I've talked about the Truphone VoIP solution here on this blog a couple of times in the past and have had it on my iPhone for several months. Now that my ZDNet Smartphones & Cell Phones blog focuses on phones you may be asking why I am posting about a phone solution here on the Mobile Gadgeteer. A new Truphone client was just released for the Apple iPod touch that turns it into a VoIP phone, but it is not a cellphone. Highly respected VoIP blogger and friend Andy Abramson has an excellent blog post on why TruPhone on the iPod touch is a game changer in the VoIP space.
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I was reading my friend Andy's blog today and found his Kindle post where he talked about some recent experiences and then linked to Larry Golob's article on the Kindle leveraging an "open" mobile network. I have both the Sony Reader PRS-505 and Amazon Kindle and have to say that the wireless functionality on the Kindle keeps me using it 80% of the time over the Sony Reader even though the Sony Reader has a sleeker form factor. With all of the snow here in Washington State today it is a very good day to curl up on the couch and read a book.
All of the major U.S. wireless carriers announced unlimited calling plans in February, but apparently AT&T's wasn't applicable to the Apple iPhone. IntoMobile discovered that AT&T just updated their iPhone pricing plans to include an unlimited voice plan for iPhone owners. The unlimited plan is US$119.99 and includes unlimited voice minutes and unlimited data (a default for iPhone service). BlackBerry and PDA plans with data and unlimited voice start at US$149.99 per month.
I have a jailbroken Apple iPhone and have a few applications loaded on it, but am always on the lookout for recommendations on applications to try. It is likely that we will see the new 3G iPhone announced and/or launched next week along with the firmware 2.0 upgrade so we can officially get 3rd party applications on the iPhone. My current plan is to keep this first generation iPhone as my test iPhone and buy the new 3G iPhone as soon as I can get my hands on one. If you are going to keep your existing iPhone and want to try out some 3rd party applications, then I recommend you check out the excellent LifeHacker article on 13 applications worth jailbreaking your iPhone or iPod touch for.
Kevin's been checking out the Lenovo X301 with integrated WiMAX and after hearing him talk about it on MobileTechRoundup show #152 I think he is getting closer and closer to picking one up for himself. I went ahead and purchased the MSI Wind and discovered it has a slightly different keyboard layout than the review unit I checked out and the differences actually have a major impact on usability. Kevin pointed me to a fix that is now working well on the device. James picked up a black T-Mobile G1 and it was good to hear his initial thoughts after Kevin and I have been checking the device out for a couple of weeks now. We talked about some of our favorite Android applications too.
It turns out that the air conditioning unit in my hotel in Singapore was cranking and I didn't realize it as we recorded MobileTechRoundup show #145 a couple of days ago so I am sorry for the background hum that still remains a bit in the audio file. We did talk about a few new devices that were announced, including the N79 and N85. Kevin ordered a MSI Wind that should be coming soon and I also just ordered a Kindle at a great price. James, Kevin, and I talked a bit about WiMAX and our hopes that it launches soon since it will supposedly allow multiple devices on the same account. Android is getting an application market store, similar to the Apple iPhone.
I checked out a Garmin StreetPilot c580 last summer and thought it was a pretty compelling dedicated GPS system since it had MSN Direct integration to provide some wireless functionality. While it was useful for some things, the MSN Direct service is not designed for real-time wireless data and coverage is limited. I have heard quite a bit about the Dash Express internet connected GPS system and have now spent just over a week with one myself and posted several product photos and screenshots in my image gallery. I also offer several first impressions about the device and its functionality below. I plan to use it for a few upcoming out-of-town trips in the next month and will write up those thoughts before I send back the evaluation unit.
Boingo Wireless provides WiFi services all over the world and I have used them on the past in Spain and London. They have been busy adding more wireless networks and today announced that they will be providing the services for the Washington State ferry system. About 1/4 of the employees in my office ride a ferry to work in Seattle, it is the largest ferry fleet in the U.S., and so I am sure they will be happy to hear they can now standardize on Boingo and get access on the ferry and when traveling out of the State. There are 22 ferries and 11 terminals that Boingo will be working on when you travel on the waters of Puget Sound.
I was 90% sure I was going to buy an iPhone 3G on Friday, but a couple of things changed my mind tonight and I decided I will not be buying the device on Friday. One of my main motivations for buying the iPhone was to be able to write about it here on my blog, but I will be able to upgrade my current iPhone to the latest firmware and test most all of the available applications and write about them. The main stream media reviews were posted tonight from Walt Mossberg, David Pogue, and Edward Baig (USA Today) and they helped make my decision much easier by confirming that Bluetooth is still limited, the camera is the same, battery life is less when using 3G all the time, and pretty much everything about the hardware is the same as what I already have, with the exception of 3G and GPS. We all knew most of this already, but there was some doubt about functionality not specifically addressed.
OK, one of my questions has been answered and it isn't what I was hoping for. According to the AT&T press release, the new iPhone 3G data plan will actually increase US$10/month to US$30/month. In addition you will need a voice plan starting at US$39.99/month so the total monthly fee to use an iPhone 3G will increase US$10/month or US$240 over the life of the new 2-year contract.