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Cellular News is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission has removed the last hurdle for Verizon Wireless to purchase Alltel Corporation. While competitors may claim to have more bars, the purchase will create the nation's largest wireless carrier.
Having cleared the FTC and U.S. Justice Department
BGR is reporting from a Howard forums thread that VZ unlocked blackberry GPSs. Is your GPS initiative gaining traction at VZ?
Indeed, BGR was reporting and our friends at CrackBerry.com confirmed and chatted it up in their forums. Like ol' Slarti there (can we call you Slarti?), we felt the teeniest, tiniest tinge of excitement as we briefly believed that not only was Verizon actually going to be switching to a sane and reasonable GPS policy, but that maybe our sternly worded letter may have, you know, been read. Then we came back to earth. For one, this is on BlackBerry, not WM. For two, well, we're just not that big a deal.
AT&T hopes to standardize on a single operating system for AT&T-branded smart phones as a part of a “dramatic consolidation” of its mobile platforms
...additionally, the statement was made by Roger Smith, who is the director of next generation services and product realization and therefore in a position to actually make good on such an extreme statement. Furthermore, he said this at a Symbian conference and suggested that Symbian would be a strong contender for that single platform.
Before you blow your top thinking that AT&T is planning on dropping Windows Mobile, the iPhone, and BlackBerry, we're wondering if there's a more prosiac (and less explosive) explanation. Perhaps the “branded” in “AT&T Branded Smartphones” actually refers to hardware, to stuff that AT&T gets made itself as opposed to stuff made by, you know, everybody else. In other words, if they do make good on these plans and they decide to go with Symbian (which we're doubting -- on both counts), you can expect to say goodbye to things like future iterations of the SMT5700. In other words, no biggy.
Back in September we wrote about a Digitimes article that stated Acer was planning on launching a smartphone in the first quarter of 2009, most likely in Western Europe and Russia. At the time, we were a little ho-hum, thinking it was just another manufacturer hopping in the smartphone pool.
Our pal Casey has put in his Smartphone Round Robin 2 cents on the HTC Fuze and it's definitely worth a read. He takes the goal of looking at a device through the eyes of an Android User pretty seriously and the result is a fair and interesting impression of what Windows Mobile looks like to a certain set of user: namely, the sort of user who is a little savvy about smartphones but not about to get into the sort of registry edits that sometimes get us excited.
In other words -- he likes TouchFlo 3D on the Fuze for new users, Windows Mobile for power users, but isn't so sure that the Fuze would work well for the middle-of-the-road folks the G1 appeals to. In that sense he might not be too far off -- I've seen brand-new smartphone users positively giddy over TouchFLO 3D.
Anyhow, it's one more perspective on the cognitive dissonance between the skins we put on top of Windows Mobile and the standard Windows Mobile UI -- go check it out and comment there for your chance at a G1. Or comment here for a chance at getting a Fuze of your own. Or -- why not -- both!.
Engdaget posts up this mysterious device that seems customs designed to mock yours-truly. Why's that, in this week's WMExperts Podcast (coming soon), Mal and I describe what our ideal Windows Mobile form factors might be and I described the above device exactly. It matches it so exactly that I'm feeling a little creeped out right about now.
It's not outside the realm of possibility that the above could end up as a Windows Mobile device -- we see tell-tale soft-buttons on the bottom. More tellingly - a close look at the keyboard reveals it to have not only the same layout but the same button placement as Palm's recent smartphones -- the Treo Pro and the Centro. Seriously, click the image at right to see a full-sized comparison. This could be a prototype for Palm's upcoming Linux-based system, but I'm getting a Windows Mobile vibe off of this, and it's a vibe I'm starting to dig.
Love it or hate it, you have to acknowledge that HTC's design with the Touch Diamond and Touch Pro with the sharp edges and multifaceted back was a pretty big leap for the Taiwanese manufacturer. (For the record, we still think it's pretty cool, even if a little rough on the hands in its early form.)
And after numerous iterations of sliders, some Palm devices and later with its own rounded Touch line, you have to give HTC props for looking outside its own walls in the design when it brought in San Francisco's One & Co. to lead the charge.
Now One & Co. has been rewarded, being purchased by everyone's favorite smartphone maker. Terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed.
From the news release (read the whole thing after the jump):
"Design is key, it is why you love or hate something," said Horace
Luke, Chief Innovation Officer, HTC Corporation. "Integrating iconic
design into HTC products is an inspiring and dynamic challenge that
requires a unique combination of consumer insight, creativity,
innovation and an appetite to take risks; attributes that embody One &
We also learn that the two companies began on the Touch Diamond all the way back in 2006. We can only imagine what HTC will have up its sleeves for 2009.
Leader in lifestyle design will be cornerstone of HTC's design
capability and philosophy while continuing as an innovative design consultancy
Heading back in the time machine, you may recall a problem with some HTC devices lacking hardware video acceleration. Some people got fired up, threatened a law suit and starting furiously hacking their devices.
Fast forward a few months and the issue sort of died down, what with the Touch Pro and Diamond being released world-wide. These devices were promised by HTC to have better video performance and while it some aspects they do, in other areas evidently they fail.
Update: Ok, this is getting long. Join us after the break!
Over at XDA, member branko.savic & DSF did some intense side-by-side testing between the Samsung Omnia, HTC Universal and HTC Touch Pro. The test involved a video file encoded at 480x640 resolution, 25 FPS and 574 kbit/s and benchmarked via CorePlayer. The results were astonishing:
Omnia: Raw framebuffer: 442.74% (!)
Universal: Direct Draw: 165.28%
Touch Pro: QTv display: 152.44%
Furthermore, a bunch of comparisons between a Nokia N82, Dell Axim x51v and Touch Pro/Diamond were demonstrated using Quake 3 Arena. Once again, the stuttering of the new HTC device compared to the quite old Dell Axim is clearly evident.
Although Windows Mobile is still seeing progress in worldwide numbers, the situation isn't quite as rosy as it might be when it comes to smartphone marketshare. Gartner's new numbers [via Engadget Mobile] show a few distressing trends for WinMo fans.
Firstly, we've long said that even if WinMo isn't #1, there's plenty of space for everybody in the rapidly growing smartphone market. That's still true, but we may need to stop saying the market is 'rapidly growing,' since it had its lowest year-over-year growth ever.
Next up: BlackBerry is clearly holding onto its lead in the US market and RIM still managed to increase their sales over 80%. Apple also grabbed a big old chunk of marketshare (though whether they can hang on without another iPhone 3G-style launch is an open question). Speaking of the iPhone, their big big iPhone 3G sales pushed them past worldwide Windows Mobile shipments for the first time.
Meanwhile, other numbers from Needham & Co [via] basically reiterate the above trends. One notable bit you can glean from the graphs, however, is that it looks pretty clear that the iPhone is hurting RIM more than it is Microsoft -- but that steady downward trend since late 2006 needs to be fixed there Microsoft, and fixed in a hurry.
Microsoft-based Channel 10 has all the deets on the relaunch of Windows Live, which starts now. Of interest: SkyDrive online storage has been bumped to 25 gigs, web pages overall have a much cleaner and better interface, and the cool yet underused Windows Live Homepage now does all sorts of fancy aggregation that might interest you (above: a nice explanation of how that works).
Of course, as noted over at Ars, this does little to help the confusing array of overlapping services offered under the “Live” moniker. We hope they're right that the upgraded SkyDrive space and the new sync abilities may be slated to be subsumed into Live Mesh someday.
When that day comes, we assume you'll be seeing all of these fancy services available seamlessly on Windows Mobile. Until that day comes, you're forced to recognize that Microsoft has some of the best cloud sync services available -- if you can just figure out which one you're supposed to use and get it set up.
While 320x320 users (Treo Pro, 800w, Epix, i780, Saga) and newer resolutions like 800x480 (Sony Xperia) have been suffering without any SlingPlayer support, we're getting word that may be ending very soon.
We're hearing that the latest version, which will update resolution support and perhaps other performance issues, has just entered private beta testing. Hmm...maybe this update will finally bump it to v2.0 along with their desktop software? One can hope at least.
Furthermore, we can tentatively expect an official update by the end of the month, right in time for the holidays.
For those wanting to lend Sling a hand, you can always sign up for their beta program here.
[Info via SlingCommunity + Deleted Posts]