Regular reports on smartphone and mobile device sales are issued and are interesting to view. However, they are often missing information that makes the data a bit less informative. In the most recent Gartner report we finally see analysts including the largest Windows Mobile manufacturer, HTC, in their tables. Sales of smartphones have increased at a lower rate than in 2007, but were still quite strong considering that consumer spending has slowed in the U.S.
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Ryan Block is ending his role as editor-in-chief at Engadget to pursue a new gadget site opportunity with long-time buddy Peter Rojas and I wish them both the best of luck and look forward to seeing what they come up with. As a fitting end to his role at Engadget, Ryan posted an update to his open letter to Palm that he posted last year. His 2007 letter gave lots of unsolicited advice to Palm and CEO Ed Colligan even responded to the letter. The sad news is that one year later there is very little that shows Palm has changed much and it is tough to keep pulling for the company and hoping they come out of it.
Palm Pre and Pixi owners received a late Christmas present last night in terms of the webOS 1.3.5 firmware update that weighs in at just 13MB. I no longer have a Palm Pre, but make sure to head over to PreCentral.net to check out all the details of the upgrade. The upgrade is available for both webOS devices, the Pre and Pixi, but is currently limited to the US model of the Palm Pre.
There has been a rather cryptic countdown on Twitter from the Symbian Foundation and now we learn that the countdown was designed to alert folks that Symbian is now fully open source and 100% free. This happened four months ahead of schedule and we should soon start to see Symbian-powered devices from different manufacturers. This new Symbian is different than the previous Symbian you are familiar with in S60. While Nokia is still a major contributor to Symbian, the Symbian Foundation stated that the goal by 2011 is to have Nokia contributing no more than 50% of the development work.
I've been enjoying Shortcovers for a few months on my Google Android and iPhone devices and loved that the books were easy to access on multiple platforms. I actually just included some good info on using Shortcovers content on my new B&N nook thanks to their EPUB format. We now hear that Shortcovers has been rebranded as Kobo with their major financing coming from Borders. You should still be able to access purchased content from Kobo on the nook due to the Adobe Digital Editions support and cross platform titles. There are now mobile clients for BlackBerry, Palm WebOS, iPhone, and Android smartphones as well as ereaders like the nook and Sony Reader.
Third party applications have been available for Palm, Windows Mobile, S60, and BlackBerry devices for years, but it wasn't until Apple made the iPhone App Store such a huge success that companies finally woke up to the potential market that was out there. It really is a shame that one of these companies never took the initiative to create an application store and now they are all announcing one, again following Apple's lead. Some of the best news I have seen so far from Mobile World Congress is the announcement regarding the upcoming Ovi Store by Nokia.
ZDNet colleague Zack Whittaker has a way of firing me up from time to time (check out my Windows Mobile post from last month) and he does it again this Friday with his Microsoft Recite post. I am not sure if it is because of Zack's foreign accent, the site says it is available in English (US) and not the English(UK), or maybe the particular Windows Mobile device he is using (Zack, what device do you have?), but Recite doesn't seem to work very well for him. On the other hand, I actually used it several times just this week on my Palm Treo Pro (I've been using this device more and more lately) and find it to be an awesome utility and find the technology behind the application to be quite powerful.
My ZDNet Mobile Gadgeteer blog has thousands of RSS subscribers and I noticed that this still rather young Smartphones & Cell Phones blog has just a few of you subscribed to the feed. Thus, as a weekend public service announcement I wanted to make you aware that you can subscribe via RSS using your favorite client and know when I post new articles. Did you know you can also sign up for email alerts if you don't use RSS?
HTC held an event last week to hold open and honest conversations with mobile enthusiasts from around the world. The discussions were engaging and extremely educational.
LTE is the fastest 4G network here in the U.S. and Verizon is continuing their aggressive rollout schedule through 2012. With the LTE iPad launching this week, we can count on the next iPhone also using this technology.