Mobile World

Palm lays the smack down on Pre theme for Android

Posted on August 13, 2009. Filed under: Google, Mobile World | Tags: , , |

By Chris Ziegler, Engadget

palm-pre-android-theme

Android’s supposed to be all about peace, love, and openness, but that apparently doesn’t exempt it from copyright law and trigger-happy general counsels (who knew?). In a move that should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone, Palm has sicced its legal team on the makers of the aptly-named “Palm Pre Android Theme” that borrows icons, wallpapers, and mojo (not to be confused with Mojo) directly from webOS. The concerns center around the usual suspects — graphics copyrights and trademark infringement — and the company is demanding that they cease use of the Pre’s interface, name, and all that good stuff by some date that’s been redacted from the leaked letter (we’re assuming it’s soon). To be fair, Palm comes out and says that it “appreciates that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery,” but at the end of the day, they’re concerned about the potential for consumer confusion. Interestingly, to the best of our knowledge, they haven’t given the iPhone-based theme the same treatment — but hey, maybe it’s easier to confuse a Hero with a Pre than it is an iPhone… or something.

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Dell to launch China-only mobile phone after all, calls it “Ophone mini3i”

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , |

By Serkan Toto, Tech crunch

We broke the news on Dell launching a China-only cell phone on Sunday, and today major Chinese news portal 163.com reports the device is on its way: What Dell will be offering in China is an Android-powered “Ophone” called the mini3i.

China Mobile, the world’s biggest carrier, will distribute the device and plans to launch it as early as “in the middle of this month” (which could mean any day this week). China Mobile plans to establish Ophone as a new brand and sell a number of devices from different makers under it. Apart from Dell, Lenovo and another Chinese company called Dopod [CN] (aka HTC) are expected to release Ophones in the next few days.

All Ophones will support TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access), a China-only 3G standard, which means it will be hard to get the Dell Ophone to work outside China.

No updates yet on Dell China’s or China Mobile’s (Chinese) site. We’ll bring you pictures and specs of the mini3i as soon as we get them.

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Bring popcorn: Youserbase reviews Sony Ericcson’s Satio and Aino smartphones on video

Posted on August 10, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , , |

By Tim Stevens, Engadget

satio-review

Sony Ericsson has been teasing us with its hottest for some months now, the Satio (nee Idou) and the Aino, two media-heavy smartphones that are inching closer to international release. They still aren’t confirmed for American shores, but until then we can enjoy a series of lengthy videos covering the two courtesy of Youserbase. How lengthy? We’re talking almost 75 minutes of discussion and tentative fingering over nine parts, showing off nearly every nook and cranny of the phones’ (decidedly dark) user interfaces. While there aren’t any huge surprises here, the vids give good feel for the responsive performance of the UI — and of the occasionally not-so-responsive integrated browsers. We’ve included just the first two installments here after the break, but if you don’t have anything planned this morning feel free to click on through for the epic and sweeping series.

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How I Learned To Quit The iPhone And Love Google Voice

Posted on August 10, 2009. Filed under: Google, iPhone, Mobile World | Tags: , , |

By Michael Arrington, Tech crunch

noiphoneAt the end of July I declared my intention to quit the iPhone and AT&T, port my mobile phone number to Google Voice and use any mobile device that I pleased (or lots of them at once) in the future. Like others, I will no longer blindly follow all things Apple. Today I’m pleased to report a status update on those efforts: complete. I am no longer a member of the Cult of iPhone.

Porting my phone number to Google Voice was a three day process, which I was pre-warned about. The mobile carriers in the U.S. have made the porting process between them fairly easy, and it occurs over a couple of hours. But they are in no hurry to help customers move their phone numbers to Google Voice, and so it took a few extra days. Also, I’m one of the first people to port their phone number to Google Voice, and there are always a few hiccups when you’re a guinea pig.

A week ago I was an unhappy AT&T iPhone customer. I couldn’t get cell phone reception here at my house and so I was always missing important calls.

Today I’m a happy Google Voice customer. My old mobile number, which all of my contacts already have, now rings simultaneously on my home Vonage phone and the TMobile myTouch 3G Android phone that I’ve started using (and, by the way, TMobile works just fine here at home, too). If I want to start using a new phone, I can make a switch in the settings at Google Voice and calls will ring through to that instead. no carrier will ever have a stranglehold on me again.

iphoneNot only are calls being sent to both of my phones simultaneously now, but all my voicemails are now aggregated at Google Voice and immediately transcribed and emailed and SMS’d to me (complete overview of Google Voice is here). And since I’m using the Google Voice application for the Android, all my outgoing calls appear to be from my existing phone number, not the one assigned to the phone.

Single best feature of Google Voice: Call blocking. Someone spams my SMS or calls me too much, I click a button and they can never call or SMS me again.

So what’s the downside?

I had to pay the AT&T termination fee of $175. But that’s it.

And this myTouch phone (which TMobile has supplied to me for free for a test period) is an excellent piece of hardware. I believe it is superior to the iPhone 3GS – it loads the camera app and video app faster, and web pages load in about 2/3 the time it takes on the iPhone/AT&T (likely more AT&T’s fault than the iPhone). The Android apps are far more interesting because they have the ability to integrate with any native function (so, for example, Google Voice, banned on the iPhone, has taken over the myTouch native dialer). And I can run persistent apps in the background like Google Talk, which lets me keep a chat window open to contacts all the time.

Google Voice really is nearly perfect. The only thing that would be better is if they became a MVNO and offered mobile services directly as well. And tethering would be a nice feature. But for now I’m extremely happy with my mobile situation. And I plan to never do business directly with a carrier again.

Want to port your mobile number to Google Voice and do what I’ve done? You can’t just yet, but porting will be released later this year publicly. Prepare yourselves, and don’t sign any new long term contracts with your carrier. Life will soon be good for you, too.

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Apple censors iPhone version of Ninjawords dictionary

Posted on August 6, 2009. Filed under: Apple, iPhone, Mobile World | Tags: , , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad.com

The saga of Apple’s inexplicable App Store approval policies just got even weirder. This time, a dictionary iPhone app was rejected for containing profanity, and only accepted once a 17+ rating was attached, and the allegedly obscene words were removed from the app. Even more frustrating is that Ninjawords, the censored dictionary, distinguishes itself by using different sources for its definitions than any other app on the store right now. It could have been a great app.ninjawordsiphoneapp

It’s true that it’s Apple’s store, and Apple is allowed to make the rules, but it’s hard to see how such a crucial part of the iPhone business can continue to expand with rules so sporadically applied. Developers won’t want to develop, for fear of having their apps rejected, or being asked to remove content or functionality before they’re allowed into the store. These same arguments come up every time a legitimate-seeming app gets rejected, but Apple really doesn’t seem to have learned its lesson: rejecting legitimate apps is bad for everyone involved. Censoring a dictionary to protect readers certainly isn’t going to sell any phones.

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Microsoft Is The New Owner Of Office.com

Posted on August 6, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , |

By Robin Wauters, Tech crunch

officeWe speculated about this when we first reported on Microsoft’s recent announcements regarding its software-in-the-cloud strategy, and now it’s official: istartedsomething and Download Squad have confirmed that the domain name office.com is now a property of the Redmond software behemoth, based on a simple WHOIS query.

Guess where Office Web (or whatever it’ll be called) be hosted soon?

While both istartedsomething and Download Squad report that the domain name was owned by Belgian startup ContactOffice before the transfer, the truth is that the domain name was owned by a U.S. resident and simply operated by ContactOffice, which markets virtual office solutions, under a revenue-share agreement. (I know this because I used to consult for ContactOffice, full disclosure).

No word about how much the former owner fetched for the attractive domain name, but I know for a fact he had been holding on to that one for a long time now, so likely the man is smiling all the way to the bank right now.

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Ustream Finally Launches A Recording iPhone App. No Live Video, But A Lot Of Options.

Posted on August 5, 2009. Filed under: Apple, iPhone, Mobile World | Tags: , , |

By MG Siegler, Tech Crunch

For several months now, Ustream has had an iPhone app that allows you to view video from the service. But “view” is the keyword there. You could only watch it, you could not record and send your own video back from the iPhone. But starting today, you finally can.

iphoneThe new Ustream Recorder is a free application available in Apple’s App Store that allows you to send video from your iPhone to the web. Unfortunately, despite long-standing talk that it might be able to send live video from your iPhone to the web, that is not the case. Instead, Ustream appears to be attempting to use some spin by calling it a “live-to-recorded video recorder” — um, okay, isn’t all video at some point technically recorded live? Yes, it is.

Mentioning “live” was not necessary here because this app does not stream video live. Not that it’s Ustream’s fault, it’s Apple that doesn’t currently allow apps that do that in the App Store. So instead, this app records video and then uploads it to the web. The problem is that there are already a number of other apps out there that do this, like Kyte and 12cast. But Ustream wants to challenge them on the iPhone by offering more options.

The app gives you the option to share you videos to Ustream, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook or Ustream on Facebook. This makes the app much more flexible than its competitors when it comes to deciding where you want to send your video. Ustream also promises high-quality video from the app, which isn’t a surprise given the quality that Kyte’s app outputs.

Also interesting is that the app allows edit and manage videos that are already up on Ustream, even if they weren’t recorded with the iPhone. You simply pull download them to edit them.

But the reason why Ustream isn’t too bummed about its app not offering live-streaming is that they envisioned it used in another way, with another new service they’re launching.

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Mobile Ad Network mKhoj Rebrands As InMobi, Eyes Expansion In Europe

Posted on August 5, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World, Tech News | Tags: , , |

by Robin Wauters, Tech Crunch

Global mobile advertising network operator mKhoj shall henceforth be known under the name InMobi, which is infinitely easier to pronounce in the Western world. The company felt the rebranding was necessary given that it will be shifting more of its focus to Western Europe – where its services are currently already live in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain – after gaining sufficient scale on the Asian and African mobile markets.

inmobi-2The startup is certainly performing pretty well in a very crowded market.

Based on our understanding of their eCPMs and monthly ad impressions (which range up to 2 billion per month and growing), it looks like they are currently grossing over $1m in mobile ad revenues per month.

That’s not too shabby, and if you consider that the eCPM rates they informed us about are based on averages from their operations on the Asian and African mobile markets, it’s conceivable that they’re looking at multiplying that revenue soon.

That is, if they manage to get traction in Europe, where eCPMs are generally much higher. If they book some early success, the company says it will be on track to become cash-flow positive later this year.

The company’s mobile advertising service – which is targeted more to the mobile web than applications – is currently available in over 23 countries and cites advertisers like Reebok, Yamaha, Cricket Nirvana and MakeMyTrip.

mKhoj InMobi has offices in Palo Alto, India and Singapore. The company raised a total of $7.6 million to date, starting out with a $500k seed round from a group of angel investors and followed up by a multi-million financing round led by Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures (the VC firm started by Ram Shriram, early backer and founding board member of Google).

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Phone.io: free conference calls, voicemail and podcasting from Drop.io

Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad

phoneiodropio

Phony-o? It sounds like an April Fools’ Day joke, but it’s not. The drop.io team is actually releasing new services at an amazing rate, and the latest is a conference calling, voicemail recording, podcast ready app called Phone.io. It works like any other Drop.io drop, in that you can set it up in a couple of clicks by just naming it and giving it a password.

Your phone.io drop has phone numbers you can use for voicemails or conference calls, and you can save the records as mp3s. Where phone.io really gets cool is in the number of ways you can share your stuff in very few steps. You can embed your audio in other sites, download it, or push it out to RSS or iTunes. If you’re into social networks, you can also share it via Facebook or Twitter, and of course, you can share the Drop.io drop itself. Phone.io scores points for both features and ease of use, and it’s definitely worth a look if you need to deal with over-the-phone audio.

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FCC authorizes use of Kyocera’s 3.9G iBurst Mobile Broadband Wireless Access System

Posted on March 18, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , |

By Jeremy Kessel, Mobilecrunch

kyocera-iburst

Not quite 4G, but better than 3G, Kyocera’s 3.9G iBurst Mobile Broadband Wireless Access System (MBWA) has received a Grant of Equipment Authorization from the FCC’s certification arm – the American Telecommunications Certification Body.

According to Kyocera’s press release:

Kyocera’s iBurst is classified as 3.9G equipment due to its high spectrum efficiency with single spectrum reuse factor, and provides three times more spectrum efficiency than the existing HSDPA system. The TDD-TDMA system which uses SDMA technology is capable of 32Mbps total throughput per base station (24Mbps downlink with 8Mbps uplink), within only 5MHz bandwidth, making it small enough to operate in the GSM frequency band.

So what does this mean to Joe the Wireless Net Surfer? Not terribly much, at this point; just another competing wireless broadband technology. But in the end, the more competition, the merrier (or at least we’d like to think so).

For more on the use of this MBWA technology, check out the iBurst Association.

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New social app Foursquare is Dodgeball Part Deux

Posted on March 18, 2009. Filed under: iPhone, Mobile World | Tags: , , |

By Jay Hathaway

foursquareiphone

Dodgeball was legend amongst Internet social junkies. This cool mobile app let you know where your friends and crushes were, and made meeting up easy. It was so beloved that there was a farewell party in San Francisco when the site shut down. Something with that much community support can’t stay dead for long, though, so now there’s Foursquare, a Dodgeball “sequel” from one of the guys behind Dodgeball.

So, what does Foursquare do? Like Dodgeball, it lets you check in from your phone when you go somewhere. Foursquare has several ways to do this, via iPhone, a mobile web interface, or good old text messaging. Foursquare also has Twitter integration, so you can get/send checkins through Twitter’s direct message interface. It’s launched in 12 cities so far, so go check if yours is supported. Dodgeball is dead, long live Dodgeball.

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Nokia 5800 XpressMusic NAM firmware update

Posted on March 18, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , |

By Chris Ziegler, Engadget

5800am00

We’d initially been told that the first round of bunk Nokia 5800s for the North American market would have to be exchanged despite the fact that the 3G reception fix was a simple “configuration change,” but now… not so much. Firmware 20.2.014 has just gone live through Nokia’s Software Update application, bringing the same rich, buttery 3G quality to buyers of those first few devices. Other than that, changes are unknown and presumed to be minor, so if you’re still struggling with getting your 5800 to appreciate the finer things in life — like HSDPA, for example — give this one a shot.

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BlackBerry “Niagara” 9630 given yet another pre-release shakedown

Posted on March 18, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , , |

By Jacob Schulman, Engadget

javelin-9630-bold-small

RIM’s just full of leaks when it comes to the purported next CDMA BlackBerry, and as long as they’re not memory leaks, we don’t think we’ll be complaining. CrackBerry has somehow managed to secure yet another pre-release device, and this time it’s none other than the CDMA Bold / Curve 8900 / Storm hybrid. Like we saw with the latest Mr. Blurrycam video review (and all those other leaked pics) the keyboard sure looks to be a real winner and to quote CB, it’s “the optimal solution.” The form factor is also described as “awesome” and its narrower size made it even nicer to hold than the Bold. Unfortunately, this particular device was running — or trying to run — OS 4.7.1.10, which is basically a dummy phone equivalent at this point, while .17 is purportedly available somewhere in the Great White North. We’ve heard that the hardware has indeed been finalized, and that RIM is mass producing these like crazy — and if they can get the software to match what we’ve seen of the hardware, it looks like they’re going to have another winner on their hands.

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BlackBerry Gemini 8325 in the wild

Posted on March 17, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , |

By Chris Ziegler, Engadget

blackberry-gemini-bgr1

Something tells us this isn’t the most anticipated yet-to-be-announced BlackBerry at the moment, but RIM’s all about choice — and, yeah, it remains to be seen who’s going to choose the Gemini 8325 when it ends up shipping. The supposed Curve 8300 successor (we thought that was the 8900, silly us) will mope along with the same EDGE data that powers the old model, suggesting that it’ll hang out on the low end of the BlackBerry stable — especially by the time it’s actually released, whenever that happens to be. It’s rumored to run BlackBerry OS 5.0 and feature a QVGA display, 802.11b / g / n (yes, n), and a meager 2 megapixel camera, so needless to say, the Bolds of the world can rest easy for a while longer that their dominance in the QWERTY GSM BlackBerry game isn’t in question just yet.

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Up close with Cricket’s giant Samsung Messager

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , |

By Chris Ziegler, Engadget

cricket-giant-messager-02-sm

We got some video of the world’s largest functional cellphone (so says Guinness) in action, and apart from the three-second battery life, everything about this arrangement seems practical for retail sale (we kid — it’d take a grid of Prius battery packs to keep this thing alive). Go check out the massive mess of circuitry over on Engadget Mobile — or are those just tiny people? You decide!

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Sprint Treo Pro now finally available

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , |

By Nilay Patel, Engadget

sprint-treo-pro-4

After months of delays and at least one false start, the Sprint Treo Pro is finally on sale as promised — and from what we can tell, Sprint reps are already confusing the Pre and the Pro. Ouch. Nevertheless, we’re glad to see this thing make it out into the world — anyone going to drop the $199?

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New Verizon Wireless app assists visually-impaired

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , |

By Kent German, Cnet

verizon-wireless-logoVerizon Wireless this week announced a new service for blind and visually impaired customers. Talks will convert displayed text into speech for a variety of features including phone numbers on caller ID, text messages, e-mail, and notes. Using their voice, Talks users also will be able to:

• Dial a number from the phone’s Contacts directory
• Add and edit entries in the Contacts directory
• Write text messages and e-mail
• Write documents using Mobile Office
• Access and compose multimedia message service (MMS) messages
• Use Mobile Internet Explorer to access the Internet
• Control speech volume and rate of speech

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BlackBerry 9900 Picture Fake?

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , |

By Chris, Mobilewhack

99xx-rogers-blackberry-plutoi

The BlackBerry 9900 Pluto we’ve shown you earlier here seems to have already been proven a fake. It looks like the Pluto has the mic hole from a BlackBerry 8800 on the bottom. Is that enough proof? Does that mean the Rogers isn’t going to unveil a new RIM phone soon? Are we to assume that the Pluto is still coming? Would RIM care to comment on that?

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Nokia 5800 NAM Back on Shelves at Nokia US Flagship Stores

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , |

By Mark Guim, Thenokiablog

You are probably tired of hearing about the whole 5800 NAM launch fiasco (especially if you are not North American), but hopefully this will be the end of it. The Nokia 5800 NAM is back with updated firmware v20 and returned to the sales floor at the US flagships. Those who pre-ordered online should be receiving theirs in 1-2 weeks.

nokia-5800-3g1

We’re not sure when the v20 firmware will be available for those who currently have the Nokia 5800 NAM purchased from other stores. We’re also not sure whether the update will indeed fix the reported 3G issues.

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LG Rumor 2 and Motorola Stature i9 now available from Sprint

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , , |

By Kelly Hodgkins, BGR

rumor2-staturei9-sprint

Sunday is a banner day for Sprint which added not only the Treo Pro, but also the LG Rumor 2 and the Motorola Stature i9 to its handset lineup. The qwerty-slider LG Rumor 2 is available both online and in stores for a rock bottom price of $49.99 after an instant savings of $150 and a $50 mail-in rebate. The Rumor 2, as you surely know by now, sports a QVGA display, 1.3 megapixel camera, GPS, stereo Bluetooth, microSDHC support (up to 16GB) and a 2.5mm headphone jack. Next up is the Nextel Direct Connect-compatible Stature i9, available for $199.99 after an instant savings of $150 and a $50 mail-in rebate. The Stature has already made its debut on Boost Mobile and offers a 3.1MP camera with flash and auto focus, integrated music player, GPS, Bluetooth and rock solid PTT functionality. Two year contracts apply to the pricing on both handsets of course. Happy shopping!

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Motorola Evoke QA4 Appears on Motorola’s Site

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , |

By Chris, Mobilewhack

moto-qa4

A certain Motorola Evoke QA4 phone has appeared on Motorola’s site although the phone isn’t arriving any time soon, and there’s no point even talking about prices just yet.

The phone hasn’t been officially announced yet but oddly enough it made it to the official site. Which must mean that it was just a simple human error, wasn’t it? The slider phone will feature a 2.8-inch touchscreen display, a standard 12-button keypad and 3G connectivity. But we’d need more details to judge this Moto handset.

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Palm Treo Pro available today from Sprint

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , |

By Chris, Mobilewhack

sprint-treo-pro

It looks like Sprint is really hot today. We’ve seen the Rumor 2 and the Moto i9 which were officially released today and they got a decent companion, the Palm Treo Pro.

The Treo Pro will be available to you starting today for $299.99 before a $100 mail-in rebate but only with an Everything Plan or data plan of $30 or more. What do you think? Is it worth getting the Treo Pro today when the Pre is coming this summer?

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BlackBerry 9630 Niagara pops up in more glamorous spy shots

Posted on March 15, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , |

By Ross Miller, Engadget

blackberry-niagara-nice-spy-rm-eng

Ladies and gentlemen, we now present even more shots of the CDMA-equipped BlackBerry 9630 Niagara that was caught strutting its stuff earlier this month. Not only is the phone turned on this time, but we’ve also caught it lying across some shagadelic leopard print. Additionally, the fine folks over at the Crackberry forums have a couple of less stylish pics, allegedly uploaded by someone trying to hawk the phone on craigslist for a cool $800. Those images show off what appears to be a battery slot on the back that’s slimmer than current models. Until RIM decides to give us some official visuals, we remain ever-hopeful that someone with the leaked phone manages a sexier photo shoot. More spy shots, including that of the mobile’s underside, after the break.

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North American Nokia 5800 XpressMusic available once again

Posted on March 15, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , |

By Chris Ziegler, Engadget

nokia5800xpressmusic-nam-1

We received a call this afternoon from our good friends at the Nokia flagship store in Chicago to let us know that the updated North American version of the 5800 XpressMusic is now in stock and ready to go. This means that existing owners should be good to exchange their units, and of course, new buyers can go ahead and dive in. Not all at once now — we don’t want riots at the entrance, now, do we?

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Pre browser looks mighty fast in Palm webcast

Posted on March 15, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Mobile World | Tags: , , |

By Darren Murph, Engadget

web-big12-palm-pre

As it stands, the best shot you have at a “full” web browsing experiencing is with Apple’s iPhone. Granted, Opera Mini ain’t half bad, and Fennec (er, Mobile Firefox, holds a lot of promise, but it’s hard to argue with the sheer performance numbers associated with Safari. That said, it looks like Cupertino has its work cut out for it upon the release of Palm’s Pre. During a recent webcast, viewers were treated to a sneak peek at the Pre loading up Big12Sports.com. Said site is pretty intensive to load, and even on WiFi it takes well over 20 seconds to completely pull up on Apple’s darling. The site took around eight seconds to finalize on the Pre, suggesting that it either has a wicked fast browser or caching abilities, both of which we could learn to appreciate. Hit the read link for a peek at the video, because — you know — seeing is believing.

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