Sunday, February 28, 2010

Android 2.1 Update Coming to All US Android Phones

Taylor Wimber, the skipper over at Android And Me, has posted and article stating that Google is working with carriers to release the Android Eclair 2.1 update to all of today's existing Android powered smartphones.
"After talking with several inside sources familiar with the matter, I would like to report that every Android phone currently released in the United States will be receiving an upgrade to Android 2.1."
Now for the bad news. Mr. Wimber writes:
"Now let me cut to the bad news. Select Android phones will require a wipe when they are upgraded to Android 2.1. I actually only know of phones that will require a wipe, so it could include all of them (minus the Droid which is already on Android 2.0.1)."
Mr. Wimber goes on to state that he believes that the update will be rolled out to Android customers in late Q2, 2010. (Translation = Could be as late as the end of June or July)

Ok, so is a hard reset really that bad? I'm guessing that if your an Android gear head that you would rather have the official update on your phone and a reset won't be the end of the world.

I'm playing with a work issued Verizon HTC Droid Eris running Android 1.6 (Donut) and would like to have the newer OS so that I don't have to worry about compatibility issues with new application software over the next 24 months.

So how about it, Android fans? Are you ready for some "Google Goodness?"

[Via AndroidAndMe.com...]

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Upcoming Server Maintenance

I have recently been informed of some impending changes to how I post to this blog and how it will be hosted. Google will soon discontinue support for FTP blog publishing, requiring me to migrate this site to a new server.

In a recent email, Google's Blogger team wrote:
"Last May, we discussed a number of challenges facing Blogger users who relied on FTP to publish their blogs. FTP remains a significant drain on our ability to improve Blogger: only .5% of active blogs are published via FTP — yet the percentage of our engineering resources devoted to supporting FTP vastly exceeds that. On top of this, critical infrastructure that our FTP support relies on at Google will soon become unavailable, which would require that we completely rewrite the code that handles our FTP processing.

For that reason, we are announcing today that we will no longer support FTP publishing in Blogger after March 26, 2010. We realize that this will not necessarily be welcome news for some users, and we are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible."

This transfer should be seamless to you, our readers, however, I wanted to give you notice of the transfer in the event that something goes wrong and service is temporarily disrupted. The change should happen sometime during the next few weeks and I will let you all know when the migration has been completed successfully.

-Alan

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Motorola Devour Coming to Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless has announced that their next phone based on Google's Android OS, the Devour, will be arriving in March.

Verizon Wireless and Motorola, Inc. have announced the availability of Motorola DEVOUR in March. Motorola DEVOUR will be the first Verizon Wireless phone to feature MOTOBLUR, Motorola’s unique Android-powered content delivery service created to make wireless phones more personal and customizable.

MOTOBLUR is the first solution to sync contacts from work and personal e-mail services, including Gmail, with posts, messages, photos and more from popular sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. With MOTOBLUR, content is automatically delivered to the home screen and fed into easy-to-manage streams.

Motorola Devour's Key Features
  • Touch-sensitive navigation pad

  • 3.1” capacitive touch screen

  • Pre-loaded Google apps: Gmail, Google Talk, YouTube, Google Search and Google Maps with Navigation.

  • Android Market application store

  • MOTOBLUR Happenings Widget – automatically receive push status updates updates from popular social networking sites.

  • MOTOBLUR Universal Inbox – gathers texts, social network messages and e-mails into one home screen widget.

  • Back-Up and Security – Contacts, log-in information, home screen customizations, e-mail and social network messages are backed up automatically on the secure MOTOBLUR portal. The portal also allows customers to use the phone’s fully integrated aGPS to help locate the phone if misplaced. Remote wipe easily clears information from a lost device.

  • 8 GB microSD™ card pre-installed

  • Supported Bluetooth profiles include: A2DP, HID, HSP, HFP, AVRCP and GAP

Verizon Service Plans

To get the most from Motorola DEVOUR, customers will need to subscribe to a Nationwide Talk or Nationwide Talk & Text plan and a Data Package for smartphones. Nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 monthly access, and Nationwide Talk & Text plans begin at $59.99 monthly access. A Data Package for smartphones is $29.99 for unlimited monthly access.

Analysis

What I really like about the Devour is the new keyboard layout. For the Devour, Motorola chose to make the keys bigger and spaced them out more on the keyboard. In my opinion, this gives the user a better typing experience than what is available on the Motorola Droid or on screen virtual keyboards.

The downside is that the Devour is clearly intended to be a consumer device. I'm sure businesses will deploy plenty of the new Android-powered phone, however, without Google's adding more robust support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support, organizations looking to deploy Devour will continue to need third-party tools such as NitroDesk Touchdown.

For more details, visit the Verizon Wireless website.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Android 2.x Coming to Verizon HTC Eris


Now that I have a Verizon HTC Droid Eris attached to my hip, riding shotgun to my Palm Pre, I'm looking for information on when I might be able to get my hands on the latest release of Google Android.

According to SolSie.com, Verizon has come out and stated that they will provide an Android 2.-something upgrade for the Eris before the end of Q1, 2010. Go Big Red!

"Verizon spokesperson Brenda Raney said, "The Droid Eris currently using Android 1.5, can and will be upgraded to newer a Android operating system software in first quarter 2010. The enhancement will allow customers to continue to enjoy the powerful HTC Sense experience while also gaining the additional benefits of Google Maps Navigation."



[Via SolSie.com...]

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

HTC Droid Eris

Last week I came back to my office to find a present waiting for my on my desk: an HTC Droid Eris smartphone!

Since this phone is being issued to me as a corporate asset, I'm required to use the phone for business purposes only. That means that the phone can only be used for business phone calls and email only. (If I need to make personal calls or send personal email, I'll have my Palm Pre for that.)

So here are some pictures of the Eris being unboxed. The first thing that I noticed when I took the Eris out of the box was how thin and light it felt; something that I will appreciate since I will be required to carry two phones most of the time. The Google Android OS is on par with Apple's iPhone OS and Palm's webOS. The Verizon edition of the Eris ships with Android 1.5 installed. If some of the rumors on the Internet are to be believed, HTC and Verizon are working on an Android 2.0 update, however, the ticking point is the porting of HTC's custom Sense UI to the Android 2.0 platform.

Unlike the Motorola Droid that I recently reviewed, the HTC Eris lacks a physical keyboard. I'll have to get used to that, but it is the price you have to pay to get a thin device.

I'll have some more thoughts and impressions on the HTC Droid Eris as time goes on.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Google: Next Version of Android Codename "Froyo"

Looks like Google's Erick Tseng has come out during a taping of The Engadget Show to say that the next version of Android will be codenamed "Froyo;" as in "frozen yogurt."

I'm cool with that; and besides, who doesn't like a nice dish of frozen yogurt on a hot summer day? Just make sure you don't drip any on your phone.

[Via Engadget.com...]

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Android Users Suffering from App Space Limit

Now where have we seen this issue before? Seems like folks using smartphones powered by Google's Android operating system are caught up in the same issue that Palm webOS customers where until the release of the 1.3.5 update back on December 28.

At issue is the fact that when you install an application on your device, the app and potentially all of its data, are stored in the phone's memory space and not on the microSD card. This issue gets a little tricky as the app and required files can get stored in memory, but data files created by the user can be stored on the microSD card. It seems that the hacker community has some ways of dealing with this issue, however, Joe and Jane Average likely won't be making any modifications to their phones or the Android OS just to squeeze more apps onto their phone.

The good news is that Google has acknowledged the issue and says that they are going to address the issue in a future release of the Android OS. The only questions that I have is when will this update be released and for what versions of the Android OS and smartphones will it be released for?

[Via EngadgetMobile.com...]

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Google's Nexus One Goes Live

Google's Nexus One smartphone has gone live and the details of the new phone have been posted on the Google website. Some of the key features include:
  • 3.7-inch 800x400 pixel WVGA touchscreen
  • 5MP digital camera with auto-focus and LED flash
  • UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA/GSM/EDGE cellular radio
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • 1400mAh removable battery
  • Android 2.1 Eclair mobile operating system
  • 512MB of RAM and Flash memory
  • 4GB microSD card included, support for upto 32GB microSD cards
  • Assisted GPS receiver and digital compass
Pricing and Availability

The new Google Nexus One is available now as an unlocked phone directly from Google for $529.00. You can also purchase the phone from T-Mobile for as low as $179.00 when you subscribe to a qualifying voice and data plan. Google is also reporting that the Nexus One will be coming to Verizon Wireless and Vodafone during the spring of 2010. No specific dates or pricing has been announced for Verizon or Vodafone at this time.

For more pricing and availability, visit the Google online store.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Motorola Enhances Keyboard on New Droid Phone



One of the things that I was complaining about in my recent Motorola Droid review was the way that the keyboard was setup on the Droid. Yes, the Droid has a full Qwerty keyboard, which is still better than an on-screen keyboard in my opinion, but the keyboard was essentially flat and it was hard to feel where one key was from the next.

In a photo that surfaced on Boy Genius Report over the weekend, it looks like Motorola is aiming to please by changing out and enhancing the keyboard in their next Google Android device, called the Motorola Droid Devour, which is headed to Verizon Wireless at some point this year.

[Via BoyGeniusReport.com...]

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

CES 2010

The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is set to kick off on January 7 in Las Vegas. Since the focus of the show is consumers, CES starts on a Thursday and ends on a Sunday.

According to the CES website, there are over 600 technology companies from the West Coast in attendance and event organizers are expecting 110,000 attendees for the trade room floor and workshop sessions. Tickets to the event are $200.

For more information about this year's CES event, please visit the CES website.

Rumors Aplenty

As usual for this time of year, there is a flurry of rumors about upcoming devices from a number of technology vendors. This year's rumors include: HTC's new touchscreen tablet device, Motorola's expected announcement of two new smartphones, Google's Nexus One smartphone press event on Jan. 5, with the device available from Google and T-Mobile.

Palm will also be at CES this year, however, it is expected that the focus will be on software development, and not on new device launches. However, there are those pesky Verizon Wireless Pre Plus and Pixi Plus rumors to deal with.

Apple won't be at this year's CES or MacWorld Expo events. Instead, it is widely rumored that Apple will hold their own press event on or around January 26th. Speculation is running wild in the face of mounting evidence that they will finally announce the table computer that has rumored to be under development for many years now.


[Via Boy Genius Report, Barron's Tech Trader Daily, Gizmodo, PreCentral]

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Motorola Droid Print Ad

I am flipping through Entertainment Weekly magazine issue 1082/1083 and ran across an ad for the Motorola Droid for Verizon Wireless that I thought was a bit off the wall. The ad opens with this line of text:
"Jump from page to page like a caffeinated cricket in a room full of hungry lizards."

O-K, I'm not sure that imagery will make me go out an buy a new phone. Click the graphic to see the ad full size. And if you do decide to buy a Droid after reading the ad, don't forget to also pick up a good case. No need to have all that "grease-dipped lightning" getting all over that beautiful Droid screen.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sprint: Android 2.0 Coming Hero, Moment in 2010

Sprint recently posted on their Twitter page that the Sprint Hero and Moment smartphones will be getting updates to Google Android 2.0 operating system sometime before the middle of 2010.

Sprint writes:
"Happy to announce Android 2.0 is coming to Sprint’s Hero & Moment. Date TBD, but roughly 1H 2010."
6 - 7 months is a long time to wait for and update, but owners of the Hero and Moment should be still be excited. At least it isn't a full year like Microsoft fans will have to wait for Windows Mobile 7.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

CW Opinion: Droids in the Enterprise

As you know, I'm currently working with a team to select the next smartphone for our corporate mobile phone fleet. One of the devices we are reviewing is the Motorola Droid for the Verizon Wireless network.

Computer World ran an opinion piece last month about some of the corporate short comings of the new Google Android 2.0 device. Author Michael Gartenberg writes:
"While there's a lot to like about the Droid, it's not the phone that most businesses are going to turn to. The hardware is good, including a lovely high-resolution screen, but the keyboard is definitely something you will want to try before you buy. For me, the keys are way too close together and much too flat to promote good typing. (Oddly, the virtual on-screen keyboard works much better for me)."

Mr. Gartenberg also has some issues with the Droid's built-in Microsoft Exchange support (via Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync), remote management, and device security.

You can read the full opinion piece on the CW website.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Verizon Motorola Droid Hands On Review

The Motorola Droid is the latest Google Android powered smartphone being offered by Verizon Wireless. The Droid went on sale back on November 6, and joins Verizion’s other Google Android phone, the Droid Eris, in their smartphone line up.

The Droid is the first Google Android smartphone that I’ve used and I was interested in seeing what this phone is capable of doing and to see how it would measure up to other smarpthones that I’ve used in the past.

The Hardware

The Motorola Droid is a 6oz 2.4 x 4.6 x .5-inch slider smartphone. The face of the Droid is dominated by an expansive 3.7-inch 480x854 pixel WVGA display, that is formatted to support 16:9 widescreen video. (I watched about 15 minutes of Iron Man on Droid and the display looked crisp and clear.) The capacitive TFT touch screen is both bright and easy to read. Along the top of the device are a standard 3.5mm headset hack and the power on/off button. On the left side is the microUSB port used to charge the phone or connect it to your computer as a USB mass storage device. On the right side, you will find the volume up/down buttons and the camera application button. Below the screen is the mic, and on the back you will find the 5.0MP camera sensor and the speaker.

Moto Droid next to a Palm PixiTucked away inside the Droid are the EVDO Rev. A, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, and a Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g radios. The Droid also sports an assisted GPS receiver. Powering the smartphone is a 1400 mAh removable battery. There is also a microSDHC card slot at the top of the battery compartment where you will find a 16GB microsSDHC card pre-installed. If you plan on swapping out microSDHC cards or batteries regularly, or if you tend to toss your phone in a pocket, purse, or messenger bag for example, you will want to keep an eye on the battery compartment door. Unlike other smartphones I have used in the past, the Droids battery compartment door does not latch lock into place. I can see a lot of people loosing their battery doors and Verizon should be keeping their spare parts inventory well stocked.

Similar to other recent smartphones, Motorola has included an accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, and an e-compass.

The Droid features a physical keyboard which I prefer over on screen keyboards like those used on the Apple iPhone and BlackBerry Storm 2. That said, the keys are, for all intents and purposes, completely flat. In my opinion, this makes the keyboard harder to use than it needs to be. I much rather have a physical keyboard that has raised or rubberized keys like those on the BlackBerry Curve, the Palm Treo, or the Palm Pre. At the end of the day, the best keyboard layouts and orientations are a personal choice. I would recommend that you stop at a local Verizon retail outlet and play with the keyboard before you buy so you know you will be able to live with this phone for the next two years.

The Software

The Motorola Droid, as stated earlier, is powered by the Google Android 2.0 operating system. Because the operating system was written by Google, it should come as no surprise that Droid supports most of Google’s web services, including: Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Talk (Instant Messaging), Search and Search by Voice, and YouTube. Support for Google Voice is not included on Verizon’s phone.

Main app launcher screenAndroid Phone appDroid software stackThe Android contacts and calendaring applications worked as you would expect them to and I did not experience any problems using them. On the demo unit that I was working with, I did not see a dedicated tasks or memos application. Since the Droid is the first Google Android phone that I’m using, I’m not sure if Google just didn’t include those applications, tucked the functionality into the email and/or calendar applications, or whether or not Verizon chose to not include those applications. A quick search of the Android Market provided me with a number of free and commercial replacement tasks and memos applications. I just find it odd that these applications aren’t included by default on the phone.

I was happy to see that Android 2.0 supported not only Google Gmail accounts, but also POP, IMAP, and Microsoft Exchange accounts. Additionally, you can also sync the Droid with a Google or Microsoft Exchange calendar. There are a few things that I though where confusing and annoying about email and calendaring on Droid. The first is that the Droid has two email and two calendar applications. The application “Corporate Calendar” is the application that you use to configure a Microsoft Exchange server calendar using Exchange ActiveSync. You use the “Calendar” application to access your non-Exchange calendar. For this test, I used one of my Google Calendars. I was surprised to learn that I was unable to add a second or third personal calendar. I have three calendars that I look at throughout my day: business, personal, and family. I configured the Droid to primarily sync with my “business” Gmail account and Android automatically linked the same account’s calendar to the phone. I was able to add additional Gmail and POP email accounts, but I was unable to add a second or third calendar. Researching this issue in online Android discussion forums, it appeared that this could be a bug in the calendar application. I would like to see Google fix this limitation in the near future.

I’m a heavy user of email, calendaring, web browsing, and word processing. The browser that has been included with Droid rendered pages as well as Safari on my iPod touch with iPhone OS 3.1.2 and my Palm Pre with webOS 1.3.1.

DataViz Documents To Go 2.0 for Android

No Smartphone Fanatics smartphone review would be complete until I take DataViz Documents To Go out for a test drive.

Docs To Go launcherDocs To Go File menuDocs To Go File Open windowUnlike other smartphone platforms that you may have used in the past, Motorola’s Droid does not ship with Documents To Go pre-installed on the device. You will have to use the Android Market to download and install the free Viewer Edition of Documents To Go. The free version of Documents To Go allows you to view any recent Microsoft Word and Excel documents that you receive as an email attachment or side load on your microSD card. When you step up to the Full Version of Documents To Go 2.0 for Android, you gain the ability to view Microsoft PowerPoint documents and Adobe Acrobat documents. You also gain the ability to create and edit Microsoft Office documents. DataViz gives you the flexibility to choose the file format for your new Office documents: Office 97-2003 or Office 2007. (The file format selection is an application preference that effects new documents and is not selected when you perform a File > Save As… command.)

Another nice feature included in the Full Edition of Documents To Go is DataViz's implementation of predictive word look ups. Typing ‘fi” in a new Word document causes Word To Go to pop open a small row of possible words that start with the letters “fi” and I can quickly pick “first” form the list of words that I wanted to type. I like this implementation because the possible word selection list is not popping up in front of what you are typing to type. In other words, in my opinion, this is a much cleaner, less annoying way to work with predictive word look ups. The Full Version of Documents To Go also did a fantastic job of loading and rendering my test Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Acrobat documents. You can purchase the full version of Documents To Go for $29.95 in the Android Market, however, after registering the free Viewer Edition, I received an email from DataViz inviting me to upgrade to the full version for $9.95. If you are going to be using the Motorola Droid to work with Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat documents, you will want to purchase this upgrade. At $10, the full featured version of Documents To Go 2.0 is a bargain price for all the functionality you get.

All the Rest

I also spent some time playing with the fun aspects of Droid. The 5.0MP digital camera takes some nice pictures once you get used to the auto-focus feature. The picture viewer and music players worked well. I was able to play all of the non-DRM’ed iTunes purchased tracks that I loaded on the Droid's microSDHC card. (I sided loaded the music. If you want to sync playlists right out of iTunes, you will need to install a third-party application like DoubleTwist.)

I also loaded some of the free news applications like The New York Times, USA Today, and The Weather Channel; all of which worked well. Android comes pre-loaded with a native Facebook client (I didn’t test Facebook) and a free Twitter client, TwitterTweet, kept in up to date on all of the mobile computing Twitter-ers that I follow. I also downloaded and installed the free WiFi OnOff widget which saved a lot of time, and screen taps, to turn Wi-Fi on and off quickly. And lastly, avid readers will be happy to learn that the Fictionwise eReader Pro application works on the Android 2.0 platform, however, you will need to manually install the software from the eReader.com website, not the Android Market.

Conclusion

After spending a little more than a week getting to know the Motorola Droid and the Google Android 2.0 mobile operating system, I feel that the Droid is on par with the Apple iPhone 3G/3G s, BlackBerry Storm or Storm 2, and the Palm Pre. Based on the way I used the phone, I feel that it could tackle all of my business, personal, and social mobile computing needs. Google Android 2.0 is easy enough to use and the installation of third-party applications over the air (OTA) from the Android Market worked without any trouble at all.

Pricing and Availability

The Verizon Motorola Droid smartphone is available now at Verizon Wireless retail locations, online from the Verizon Wireless website, and through corporate inside sales reps. Consumers should expect to pay $299.99 with a new 2-year contract or with a 2-year contract extension. If you order the Droid from the Verizon Wireless website, you will receive a $100 discount. You may be able to find even better pricing from Amazon or Best Buy if you are willing to put the time in comparing online and brick and mortar retail location pricing.

For more information about the Motorola Droid, please visit the Motorola website. For pricing and service contract information, please visit the Verizon Wireless website.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Verizon Motorola Droid in the House

If you where following my Twitter feed (@spf360) earlier today you already know that I'm now walking around with a Google Android 2.0 powered Motorola Droid. (To be fair, I also go to play with a Palm Pixi today too!)

How did I come to have a Droid you ask? Simple; I'm taking it out for a test drive as a possible replacement for the fleet of aging Palm Treo 700p and 755p smartphones. I really love my job!

So I have this phone for about a week. During that time I'll be playing with it see how it will stand up to everyday use by corporate office workers. Keep in mind that I'm going to be focusing on what an office worker will be doing with the Droid. So high on the list of things to test out is the browser, camera, native Gmail and attachment support, some of the location based services like GPS driving directions and traffic updates, geotagged photos, voice dialing, and maybe some thing non-work related like news apps, Facebook, and a few games.

The good news is that I've taken Thanksgiving week off which will give me plenty of time to play with this new "business tool."

If you have something that you want me to try out while I have the phone, leave me a note in the comments section and I will do my best to try things out and report back.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Motorola Droid Hits Verizon on November 6

High-speed Web browsing, voice-activated search, customizable large screen, access to thousands of Android applications and hundreds of widgets and the best 3G mobile network in the country: DROID by Motorola arrives on Nov. 6.

Verizon Wireless, the company with the nation’s largest wireless 3G broadband network, and Motorola, a pioneer in the mobile industry, today unveiled DROID by Motorola, the first smartphone powered by Android™ 2.0. DROID by Motorola features the brainpower and breakneck speed of a modern smartphone, designed to outperform where other smartphones fall short.
“We’re proud to work with Verizon Wireless and Google™ on the first smartphone to feature Android 2.0,” said Sanjay Jha, co-chief executive officer of Motorola and chief executive officer of Motorola Mobile Devices. “DROID by Motorola delivers a rich consumer experience with warp-speed Web browsing, a mammoth screen, and Motorola’s expertise in design and voice quality. Combined with Android’s open, flexible graphical user interface and the power of Verizon Wireless’ 3G network, DROID is a smartphone that simply doesn’t compromise.”

“This is an exciting announcement for Verizon Wireless, as the DROID by Motorola is the first device that we are bringing to market under our ground-breaking strategic partnership with Google,” said John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. “DROID by Motorola gives customers a lifestyle device with access to more than 12,000 applications that will help them stay in touch, up to date and entertained, using the best 3G network in the country.”

Pricing and Availability

  • DROID by Motorola will be available in the United States exclusively at Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online on Friday, Nov. 6, for $199.99 with a new two-year customer agreement after a $100 mail-in rebate.

  • To get the most from DROID by Motorola smartphone, customers will need to subscribe to a Nationwide voice plan and an Email and Web for Smartphone plan. Nationwide voice plans begin at $39.99 for monthly access for 450 minutes and an Email and Web for Smartphone plan is $29.99 for monthly access.
You can read the full press release on the Verizon Wireless website.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Retail Editions of Windows 7 Go On Sale Today

While the final version of Windows 7 has been available to select Microsoft customers and TechNet subscribers for some time now, October 22, 2009 will be remembered as the day that Windows Vista was finally replaced.

Starting today, Microsoft has started selling four of the six editions of Windows 7 online and at retail locations. (Windows 7 Starter edition and Windows 7 Enterprise edition are required to be purchased under special conditions that we wouldn't normally have access to. Think netbooks and large corporate account holders.)

So what does that mean for smartphone users? Probably not much. Microsoft has worked hard to ensure that any software package that works on Windows Vista will also work on Windows 7. I've been using Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise editions for the last few months now and I haven't run into any serious show stoppers.

Palm Pre, Pixi - Palm webOS devices

Palm Pre customers (and Palm Pixi customers shortly) won't have any sync problems out of the box because Palm webOS, unlike Palm OS, does not sync directly with a desktop computer. People using webOS phones and third-party sync solutions like Chapura PocketMirror for webOS and Chapura Echo will want to check for any updates that may be made available. At the time of this posting, I did not see any updates mentioned on Chapura's website.

Treo 755p, Centro, Palm OS Handhelds - Palm OS 5 Devices

Customers using Palm's older generation smartphones and PDA handhelds, including the Palm Treo 755p, Centro, and Palm TX handheld PDA, things can get a little bit sketchy. Most of the issues with Palm Desktop versions 4.x and 6.x will likely continue. You will still need to be a member of the Windows Administrators group to install the software and all manors of HotSync voodoo will likely be needed to perform successful HotSync operations. In my limited Palm Desktop 6.22 testing on my Windows 7 Ultimate machine, which was upgraded from Windows Vista Ultimate, I have been able to HotSync my Treo 755p. However, I will caution you that 3-5 HotSync operations is hardly conclusive.

Windows 7 also won't correct the USB driver issue. Neither Palm nor ACCESS (the company that owns the Palm OS 5 and Windows Palm Desktop source code) has released a 64-bit USB driver. In short, that means if you have a 64-bit edition of Windows XP/Vista/7, you can't sync your Palm OS 5 device with USB cable. You will need to turn to a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth solution to sync. I don't expect either company to release a 64-bit compatible Palm OS 5 driver at this late stage in the Palm OS life cycle since Palm OS 5 is no longer being used in new devices from Palm.

RIM BlackBerry Smartphones

I recently installed BlackBerry Device Manager 5.0 on my Windows 7 machine and was able to sync it with my BlackBerry Curve 8330. After installing Device Manager, I learned that there was an OS update for my Berry and I was able to apply the update without issue. The BlackBerry USB mass storage mode also worked without a hitch.

Windows Mobile 5, 6, 6.5

There really isn't much to report here. Microsoft's latest desktop software is expected to sync with their mobile operating systems. While I haven't tried to sync my Treo 750 (Windows Mobile Professional 6.0) with my Windows 7 machine yet, it did sync (mostly) error free with Windows Vista.

What about everything else?

While I don't have an Apple iPhone or Google Android phone, I am not anticipating any serious problems. The iPhones and the iPod touch sync with Apple's iTunes software, which is still listed as being compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista should work fine under Windows 7. If an issue does come up, I'd expect Apple to have a fix out shortly since there are so many people walking around with both devices at this point.

You can learn more about the various Windows 7 editions on the Microsoft website.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Toffa Discontinues Goosync Free Edition

Toffa International, the company behind the popular GooSync service, has announced that they are discontinuing their free service. Replacing the free service will be a $10USD per year service called GooSync Lite. The free GooSync service will be disabled on October 19, 2009.
"It has always been our goal to provide a professional service to all Free and Premium users. Given the exponential demand for GooSync over the last 12 months, it has become increasingly more difficult to continue this high level of service to both Premium and Free users.

It is therefore, with regret, that we are now discontinuing our Free service. For all of you that have come to love and rely on our free offering, we will be migrating the Free GooSync service into a new product “GooSync Lite”. This new lite version of GooSync will have all the same features as the existing free version.

The Free version will become unavailable and synchronization will be suspended on Monday 19th October. To continue benefiting from all the great features of GooSync you will be able to purchase GooSync Lite for a yearly fee of just £5.99 (approx $10). We are confident that this is priced very competitively and will allow us to continue to offer the professional level of service and support you have come to expect."

If you are a GooSync junkie, and I was while I was carrying a BlackBerry Curve 8330, you can also upgrade the GooSync Premium service which includes more features than the free service or GooSync Lite. The GooSync Premium service has a tiered pricing structure of £19.95 per year, £29.95 for a two year subscription or a lifetime option for £39.95.

GooSync is an over-the-air (OTA) service that allows many popular handheld devices, such as a BlackBerry, iPhone, or Windows Mobile smartphone, to sync with your Google account's calendar, tasks, and contacts. You can learn more about the GooSync service, on the GooSync website.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

RoadSync, Documents To Go Coming Bundled with "Pulse"

Earlier today, DataViz announced that they will be bundling RoadSync and Documents To Go on the European T-Mobile Pulse in October.

DataViz, Inc., a leading provider of mobile office compatibility solutions today announced that their Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync client, RoadSync, and award-winning mobile Office suite, Documents To Go are included on the new T-Mobile Pulse (Huawei U8220.) The free full functioning license of RoadSync is optimized for Android-based devices and provides customers with built-in secure, wireless and direct push synchronization with Microsoft Exchange Server. Documents To Go further enhances the productivity value by adding support for viewing Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe PDF files and attachments.
“As the Android OS continues to gain momentum in the smartphone market, we are excited to partner with Huawei and T-Mobile in an effort to help business professionals mobilize their Office life,” said Dick Fontana, President and CEO of DataViz, Inc. “The combination of top-notch devices, a reliable network and a comprehensive suite of enterprise-grade applications enables customers from around the world to get real work done when on the go.”
Availability
The preinstalled versions of RoadSync and Documents To Go will be available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, traditional and simplified Chinese when the T-Mobile Pulse (Huawei U8220) ships in October. Additional languages will be available in the coming weeks. For more information: www.dataviz.com/GetAndroid

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Impressions of the Motorola Cliq

I wanted to get a better understanding of just what the new Motorola Cliq was all about. We know that is an Android phone, but there is a growing number of Android phones out there. What would make the Cliq unique in the rapidly expanding smartphone universe? To find out, I started reading what the newspapers had to say.

In a Washington Post article about the Cliq, Motorola's co-CEO and head of mobile devices,Sanjay Jha, said:
"I see this as a first step in a long journey where we develop the kind of products which are really relevant for consumers." "I think for Motorola to retain its tech edge and reputation for engineering, it really has to hit a home run - not necessary with this particular phone, but with its phones in the coming year, including this one."

A noble goal to be sure, and one that provides Google Android fans with another major device manufacturer in the mobile phone market. But what does it really do; besides making phone calls that is? How will the Cliq be different from T-Mobile's other Android phone, the HTC Dream known as the G1? For the answer to that question, I turned to an article in the New York Times.
"[The Cliq] is meant for young people obsessed with social networks. Instead of the traditional menu of features, the Cliq’s home screen is an ever-changing mosaic of e-mail, Twitter tweets and status updates, superimposed over photos of the people sending those messages."

The key to all the magic of this phone is Motorola's Motoblur (video). Motoblur is essentially a technology that pulls data into your phone from multiple online sources such as your personal and corporate email account, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and more. It is Motorola's answer to Palm's Synergy technology that first appeared earlier this year in the Palm Pre's webOS operating system.

So now it makes sense. The Cliq is Motorola's and T-Mobile's social networking smartphone for teens and 20-somethings. While T-Mobile hasn't announced the price of the Cliq with a new subscription yet, the feeling from around the web is that the Cliq will run about $100. There is also talk of a more expensive version of the Cliq that is headed to Verizon Wireless later this year that will include additional features. That phone is expected to be available "for the holiday season."

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Motorola CLIQ for T-Mobile Announced

Not wanting to be left out of the "new product announcement party", Motorola joins Apple and Palm this week with the unveiling of T-Mobile's next Google Android powered smartphone.

T-Mobile USA, Inc. today announced the upcoming availability of the Motorola CLIQ™ with MOTOBLUR™, the first Android-powered device from Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and the first device to feature the innovative MOTOBLUR solution. The CLIQ will be available exclusively in the U.S. from T-Mobile later this fall.

Developed by Motorola, MOTOBLUR is an innovative solution that manages and integrates communications – from work e-mail to social networking activity – on your CLIQ. Updates to contacts, posts, messages, photos and more are streamed together and synced from sources including Facebook®, Twitter™, MySpace®, Gmail™, and work and personal e-mail. MOTOBLUR automatically delivers these updates to the home screen in easy-to-view streams so there is no need to open and close different mobile applications to keep up with the latest content. A 3G-capable smartphone featuring a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a full touch-screen display, the CLIQ is designed to keep the conversation moving, enabling fast messaging on the fly and easy navigation through MOTOBLUR’s streams and widgets.

Cole Brodman, chief technology and innovation officer with T-Mobile USA, jointly unveiled CLIQ with MOTOBLUR today with Sanjay Jha, co-CEO of Motorola and CEO of Motorola Mobile Devices, at GigaOM’s Mobilize 09 conference. 

“T-Mobile’s highly social and always-connected customers have a natural affinity for mobile social networking, and we’re excited to feature the Motorola CLIQ with MOTOBLUR prominently in what’s shaping up to be our most innovative holiday product lineup ever,” Brodman said. “The CLIQ lives up to Motorola’s tradition of great design and quality, and to our history of working together to create products that enhance the lives and the relationships of our customers.”

Availability

Motorola CLIQ with MOTOBLUR will be available exclusively to T-Mobile customers later this fall in two colors — Titanium and Winter White. Pricing will be announced at a later date. Customers can visit http://www.t-mobile.com/cliq for more information.

You can read today's full press release on the Motorola website.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Motorola Goes "Green" on September 10

According to a blog post on Baron's Tech Trader Daily, Motorola has sent out invitations to a September 10, 2009 event. There wasn't much detail provided with the invite, but most industry observers believe Motorola will either announce or launch their line of Google Android phone(s).

[Via Baron's Tech Trader Daily...]

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ringo Pro Released for Android

Little did I know that today was going to be "Android Day" here on Smartphone Fanatics.

I just received word from the good folks across the pond in the United Kingdom that Ringo Pro is now available for Google's Android platform.

"Electric Pocket's Ringo Pro, the top-selling ringtone manager for smartphones, is now available for smartphones based on Google's Android operating system, such as the T-Mobile G1. The new Android version of Ringo Pro enables users to set their own MP3 tunes as ringtones for both calls and SMS messages as well as offering a number of phone personalization options.

"Changing ringtones is a very popular way for users to personalize their smartphones," says Iain Barclay, Electric Pocket's Chief Product Officer. "Ringo Pro makes changing ringtones easy and fun, as well as making useful features like personal caller tones much more accessible."

Ringo Pro is available for users to download direct from their handsets through the Android Market for £2.69 (approximately US$3.99). A slimmed down version, Ringo Lite, is also available for users who wish to try Ringo before purchasing. More information on Ringo can be found at Electric Pocket's web site, http://ringomo.com."

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RoadSync, Documents To Go Coming to Android











I just noticed that over on the DataViz website there is a teaser page up that should get Android users excited. It looks like it is a lock that DataViz's award winning Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and mobile office suite applications, RoadSync and Documents To Go will be coming to a Google-powered phone near you soon.

To sign up for a notification when the software ships here...

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

MWC: HTC Magic Going Live on Vodafone

Last week at Mobile World Congress (MWC), HTC and Vodafone took the wraps off of the first hardware keyboardless smartphone, the Magic. Magic is powered by Google's Android operating system and is running the "Cupcake" software build which comes complete with an on screen soft keyboard.

According to the HTC website, the Magic has the following specifications:
  • Processor: Qualcomm® MSM7201a™, 528 MHz
  • Memory: 512MB ROM, 192MB RAM
  • Dimensions: 4.45 x 2.17 x 0.54 inches
  • Weight: 4.18 ounces
  • Display: 3.2-inch 320x480 HVGA touch-sensitive TFT screen
  • Network: HSDPA/WCDMA/GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Device Control: Trackball with Enter button
  • Expansion Slot: microSD
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, 802.11g Wi-Fi, and HTC's ExtUSB
  • Camera: 3.2MP
More details about the Magic can be found on the HTC website.

The Vodafone press release reads:
"The stylish new handset is exclusive to Vodafone in the UK, Spain, Germany and France (SFR) and available on a non-exclusive basis in Italy. Customers can ensure that they are the first to receive information about the HTC Magic’s availability, pricing and pre-ordering by registering their interest via their local Vodafone website from today.

A tablet-style device, with a sleek design and unprecedented compactness for a smartphone featuring the Android platform, the HTC Magic enables a superior mobile internet experience, providing broad flexibility for personalisation via the application-rich Android Market. Available in white in the UK, Spain and France, black in Germany and in both colours in Italy, the HTC Magic will be for sale in several other Vodafone markets over the next few months.

“Delivering an unbeatable mobile internet experience for our customers is a priority for Vodafone, so we are very excited to be introducing our first Android-powered smartphone in the spring,” says Patrick Chomet, Global Director of Terminals, Vodafone Group. “Following our joining of the Open Handset Alliance, we have worked very closely with HTC to bring this cool new phone to the market. Our customers want to access a wide range of the most attractive mobile devices to help them make the most of their time - the HTC Magic helps meet that need.”
The HTC Magic will be available later this spring to Vodafone customers in Europe. The press release did not mention specific pricing based on contract commitments. For more details, visit the Vodafone website.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

G1 and Removable Storage

I was just reading an article by Brighthand's Editor-in-Chief, Ed Hardy, that says the new T-Mobile G1 handset powered by Google's Android operating system can only use a memory card for additional storage.

Mr. Hardy writes:
"The first Android-based smartphone debuted this week, and users have discovered what many will consider a significant flaw: all applications have to be stored in internal memory.

This means that all third-party software has to fit in the 70 MB of internal storage that the T-Mobile G1 has set aside for this. The device comes with a 1 GB removable memory card, and it supports at least 16 GB ones, but none of that storage capacity can be used for holding applications.

The storage card is used only for holding files, like music and video."

Personally, I welcome the Android users into to the proverbial swimming pool. Palm OS users also have to wrestle with this issue. I do hope that Palm OS customers get some relieve in 2009 when Palm is scheduled to release the successor to Palm OS 5, Palm OS II/Nova. I would also like to see Google roll out an update to Android that adds the ability to run apps of a card in the near future.

Read the full Brighthand article...

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gizmodo: T-Mobile G1 Software Update Hits Tomorrow

GadgetsOnTheGo has a link to an article on Gizmodo that T-Mobile and Google are rolling out the first update for the G1 tomorrow. Man that was fast!

"Gizmodo is reporting that T-Mobile will be releasing the first software update for the T-Mobile G1 tomorrow. It will be sent to all G1 devices over the air. The update is expected to be minor, addressing some bug fixes and light "enhancements"."

Get all the details on the G1 goodness here...

Via GadgetsOnTheGo.net...

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T-Mobile G1 Specs

















Hardware
  • Size: 4.6 x 2.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Included battery: 1150 mAh Lion
  • Talk time: up to 5 hours
  • Standby time: up to 5 days
  • Band (frequency): 850 MHz;900 MHz;1800 MHz;1900 MHz
Fun
  • Easy access to Google applications
  • IM/Text/Email*
  • 3MP Camera
  • Video playback
Communication
  • Touch Screen
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Bluetooth® wireless technology
Information
  • One-click Google Search
  • Real web browsing capabilities
  • 3G Network and Wi-Fi access

The full list of features can be found here.

The G1 will go for $179 with a new two-year service agreement.

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T-Mobile's G1 Goes Live Today
















The first Google Android smartphone, the T-Mobile G1, goes live today.

I'd post some more details about the G1, but T-Mobile's site appears to be getting hammered as I can't load the Buy Now page.

More details will follow as the day goes on.

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