Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Verizon Launches BlackBerry Storm 2 This Week; OS 5.0 for Storm Today

Verizon isn’t just teasing us with Droid material, they are launching the BlackBerry Storm 2 this week. The new Storm hits on October 28, and the refreshed phone has Wi-Fi, making it much better than the original Storm. Owners of the original Storm needn’t fret, as Verizon has released the next major version of the BlackBerry OS today for that phone. OS 5.0 has a big list of improvements and changes, and the browser performs much better in particular. Storm owners should see the new OS version available in the Blackberry Desktop Software.

Full Storm 2 press release after the jump.


New Operating System for Existing BlackBerry Storm Customers

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., and WATERLOO, Ontario – Verizon Wireless and Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today announced that the BlackBerry® Storm2™ smartphone will be available in Verizon Wireless Communications stores, online at, and through business sales channels beginning Oct. 28. The BlackBerry Storm2 with BlackBerry® OS 5.0 evolves the BlackBerry® touchscreen platform with hundreds of hardware and software enhancements – including new SurePress™ “clickable” display technology and built-in Wi-Fi® – delivering the exceptional multimedia experience and communications capabilities customers have come to expect from their BlackBerry smartphones.

Key Features:

  • Smooth design and premium finish with sloped edges, chrome accents, glass lens and stainless steel backplate
  • Large (3.25″), dazzling high-resolution 480 x 360 display at 184 ppi
  • Capacitive touchscreen with integrated functions (Send, End, Menu, Escape) and new SurePress technology that makes clicking the display practically effortless
  • 3G and global connectivity support for making phone calls in more than 220 countries and accessing data in more than 185 countries (with more than 80 destinations in 3G)
  • Network Connectivity: EV-DO Revision A; UMTS/HSPA (2100 MHz); and quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM networks
  • Supports Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)
  • 256 MB of Flash memory
  • 2 GB of onboard media storage and a microSD™/SDHD memory card slot with a 16 GB card included

Software Updates on BlackBerry Storm2:

  • Features BlackBerry OS 5.0, which includes typing accuracy and selection improvements, as well as usability and visual enhancements such as inertial scrolling, spin boxes that make it easier to set dates and times, gradient shading on buttons, and more use of animation
  • BlackBerry® Browser is improved with faster JavaScript and CSS processing as well as support for Gears and BlackBerry Widgets
  • Customers running BlackBerry® Enterprise Server 5.0 will gain the ability to set follow-up flags, manage e-mail folders, access remote files (Windows Shares), forward appointments, view calendar attachments, and more

Additional Features and Specifications:

  • 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus, Image Stabilization (IS), flash and video recording capabilities
  • Premium and easy-to-access phone features, background noise suppression technology, loud distortion-free speakerphone and face detection (proximity sensor) that prevents accidental clicks and blanks the screen while the customer is on the phone
  • Media player for videos, pictures and music, plus support for BlackBerry Desktop Manager for both PCs and Macs, and BlackBerry® Media Sync, for easily syncing Windows Media® Player music with the smartphone*
  • 3.5 mm stereo headset jack and dedicated volume controls
  • Bluetooth® (v2.1) capable with support for Secure Simple Pairing, hands-free headsets, stereo headsets, car kits and other Bluetooth peripherals
  • Built-in GPS for maps and other location-based applications, as well as photo geotagging; and Verizon Wireless’ VZ NavigatorSM service is pre-loaded
  • V CAST Music with Rhapsody
  • Access to BlackBerry App World™, featuring a broad and growing catalog of third-party mobile applications developed specifically for BlackBerry smartphones, with categories including games, entertainment, IM and social networking, news, weather, productivity and more
  • Support for Verizon Wireless’ Mobile Broadband Connect tethering service
  • Removable, rechargeable 1400 mAhr battery that provides up to 5.5 hours of talk time or up to 11.2 days of standby time

Pricing and Availability:

  • The BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone is available beginning Oct. 28 for $179.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement on a voice plan with an Email and Web feature or an Email and Web for BlackBerry plan. Customers will receive the mail-in rebate in the form of a debit card; upon receipt, customers may use the card as cash anywhere debit cards are accepted. Data plans for the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone begin at $29.99 when added to any Nationwide voice plan.

New Operating System for Existing BlackBerry Storm Customers:

  • Existing BlackBerry Storm customers will be able to update their handsets to the new BlackBerry OS 5.0 software via Web software load (, BlackBerry Desktop Manager, or from Verizon Wireless’ download site ( The software is available today.
  • For additional information on Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to Business customers can contact their Business Sales Representatives at 1-800-VZW-4BIZ.


Sony Ericsson Xperia X2

The web might be buzzing with rumours of Rachael, but it's easy to forget that the Android-powered superphone's predecessor, the Xperia X2, hasn't yet been released. We got hands-on with the device and grabbed a few pictures of the Windows Mobile-powered handset.

The big feature is "panels", as with the original Xperia, which are a bit like full-screen widgets that sit on top of the default Windows Mobile 6.5 interface. There's plenty provided and available, including some from companies like Skype, eBay, Qype and Amazon, and there's also an SDK available so that developers can code their own, too.

Sony's brand manager for the device, Aaron Duke, told us that the company was working with both and Spotify to develop panels for the device that'll add more music functionality. The company sees the market for this handset as business users that also want some multimedia functionality.

The handset will be available exclusively from Vodafone in the UK and will be arriving in November. We don't have any tariff details yet, but as soon as we hear about any, we'll be sure to let you know. We have been told, however, that it'll be cheaper than the rather pricey X1.

As for the future, Duke shared little, except to say that he was looking forward to getting capacitive touchscreen technology on the handset. That could be through the next version of Windows Mobile, or it could be through shifting to another operating system entirely.


BlackBerry Storm

If you are already decided on the BlackBerry Storm and you've only been waiting for RIM to fix the long list of problems with the first model, fear not, because the BlackBerry Storm 2 addresses almost all of the complaints buyers had with the original. The BlackBerry Storm 2 is faster, more responsive, built better and more feature-packed than the first Storm.
Even so, the interface was wildly inconsistent, as if the phone could never remember when you're supposed to press and when you're supposed to lightly tap; when you're supposed to swipe or when you should just point. Sometimes, it simply didn't work. Sometimes, the interface design was so counterintuitive that we decided to give up.
Even with the improvements, and they are significant, using the BlackBerry Storm 2 was a real chore, as the extra pressure required to 'click' makes every action a bit harder compared to other touchscreens. The interface design was continually frustrating, even while newer phones, like the HTC Hero on Sprint, manage to surprise and delight with clever and adaptive touchscreen interface ideas.
All the basic BlackBerry features are present in the Storm 2, like the great integrated messaging inbox, the deep access for IT managers, and newer features like the BlackBerry App World and the tightly integrated Facebook app. Plus, the screen on the Storm 2 is one of the best we've seen on a phone, and it's great for watching movies and videos. But if you want BlackBerry features, buy a classic BlackBerry with a keyboard, and if you want a touchscreen phone, there are much better options on the market. Release: October 2009. Price: $180.
Pros: Faster, more responsive than original BlackBerry Storm. Fantastic display quality, great for movies. Well-organized messaging.
Cons: Interface design is frustrating and cumbersome, even when SurePress works well. Browser still lagging. Some features could use a serious graphical boost.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Expansys Offering Unlocked Palm Pre

Palm's experienced some much-needed success with the introduction of the Palm Pre this year. Unfortunately, that success has been limited due to Sprint's exclusivity of the Pre. Well, I've got good and bad news for AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers interested in getting Palm's first webOS smartphone. First off, gray market retailer eXpansys is now offering an unlocked edition of the Pre to U.S. consumers. This version, unlike Sprint's CDMA/EV-DO edition of the Pre, leverages GSM technology, which is compatible with America's second and fourth largest mobile operators' networks. That's the good news. Unfortunately, the keyboard layout is not QWERTY. It is QWERTZ, which swaps the Z and Y keys. This makes sense since the version offered by eXpansys is the German edition. That's a minor quibble. In addition, the German version of the Pre does not support U.S.-style GSM 3G; so users are limited to the much slower 2.5G EDGE standard when sending and receiving e-mail and surfing the Web over a carrier's wireless network. At least there's still Wi-Fi for when a hot spot is nearby. Worst of all is, perhaps, the asking price. eXpansys is asking $715, much higher than Sprint, for the Pre.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Acer A1/Liquid


Status: Rumored to be launched in November
Touchscreen: 3.8 inch/800×480 wide VGA touchscreen
Dimensions: 118.6 x 63 x 12mm; 130 grams
Camera: 5MP w/ AutoFocus
Battery: 1350 mAh LiIon
Standby Time: Unknown
Talk Time:Unknown
Processor: 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8250
Internal/External Memory: 256MB RAM/microSD (up to 32 GB)
Extras: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS enabled.
Price: Unknown


Samsung Behold 2


Status: Rumored to be available during Holidays 2009
Touchscreen: 3.2-inch/480 x 320 pixels AMOLED Touchscreen w/ hardware buttons
Dimensions: Unknown
Camera: 5MP w/ Flash and AutoFocus
Battery: 1000 mAh
Standby Time: Unknown
Talk Time:Unknown
Processor: Unknown
Internal/External Memory: Unknown/microSD up to 16 GB
Extras: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS enabled.
Price: Unknown


ARCHOS Phone Tablet


Status: Rumored to be available in January
Touchscreen: 4.3-inch/854 x 480 pixel full touchscreen
Dimensions: 10mm thick
Camera: Unknown
Battery: Unknown
Standby Time: Unknown
Talk Time:Unknown
Processor: 1GHz ARM processor
Internal/External Memory: Unknown
Extras: Wi-Fi
Price: Unknown


Motorola Droid


Status: Rumored to be available October 31st on Verizon
Touchscreen: 3.7-inch/480×854 Full Touchscreen with Full QWERTY Slider
Dimensions: 60 x 115.8 x 13.7 mm; 169 grams
Camera: 5.0 Megapixels with AutoFocus
Battery: Li-ion 1400mAh
Standby Time: 450 Hours
Talk Time:7 Hours
Processor: OMAP3430 processor
Internal/External Memory: 512MB Flash, 256MB RAM/MicroSD (16GB capacity)
Extras: 3.5mm Headset jack, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS enabled; Android 2.0
Price: Unknown


Samsung Moment / InstinctQ


Status: Available November 1st from Sprint
Touchscreen: 3.2 inch AMOLED display (320 x 480 pixels)Touchscreen with Slideout QWERTY;16M colors
Dimensions: 117 x 59 x 16 mm; 161 grams
Camera: 3.2 megapixel camera with flash and camcorder with auto-focus
Battery: Li-ion 1440mAh
Standby Time: Unknown
Talk Time:5.5 Hours
Processor: 800 MHz Samsung S3C6410 CPU
Internal/External Memory: 256MB RAM/2 GB microSD card included (upgradeable to 32GB)
Extras: 3.5mm Headset jack, Wi-Fi, accelerometer, Bluetooth and GPS enabled.
Price: $179.99


Motorola Heron / Iron Man

motorola heron

Status: Rumored to be available in November from AT&T
Touchscreen: 2.8″ 240 x 320 pixels QVGA TFT Touchscreen with Vertical QWERTY slider
Dimensions: 57.5 x 104 x 15.9; 125 grams
Camera: 3.0 MP w/ fixed focus and Flash
Battery: Li-Ion
Standby Time: Unknown
Talk Time:Unknown
Processor: Qualcomm® MSM 7225 528MHz processor
Internal/External Memory: 128 MB RAM/microSD/microSDHC (up to 32G)
Extras: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS enabled.
Price: Unknown


HTC Tattoo/HTC Click


Status: Launched October 8th on Vodaphone
Touchscreen: 2.8-inch/240 x 320 pixels QVGA TFT-LCD touch-sensitive screen with hardware buttons
Dimensions: 106 x 55.2 x 14 mm; 108 grams
Camera: 3.2 Megapixels
Battery: 1100 mAh Li-on
Standby Time: 520 hours (WCDMA), 340 hours (GSM)
Talk Time:342 minutes (WCDMA), 390 minutes (GSM)
Processor: Qualcomm® MSM7225™, 528 MHz
Internal/External Memory: 256 MB/MicroSD up to 32GB
Extras: 3.5mm Headset jack, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS enabled
Price: Free w/ certain contracts


Motorola CLIQ


Status: Available October 19th, 2009 on T-Mobile and Orange UK
Touchscreen: 3.1-inch/320 x 480 pixel Full Capacitive Touch Screen w/ QWERTY side Slider.
Dimensions: 58 x 114 x 15.6 mm; 163 grams
Camera: 5.0 Megapixels with AutoFocus
Battery: 1420 mAh Li-ion
Standby Time: 325 Hours
Talk Time:6 Hours
Processor: Qualcomm MSM7201A, 528MHz
Internal/External Memory: 256MB/MicroSD (32GB Capacity)
Extras: 3.5mm Headset jack, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS enabled
Price: $199