Monthly Archives: February 2010

HTC Announces 4 New Phones At MWC

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.

Nintendo DSi XL Coming to US March 28th

The new DSi XL in Burgundy

Have you been craving that super sized DSi LL Nintendo released for Japan last year? Really wanted to get a DS with 93% bigger screens than the DS Lite but was stuck in the US? Well, those days will soon be over my friends, as come the end of next month, Nintendo will have answered your prayers: it is releasing the DSi XL on March 28th here in the US for $189.99 (only $20 more than the current DSi). Oh, and European readers– don’t worry, you guys will be getting this a few weeks earlier on March 5th.

The DS Lite compared to the DSi XL

On top of the standard features of the DSi (such as the 2 cameras, SD card slot, music playback, and photos app with ability to upload to Facebook), the slightly thicker new DSi will pack 2 4.2 inch screens (over the DSi’s 3.25 inch ones), a bigger, full size stylus, and will come preloaded with 2 Brain Age games (Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters and Brain Age Express: Math & Photo Clock), as well as the DSi Browser and Flipnote Studio. Intially, the DSi XL will launch in either Burgundy or Bronze colors, though knowing Nintendo and previous DS’s, it probably won’t be long till this comes in any color you like. Also at launch will be two new DS games, America’s Test Kitchen: Let’s Get Cooking, and WarioWare: D.I.Y– and while they will work on all DS systems, Nintendo says games like these will demonstrate the “enhanced experience” available with the DSi XL.

Considering this thing sold over 100,000 units in the first 2 days of launch in Japan (yes, that’s 100,000– in 2 days!), any one out there going to hold off on that new DS purchase just a tad longer to get the DSi XL?

To learn more about the DSi XL, visit Nintendo’s site here.

Inside Out: The Future of the Cell Phone

From time to time, we’ll provide our thoughts as to where we think the industry is going, particularly as it relates to teens. We’re calling these posts, Inside Out, because we’ll be looking from where we sit into the outside world.

The future of the cell phone: the Windows Phone 7 Series, iPhone 3GS, BlackBerry Curve 8530, Palm Pre Plus and the Nexus One

Cell phones. We live by them. They’re by our sides 24/7, wherever we are. They are our ways of connecting with the world, through texts, IM’s, or just regular calls. Getting a new one is no longer just picking up a free phone, it’s a choice of style and design. Do we want a full keyboard, something that has a good camera and music player, a simple phone that doesn’t cost much, or something completely loaded with all of the latest features? The choices are endless, no matter what carrier you’re on– Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile.

But recently there’s been a major shift in the cell phone market, led by new phones like the iPhone, Pre, BlackBerry, Droid and Nexus One. This is the rise of the smartphone (as those phones are called), phones that no longer just do texts but also email, internet, Facebook and Twitter. These phones are growing rapidly and more and more of us are switching to them when we look for new phones. Let’s take a look at why that is and where this is all leading.

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Skype and Verizon Join Forces to Bring Skype to Verizon Smartphones

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.

Via Verizon Wireless and Skype

Pandora One

Have you ever wanted your own DJ? One that is so smart that it can pick from literally thousands and thousands of songs, the perfect songs, customized to your music preferences? Imagine, a DJ that will create a whole playlist of songs based on songs you like, even comprehending the elements of the song that cause you to enjoy it so much. No I’m not talking about Genius, Apple’s attempt to create your own DJ, but something you can run entirely off the internet, for a mere price tag of $3 a month. I’m talking about Pandora One, which is an attempt to bring the very successful Pandora (known for their great iPhone, Android and other mobile apps), to your desktop.

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Microsoft Announces the Windows Phone 7 Series– WOW!

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.

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Windows Mobile 7 Coming This Week?

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

A Student’s Take on the iPad

Since Apple announced the iPad last week, opinions are abound, with many predicting failure for a device whose capability seems to lie somewhere  between Apple’s  MacBook and iPod Touch in the company’s attempt to replace or reinvent the traditional computer. In that regard the iPad isn’t well suited in its current stage: it lacks a video camera so you can’t iChat, there is no iLife for content creation, for some reason multi-tasking is still a no-show even with the iPad’s bumped-up specs, and in terms of using this for browsing the web, it’s good but not great, lacking the Flash support that is used on many web sites across the web, like ESPN and Hulu.

As a student, though, even with all these flaws I see a lot of potential for the iPad. I actually believe that this could be a great device, and am really eager to pick one up for this reason alone—this could finally be the perfect school computer.

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iPad Accessories- The Break Down

Last week we covered exactly what the iPad is, now let’s take a closer look at some of the accessories Apple plans on rolling out alongside the new device. Apple announced 5 main accessories along with the iPad; let’s take a close look at what exactly they are:

  • Keyboard Dock— This is a must have add-on in my book—a dock that props up your iPad for ideal vertical view, as well as including a full-sized, physical QWERTY keyboard. The dock, which comes with a keyboard very similar to the Apple wireless Bluetooth keyboards for Macs, also gives you a iPod 30 pin connector for syncing with your computer, charging, or using other add-ons like the ones below, as well as an audio jack let’s you connect to better speakers if you want. If you plan to use the iPad as, say, your computer in school for taking notes or writing papers (for example, using the Pages app), this truly is a must-have, even at it’s price of $69.

  • iPad Case— This is Apple’s case for the iPad, that not only protects the screen while keeping it usable for typing and, well just using the device, it also has a built-in stand that can be used in many different ways, such as setting on a table for viewing slide shows or videos. The iPad Case will be priced at $39, though we’re sure there will be many other cases coming out for much less than that.

  • iPad Dock— Pretty much the Keyboard Dock, minus the keyboard. It’ll cost $29.

  • iPad Camera Connection Kit— This takes the regular iPod dock connector on the iPad and turns it into either a USB port or SD card slot for importing pix from your digital camera right to your iPad. This is some of the most basic functions found on even the cheapest netbooks and we would’ve really liked Apple to have put both of these into the iPad from the outset, but I guess thinness has it’s price. The price for this add-on kit is also $29.

There also is an extra power adapter for charging off of a regular outlet (with a greater range, thanks to a 6-foot cable) and a VGA connector for hooking this up to a computer screen or TV with a VGA port available.

So there you have it—a round-up of all the iPad accessories Apple plans to sell alongside the new iPad. The big thing here of course is the new keyboard dock, which should definitely throw a whole new dimension on what this device can do (we all know how much people wanted a real keyboard on the iPhone).

Nexus One Coming To AT&T and Sprint?

The Nexus One Google smartphone (for more info see here) got a lot of buzz when it was released last month for T-Mobile. Now, you can also buy an unlocked Nexus One, but you only get EDGE or 2.5G, not 3G when using it on say, AT&T instead of T-Mobile. However, CNET and other sites are now reporting that Nexus Ones have been ordered with 3G for WCDMA bands that will allow for 3G on AT&T (which has 3G in many more places than T-Mobile).

Not only that, but CNET also reports that Google has said that there will be versions of the Nexus One coming out in the spring for Verizon (which Google and Verizon mentioned at the Nexus One launch) and possibly Sprint as well.

So are you pumped for the Nexus One coming to a network near you? Or are you satisfied with your current phone? Let us know in the comments.

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