series keynote video, which introduced the product. We also gave you the shorter Windows Phone 7 Series demo video, which just gives you a glance at the new hotness from Microsoft. We’ve got one more for you though, as Joe Belfiore, the VP of Windows Phone, as he chats with Microsoft’s Laura Foy on Channel 9. They have a conversation about the new operating system, and it’s a deep 22-minute look at what Microsoft has been cooking up to try and reclaim their mobile crown.
Read More | Channel 9
So, aside from that Windows Phone 7 Series keynote video, we thought you might want a condensed version that will allow you to just take a look at what all this Windows Phone 7 fuss is all about. Microsoft took the liberty of putting together this much shorter demo video to explain. Here you can get a look at all of the design elements and decisions that have gone into Windows Phone 7, which fundamentally set it apart from other mobile operating systems on the market. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Every Windows Phone 7 device will have three physical buttons on the front: Start, Search, and Back.
- There’s a focus on productivity, simplicity, music, and gaming. Both Xbox Live and Zune are deeply integrated into Windows Phone 7.
- People hub: Pulls in live data feeds, bringing you social networking status updates and photos from services like Facebook, Twitter, and Windows Live.
- Pictures hub: Brings together picture and video assets from your phone, web, and PC, allowing you to view your entire collection.
- Games hub: Check out your Xbox Live messages, achievements, avatar, and even play some games. Achievements can be earned on the phone.
- Office hub: Access to Microsoft Office suite, including OneNote and SharePoint Workspace. Also includes new version of Outlook Mobile for email.
This is definitely the biggest step that Microsoft has taken in the mobile phone space, and they do it over three years after Apple announced the original iPhone. The competition is heating up, and we are super-excited about it.