Saturday, September 29, 2007

iPhone to cost callers £720

Apple's long-awaited iPhone launches in the UK today - but it won't come cheap.

The company has signed an exclusive supply contract with the Spanish-owned O2 network guaranteeing it up to 40% of the revenue earned from customers.

Although the price of the phone in the UK has been kept a closely-guarded secret, it is expected to retail for around £199.

But the bills do not stop there, for it is believed that buyers will have to sign up to an expensive long-term contract with O2.

This is likely to commit them to paying as much as £720 over two years for their iPhone services. It is understood that the new phone, which has won rave reviews in the U.S., will be sold exclusively through Carphone Warehouse.

The iPhone has been billed as a breakthrough technology, even the 'God machine', because of its beauty on the eye, many functions and unique touch-screen controls.

However, it is being launched into a crowded market of mobile phones which double as music player, internet browser, e-mail device, personal organiser and camera.

The major difference between the iPhone and its rivals is the fact that it has a touch-screen QWERTY keyboard which can be used, for example, to write e-mails.

It is thinner and sleeker than rivals such as the Blackberry and Treo, which tend to have real keyboards with miniature keys.

The 8 gigabyte version of the iPhone holds up to 1,825 songs. The beauty of the iPhone is the software, which means the phone is simple to operate and responds to a flick of a finger.

There is a 3.5-inch screen with a range of icons which can be accessed simply by touching them.

The fact that Apple has been able to negotiate a share of customer call revenue is unprecedented in the UK mobile phone market.

The exclusive deal with O2 should mean that the device will not work with any other network, limiting the ability of consumers to shop around for the cheapest call package.

A thriving internet community of techno-experts and consumer activists are offering advice on how to unlock the phones and use them with a rival network.

But while this will seem attractive to some consumers, it is believed that Apple will refuse to honour any warranties if the iPhone should break.

When the phones went on sale in the U.S., consumers celebrated after queueing for days to be among the first to own one.

However, this pleasure was soured when the price of the 8GB phone was slashed from $599 dollars to $399 (£197), only ten weeks after it was launched.

Analysts suggest that the decision was made to give a shot in the arm to sales and deliver on a promise of improved turnover and profits.

The company subsequently apologised to those customers who had paid the full price and offered a $100 voucher against Apple products.

British consumers might well be suspicious that Apple will make the same move again, charging a high initial price only to cut the price later.

However, it would be a high-risk strategy to repeat an action which angered so many loyal fans in the U.S.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Next Big Thing With a Flip-Up Screen and a 2-Year Contract

Fans of the Sidekick series of cellphones are a rabid bunch. Blurry photos of the latest model from T-Mobile and Danger, the phones’ designer, have been popping up on the Web over the last few months, and phone nuts have studied them closely. Fans can now rest assured that the Sidekick LX will be available in late October for $299 with a two-year contract and does include some big changes.

This 6-ounce phone has the traditional Sidekick flip-up screen, but it is brighter and has higher resolution. The LX has a 1.3-megapixel camera with flash, as well as stereo Bluetooth for use with a pair of wireless headphones.

Like the older Sidekicks, the LX can connect to AOL, Windows and Yahoo instant messaging services and most major e-mail providers. It comes in blue and dark brown and runs on four cellular frequencies, meaning it can be used around the world. It is likely to be a favorite among Hollywood players — at least until photos of the next big thing leak onto the Web.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Motorola W377 Mobile Phone Gets FCC Nod

The Motorola W377 mobile phone gained FCC approval recently. Available in a flip design, the W377 offers USB connectivity (both data sync and charging the phone is possible). There's also a dedicated web browser key on the keypad. Goodies on the phone include a camera (with timer, even) and Bluetooth support.

There's also an FM radio receiver on the W377. It supports MMS and SMS messaging. Productivity tools include Calendar, Calculator, Stopwatch and others. Not the brightest bulb in the box, but hey, it was approved, so that should count for something right? Yeah, if you are looking for an entry-level phone.


Friday, September 21, 2007

BlackBerry 8820 Smartphone with Wi-Fi Support debuts on AT&T

The BlackBerry 8820 bundled with AT&T is available right away. Launched in mid-July, the BlackBerry 8820 is the very first BlackBerry to include Wi-Fi Support (802.11 a/b/g).

A more developed sibling of the BlackBerry 8800, the 8820 smartphone is the thinnest device in RIM’s current range of smartphones. It features a full and highly tactile QWERTY keyboard (also available in AZERTY and QWERTZ configurations to support different language groups), large and bright display (320 x 240), user-friendly trackball navigation system and voice and data functionality. In addition, the smartphone also incorporates built-in GPS (Global Positioning System), RIM’s latest media player improvements, a microSD / microSDHC (microSD High Capacity) expandable memory slot that can support current and future generations of microSD memory cards up to 32GB.

The 8820 will be priced at $299, post rebate and includes a two-year contract from AT&T. The carrier offers data services abroad in 135 countries, beginning at $65 a month for unlimited overseas e-mail access, along with a voice contract. If the user just wants connectivity within the US, then personal e-mail and Web browsing start at $30 a month with a voice contract, or $45 a month for unlimited corporate e-mail access through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server from Research In Motion Ltd.

Furthermore, AT&T’s version of the BlackBerry also supports AT&T Mobile Music. According to RIM, voice-over-Wi-Fi calls will be offered at the discretion of the carrier, while AT&T says that the Wi-Fi capabilities on the 8820 are “data only” at this time. The smartphone supports up to ten e-mail accounts, including POP3, IMAP, and Web-based e-mail, while corporate e-mail access is available through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

“The new BlackBerry 8820 builds on AT&T’s leading domestic and international coverage footprint by giving customers the ability to link with their company’s wireless campus network or access e-mail and browse the Web at Wi-Fi hot spots even in the few countries in which we do not have data roaming agreements,” maintained Jeff Bradley, senior vice president- Marketing and Operations for AT&T’s wireless unit. “That makes the BlackBerry 8820 from AT&T an exceptional world phone for global use by business customers and individuals alike.”

Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO at RIM said, “The BlackBerry 8820 builds upon the sleek and performance-driven BlackBerry 8800 that has been embraced by business professionals around the world.” Adding, “This powerful new model has been eagerly anticipated by the market, and we are very pleased to be working with AT&T to launch the first cellular and Wi-Fi BlackBerry handset for customers in the U.S.”

The BlackBerry 8820 combines EDGE/GPRS/GSM cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity for data access and voice support via UMA (unlicensed mobile access) for fixed mobile convergence (FMC).


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Latest Nokia Prism mobile phones

Nokia is bringing up new technologies, design and innovation. The vast range of Nokia mobile phones come with astonishing features and stunning looks.

The Nokia 7500 Prism is packed with the latest technology with a geometric design and high specification features. The handset sets itself apart from other handsets and appeals to a broader section of people.

The impressive host of features include 2.0 megapixel camera with support for video recording and playback, built-in flash and digital zoom. With an MP3 player, you can listen to your favourite music tracks, and with the FM radio, you can tune into their local radio station whilst out and about. The colour display allows viewing pictures and high quality video clips. Connectivity features like Bluetooth allows swapping pictures and video clips with friends. There is sufficient room for pictures, video clips and music tracks with the memory expansion upto 2GB.

The light weight handset weighs 82g and fits easily into your pocket. The Nokia 7500 Prism offers a web browser and Push email support so busy professionals would certainly benefit from it.

Another handset from the Nokia Prism collection, the Nokia 7900 is aimed at the style conscious consumers. This handset is a blend of style and state of the art technologies. The design of the handset features an Organic LED main display which supports up to 16 million colors.

The diamond-cut design, geometric patterns and graphic light refracting colors, ensure that the handset is a distinct phone. The Nokia 7900 Prism runs on dual band 3G, quad band GSM. The handset is more than just looks.

The Nokia 7900 is a real eye-candy with sleek and smooth design and sporting cutting-edge features.

If you are interested in buying any of these Nokia phones, just login into the online mobile shops and take benefit of the attractive deals on display.

Nokia 7500 prism

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nokia N76 Mobile Phone

See, the N76 isn't supported by any of the US mobile phone companies, so there's no discount for buyers. With the support of a phone company, the N76 could have been an attractive feature-packed value at $50. Instead, it's an underwhelming performer at $500. For that big a price tag, a phone needs to deliver a lot more than the N76 provides.

There's a lot to like about the N76, if not $500 worth. For starters, it's an attractive, sturdy clamshell with two displays: an external (1.4-inch, 160 x 128 pixels, 262,000 color TFT LCD) with handy music playback buttons underneath, and an internal (2.4-inch, 240 x 320 pixels, 16.7 million color TFT LCD) for most other tasks.

The phone is meant largely for music playback, and offers a microSD slot for adding up to 2GB of storage, sold separately (there's only 26MB of internal memory). Nokia's site says that the phone comes with a 1GB microSD card; ours didn't, which is common for review units, but check the contents before you get it home. This is a GSM phone, so it works with both AT&T and T-Mobile.

The N76 measures 4.2 x 2.1 x 0.54-inches and weighs 4.1 ounces. It feels especially sturdy in the hand, much more so than the Razr, the phone that kicked off the flat flip phone craze.

It is quite large when opened, yet is thin enough when shut to fit easily into a pants pocket. That extra real estate when opened has convinced the designers to add more buttons that usual around the dial pad, which wasn't a great choice.

Besides the usual left and right soft keys, start and end call buttons, and navigation pad, the N76 has buttons for calling up the menu, calling up a special multimedia menu, and editing text (something few will ever do). The keys are all flat, which makes selecting the wrong one easy. In fact, we had to give up trying to play games on it, since we kept hitting the menu button by accident.

As a music player, the N76 does a fairly good job. You can download songs from an online store or your computer, and you can use the headphones of your choice with the 3.5mm headphone jack. You won't be able to hold many songs, even with the maximum 2GB microSD card, so it's questionable how much value it has as a portable music player.

The N76 also tunes in FM radio, when the included headphones are plugged in (since the cord doubles as the antenna).

There's a 2megapixel camera which takes decent but slightly washed-out, slightly grainy shots. It's for emergency use only.

The N76 can also check e-mail and surf the Internet, but not all that quickly. The phone lacks 3G support, so you're stuck browsing at EDGE speeds. It's handy to have for a quick look-up, but that also is for emergency use only.

Nokia rates the battery for 2.8 hours of talk time and 200 hours of standby. That's not huge, but it ran for several days between chargings in our testing.

We found call quality to be good, with no complaints from our callers. We disliked how easily the phone smudged, however, and how hard it is to clean oily streaks from it. The screens are quite difficult to read in direct sunlight.

The N76 is an attractive phone, with a decent set of features, but it simply doesn't offer enough to warrant the $500 price tag. Unless you definitely want an unlocked phone with no commitment, you'll find better phones at better values from the wireless companies.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Reliance launches BlackBerry wireless solutions for the first time on CDMA network in India

Reliance Communications (RCOM) and Research in Motion (RIM) have launched the innovative BlackBerry wireless solutions for the first time on CDMA network in India. It will be available across 10,000 towns and three lakh villages, thus making it the most widely connected BlackBerry service in the country. Reliance Communications is the first to launch BlackBerry 8830 World Edition Smartphone in India that allows interoperability between the more data efficient CDMA and ubiquitous GSM network, delivering high Internet speed and international roaming.

Reliance Communications has also become the first CDMA provider in India to carry the Bloomberg Professional service on BlackBerry via Reliance Mobile. With Bloomberg on BlackBerry, subscribers to the Bloomberg Professional service can receive and send Bloomberg e-mail and Bloomberg instant messages, view their customised Bloomberg data, news, analyses, charts, monitors, market updates and other Bloomberg services wirelessly 24 hours a day.

With its dominant market share on the back of its fully integrated enterprise solution, Reliance is well poised to extend business applications through BlackBerry. The BlackBerry 8830 provides the industry leading email and messaging capabilities that are known of the popular BlackBerry solution the world over, along with premium phone features, web browsing and other mobile productivity applications. This sleek and stylish smartphone features a full QWERTY keyboard, large bright display, intuitive trackball navigation system, a microSD expandable memory slot and an advanced media player for listening to music, viewing pictures and watching videos.

Prakash Bajpai, President, RCOM, said, “As the first player to offer BlackBerry World Edition Smartphone in India, we are confident that our network will offer a superior value proposition to professionals on the move. Reliance is committed to provide world-class solutions on BlackBerry Enterprise server and we will take BlackBerry ‘beyond email’. For the first time in India, we are launching BlackBerry service with applications such as Internet-based online trading and Blackberry on prepaid. Many more such solutions will follow suit. And as modern day executives and entrepreneurs prefer to be kept well informed even while on the move, it is our endeavour to offer them the services they look for. Thus, Bloomberg Professional on our CDMA powered BlackBerry handsets gels with our philosophy of enhancing customer experience.”

The BlackBerry 8830 and 8703e handsets will be available in 16 cities to start with and will be expanded to other cities in phase II. RCOM has launched BlackBerry Pearl on its GSM network in a phase-wise manner starting with Indore.

“Bloomberg is extremely pleased to offer our customers in India the convenience and portability of Bloomberg on BlackBerry,” said Gerard Joseph Francis of Bloomberg. The Bloomberg service would be available on the newly launched models like BlackBerry 8100 Pearl priced at Rs 24,990, BlackBerry 8703E priced at Rs 22,990, BlackBerry Curve priced at Rs 24,990, and BlackBerry World Edition priced at Rs 33,990.

Monday, September 10, 2007

iPhone next week in Europe? Wait for Carphone Warehouse

Since NewsWireless first leaked a news of the 3G iPhone back in June, the world has been full of rival rumours, most of which have predicted that Orange and O2 plus T-Mobile will launch the product on September 16th. There looks to be a genuine story behind that - but it won't be the 3G iPhone. Instead, it looks like the iPhone sales in the US have slowed down - and so there is stock for European dumping.

There's widespread prediction this weekend that September 16th will mark the European launch, with guesses that this will be the 3G model. Sadly, though there may well be an announcement, it almost certainly won't be the wideband CDMA (WCDMA) 3G version.

The giveaway detail in the latest news - rumours of a T-Mobile advert for next weekend - is the lack of any mention of Carphone Warehouse, which is key to Apple's European distribution plans.

The original plan expected a million North American sales of the original "EDGE" technology iPhone to be announced back in early July.

At first, that looked highly achievable. Our sources reported huge sales in the first week, and predicted that the Euro iPhone would be revealed to the distributors as a 3G HSDPA phone, just one week after launch. That story named Vodafone as the prime carrier, and Carphone Warehouse as the high street outlet for Europe.

But the date for the announcement came and went, and no word was heard from Apple's German HQ, where the contract was being negotiated.

At that point, rumours multiplied, leaving most observers baffled in their search for the truth. Subsequently, authoritative Financial Times stories predicted that Apple had swung a deal with Orange for France, T-Mobile for Germany, and O2 for the UK. And there, most commentators left it, pending further official announcements.

What has thrown the market for new rumours into action again, is Apple's unpredicted major price cut for the North American iPhone - an announcement tucked away in the small print of the launch of the iTouch (an iPhone without the phone).

Naturally, the price cut infuriated those who already bought at the original high price. Steve Jobs has offered oil on the troubled water:

"We have decided to offer every iPhone customer who purchased an iPhone from either Apple or AT&T, and who is not receiving a rebate or any other consideration, a $100 store credit towards the purchase of any product at an Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store. Details are still being worked out and will be posted on Apple's website next week. Stay tuned."


Monday, September 3, 2007

Luxury cellphones are turning tech savvy too

When luxury mobile phones first hit the market the goal was simple: make a gadget for those who don’t mind spending upwards of Rs 200,000 on a phone, give a finish that’s exclusive and throw in the diamonds for that snob appeal. Such gadgets fell short of impressing the tech savvy among the super rich.

Things are now changing fast at the top end. While more companies are launching the phones for ultra rich, they are also loading them with features that only money can by. Apart from Vertu (a division of Nokia) new players such as Bang & Olufsen, Gresso, Mobiado and GoldVish have entered the super premium market. Mobile phone manufacturers are partnering with luxury brands to produce a range of premium mobile phones, such as LG and Prada, Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) and Motorola, and Tag Heuer and Modelabs.

But how technically advanced are these? While diamonds are pretty much part of the top end phone, there’s a greater emphasis on smart ware — very exclusive features and exotic designs — are becoming the norm.

Danish electronics maker Bang & Olufsen has hooked up with Samsung to design the sleek but unconventional Serene. It looks like a compact face powder and has a built-in motor to assist the user in opening and closing the phone. However, it requires a special screwdriver to access the battery and the SIM card, and its circular keypad will take time getting used to.

The Lamborghini Nokia 8800 Sirocco is another special edition. It comes with the famous Lamborghini logo engraved on the front and the back, plus ball bearings from the auto company to enable the slider phone mechanism. The Lamborghini phone is a limited edition with only 500 being made.

It will come with Lamborghini graphics as wallpapers, screensavers, ringtones, and even a short video about the Lamborghini. While Gresso from Russia is made of gold and African Blackwood. They will be releasing a collection of five models called the Black Aura, designed in Italy.

Elsewhere in the world, phone makers are catching up — smartly converging luxury and technology. Canadian Mobiado Luminoso claims to be the world’s first 3G luxury mobile phone. The phone will work with any GSM network operator. It has WCDMA 2100 and tri-band GSM coverage on five continents (GSM/EDGE 900/1800/1900).