If you read my Clash of the Touch Titans series back in April you would see I awarded the HTC Hero as the device to stand out from the rest and today Sprint announced they would be the first US wireless carrier to offer the device. The HTC Hero on Sprint will be the first time we see a carrier other than T-Mobile with a Google Android-based device and Sprint will now have two Linux-powered smartphones with the Hero and Palm Pre. It will be available beginning 11 October for just $179.99 after a $50 instant savings and $100 mail-in rebate with a two-year service agreement.
Smartphones and Cell Phones
It seems everyone in business has a smartphone today to keep connected to the office and enjoy their time away from the office. Matthew Miller provides you with news, commentary and in-depth reviews of the latest in mobile phones sporting iOS, Android, Wi
Matthew Miller started using a Pilot 1000 in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since.
Last week I talked about the summer Windows Mobile lovefest, but it is not quite over yet as both HTC and Sony Ericsson announced Windows Mobile 6.5 devices launching as early as 6 October. The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2 has a form factor very similar to the X1 with some improvements in specifications while the HTC Touch2 takes a bit of a step back from the latest HTC devices we already see on the market. The Touch2 should be the first WM 6.5 device available though with launches in Europe and Asia.
Over the last couple of years, one of Nokia's big focuses has been on social location technology and services and I suppose it is a natural evolution in the usage of GPS technology. There have been a number of services from Nokia such as Vine, Friend View, enhanced Ovi Maps, and now Lifecasting and I have to honestly say I stopped using them after a few attempts because I personally found little value in them and never thought they were worth the hit in battery life to keep the connection and GPS receiver up or intermittently updating. I think the idea sounds great, but how many of us actually wander around the city looking for friends and people to meet up with? If I am going to meet someone then I just call them up and we work out the details of the meetup spot rather than fumble around on a phone (both parties would have to have supported services) trying to find their GPS coordinates on a map. Shoot, we could just use Twitter or text messaging too if I didn't want to talk on the phone.
The Nokia World 2009 keynote took place today (middle of the night for me in the US) and a couple recently announced devices were shown, three new ones were announced, and several services were showcased. Keep in mind my take on the event is from a US perspective where we are unlikely to see subsidies like they will in other countries. You can check out images for these products and services in our Nokia World 2009 image gallery. We found out more details about the Booklet 3G and saw the N97 mini, X6, and X3 announced, and heard about some new services for the N97 available now in beta.
I have been spending a lot of time with my T-Mobile Touch Pro2 over these last few weeks and it has made me pause and think a bit more about firmware updates and how they relate to mobile phones. In the late 90s and early 2000s we never really thought much about upgrading our devices and we purchased them knowing exactly what their functionality and capabilities were while paying hundreds of dollars. If you look at the feature phone market, buyers still appear to think this way when they purchase the latest messaging, touchscreen, or camera-focused mobile phone. With the launch of the iPhone it seems people have started making purchasing decisions on whether or not a phone could be upgraded and have features added later in the lifecycle. This mentality has resulted in kudos for the iPhone, WebOS, some BlackBerry, select few Windows Mobile, and many Android devices while slamming Symbian, T-Mobile branded Android (who may not get future updates), Windows Mobile (selected devices may be upgraded), and BlackBerry devices. It seems to me that modern smartphone makers may have suckered us into thinking that upgradeability is always a good thing.
Microsoft finally confirmed a date for the release of Windows Mobile 6.5 today with the announcement of 6 October availability. There were not a ton of details in the press release, but I did see that T-Mobile USA was not listed as a carrier in the list and it will be pretty disappointing if their brand new T-Mobile HTC Touch Pro2 (see my first thoughts) is not upgraded to WM 6.5 since it is a pricey phone that has the horsepower to be upgraded. However, much of what people will see in WM 6.5 has already been implemented by HTC in the HTC Touch Pro2 so there may not be that compelling of a reason to perform the upgrade anyway.
As I have mentioned in the past I have a rather small personal music collection so I enjoy streaming music and subscription services that let me listen to a ton of music from several genres. I have been a subscriber to the Zune Marketplace (check out my thoughts on the service) since they started giving you 10 free songs a month, but do have some issues with the service since it is still not easy to find MP3 only files and if you forget to download the 10 free songs you lose them. Today Napster launched their new mobile site, m.napster.com, that gives you the ability to discover and download your music over the air.
I don't think it has ever been officially stated, but rumors have shown that we can expect the excellent HTC Touch Pro2 (see my initial impressions) to come to at least the four major US wireless carriers. T-Mobile was the first a few weeks ago and today Sprint announced the Touch Pro2 will be available starting 8 September for the same $349.99 price that T-Mobile sells the device for. Unfortunately, you will have to pay $100 more on Sprint and wait for a mail-in rebate while T-Mobile has no mail-in rebate. There are a couple of hardware and software bonuses with the Sprint model compared to the T-Mobile model though.
It's that time of year when kids go back to school and people start to think of ways to stay connected and in touch. If your kids are like mine, text messaging is used 90% of the time compared to voice calls on mobile phones and they are all about the QWERTY keyboard for easier, faster texting than a phone keypad. Every carrier realizes this too and has a lineup of QWERTY phones to meet these texting needs. Let's take a look at two of the best QWERTY phones available from each of the four major wireless carriers.
James, Kevin, and I record the show on Macs and both of them were tracking their Snow Leopard package using the Palm Pre as we started MobileTechRoundup show #181. James then asked about apps driving people to buy certain phones and we chimed in with our thoughts. Sony announced a new Reader device and one is on the way to my house. The Nokia N900 was a big news item of the week, along with the Booklet 3G. There are Motorola Android handsets being announced soon and Kevin and James will be there in person to hear the news and hopefully get some hands-on time.