Mobile World Congress
When you want a slim, cool, phone you used to think companies like LG, Motorola, and Samsung. But recently, HTC has been continuously releasing phones which compete with the big phone companies. The Google Nexus One, myTouch and HTC-branded Hero, Touch Pro2, and Imagio are just a few of the big name phones that HTC has released over the last year; and at Mobile World Congress last week, HTC unleashed a few more phones that are sure to be ones you will want to be in your pocket when they become available later this year. Read on for all the details.
At first you might not think so, but this recent announcement at the Mobile World Congress is BIG news. Today, Skype and Verizon announced a new partnership and smartphone app that will allow Verizon users to chat– both through Skype IM AND through calling– to Skype users around the world. The free app, which will come in late March, will be available on the BlackBerry (models Curve 8830, Storm 1 and 2, Tour, Curve 8330 and Curve 8530), as well as the Android-running Motorola Droid, HTC Droid Eris, and the upcoming Motorola Devour (a phone we’ll have more on soon–think of as less powerful Droid with full keyboard and MOTOBLUR).
The name of the app is Skype Mobile and is an “always-on app,” meaning that it will constantly running in the background. Now here’s the big part of this partnership– the calls made on Skype Mobile are made over Verizon 3G data network and will NOT use your minutes. This is huge in multiple ways– 1) for those close to running over minutes and have one of these phones, you can use this to help keep you from running over. 2) Not only do Verizon users have unlimited calling to the 90 million customers on their carrier, but now they now can also call the 500+ million Skype users, even if those users are online internationally!
Now you will need a data plan to use Skype Mobile (though since the application is only for smartphones, and that Verizon requires data plans for all the phones mentioned above, we don’t see this as much of a problem), and yes, AT&T has recently approved a Skype iPhone app that also allows calls over 3G and not just WiFi (which by the way, this app won’t be able to do)– but this is still definitely a big win for Verizon users if for no other reason than that Verizon is finally opening up their network for Skype and hopefully other services in the very near future.
Microsoft today has finally announced the long awaited successor in it’s Windows Phone line, as was anticipated; and after watching the announcement unfold all I can say is– WOW! Yeah, if you were thinking this was similar to the tired and true Windows Mobile that we’ve seen over the years you’d be really wrong, like dead wrong. Take notice everyone– Microsoft is back in mobile, and it looks like they’re gonna be here to stay.
Rumored shots of Windows Mobile 7
This week is a big week for all things cell phone related with the Mobile World Congress (aka MWC) taking place in Barcelona, Spain. This event is seriously HUGE– think of it as a CES for cell phones. A lot of big stuff plan to be announced next week– newer, more powerful, and just plain better phones, new services for phones (such as TV, video calling), more info on the 4G that is set to begin being rolled out by Verizon and AT&T (as well as many other carriers around the world) later this year and early next year– but none of this seems to be as big as what Microsoft has in store.
According to the Wall Street Journal (note: subscription needed to read the whole article) and tons of other news outlets, Monday– which is the start of MWC– will finally be the day where Microsoft finally announces a truly new and much better version of Windows Mobile. We’re talking the release of Windows Mobile 7, not some small decimal point like last year’s Windows Mobile 6.5, where the OS was nearly the same as it was for most of the last decade, save for some nicer menus and an updated homescreen.
So what can we expect in this new OS that will keep it up to date with the likes of Android, webOS and the iPhone OS? If some of these rumors are true– then a lot. Everything from Zune and Xbox tie-ins (yes, Xbox– though to what extent is still very much up in the air) to a much, much better media and overall user experience (we love the Zune HD and it’s interface, which is said to play a pretty big role here throughout Windows Mobile 7). There is also talk that the Zune software will be where you sync your phone with your computer, similar to iTunes and the iPhone. There also is said to be better support for touchscreens (particularly capacitive/finger-friendly ones that don’t require a stylus, like the iPhone, Pre and most Android phones), multi-touch, a better version of Internet Explorer Mobile (which is much-needed as well), and just much more powerful hardware, which, supposedly, Microsoft is working more closely with device manufacturers to make sure all phones run this well. Heck, there is even talk Microsoft may release their own phones.
Whatever Microsoft plans to do, we’ll make sure you stay in the know. Their press conference is called for Monday at 9 AM Eastern time (or 3 PM Barcelona time), so make sure to check back Monday for all the news both and Microsoft and everything going down at MWC.
Pic from Engadget