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7 years ago

Around SPE for February 15 2009


With our editor-in-chief, Dieter Bohn off in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, the inmates site editors are left running Around SPE this week. So, while he'll be breaking news and giving us some hands-on observations on all the new software and hardware on display, we'll be keeping you covered here at home, starting with a quick recap of where we are right now:

In the world of BlackBerry, T-Mobile customers were happy to see the official roll out of the next-generation BlackBerry Curve 8900 this week. With AT&T said to be dropping support for 2G phones, there has been some worry that this new Curve wouldn't come to AT&T, but with the 8900 SKU now showing up on AT&T systems, it's likely the device will launch there in the next month.

The BIG new this week comes from the CrackBerry Podcast. Kevin was in NYC on for a RIM Business Solutions Press Preview. While there, him and Craig recorded a podcast and for the first time had an employee from Research in Motion on the show. Joined by Mike Kirkup, Manager of Developer Relations, they tackle a bunch of topics from the upcoming App Store to OS 5.0 and whether or not Flash support will appear in a BlackBerry browser and more! Listen Here.

More after the break!

Android Central

This week Android Central reported that Android Market was leaving beta and finally receiving paid applications. Hopefully we'll see even more amazing applications such as this recently announced TeleNav turn-by-turn GPS application.

We also wondered why Google would comply with Apple's request to leave multi-touch out of the G1. Hint: It has something to do with maintaining a great relationship with Apple. Read: Google still wants to play nice with Apple to get iPhone eyes on Google AdSense.

Nokia Experts

News was a bit slow this week as everyone in the mobile space waits for big announcements from Mobile World Congress next week, including some announcements about devices and services from Nokia. We are in our third week of the the launch contest so make sure to get your entry in and look for week four's entry task. Great input and information is coming in from the contest entries. Also, check out our SBSH Reminders giveaway for a chance to win a free registration code.

Some topics of interest this week on Nokia Experts includes the amazing Nokia Maps 3.0 beta update, Nokia 5800 firmware update, Nokia E63 availability in the US for just $279, and the announcement of the Nokia 5630 with 600 MHz processor.


Over at PreCentral this week, we learned that Bell Canada will be launching the Palm Pre. We heard conflicting launch dates of late Q2 or early Q3 and also the end of Q3-Q4.Â

We also had more Touchstone details to emerge when Adam Kaufman, a Product Manager at Palm started answering questions on Facebook. Plus, many people are wondering if the Palm Pre made an appearance on the TV show "Knight Rider". Â

The iPhone Blog

Is this the first glimpse of the 3rd Gen iPhone? Looks pretty much the same as the iPhone 3G, but then Apple brass re-affirmed that the iPhone market is strong, and they won't be diluting it with an iPhone nano or keyboard slider any time soon. What with 20,000 Apps in the store, and the iPhone and the iPod touch now owning 51% of the mobile browser space... and growing, who can blame them?

Maybe jailbreakers, as the EFF asking the US government to grant it an exemption from the DMCA has Apple declaring jailbreaking illegal. (Oops, we just jailbroke live for xGPS on the last podcast!). Lastly, Google gave us Spreadsheet editing, but did Apple deny the Android multi-touch and... a 3.5mm headphone jack?!


This week when Ed Colligan spoke to investors at the Thomas Weisel Partners Technology, Telecom & Internet Conference, he announced that there will be no more PalmOS devices released by Palm (excepting the Centro getting released on other carriers) as they're focused on WebOS and Windows Mobile. He also said that not only will Palm have an app store when the Pre launches, but Palm isn't locking down the device so you can only install apps from their app store.

We also learned this week that the Sprint Treo Pro is now targeted for a March 15th launch, and that some Sprint stores are now getting re-stocked with new Treo Pro's with the new ROM on board. And even though the Sprint Treo Pro is delayed, it was great to hear that Palm's stock has neared double-digits.


It's been the calm before the storm over at WMExperts while we wait for Mobile World Congress to get under way, but that doesn't mean it was a quiet week. We saw more information surface on Windows Mobile 6.5 including a new video, an updated version of Skyfire Beta released while Opera Mobile plans to go turbo. Google offered up contact and calendar sync and brought public-domain books to mobile devices. Mozilla's Fennec mobile browser hit pre-alpha, and we got a sit-down with developer Brad Lassey. On the hardware side, new Windows Mobile devices were spotted from Garmin-Asus, Gigabyte, as well as the "Hummer" of Windows Mobile Devices from I-Mate.

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7 years ago

Moxier brings Exchange to Android


Moxier Mail Beta is now available in the Android Market for T-Mobile G1 users and promises the first Exchange ActiveSync push email solution for Android users. Moxier Mail will allow you to compose, send and receive email on your Android handset and sync/send via Exchange server.

Currently you should be able to download the app for free, but now that the Android Market is able to accept payment for paid apps, it's unknown how long the app will be free. It is also unknown to what extent you can sync information - whether it's limited to email or if you can also browse contacts on Exchange and sync contacts and calendar entries. It certainly wouldn't hurt to head on over to the Android Market and check out this app for yourself.


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7 years ago

HTC Dream Gets Different Look for Telefonica Spain


Does this smartphone look familiar? Hard to hide those lines, those curves, that little trackball. Telefonica will soon be selling an Android phone in Spain, but instead of the G1, it will be this HTC Dream. The innards are likely the same, but as you can see, the exterior has undergone some renovations. There is no release date yet, but when it does land on the shelves, the pricing is estimated to be between €0 and €199 depending on subscriber status and voice/data plan. It's nice to see Android continue to go global!


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7 years ago

Android Market Now Accepting Paid Applications


We reported that Android Market was going to get paid applications this week. Well, today is the day that developers can start uploading applications to Android Market with end user pricing. Priced Applications will be available to the US and UK Market by mid next week. Germany, Austria, Netherlands, France, and Spain will offer priced applications later this quarter.

Google Checkout (what else?) will serve as the payment and billing mechanism for Android Market. Developers without a Google Checkout merchant account should set one up via the publisher website.

[Android Developers Blog]

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7 years ago

Google Releases My Tracks, A GPS Tracking Application for Android


A lot of the best applications for Android is made by Google themselves so when Google announces a new Android Application, we pay attention. This new one from Google is called My Tracks which serves as a GPS tracking application. Specifically:

My Tracks records tracks of outdoor activities using the phone's built-in GPS. It shows these tracks on a map and presents live statistics, including an elevation profile. And here's the best part: it lets you easily share your activities with friends and the world using Google Maps, as well as archive your training history with Google Docs.


You can just download the application from Android Market and be on your tracking way! No dongles necessary, no additional desktop software required. Here's a specific list of things that can be done with My Tracks:


  • Record and visualize GPS tracks while running, hiking, biking, skiing — or any other outdoor activity
  • Get live statistics, such as total/moving time, (average) speed, distance, and elevation profile
  • Send performance statistics to Google Docs to build a training history
  • Mark places and describe activities for others to discover via Google Maps

If you're eager to learn more about this new app, click the jump to see a video of My Tracks in action!

[Official Google Blog]


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7 years ago

Android Powered E-Reader, Who Needs a Kindle Again?



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You know what's great about Android? It's versatility. We've seen Android ported over to many different devices that it's entirely probable that every electronic device will one day run Android (we're only half kidding). Today's newest Android Powered Device is from the folks at the MOTO Development Group who have written a custom driver to create Android running on an E-Ink Display. If they get everything tweaked out and optimized the way they want it to (the current screen flickers much too often as it refreshes), who will ever want a Kindle with its bare bones OS ? Check out the above video to see the device in action!

[via engadget]

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7 years ago

Android Phones with "Combo" Chip


One of the criticisms of T-Mobile's G1 Android phone is the battery life - it's not exactly awe-inspiring. Broadcom Corporation, a member of the Open Handset Alliance, has announced a new "combo" chip which is available for Android handset designers. The new chip (BCM4325) and driver software integrates the FM radio, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, offering the following advantages:

  • The biggest bonus of all - decreased power consumption for a longer-lasting battery between charges.
  • Reduced board space - since it's all in one chip, designers will have more circuit board real estate to work with.
  • Lower production costs, which should translate into less expensive handsets for the consumer.
It's nice to see members of the Open Handset Alliance like Broadcom who can deliver technology that improve the Android experience. So far I'm pretty happy with my G1, but when new Android handsets start surfacing, and if they boast the integration and benefits that the Broadcom chip offer, it might be enough to pull me off the middle of the fence. [androinica]

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7 years ago

Android Market Getting Paid Apps This Week?


A recent Wall Street Journal online article, by Nick Wingfield, spotlighted Microsoft and their plans to roll out a new series of programs and services for mobile phones. It is their attempt to catch up beat back competition like innovator Apple and their highly-successful App Store. Microsoft plans on offering a software site of their own, recognizing that he who attracts the most developers, wins.

Why is this important to those of us who follow the way of the Green 'Droid? At the end of this WSJ article, Mr. Wingfield credits unknown insiders who claim that the Android Market will start offering paid apps this week:

This week Google will start allowing developers to charge for software sold through the Android Market, according to people familiar with the matter.

I like free apps just as much as the next person, but having the ability to start buying apps in the Android Market should result in two huge benefits, as far as I'm concerned: 1) higher-quality apps because developers can start making some scratch, and 2) more developers jumping on the Android development bandwagon because there's money to be made. It sounds like this news couldn't have come too soon. Are you excited for paid apps? How much are you willing to pay for a decent app for your Android phone?


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7 years ago

TeleNav Launches GPS Navigation for G1, Android


Hey that didn't take too long! TeleNav just announced that they'll be releasing their turn-by-turn GPS navigation software for Android on February 24th. The TeleNav software will include full color 3D graphics, speech recognition, one-click rerouting, traffic alerts, weather updates, gas prices, and restaurant reviews. Supposedly over 10 million businesses and services will be packed into the TeleNav software. Sounds good, right?

Well here comes the kicker. After a 30-day free trial (yay!), the software will run for $9.99 a month (boo!). I know, a pretty stiff price to pay. Currently, there's no word on whether it'll hit the Android Market or explore an alternative route and we have no idea how big the application will be. Though the price is high, this is still exciting news! Hopefully we'll see more turn-by-turn GPS software in the near future.

UPDATE: According to our good friend Matthew Miller there are other pricing options: $9.99/monthly, $99 for a year, $249 for four years. He has spent a fair amount of time with the software so you can check out his impressions here.

More pics after the jump!

[via Engadget]


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7 years ago

G1 Extended Battery Available At The Android Central Store


One of the pitfalls of the T-Mobile G1 is that it has pretty weak battery life. I don't think I'm the only one who is constantly trying to conserve battery or plugging in the G1 to a charger. Luckily, we have a Seidio Extended Battery for the G1 that packs 1400mAh (15% more) of charge without adding any unnecessary bulk. 

We just received ours and will be following up with a full review after a couple days of testing. In the meantime, you can solve your own G1 battery woes by heading over to our Android Central store here!

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7 years ago

Desktop Gmail Offering Location-Based Signatures


There's a cool new feature in Gmail Labs which allows you to include your location in your e-mail signature. It determines your location by either reading your IP address and estimating or if you install Google Gears' location module it can give you Wi-Fi triangulation which is much more accurate.

This location signature feature is pretty neat, especially if you're on vacation or just an all around global trekker. But does anyone else think there should be an Android equivalent? Or is Google Latitude enough?

[via Gizmodo]

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7 years ago

Samsung Android Phone Delayed, Won't Be At MWC


Boo. We're hoping this doesn't become a trend because we desperately want our Second Android Device as soon as possible. But according to Engadget, Samsung is delaying their Android Phone and won't be showcasing their Android devices at next week's Mobile World Congress where Android is expected to make a HUGE showing. 

Officially, the Head of Marketing for Mobile Device Younghee Lee said that none of their Android powered devices would be shown at the conference. Hopefully, this doesn't reflect on the rest of the MWC because we still fully expect to see the future of Android.

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7 years ago

Android Market Is No Longer Beta


If you didn't notice, after the RC33 Update Android Market is no longer in BETA and is now presumably much better (joke). We're sure this isn't that big of a deal but it is interesting since Google typically places all its applications in beta purgatory. Case in point: GMail which launched 5 years ago still carries the BETA tag. So I guess if you run into any trouble with the "new" Android Market feel free to complain! It's no longer BETA!

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7 years ago

Google Fires Back At Ballmer Comments


We know Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has a penchant for saying the darndest things. Just back in November, he stated:

“I don’t really understand their strategy. Maybe somebody else does. If I went to my shareholder meeting, my analyst meeting, and said: ‘Hey, we’ve just launched a new product that has no revenue model!’… I’m not sure that my investors would take that very well. But that’s kind of what Google’s telling their investors about Android,”


And since at the time Google didn't defend itself, we said:

Though he is technically right and that Google doesn’t make money on Android alone, he seems to be missing the point. Android serves as an extension of Google’s services which all point back to search which all point back to ad revenue which all lead to money. Google’s logic? If more people use Android, more people use Google, and more money for us. So we’ll give Android away, heck, they’ll let anyone use and tinker with it. Makes sense here.


And after waiting a good 3 months for Google to defend itself on its business model for Android stating:

"As the internet grows, so does Google benefit from potential growth," he continued. "I think our business model has proven that it works well so far."


So I guess Google agrees with us: any way to improve the Internet experience, be it on a mobile device or a PC will somehow trickle down and help Google's bottom line. We think that's as good a strategy as any. What do you guys think?

[ZDNet via modmyGphone]

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7 years ago

Google Complied With Apple's No-Multi-Touch Request


It's no secret that Apple and Google are quite chummy. They have a fairly good working relationship which may explain why Google complied with Apple's request to exclude multi-touch from the Android feature-set. If you are even remotely familiar with Apple's iPhone, you will know that multi-touch allows for multiple input on the touchscreen at the same time, allowing for "pinching" and "stretching" images on the display. You can read more about this at our sister site, The iPhone blog.

Palm has made no such attempts to play nice by offering their own multi-touch on the upcoming Palm Pre device, where they may have painted a big patent-infringement bulls-eye on their back for Apple to take aim. It will be interesting to see what Apple actually does with the Palm situation, but given Google's compliance with Apple's request, they may sit back comfortably with a tub of popcorn and watch the fur fly, so to speak. Personally, I would LOVE having multi-touch on my G1. It's not a deal-breaker, but it's easy to get spoiled after using an iPhone for a while. Maybe Google has played their cards right by serving up an open OS so that some nameless, faceless developer out there can serve up some multi-touch, 3rd-party-style, and skirt the legalities altogether?


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