Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pre webOS 1.4.0 Battery Test: Part 2

My Palm Pre battery test continues. It's about 6:30pm and my Pre is reporting that the battery is now at 84% with little use since about 2:00pm today.

So far, I have been losing 4% charge an hour. I haven't made any phone calls or used the phone to play games or surf the web. The only thing that has been going on with the phone is scheduled sync check with my single Gmail account.

Pre webOS 1.4.0 Battery Test

Improved battery life is one of the reported enhancements in Palm webOS 1.4.0. I've decided to put the battery improvements to the test.

It's just after 2:00pm and my Pre has 100% charge. Wi-Fi is off, as is Bluetooth. I have one Gmail account (email, calendar, and contacts) configured to sync items as they arrive. We'll see how things are going in a few hours.

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...]

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Palm webOS 1.4.0 Impressions

With webOS 1.4.0, Palm has introduced over 70 new feature enhancements and fixes to their customers. I installed the update on my Sprint edition Pre and have spent some time playing with it. What follows are my impressions of some of the new features you can look forward to in webOS 1.4.0.

YouTube Links in App Catalog

The new App Catalog now allows developers to embed a link to a YouTube video of their application in action as seen here for ETI Studios Dice Tower application. Just tap on the video link to the upper right of the screen an the video loads up in webOS' YouTube player application. That's a nice feature since I almost never go to a YouTube page to view a video of a webOS or iPhone application in action before I buy.

Device Info

With this release of webOS, Palm has given their customers more control about how data is destroyed on a Pre or Pixi. There are now three types of data deletion options to delete applications and their data, everything from the USB drive partition, and a secure full erase (which erases apps, data, and the USB drive).

I think these features are important with so much focus on privacy today. You will want to use these features when you send your phone in for repair (don't forget to back up first!), swap phones (for personal or corporate use), or give away or sell your phone when you get a new one. You won't believe how many times over the last 10 years I have been told about stories of people buying a used phone and it still having the previous owner's data still on it.

Blink Notifications

This is a feature I have been waiting for since June 6, 2009 - Not that I've been counting the days, hours, and minutes or anything like that!

Finally, finally, you can receive a visual notice that your Pre or Pix wants to get your attention when the screen is off! When there is a new message waiting for you, like an unread email, the Center button on my Sprint Pre now blinks twice, waits four seconds, and then blinks again.

Startup Card

This new "feature" drives me nuts. Before this feature was baked, or perhaps half-baked, into webOS, I never thought that app load times where longer then any other smartphone. Now I have a graphic that gets in my face every time I launch a new application that reminds me that I have to wait for my application to load. Ugh! I hate the start up card because I almost always flick cards away when I'm done using an app, so I start apps up all the time. Hopefully, we'll be given an option to turn this option off in a future release of webOS.

Improved Performance and Battery Life

I don't have a screen shot for this one. I just hope that Palm continues to work on these issues. There are times when I'm left wondering what the hell my Pre is doing as I wait there wondering if the phone accepted my touch or keyboard command. I would like to see Palm's software engineers to continue to improve the peppiness of webOS.

Battery life is my #1 gripe with the Pre and webOS, bar none. It is a serious problem in my book when a phone battery does dead in anything less than 48 hours. When I was using my Palm Treo 700p, Treo 755p, the BlackBerry Curve, and even now with my HTC Droid Eris, I can go a full two days without having to worry about charging my phone. With the Pre and webOS, I start to worry about the battery about happy hour. It's hard to use your phone for social networking when the battery is dead. But more importantly than that, if I forget to put the Pre on my Touchstone charging base, I shouldn't wake up in the morning to a dead phone. That is just the pits and I refuse to carry around another $50 battery to get the same run time as my older phones have right now.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are a number of nice things included in this release of webOS. There are more features that I like than things I find annoying, and at the end of the day, I'll get over them. If you like to have the latest and greatest software on your phone, download this update now using the Updates application.

Palm webOS 1.4.0 Update Arrives

The Palm webOS 1.4 update has finally showed up as being available for install on my Sprint Palm Pre this morning.

Palm's management had said that the update would be rolled out in February during their CES press event last month. The update weighs in at 39MB.

Update
As of right now, the 1.4.0 update is only available for webOS Pre and Pixi phones from Sprint, O2 UK, O2 DE, O2 Ireland, and Movistar networks. If you have a Palm webOS phone on Verizon, Bell, or other carrier, you are going to have to wait a little longer for the certification testing to be completed.


The webOS 1.4.0 update does not include any new applications, however, it does include some 70+ documented updates to Palm's mobile operating system. This update includes the following fixes and enhancements:

Calendar
  • You can customize calendar notification sounds in Preferences & Accounts. The options include Mute, System Sound, Ringtone, and Vibrate. The Ringtone option includes new notification sounds to give you more customization choices.

  • If you create an event and enters a phone number as the event name, location, or description, you can tap the phone number on the event details screen to dial it.

  • A new Sync Now application menu item gives you a second way to manually synchronize your calendar accounts (in addition to the Sync Now button in Preferences & Accounts).

  • This release improves Calendar synchronization performance in poor network coverage areas to optimize battery life. It also increases the default interval for synchronizing with online calendar accounts other than Exchange accounts.

  • This release contains improvements to the visual calendar display, including a clearer indicator of AM and PM and improved current time display.
Camera
  • You can record video whenever and wherever inspiration strikes with the new camcorder feature in Camera. After recording a video, you can edit the clip in Videos, upload the video directly to YouTube or Facebook, or send the video by email or multimedia message.
Contacts
  • If you import a Mac Address Book contact, all contact fields display correctly in the Contacts application.

  • This release improves Contacts synchronization performance in poor network coverage areas to optimize battery life. It also increases the default interval for synchronizing with online contacts accounts other than Exchange accounts.
Device Info
  • You now have two partial erase options: Erase Apps & Data, which erases all installed applications and associated data, and Erase USB Drive, which erases files stored on the USB drive.

  • This release includes a new Secure Full Erase option. A secure full erase takes considerably longer than a regular full erase.
Email
  • You can customize calendar notification sounds in Preferences & Accounts. The options include Mute, System Sound, Ringtone, and Vibrate. The Ringtone option includes new notification sounds to give you more customization choices.

  • If the message body contains a phone number and you tap and hold the number, a menu appears displaying options to Call, Text, or Add To Contacts (if the number is not already saved in a contact).

  • This release includes multiple performance improvements in Email, including improved handling of message replies and forwarded messages and quicker response times to gestures.
Location Services (GPS-enabled features)
  • If you turn off the Use GPS and Use Google Services options under the Locate Me Using application menu item, the Locate Me Using menu item remains available.
Messaging
  • You can attach a video to an outgoing multimedia message.
Phone
  • You can tap the contact photo or icon in a call history entry to display options for that entry, including dialing an alternate number, sending a text message, opening a contact, or adding the number as a contact. The expanded display also includes call details such as call length and phone number type.
Screen & Lock
  • New blink notifications (a blinking light in the gesture area) alert you when email, text message, or other notifications arrive. You clear the blink notification by turning the screen on and off or unlocking the screen. The blink notification preference is on by default; you can turn it off in Screen & Lock > Blink Notifications.
Sounds & Ringtones
  • This release adds new user-selectable notification sounds under Ringtone.
System (overall enhancements to webOS)
  • This release offers better overall performance, including faster loading time for apps and increased battery life across a wider range of user scenarios.

  • If you are playing a game and a phone or calendar notification arrives, the game pauses while the notification is coming up.

  • You can quickly unlock the screen by dragging up from the gesture area across the onscreen lock icon.

  • This release improves the speed of downloading applications and files.
Videos
  • You can upload a recorded video to YouTube or Facebook on the web.

  • You can edit recorded video. You can also delete recorded video, video copied from a computer, or video received as an attachment to an email message.

  • If you tap the option to share an uploaded video, you have the option to send the link via email, text message, or Facebook.
Wi-Fi
  • A new Sleep Settings application menu item allows you to change a setting so that if Wi-Fi is on and the phone screen turns off, the Wi-Fi feature turns off. By default, if Wi-Fi is on and the screen turns off, the Wi-Fi feature stays on.

The full change log for the webOS 1.4.0 update can be found on the Palm webOS update website.

Installing the Update

Sprint customers can install the Palm webOS 1.4.0 update right now by using the Updates application on their phone. Customers can also wait for their Pre or Pixi to download the update in the background automatically and then install the update when the download is complete.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Palm Updates Guidance

Earlier today, Plam issued a new guidance for Q3FY10, stating that the revenues for the smartphone maker will be below previous estimates.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb 25, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Palm, Inc. (NASDAQ:PALM) today indicated that it expects that revenues for the third quarter of fiscal year 2010 will be in the range of $285 million to $310 million on a GAAP basis and in the range of $300 million to $320 million on a non-GAAP basis.1 Revenues for the quarter and full year are being impacted by slower than expected consumer adoption of the company's products that has resulted in lower than expected order volumes from carriers and the deferral of orders to future periods. Accordingly, Palm expects fiscal year 2010 revenues to be well below its previously forecasted range of $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion. The company will provide more detail on its financial results during Palm's third-quarter financial results conference call currently scheduled for Thursday, March 18.
"Palm webOS is recognized as a groundbreaking platform that enables one of the best smartphone experiences available today, and our work to evolve the platform and bring industry-leading technology to market continues. However, driving broad consumer adoption of Palm products is taking longer than we anticipated," said Jon Rubinstein, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our carrier partners remain committed, and we are working closely with them to increase awareness and drive sales of our differentiated Palm products."

The Company expects to close its third fiscal quarter with a cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments balance in excess of $500 million.


Analysis

This can't be good news for Palm, who has been struggling over the last two years to transform their business both from a technology standpoint and a revenue standpoint. Over the last three years, Palm completely changed their management team, infused the company with a number of tech company A-list talent, and completely revamped their smartphone and mobile operating system software.

However, many people where critical of what was pent up demand for the original Palm Pre smartphone which when on sale with exclusive launch partner, Sprint, back on June 6, 2009. Many customers on Verizon, which only recently began selling the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus, and AT&T simply had no way of getting new Palm hardware except to jump carriers which has become an extremely costly proposition for customers in today's depressed economy.

I personally believe that Palm took too long to bring the Pre to Verizon as the Pre Plus and that their six month exclusive agreement with Sprint went on too long. It didn't help that the second Palm webOS smartphone, the Pixi, also started out life on Sprint as an exclusive. Customers on AT&T and T-Mobile still don't have access to a branded Palm smartphone.

Lastly, Palm is fighting an uphill battle against white hot brands like the Apple iPhone 3G S, the Motorola Droid, and the BlackBerry Storm2. Palm is going to have to get more phones out to more carriers and into the hands of customers sooner rather than later. That means Palm should pick up the pack and get the distribution deal with AT&T in place and grow the regions around the world that have access to Palm's products.

It looks like FY2011 is going to continue to be difficult for Palm. Palm's stock closed the day at $6.53 with a number of investment firms changing their buy ratings to sell.

Monday, February 22, 2010

BugMe! BlackBerry Edition Updated

Electric Pocket Limited is announcing a significant update to the BlackBerry version of BugMe!, the simple and fun-to-use mobile app for staying on-task and on-time.

After the initial launch of the BlackBerry version of BugMe!, the company began work on the next version in response to user requests. The most significant new features include:
  • Reminder Alerts (nags) for notes so they will repeatedly alert you until acknowledged.
  • The ability to schedule BugMe! alarms on a monthly basis - both on the same day of each month and "First Tuesday" style.
  • Alarms set to repeat on a recurring basis will now display their next scheduled alert time.
  • The option to set a snooze time, which is ideal for those who use BugMe! to wake them up or who may not be able to act on an alert right when it sounds.
  • A daily email summary of notes with alarms for the next 24 hours.
  • Auto-backup of notes to SD card (if present).
  • Automatically checks for app updates, with a link to download the latest version.
BugMe! for BlackBerry makes it easy to quickly jot notes, ideas and tasks on-the-go and set any note as a reminder. BugMe! will automatically sound an alarm and pop-up an alert at the exact moment a reminder is needed.

BugMe! for BlackBerry is available for US$4.99 at BugMe.net. For additional information, visit the ElectricPocket website.

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

Shout Hallelujah, Come On, Get Appy

Time Magazine's Techland writer, Peter Ha has a good write up of Microsoft's recently announced Windows Phone 7 series mobile operating system, due out at the end of the year (2010). While I don't agree with everything Mr. Ha writes (Doesn't Motorola's MotoBlur do the same social media aggregation trick as Windows Phone 7?), he does a good job of summing up why this now mobile operating system is so important to Microsoft.
"When you think about Microsoft, a lot of adjectives come to mind, but hip and cool are probably not among them. Many consumers associate Microsoft only with the Windows machine they're using. And all those "I'm a Mac. I'm a PC" ads have made Apple users like me feel kind of sorry for PCs.

But it's a brand-new decade, and Microsoft is about to leapfrog Apple — and every other player in the cell-phone world — with the launch of Windows Phone 7 (WP7).

But the most underappreciated product in Microsoft's vast portfolio, the Zune digital media player, is about to roll all these products into one handy little phone that catapults Microsoft ahead of Apple, Google, Palm and BlackBerry's maker, RIM."

You can read Mr. Ha's full article on the Time website.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Verizon to Bring Skype to Popular Smartphones

At the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Verizon Wireless and Skype today announced a strategic relationship that will bring Skype to Verizon Wireless smartphones in March. The new Skype mobile™ product enhances Verizon Wireless’ smartphones for users who have data plans by offering a new way to call around the globe, while also giving hundreds of millions of Skype users around the world the opportunity to communicate with friends, family and business colleagues in the United States using Verizon Wireless.

The two companies have created an exclusive, easy-to-use Skype mobile offering for 3G smartphones. Verizon Wireless 3G smartphone users with data plans can use Skype mobile to:
  • make and receive unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls to any Skype user around the globe on America’s most reliable wireless network

  • call international phone numbers at competitive Skype Out calling rates
    send and receive instant messages to other Skype users

  • remain always connected with the ability to see friends’ online presence.

Initially, Skype mobile will be available on millions of best-selling Verizon Wireless 3G smartphones with data plans, including the BlackBerry® Storm™ 9530, Storm2™ 9550, Curve™ 8330, Curve™ 8530, 8830 World Edition and Tour™ 9630 smartphones, as well as DROID by Motorola, DROID ERIS™ by HTC and Motorola DEVOUR™.

John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless, said, “Skype mobile on Verizon Wireless changes the game. For Verizon Wireless’ more than 90 million customers, Skype mobile adds great value because we’re effectively giving customers with smartphones and data plans the option to extend their unlimited calling community to hundreds of millions of Skype users around the globe. And you’re not limited to using a single type of phone; we’ll have nine smartphones ready right at launch in March.”
Josh Silverman, chief executive officer of Skype, noted, “People want to take their Skype conversations with them wherever they go, whether it’s on a PC, TV or increasingly mobile phones. Verizon Wireless will give U.S. consumers the best Skype experience on mobile phones and will truly change the way people call their friends and family internationally.”
Customers interested in learning more about Skype mobile for Verizon Wireless smartphones can visit www.verizonwireless.com/skypemobile. Additional information about the service will be available next month.

Visit www.verizonwireless.com for more information about Verizon Wireless. Learn more and download Skype at www.skype.com.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Steve Ballmer MWC Keynote Address Posted

Didn't make it to Barcelona for today's Mobile World Congress keynote by Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer? Neither did I.

You can watch Mr. Ballmer's keynote below and then head over to the Microsoft website to watch the other Microsoft videos about Windows Phone 7 series.




Visit the Microsoft Windows Phone video gallery.

Windows Phone Screen Shots

With the first Windows Phone smartphones not going on sale until "holiday 2010," Windows Mobile fans may be left feeling a little bit empty inside until late this year.

Until then, Microsoft has posted a number of screen shots to cheer you up until the forth quarter!

If the screen shots are not enough to hold you over until we can get our hands on handsets running Windows Phone 7 series, make sure to check out the Microsoft Windows Phone Newsroom for all the latest news on Windows Phone 7. And if you want to jump in on the discussion about Windows Phone, you should check out the Windows Phone Backstage website to talk about the new operating system with other Microsoft fans.

Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Series

Earlier today, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer showed off the next generation of Microsoft's mobile operating system: Windows Phone 7 Series.

BARCELONA, Spain — Feb. 15, 2010 — Today at Mobile World Congress 2010, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the next generation of Windows® Phones, Windows Phone 7 Series. With this new platform, Microsoft offers a fresh approach to phone software, distinguished by smart design and truly integrated experiences that bring to the surface the content people care about from the Web and applications. For the first time ever, Microsoft will bring together Xbox LIVE games and the Zune music and video experience on a mobile phone, exclusively on Windows Phone 7 Series. Partners have already started building phones; customers will be able to purchase the first phones in stores by holiday 2010.
“Today, I’m proud to introduce Windows Phone 7 Series, the next generation of Windows Phones,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “In a crowded market filled with phones that look the same and do the same things, I challenged the team to deliver a different kind of mobile experience. Windows Phone 7 Series marks a turning point toward phones that truly reflect the speed of people’s lives and their need to connect to other people and all kinds of seamless experiences.”
Designed for Life in Motion

With Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft takes a fundamentally different approach to phone software. Smart design begins with a new, holistic design system that informs every aspect of the phone, from its visually appealing layout and motion to its function and hardware integration. On the Start screen, dynamically updated “live tiles” show users real-time content directly, breaking the mold of static icons that serve as an intermediate step on the way to an application. Create a tile of a friend, and the user gains a readable, up-to-date view of a friend’s latest pictures and posts, just by glancing at Start.

Every Windows Phone 7 Series phone will come with a dedicated hardware button for Bing, providing one-click access to search from anywhere on the phone, while a special implementation of Bing search provides intent-specific results, delivering the most relevant Web or local results, depending on the type of query.

Windows Phone 7 Series creates an unrivaled set of integrated experiences on a phone through Windows Phone hubs. Hubs bring together related content from the Web, applications and services into a single view to simplify common tasks. Windows Phone 7 Series includes six hubs built on specific themes reflecting activities that matter most to people:

  • People. This hub delivers an engaging social experience by bringing together relevant content based on the person, including his or her live feeds from social networks and photos. It also provides a central place from which to post updates to Facebook and Windows Live in one step.

  • Pictures. This hub makes it easy to share pictures and video to a social network in one step. Windows Phone 7 Series also brings together a user’s photos by integrating with the Web and PC, making the phone the ideal place to view a person’s entire picture and video collection.

  • Games. This hub delivers the first and only official Xbox LIVE experience on a phone, including Xbox LIVE games, Spotlight feed and the ability to see a gamer’s avatar, Achievements and gamer profile. With more than 23 million active members around the world, Xbox LIVE unlocks a world of friends, games and entertainment on Xbox 360, and now also on Windows Phone 7 Series.

  • Music + Video. This hub creates an incredible media experience that brings the best of Zune, including content from a user’s PC, online music services and even a built-in FM radio into one simple place that is all about music and video. Users can turn their media experience into a social one with Zune Social on a PC and share their media recommendations with like-minded music lovers. The playback experience is rich and easy to navigate, and immerses the listener in the content.

  • Marketplace. This hub allows the user to easily discover and load the phone with certified applications and games.

  • Office. This hub brings the familiar experience of the world’s leading productivity software to the Windows Phone. With access to Office, OneNote and SharePoint Workspace all in one place, users can easily read, edit and share documents. With the additional power of Outlook Mobile, users stay productive and up to date while on the go.
Availability

Partners from around the world have committed to include Windows Phone 7 Series in their portfolio plans. They include mobile operators AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, and manufacturers Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC Corp., HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm Inc. The first phones will be available by holiday 2010. Customers who would like to receive additional information about Windows Phone 7 Series and be notified when it is available can register at http://www.windowsphone7series.com.

To watch the full replay of Steve Ballmer’s press conference at Mobile World Congress, and to experience Windows Phone 7 Series through an online product demo, readers can visit http://www.microsoft.com/news/windowsphone.

Today's Microsoft press release was posted on the Microsoft website.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

HTC Touch Pro 2

The company I work for is continuing it's search to find the perfect smartphone to replace our existing Treo 700p and 755p fleet of phones. This past Friday, I found a new phone to take out for a test drive: the Verizon Wireless edition HTC Touch Pro 2!

The Touch Pro 2 is a Windows Mobile 6.1 powered phone that has one of the largest screens I've ever seen on a Windows Mobile phone. (The last two Windows Mobile phones I've used where the Palm Treo 750 and Palm Treo Pro.)

There are two things that you will immediately noticed as different with the Touch Pro 2 than other Windows Mobile phones. The first is the Touch Pro 2 is has a slider that reveals a roomy landscape keyboard that will make people who complain about cramped keyboards happy. The screen also tilts up toward the user. The second thing that you will notice as being different in this Windows Mobile phone is the the special sauce that HTC has added; TouchFlo. TouchFlo is HTC's customized user interface (UI) that added the much needed "cool factor" to Microsoft's mobile operating system.

To learn more about the HTC Touch Pro 2, visit the HTC website.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Computer Engineer Barbie

I just saw this over on Boy Genius Report - Computer Engineer Barbie!

I know a couple of Smartphone Fanatics who will like this Barbie in their collection.

On their website, Barbie Media website, Mattel writes:

Consumers loudly campaigned for another Barbie® career. The winner of the popular vote is Computer Engineer. Computer Engineer Barbie®, debuting in Winter 2010, inspires a new generation of girls to explore this important high-tech industry, which continues to grow and need future female leaders.

“All the girls who imagine their futures through Barbie will learn that engineers — like girls — are free to explore infinite possibilities, limited only by their imagination,” says Nora Lin, President, Society of Women Engineers. “As a computer engineer, Barbie will show girls that women can turn their ideas into realities that have a direct and positive impact on people’s everyday lives in this exciting and rewarding career.”
You can read more about Barbie's exciting new career on BarbieMedia.com.

[Via BoyGeniusReport.com...]

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rumor: Flash Support Coming to webOS in February

PreCentral.net is reporting that having native Adobe Flash support on Palm webOS devices like the Pre could become a reality later this month.
"Palm and SFR held their French launch event last night and reports on the ground bring good news: Palm employees specifically said that Flash would be available in February. Previously we had been a little unsure of that, what we knew for sure was that webOS 1.4 would lay the underpinning for it, but the actual release (which is coming in the App Catalog) was less clear."

Sounds cool if it's true and would be a cool trick since the iPhone can't handle embedded Flash content in web pages.

You can read the full article over on PreCentral.net.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Rumor: Major Changes Coming to Windows Phone 7

If a recent article by Electronista.com is accurate, there will be more changing with Windows Mobile than the product name.

With the next release of the Windows Mobile operating system, Microsoft is rumored to be changing the name from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone, all the while keeping the version numbering system from Windows Mobile. (Confused yet?) Windows Mobile 6.5.x will be replaced by Windows Phone 7 late this year.

The name change isn't the only thing getting a refresh. Microsoft is also rumored to be making several engine changes that will either make you jump for joy or throw up your arms in disgust. After Palm OS 5, the Windows Mobile User Interface (UI) is the next mobile operating system in need of a make over - and Windows Phone 7 will provide it. In addition to making Windows Phone look and work more like a Zune or the iPhone, it is also rumored that Microsoft will be removing multitasking support from Windows Phone. It is also rumored that Microsoft may also lock down the default UI, preventing third-party developers like HTC from adding their own UI layer on top of Windows like they currently do with the Sense UI on handsets running Google's Android operating system.

Other changes that could be coming to a Microsoft-powered phone near you could be XNA application programming language that would allow for easier migration of XBox services to the Windows Phone platform. While that does sound cool, Microsoft appears to be eyeing an Apple App Store-like distribution model with applications being installed from a single source. And backward application compatibility? If the rumor is true, they could be on the endangered species list.

Electronista does state that most of this information has not been confirmed and as with any rumor, needs to be taken with a gain of salt. Hopefully Microsoft will give us more details at this years, Mobile World Congress taking place in Barcelona, Spain, later this month.

[Via Electronista.com...]

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.

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...]

Monday, February 1, 2010

Time: Has Jobs Seen the Future - Again?

Time Magazine has written a good overview of Apple's recently announced iPad mobile computing device. If you want to learn more about the device, without having to deal with all the technical details, this is a great article for you to look over. (The same article will also appear in this week's newsstand print edition; magazine subscribers should already have the issue on their coffee tables.)

If you want a more in-depth review, including some hands on time, check out Time.com's sister site, TechLand.com.