Wednesday, March 04, 2009

T-Mobile brings $50 unlimited voice plan to rest of America

Well, that "trial" didn't last long at all, now did it? Just days after teeing up a $50 unlimited voice plan in the great city of San Francisco, T-Mobile USA has reportedly taken said plan nationwide. Users are already buzzing about the widespread availability, though it should be noted that the same "loyalty requirements" from the San Fran pilot are still in effect for the rest of the nation. In other words, you have to have been a T-Mob subscriber for at least 22 months and have been in good standing the whole time. Oh, and being cute probably helps.

Sony Ericsson's W595 Cosmopolitan Edition makes poor substitute for actual flora

You know that a handset is getting close to overstaying its welcome when the special editions start knocking on the door, but Sony Ericssons's W595 slider has only been around for a few months, so we're going to cut it some slack this time around. The so-called Cosmopolitan Edition adds a floral theme in white and red, but it doesn't stop there -- you've also got a floral charm, a custom UI skin, and five, count 'em, five pre-loaded music tracks. No word on pricing, but you can expect to see it around Western Europe at some point this month.

Nokia aiming for DRM-free implementation of Comes With Music

Make no mistake -- there's no need to wait for Nokia and its partner studios to implement a DRM-free version of Comes With Music to enjoy your subscription tracks on any device you want, but at least the handset maker -- along with those in control of the jams -- are working towards a legal way to strip your downloads of that pesky rights management stuff. According to an article on the matter from Singapore today, Adam Mirabella, director of Global Digital Music Retail at Nokia, had this to say: "We have dialogs going with all of our partners and Digital Rights Management-free (DRM-free) is also on the roadmap for the future integration of Comes With Music." No further details were spilled, but we'd say that's clear cut enough to get one's hopes up. Just don't bank on this going down anytime soon -- you should know there's lots of red tape to cut before those CmW tunes are freed of their shackles.

[Thanks, Masa]

Is this Motorola's Android-powered Touch ZINE HD?

Better shots and rumored specs have emerged of that mysterious Moto slate we saw a few days back, and if this all checks out, it's pretty much exactly what Motorola needs to be doing to earn the gadget-loving world's respect and admiration right now -- but there are a few holes in the story that have us concerned. First off, it's alleged that this monster is going to be called the Touch ZINE HD, and considering the phone's uncanny resemblance to HTC's Touch HD, the name seems a little too close for comfort. Secondly, it's said that it'll do 1080p video playback via HDMI, but the collection of leaked images shows the phone connected to a composite RCA cable, which isn't gonna cut it for 1080p -- and we're not buying that the display itself is going to be capable of that kind of resolution. That all being said, let's suspend reality for just a moment and enjoy this list of monstrous specs: Android, Tegra, 5 megapixel cam with HD video, and 16GB of onboard storage. Moto, let's put it this way: if this isn't real, can whatever it is you're working on right this second and do precisely this instead.

Meizu looking to CDMA and China-centric 3G with M8 successor

We've barely had time to digest the fact that real, actual, honest-to-goodness Meizu M8s are now available at the odd retail outlet around the globe, and Meizu's famously colorful CEO is already spouting off about a successor. Talk about a buzzkill, eh? Jack Wong made an off-the-cuff remark in a forum post today about the M9 in two flavors -- M9c for CDMA networks and M9t for China's 3G TD-SCDMA networks -- but beyond that, he's said nothing about specs or availability. Odds are, we can expect a good 18-24 months of teasers, missed launches, and brushes with vaporware status before either model actually launches, so if you had your heart set on an M8, seriously, don't feel bad about taking the plunge.

Worldwide cellphone use hits 60 percent, developing nations largely to thank

Outfits like Nokia have been just rolling in profits from selling oodles of low margin handsets in developing nations across the globe, so it's no shock at all to hear that those very countries have propelled the worldwide usage tally well above the 50 percent mark. According to a wide-ranging United Nations report, around six in ten people across the globe now use mobile phones, and as expected, fixed line subscriptions have increased at a much slower pace. If you're wondering just how significant this figure really is, chew on this: in 2002, just under 15 percent of the global population used a cellie. Impressive, eh?

[Via TG Daily]

Rumor: LG Rumor 2 rumored to replace Rumor

The original Rumor's starting to get along in the years now, and considering the overwhelming popularity both of the genre (cheap texters) and the device specifically, it only stands to reason that Sprint and LG would be hard at work in the labs cooking up a successor. Rumor has it (please, someone stop us) that the Rumor 2 might come along some time this Spring -- and while we don't know much about the technical capabilities of the device, we wouldn't be surprised to see the new model gain EV-DO, maybe a 2-ish megapixel cam, and of course, the envy of every Rumor owner. Or is that "the enV" of every Rumor owner?

[Via Unwired View]

Motorola ZN300 gets unofficially official, is surprisingly nice

First in the "we're surprised they did it" category today is Motorola's ZN300, a handset that doesn't look even a little like a RAZR. We knew you could do it Moto, and congrats on what seems at first glance to be a pleasant departure form the rehashes we've seen so much of lately. The ZN300 is a slider set with quad-band GSM, CDMA, and TD-SCDMA, which makes this set a shoe-in for China mobile. Other notables include 8 MB (hopefully a typo for 8GB) of built in memory that can expand to 32GB, 3 megapixel camera with 8X zoom, Bluetooth, and styling that finally may make some people take notice. Sure this handset may not deserve a ZOMG!, but hey, we're happy to see something, anything, new from these folks. Follow on for a wee gallery.

[Via UnwiredView]

Mio launches the Explora K70: beauty, 3G, and GPS abound

Mio's rumored Explora K70 is sitting pretty at CeBIT, and while we wait for the full hands-on treatment, we thought an introduction to what appears to be a stunningly loaded GPS phone was in order. Network connectivity is a blow out in the K70 with quad-band GSM, triple-band HSDPA / HSUPA, Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS which is handled by Qualcomm's gpsOne chip. The 3.5-inch touchscreen display is a 400x240 WQVGA number, a 3 megapixel camera hides around back, a jog dial's included for quick scrolling, and it is all powered by Windows Mobile 6. Looking at the spec sheets it seems there will be two different SKUs, a handset-only package and a "Full SKU" that includes in-car charger, device mount, and so forth. We're suitably impressed, expect more news including dates and pricing as soon as we can get them.

[Via GSMArena]

Motorola Touch ZINE HD is likely fake, hearts break around the world

We knew it was too good to be true. Don't get us wrong, this new ZN300 is alright, but Motorola knows as well as we do that this isn't the device people are looking for Schaumburg to produce right now; the company's engineering talent isn't in question, but what the people want is a superphone that proves there's some design talent in the house, too. That's why this supposed Touch ZINE HD got such a strong positive reaction the past few days that we'd all held out hope that there was a shred of reality to it, but unfortunately, makes a very convincing argument that it's almost certainly poppycock: looks like our boy Yury Cassini here took the back of a ZN5, combined it with the blanked front of a E8, and -- voila! -- there's the device the Android-loving world is waiting for. In our last piece about this device, we implored to Moto that "if this isn't real, can whatever it is you're working on right this second and do precisely this instead," and as we sit here with broken hearts and shattered dreams, the advice most definitely stands.

Leak sauce: new AT&T Fuze firmware brings bugfixes aplenty

The plain vanilla Touch Pro's been getting loved lately, so why not those branded versions, too? AT&T's Fuze is about to get blessed with a firmware update, it seems, but there's no reason to wait for official word straight from the horse's mouth -- the good folks at xda-developers have already made good things happen. There's a frigging crap-ton of fixes all piled into the build, so it seems like a must-have for anyone pocketing a Fuze these days; it'll be at least a few more months yet before you have a chance to pull out the plastic for that Touch Pro2, right?

[Via Fuze Mobility]

Toshiba's TG01 brings gl├╝ck to Germany with O2 exclusivity

Toshiba's TG01 and its surprisingly awesome color bar-centric UI will soon be saying "guten tag" to its German friends. O2's announced that it'll be the exclusive carrier for the phone in Deutschland and will launch it sometime this summer, with mum being the word currently on price. So far it's the only TG01 launch we've heard about on this or any other planet, but we'd reckon a few more carriers will be chiming in soon to pick up the device for their respective countries.

[Via SlashGear]

LG Arena KM900 unboxed far away from trade show crowds

We already saw every angle of LG's newly launched Arena (or KM900, if we're being formal) at Mobile World Congress last month, but there's just something calming about witnessing an unboxing free of nearby gawkers and devoid of spiraled cables tethered to alarm systems. Seriously, you can't grasp the significance of it without giving the read link a visit, so here's what you do: click, indulge, then return and admit that we told you so.

Doro rolls out five new mega-simple handsets

Easily missed amidst the bright lights, festivities, and OLED displays of Mobile World Congress last month was Doro, which makes a handful of ultra (and we mean ultra) basic phones targeting seniors, young'uns, and pretty much anyone else who can't be bothered with actual... you know, "features." Turns out the Swedish company used the occasion to launch not one, not two, but fully five new models, including its first flip -- the 410gsm -- which is apparently a form factor that Doro's customers have been specifically requesting. Also in the mix is the insanely straightforward 334gsm, which foregoes a keypad in favor of speed dial buttons, and three other candybars, the 338gsm, 342gsm, and 345gsm, which are evolutions of the company's older 330gsm design. All five will launch to market in the next six months.

[Via Shiny Shiny]

Continue reading Doro rolls out five new mega-simple handsets

Amazon's Kindle for iPhone hits the App Store

Sure, Amazon could pit the Kindle squarely against phone- and PDA-based e-book apps, but why not play both sides? The company had previously mentioned its desire to embrace non-Kindle devices in its digital delivery ecosystem, and the first fruits of that labor have now hit the iPhone App Store. The uncreatively-named Kindle for iPhone allows you access to all of your Kindle content right from the comfort of your iPhone or iPod touch, and if you have the good fortune of owning an honest-to-goodness Kindle, Whispersync will kick in to keep your location synchronized between readers. It's a huge win for owners of both devices, considering that the Kindle's still just a little bit big to be carrying everywhere you go, but your phone -- well, if you don't have that everywhere you go, you're just plain weird. [Warning: iTunes link]

[Via The iPhone Blog]

Netbook buyer blows by 5GB limit on AT&T data plan, sues

Nothing quite like a four- or five-figure phone bill to break your spirit, and in many circumstances, we can understand why your first reaction after opening such a bill might be "I'll sue the pants off of these people." Of course, contracts are pretty well ironclad thanks to the generations of overpaid lawyers that have perfected them over the years, and generally speaking, you've got to lie in the bed you've made -- but occasionally, a situation develops that's genuinely bogus. This one has been brewing for a while, actually, ever since AT&T and others decided to drop their unlimited data plans down to a 5GB cap: unexpected overage. A buyer of one of those $99 Aspire Ones bundled with an AT&T contract at Radio Shack got a shock of a bill after blowing past her 5GB cap, and while the individual should've certainly done a better job of understanding that the cap existed, shouldn't the carriers be shutting off data by default when you hit 5GB, or after just a very small amount of overage has developed? At any rate, she's suing AT&T and Radio Shack for her troubles -- and it looks like she's seeking class-action status -- so we'd love to see this spur companies into more proactively preventing nasty bills from developing in the first place.