RIM might have the enterprise market squarely in its sights with the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, but the sleek device is hardly all business. At Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona, recent RIM acquisition The Astonishing Tribe was on hand to show off two applications built to demo some of the QNX-powered PlayBook’s capabilities. And as can only be expected from TAT-born apps, they’re stunning. The first, Scrapbook, is a scrapbooking app with a playful look and some terrific 3D UI effects. The second, Aura, allows users to control the weather and features some nifty accelerometer-controlled physics. Hit the break for two video demonstrations. More →
Saturn’s slogan is now “Rethink”, but it’s beginning to look like the GM-owned automaker is taking that sentiment in a completely different direction. After making an effort to rebrand the Saturn line and produce a variety of attractive vehicles, General Motors might pull the plug on the 23-year-old auto line. With rumors of bankruptcies and dealers going out of business (none of which were true), Saturn’s reputation has been taking some serious hits lately. It’s also no help that the US automotive industry is suffering and relying on the government for a bailout, so GM is going to strongly consider shutting down Saturn while it forms plans this week in terms of an impending reorg. We imagine it’s not going to be a tough decision since Saturn hasn’t been profitable for GM at all. Along with axing the celestial brand, the automotive giant is considering selling off the Saab line and turning Pontiac into a “niche” brand, much like Saturn is now. So, after several years of producing what seems to be like one or two models, Saturn now offers several decent vehicles: Astra, Outlook, Sky, Vue and Aura. Still, it has failed to gain any real popularity and is likely going to disappear forever. Is anyone actually going to miss it?
Thanks, Alex R!
We’re not the first site to have a hands on, but we’re the first with a production unit. So there! All jokes aside, I’d like to give you a little back story… about 3 years ago I was talking to one of my higher-up Motorola sources and we started discussing Vertus. I said how much the right people appreciated those phones even though there were completely outdated in terms of technology. They filled a void and were the first ones to get it. I suggested Motorola should create a spin-off brand and concentrate on higher-end phones. Use precious metals, hand assemble them, limit availability, and you’ve got yourself a winner. Our source promptly shot down the idea saying that Motorola wasn’t looking to manufacture high-end devices, just handsets that fall under the RAZR umbrella. Well, I guess all good ideas never die. Motorola’s AURA is in fact the highest-end device they’ve ever built.
As far as the physical hardware goes, Motorola has used the same strategy above that Vertu has used successfully for many years. They’ve made the device almost purely out of metal (even the keyboard is metal), there’s Swiss-manufactured internal components for the flip mechanism (same concept as the complicated movements inside your favorite expensive watch), and they used Sapphire crystal to overlay the beautiful circular display. We’re not joking here, guys — this is hands down one of the most beautiful and impressive screens we have ever seen. As far as build goes, this really is built how a phone should be. And hey, for a retail price of $2,000, it better be. The software is the MOTOMAGX platform which does not allow for 3G, so that’s a pretty decent strike against it. But, we were pleased with the responsiveness of the phone and the familiarity of it. The reason why you see the pre-production devices with the serial number engraved on the metal panel on the flip is that we’re told Motorola originally was limiting the phone to 5,000 handsets. They were going to engrave the buyer’s name and serial number on the panel. Then, Motorola executives probably said two words and changed their minds… “Russian. Market.” Since this is such an important milestone in Motorola’s history, we’re going to put together a full review on the Motorola AURA in the coming days. If you’ve got any questions that you’d like squared away, drop a comment and we’ll do our best to include it. As always, you can find our fine photos in the BGR Gallery below!
Motorola announced on Tuesday its new luxury phone, the Motorola AURA. The AURA features the world’s first circular display with 16 million colors and 300 dpi resolution and is the first phone to really capture that “cyclops” look. You wont need an invisible shield for this phone as the display is covered with Grade 1, 62-carat sapphire crystal lens, one of the most scratch-resistant materials on earth, and the housing is crafted from stainless steel that is electro- and hand polished, chemically etched, and PVD coated. No wonder why it takes two weeks to create the front of the phone. The handset has an assisted-opening blade that is comprised of a Swiss-made, custom-engineered rotating mechanism with 130 precision ball bearings and custom Tungsten Carbide Coated Gears. To separate the phone from the full, we should tell you that the AURA sports quad-Band GSM 850/900/1800/1900, EDGE, a 2 MP Fixed Focus camera, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR with A2DP, text and email messaging, multimedia playback, and a yet to be named open source browser. Smooth and sexy with an hint of class and an interesting design is the new Motorola AURA. If you fancy one for yourself, you wont have to wait very long as it is expected to launch worldwide at the beginning of Q4 2008. Start cashing in your piggy banks now as this won’t be your father’s cheap flip phone, ringing up the registers at $1,999.