Archive for February, 2009

Microsoft shows Samsung C6625 Valencia Windows Mobile smartphone

Microsoft was in attendance at Mobile World Congress quietly showing Samsung’s latest Windows Mobile smartphone, the C6625. The C6625, which was code named the Valencia, looks very similar to its brothers here in the states, the BlackJack II and the Epix, and offers a full QWERTY keyboard and navigational d-pad on its front.

One noticeable difference in the new smartphone is its user interface, which offers what looks to be a non-touch version of Samsung’s TouchWhiz interface, including a widget bar running down the left side of the screen.

This Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard device supports GSM/EDGE on the 900/1800/1900MHz bands and 3G UMTS/HSDPA connectivity on Europe’s 2100MHz band to provide email instantly on the go. A wide 2.6″ display screen offers QVGA (320×240 pixel) resolution to browse the web, view photos, or check email. Other features include a 2 megapixel camera, aGPS, and Bluetooth. The C6625 offers up to 7 hours of talk time or 12.5 days of standby.

The C6625 appears to be a variant of the C6620 that is offered by Italy’s TIM network. We have no official launch information on the device, but Expansys has the product listed with an availability date of late March.

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Motorola RAZR LúK

Despite being out of the spotlight lately, Motorola hasn’t given up on the RAZR and they’ve released a new, luxe model of the popular phone called the Motorola RAZR LúK. It’s only available in one color but we think you won’t mind since it’s classic pearl white combined with equally classic (and shiny!) 18k gold plating. The phone’s shape, keyplate, and flip design all remain unchanged but the interior specs of this 3G model are updated with HSDPA connectivity, video calling, bluetooth, and pretty much everything else you’d expect in a RAZR.

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MWC 2009: Global Mobile Awards 2009

The winners of the 14th Annual Global Mobile Awards were announced last week at a gala dinner, at the National Palace in Barcelona. One of the highlights of the Mobile World Congress, the ceremony has been hosted by comedy star Michael McIntyre. This year more than 450 companies submitted their entries in various categories such as: Internet, finance, advertising, music, television and gaming. Around 900 senior executives and mobile industry leaders attended the ceremony. The main event of MWC 2009 included a special guest appearance from producer, artist and frontman of the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am, but also Jamie Cullum, the Grammy, BRIT and two-time Golden Globe nominated jazz artist.

By far the most expected award was for Best Mobile Handset or Device, which was contested between five finalists: INQ1, Nokia E71, RIM Blackberry Storm, LG KS360 and T-Mobile’s G1. Because INQ’s device was not as popular as the other two smartphones, everyone thought that it would just be a second or third runner-up. Still, judges thought otherwise and voted INQ1 Best Mobile Handset or Device award winner.

Nokia E71 and T-Mobile’s G1 smartphones received the ‘Highly Commended’ title and could be considered the big losers of the competition. Comparing all five phones you can easily find out that in terms of performance and tech specs, INQ1 is totally inferior to most of the other four. Nevertheless, this year’s award for Best Mobile Handset or Device was given based on a new trend, which sees mobile phones as full social networking hubs.

The main reason for which INQ1 took the ‘cherry on the cake’ was the perfect implementation of Facebook and last.fm social services, as well as the integrated support for messengers such as Skype and Windows Live Messenger. Moreover, INQ’s handset has the ability to transform itself from a phone to a 3G modem by simply plugging it into a USB port. Finally, the jury considered that INQ1, also known as the “Facebook phone,” offers excellent value for money, which means that it will be available to the mass market for an affordable price.

In terms of mobile entertainment, there wasn’t much of a surprise when Gameloft was announced as the winner of the Best Mobile Game. The game that took the ‘laurels’, ‘Real Football 2009’, is both intuitive and playable, with excellent graphics, though it also makes great use of mobile features including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth multiplayer, as well as network connectivity for online leagues.

The runner-up of the award was Digital Chocolate’s ‘AvaPeeps: FlirtNation’ game. Again, the new trend that involves social interaction proves to be a successful recipe, as the game is significant in its innovative way of building communities, technological achievement and delivering a rich entertainment experience never before seen on mobile phones. AvaPeeps seems to be taking the concept of socially connected clubs to the next level. The addictive game provides a mobile interactive entertainment experience that is fresh and new every day of the year, based on how you want your AvaPeeps character to look, date and interact with other players’ characters.

The Best Mobile Internet Service was awarded to Nokia’s web-based application for mobile devices, Nokia Sports Tracker. The app simply monitors exercise and tracks fitness levels making it possible to share these pieces of information online with friends. An interesting fact is that the S60 3rd edition-compatible application has been downloaded by more than 2.5 million people to date, recording a total exercise distance of 31 times the distance to the moon.

Innovation was also present at the event in the form of a much craved award – Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough. This year the award was ‘secured’ by RIM’s Blackberry Storm 9500 SurePress Screen technology. The revolutionary BlackBerry Storm 9500 SurePress touchscreen allows users to navigate through the phone using their fingertips, similar to a computer’s mouse, and “click” the screen by pushing down to select. Users have the ability to adjust the screen’s settings so that double tapping can be employed as an alternate method to select and navigate the phone. The typing and navigation precision enables a whole range of applications and features that have not been possible on a touchscreen mobile device.

An interesting award category, but so up-to-date, the Green Mobile Award, has been received by Smart Communications, Inc., for their “Alternative Power for Cell Sites” program. The program uses renewable energy sources to power cell sites in off-grid locations. Basically, these cell sites are powered by wind energy, or hybrid solutions such as wind and solar energy. It seems that the successful deployment of alternative energy-powered cell sites has also encouraged the company to pursue other pro-environment alternative energy solutions. Thumbs up for ‘green’ companies.

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AT&T 3G migration to 850 MHz

AT&T will relocate its 3G data services in some critical markets this year from the higher 1900Mhz frequency to 850 Mhz, a band that offers increased range and reliability, according to AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega. In an interview, he said AT&T would complete the spectrum move in San Francisco and parts of New York.

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December's top-selling handsets revealed

What were some of the top-selling handsets in December 2008? ComScore m:Metrics has released their survey results for December. Surprisingly, Apple’s iPhone 3G did not top the list. Instead, the honor went to Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Curve 8330. Despite all of the recent hype about how the smartphone segment is the fastest growing part of the handset market, the list was rounded out by some simple feature phones.

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Garmin-Asus nuvifone G60

Asus, one of the IT industry leaders offering everything from PC components to complete solutions including notebooks, desktops, smartphones, PDAs, broadband communications products, LCD monitors and wireless applications, started a collaboration with Garmin, the global leader in satellite navigation. Created at the beginning of February, the strategic alliance already started the development of their own product line, which will be known as the Garmin-Asus nuvifone series.

The new Garmin-Asus alliance has been present at the Mobile World Congress 2009, in Barcelona, and showcased two of its new series of devices, as it was expected. Garmin-Asus plans to release several new co-branded location-centric mobile phones in 2009. The first device present at the alliance’s booth is no surprise, as it’s last year’s Garmin nuvifone, which was also showcased at CeBit 2008. Still, the original Garmin nuvifone that was announced in 2008 has been re-branded as the Garmin-Asus nuvifone G60.

Featuring a large 3.55-inch TFT resistive touchscreen with a weird 272 x 480 pixel resolution, the G60 mobile phone is sure to offer a smooth navigation experience. The quad-band GSM nuvifone G60 runs on a Linux OS and features: HSDPA 3.6 Mbps, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support, 3 Megapixel camera with autofocus, 4GB flash memory and 128MB RAM, microSD (up to 16GB) and built-in GPS receiver.

The nuvifone product line also includes the Ciao! application, which functions more like a social service. The app helps users stay up to date on their friends’ location and status by linking numerous location-centric social networks. Through Ciao! users will be able to see their friends’ location on a map and then navigate to that location with ease. Nuvifone users can also choose to have the handset automatically update their social network location information.

Another interesting feature of the device allows users to place calls and identify their exact GPS location while making a phone call. Basically, if you touch the screen during a phone call, the “Where am I?” features will tell you the exact latitude and longitude coordinates, nearest address, intersection, hospital, police station and gas station. The Garmin-Asus nuvifone G60 is expected to be delivered in the first half of 2009, at a price that will be disclosed soon.

The second Garmin-Asus location-centric mobile phone that was introduced at MWC 2009, nuvifone M20, is a Windows Mobile-based device. As the first Garmin-Asus nuvifone powered by Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional with enterprise email, the sleek and colorful nuvifone M20 targets businessmen. Featuring a medium sized 2.8-inch TFT resistive touchscreen (480 x 640 pixel resolution), accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate, the nuvifone M20 weighs only 99g (including battery) and is 12.8mm in thickness.

Other highlights of the smartphone include: HSDPA 7.2 Mbps connectivity, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support, USB 2.0, Push email, 3 Megapixel camera with autofocus and video (QVGA@15fps) function, built-in GPS receiver, 4GB/8GB flash memory and Qualcomm 7200A 528MHz processor.

The nuvifone M20 takes GPS navigation one step further via Connected Services, a suite of online applications and data from Garmin-Asus that adds location intelligence to navigation, phone and browser functions. The expandable list of applications includes content like real-time traffic information, White Pages, weather, flight status, local events, and movie times. Garmin-Asus expects to announce the nuvifone M20’s pricing and availability information in the first half of 2009. ]

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HTC Touch Diamond2 Pre-Order Now

It seems that more and more nice mobile phones that have been unveiled at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain have started to surface on the Web listed for pre-order on various sites. While we learned yesterday that some of the Nokia handsets are already available this way, today we hear that the newly spotted HTC Touch Diamond2 is also available.

The British dealer Clove already lists the new HTC mobile phone for pre-order, and the device is there for 360 pounds, or about US$500, before taxes. With the taxes included (or at least the British Value Added Tax), the price of the device will jump up to 414 pounds, or closer to $600.

According to Clove, the new HTC Touch Diamond2 should get there in mid- to late-March. Those interested in purchasing one of these beauties should expect to get a 5-megapixel color camera with auto focus, a TouchFLO 3D UI, a 3.2-inch touch-sensitive screen that delivers a 480 X 800 pixel resolution, as well as a microSD (SDHC compatible) expansion slot.

The new Windows Mobile-powered device includes a Qualcomm MSM7200A, 528 MHz processor and RAM – 288 MB and ROM – 512 MB memory. The version that can be spotted for pre-order at the moment is reported to come with HSDPA/WCDMA Europe/Asia: 900/2100 MHz connectivity and won’t feature support for the U.S. 3G bands, as the original Diamond did when released.

On the other hand, we know that the device will reach North America as well, only that currently there is no info on the date when it will do so, nor on the carrier that will add it to its offering.

In related news, we learn that the HTC Touch Pro2 can also be seen ready for pre-order. The handset sports a 450 British pound (US$639) price before the VAT, which rises up to 517.50 pounds (US$735) with the tax included.

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