The all in one unlimted plan from Sprint

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In what is a long time coming, a major wireless provider has announced a pilot program that gives an all in one unlimited plan that includes the major features of a power user: Unlimited voice calling, SMS (text messaging), Web, Email, and even MMS (picture messaging). There are some indications that BlackBerry isn’t included but is available as an add on.

This is just what SprintNextel needed to offer due to all its executive turnover, horrific activation numbers, and CHURN percentage. Will this right the sinking ship is the big question but I can imagine this being a hugely popular plan for many a Fortune 500 company as the bottom line is all that counts in these uncertain economic times.

The BGR boys got word that the launch cities are San Francisco, Philadelphia, Tampa, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul regions. Let’s hope that wireless peeps in these areas jump all over this offering so that it launches nationwide.

Info via Sprint’s Internet Tubes

Hopefully SprintNextel will also take this as a hint that they should lower the prices on their phones, a look at their website lists 8 different phones at $199.99 and more. They also are selling the HTC Touch which is hot phone in the wireless biz but their price point of $250 makes it far less appealing. Sometimes a company shakeup is what is needed to give a company a new prospective, the launch of the Unlimited Access Plan is a great start but should be only the beginning in what should be a complete retooling of the mobile phone giant.


Limo – The first Linux based mobile phone

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The following is from the recent press release announcing the first Linux Software Mobile Phone:

February 4, 2008—LiMo Foundation, a global consortium of mobile leaders delivering an open handset platform for the whole industry, today announced the on-schedule availability in March 2008 of the first release of the LiMo Platform—the first globally competitive, Linux-based software platform for mobile handsets—together with the immediate public availability of the application programming interface (API) specifications.

LiMo’s initial Founder members—Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics and Vodafone—collaborated on Release 1 (R1), and nearly all of the enabling technology within R1 has been commercially deployed and proven within handsets enjoyed by consumers today.

Complete Press Release

This an exciting first step in what should be an groundbreaking year in the open source mobile atmosphere. With OpenMoko and the FIC Neo1973 entering into its second phase of development, we should be able to touch and feel an open source phone sometime this year, something that seemed impossible a mere year ago. We, the mobile phone customers of the U.S. need to make both lawmakers and phone manufacturers aware that unlocked phones and software are the wave of the future. Hopefully with names like Motorola and Samsung this has some real traction and most importantly some real resources.

OpenMoko Wiki

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If you get the vibe that both of these companies are claiming to be the first Linux phone you’d be correct but as neither has been sold with the ability to make a call or even send a text message this claim to fame will have to wait. Not sure why its a big deal, never heard anyone being all that excited about being the first phone company to use Symbian. Maybe Ricky Bobby was right with his ‘If your not first, your last’ mantra.

 


Touching Apple just got more expensive

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The iPhone has been hitting the gym and has bulked up to 16GB while the iPod Touch has been obviously using ‘alternative’ workout methods to hit the 32GB mark, however it will require both sacrifice and moolah to afford these $499 beasts. That sound you hear is the collective moan of the apple fan base that recently purchased either of these devices before these upgrades were announced.

Link to the Apple Store


Samsung G810

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Samsung has locked its sights on Nokia with its new foray into the Smartphone market with the G810 and judging by the specs Nokia better be paying attention.

* GSM/UMTS/3.6 Mbps HSDPA
* 5 megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom
* GPS
* Wi-FI b/g
* 262K Color QVGA TFT display
* Bluetooth 2.0
* Symbian 9.2 OS with S60 3.1 UI

It looks to launching in the European market at first but should gain a North American model before summer of ’08. Hopefully by then the ridiculous price tag of $860 will have been laughed at by our friends in the U.K. for long enough that it becomes affordable to the point where won’t need to hock a kidney. Seriously, $360 more than the iPhone? Heck its even more than the Dell Vostro 1400 Laptop by some $280.


Return of the N-Gage

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Just when you thought it was safe to recycle your old N-Gage, Nokia has gone ahead and resurrected the gaming device once thought dead. Actually you can still recycle it or better yet, donate it to Cell Phones for Soldiers because it is being brought back as software that can be loaded on the N81 for starters and then eventually the N95, N93, N93i, N82 and the N73 if all goes well. It is a great concept for a phone manufacturer, let the customer play with the Beta version of the software to work out the bugs and avoid the criticism of a hard software launch.

For those interested in some more info, check out the blog and put the feed into your RSS reader. If you happen to own a Nokia N81 , click here to get started.

The website has the following information displayed:

N81 owners, take part in creating the new wave of mobile play!
N-Gage First Access has begun. To ensure N-Gage is the best it can be, we want you to take an active part in its development. N-Gage First Access allows Nokia N81 owners to download the pre-release version of the N-Gage application, try and buy N-Gage games, and provide feedback on the experience. It’s a great opportunity to be the first to join the new wave of mobile play.


Mobile Phone Insider Websites

There are many a blog on the mobile industry around the old internet tubes and they all have opinions pertaining to their personal tastes, this being one of them. They serve the purpose of being both informative and entertaining, without them we would be in the dark about all things shiny and new and that would be a great disservice for people that love their mobile phones.

Sometimes though I tend to delve a bit deeper into the information that these sites avoid, the statistical, financial, and historical information that fascinates me. I am a student of the wireless industry and a big proponent of the philosophy of ‘how can we know where we are going if we don’t know where we’ve been.’

With that preamble out of the way, I present a few sites that I enjoy for their dedication to all things mobile:

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A website for the GSMA, the global trade association that represents 700 GSM mobile phone operators and 200 phone manufacturers across 218 countries. Promotes all things GSM, the global mobile phone technology that provides service to over 2.6 billion users. Great resource for both the history of the mobile industry and what is currently happening including innovations such as:

  • Pay Buy Mobile – Turning your phone into a wireless credit card for secure purchases
  • Mobile Money Transfer – Mobile Phone Money Transfers with the focus on migrant workers who might not have bank accounts
  • 3G For All – Bringing affordable wireless highspeed data and devices to rural areas that have no access to broadband internet services.

w-adv.jpgExtensive coverage on the 1200 mobile phone markets and the over 300 mobile phone companies of the U.S. They offer news on all things mobile and have an impressive forum that has hundreds of thousands of posts on virtually any topic you could wish. Notable forum topics:

  • Cell Tower Hunting Club – Locations and pictures of cell sites around the globe
  • Working and Investing in the Wireless Industry – Insight into the inner workings of the mobile industry
  • Foro de Celulares en Espaà±ol – A Spanish Language Mobile Phone Forum

rcrw.jpgThe definitive source on all things in the Mobile Phone Industry. The place to be if you need to know about subscriber totals with churn rates for the last quarter along with who the corporate officers are company by company. Notable features of the site include:

  • Audible Glossary – An audio guide to all those acronyms the wireless industry loves so much
  • Stock Watch – A look at all the wireless companies on the Dow Jones and NASDAQ with customizable chart options
  • Wireless Hall of FameRecognizes those who have made significant contributions to wireless telecommunications

So there you go, some alternative websites that if read regularly will provide you with more knowledge than the current Senior Vice President of Customer Satisfaction of T-Mobile.


The Next Generation of Mobile Phones

With the rapid advancements of mobile phone technology in the past few years, some wonder what is in store for us in the immediate future. I for one don’t want to wait and certainly don’t want to hear about vaporware, like the flying cars we were all promised as kids. So lets take a rational look at what the Nokia’s, Samsung’s, and Motorola’s have in store for us in the relatively short time frame of the next 2 years.

Nokia is developing user experiences based on a multi-sensory level that can detect, transmit and emit smell. It can also radiate colors, light and temperature from a caller’s environment. The practicality of this is unclear, perhaps a sensory text message that smells like your mom baking cookies or the smell of your first true love. Other options are too unseemly to discuss here.

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The look and feel of the next generation of phones will have screens better than even the finest TV’s. OLED (Organic light-emitting diode) will become standard as the line of living room TV will be blurred by what will essentially be mobile entertainment centers that slip into a shirt pocket. CES recently displayed the first OLED Sony TV and those that saw it still have sore jaws because they literally dropped to the floor. To give you an idea of how pretty and bright the picture was, the bleeding edge Panasonic’s have a contrast ratio of 25,000:1, the Sony had a 1,000,000:1. Yeah that wasn’t a misprint, a million to one ratio!! It is essentially as bright as the sun but far cooler to stare at.

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Hi Res Images via Engadget

Luckily for us the OLED screens are starting to make their way into mobile phones found in Japan on NTT DoCoMo’s advanced network and elsewhere. The Samsung 920 SC and the Nokia 8800 Arte are prime examples of phones with displays so gorgeous you will find yourself staring at them like you might a womans sexy curves. The 920 SC website is M.I.A. but the Nokia 8800 has a website so seductive I wasn’t sure if it was trying to promote the phone or wanted me for a one night stand, perhaps both.

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Hi Res Images

The Motorola U9 might give us the greatest indication of what is in store, it sports a transparent screen that blends in so well to the rest of the phone that it is hard to tell where the screen starts and finishes.

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High Res Images

So without knowing what the next killer app is going to be, we have to look at what we have seen lately, that the next gen of the mobile industry will focus on beautiful and well thought out design. We can look to the films of the 70’s, the architecture of the 50’s and 60’s, and the technology of the 21st century for the inspiration we need to create not a form over function but a form and function approach. And who knows we might even see that infamous Google phone before the end of the decade…maybe.


Blackberry’s Operating System, mobile email for the masses

 

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Today in our continuing look at mobile phone software we concentrate on the most overlooked of the bunch and one that essentially changed the way we communicate.

Research In Motion (RIM) invented mobile email as we know it and blew the doors off of what slim offerings were available. Up until they came aboard all that we could do was synch a PDA with a computer and setting up that email account took a software engineer. I personally remember spending many an hour with a Jornada to no avail.

When the first Blackberry came onto the scene, the 5700 series, few where impressed. It was a data only device, was very complicated and its interface was difficult to navigate. More often than not it crashed and the reboot process took up to five minutes to complete. And yet, once you got your account set up and you suddenly had the ability to send and receive email instantly it was if you had found the Holy Grail of email. In addition you were also able to hook up a BES server at you office and have corporate email as well, allowing you to keep in touch with your workplace from such locations as the golf course or a business conference.

Some seven plus years later many have tried to duplicate them but all they really have achieved is the ability to sign into your Gmail or Yahoo account through the phones browser. This is of course not the same and this accounts for the Blackberry being the dominant mobile device of Government and Corporate landscapes.

Some might blame the Blackberry for changing the way business is done and not for the better. Being able to communicate instantly with business associates can have an adverse affect on ones private life. Studies have suggested that every time we hear that beep indicating the arrival of a new message, we get an endorphin rush. Some might call it staying ahead of the game while others consider it an addiction, thus the term CrackBerry. Even with all the supposed ‘negative’ aspects it has become an invaluable tool. To be able to send receive open and edit attachments at any hour has increased productivity dramatically.

RIM has now added everything from WiFi to GPS to Cameras into their SmartPhones that don’t resemble anything like their humble beginnings. They are sleek, aesthetically pleasing, intuitive, and as multi functional as anything else in the mobile landscape. With version 4.3 of their software set to launch in February, many are anticipating big changes that will continue to keep Blackberry at the forefront of SmartPhone development.

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For those BlackBerry users out there I would recommend joining the Owners Lounge for everything from the latest downloads to tricks and tips to info on upcoming model launches.

 

 

 

 


Symbian, the open operating system

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Symbian OS is an advanced, open operating system licensed by the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturers including: Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Panasonic, Motorola and LG. A total of 165 million Symbian smartphones have shipped as of Q3 2007. This is in large part due to their developer support and ease of customization.

Nokia is the #1 mobile phone manufacturer in the world and have been the dominant force for some time now, this is no small part due to them being dedicated to the Symbian operating system. This partnership has paid off with a record sales year and in particular with the launch of the Nokia N82, which some believe is the finest mobile phone ever produced. Their entire N and E series product lines make great use of this software which totals 22 models, not even including the tablet series.

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Recently at CES Symbian was all over the place most notably in soon to be launched Motorola’s Z10 which has HSDPA, Symbian UIQ and 3.5G technology 3.2 megapixel camera, Superfast burst mode delivers 3 shots per second 2.2” , a QVGA display for 30 frames per second video playback, Storyboard editing allows for combination of multiple videos and the addition of soundtrack,commentary and visual effects.

Symbian defines what is cutting edge in the mobile phone industry and with the likes of the Nokia N77 TV phone just around the corner they don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

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Microsoft Windows Mobile 6

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This week we will be focusing on the software that runs your mobile phone. This is an often overlooked aspect of the mobile industry and has just recently been brought to light to the average consumer with the new iPhone, its software updates and all their implications, both good and bad.

Today lets take a look at Microsoft Windows Mobile Software. Mobile 6 is latest version of this software and its list of phone models that it runs is very impressive as seen below:

Psion Teklogix Ikn, Psion Teklogix Workabout Pro G2, Verizon SMT5800, Verizon Wireless XV6800, iPAQ 510 Voice Messenger, Samsung SCH-i760, Pantech DuoT-Mobile Wing, Moto Q Global, T-Mobile Shadow, Samsung BlackJack I & II, T-Mobile Dash, HTC Touch, AT&T Tilt, Palm Treo 750, and The Sprint Mogul Smartphone by HTC.

Windows Mobile 6 includes many programs that people are familiar with including mobile versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Windows Media Player, and Internet Explorer. This provides a broad appeal as these office programs are the norm in the corporate world. But the one thing that really makes this software shine is the ability of the end user to personalize their mobile device. Customized themes, wallpapers, and ringtones. The main difference between this and other mobile software is that all of this is free.

Its refreshing that Microsoft isn’t trying to make money off every aspect of the mobile phone that virtually all other companies do. This is why you see tremendous brand loyalty when it comes to Window Mobile users. The average customer has a high end phone that is essentially a pocket sized computer and having the ability to add the latest software programs is essential to their day to day tasks. Being able to add Skype and GPS programs as soon as they became available is a huge advantage and is something iPhone users can only dream about.

One advantage is the power of Microsoft and all that it brings to this platform, case in point, software add-ons are continually added to its website, all benefiting the consumer. A recent case in point is Viigo, a RSS aggregator that delivers your favorite mobile content quickly and conveniently and yes its free as well. There is also a great resource called the Windows Mobile Newsletter and its a highly recommended for anyone that has or is thinking about getting a Windows Mobile powered device.

Microsoft has quietly built a mobile industry powerhouse with its Windows Mobile Software that is running on over 140 devices worldwide. There are thousands of different software titles for the platform ranging from applications to games to productivity and much much more. They are becoming the dominating force in the mobile industry and with Windows Mobile 7 right around the corner they look to be cementing themselves as the leader in the mobile software marketplace.

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