We scooped it, we previewed it, and now we’re officially reviewing it. There’s a good chance that even if you’re not into tech all that much, you’ve heard of the Motorola DROID thanks to Verizon’s big marketing push, and that’s a good and bad thing. As you’ll see in our review, the DROID is a fantastic device, but does it have what it takes to compete outside the world of the die-hard Android fans and techies in the consumer arena? You’ll see soon enough!
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding T-Mobile secret project, “Project Dark” or “Project Black” as others have referred to it. One of our connects hit us up to clarify what it exactly is (they called it Project Dark).
So, what is it exactly? Other sites have speculated that it’s not a new phone or promotion, but our connects briefing has given us a pretty clear understanding. First off, it is tied somewhat to handsets. Project Dark contains the launch of the T-Mobile BlackBerry 9700 as well as T-Mobile’s upcoming Android handsets like the Motorola CLIQ and Samsung Behold II. It also contains a very, very rapid expansion of T-Mobile’s 3G network, and we don’t mean UMTS. We’re talking 21Mbps HSPA, the same as what just launched in the Philadelphia market. We’ll keep digging but this is what we’ve got for you for now.
UPDATE: A few minutes after we first posted this story, a new T-Mobile connect came out of nowhere and sent us in quite a lot of new information. We have to caution that this information is not substantiated, but we feel that we owe it to our readers to share. Here it goes…
Project Dark is a pretty big thing for T-Mobile. Not only will employees be wearing new threads consisting of a black top and grey pants while they sell the BlackBerry Bold 9700 and two Nokia Nseries devices (the N900 and something else), but they’ll also be pushing something pretty amazing — a $50 all you can eat plan that includes voice, SMS, MMS and data. Apparently this plan will be called “Everything Unlimited” and is meant to represent T-Mobile’s new strategy which will essentially see it try and poach subs from various low-cost carriers. We’ve also been told that T-Mobile will be adopting a very Walmart slogan of “More for Less.” Okay, we’ve done our part, now what do you people think about this?
Believe it or not, Christmas is but 11 weeks away which means that every single tech company on the planet is going to be lighting up our inboxes with press releases about their holiday offerings. The first company to do this for 2009 is T-Mobile. Apart from another chance to get us bloggers talking about the Behold II and the Motorola CLIQ, T-Mobile took the opportunity to introduce two new handsets and a limited edition collaboration piece. The first new handset is the Nokia 3711, a 3G clamshell affair with a 2 megapixel camera, GPS by Telenav, and stereo Bluetooth. The second is the T-Mobile Tap. Presumably made by HTC based upon its appearance, the Tap is an “affordable and attractive” full-touchscreen featurephone that, like the 3711 has 3G, a 2 megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth and GPS by Telenav. New in another sense of the word is the myTouch 3G Fender Limited Edition. With only 10,000 to be offered sometime this winter, the Fender myTouch 3G sports a “guitar-inspired wood-grain finish”, 16GB microSD card filled with a bunch of music and videos not a soul alive won’t delete, and *gasp* a 3.5mm headphone jack. What do we think, people?
The wait is finally over: T-Mobile has just announced the Motorola CLIQ pre-order details as well as pricing. So, exactly when can you get your hands on Motorola’s come-back device? Presale orders start for existing customers on October 19 and goes through to November 1. The device will be hitting stores and be made available online the day after presales end — November 2. Unfortunately, those “free” rumors turned out to be, well, rumors as T-Mobile and Motorola are expecting $199 with a new contract and a data plan that starts at $24.99 per month (don’t forget data plans for smartphones are mandatory for T-Mobile, as if you’d buy this phone without one). With a 5MP camera, a nice UI and support for up to 32GB of memory expansion, it’s definitely a nice handset. We’re just not sure the pricing is correct… What do you guys (and girls) think?
Motorola. Regardless of your brand loyalty, the aforementioned company changed the mobile landscape. Twice. First with the legendary StarTac and once again with the Motorola RAZR. Unfortunately, the RAZR by itself wasn’t enough to keep propelling Motorola’s mobile handset division forward for eternity. Here we are some five whole years later looking at what is Motorola’s most important product (and upcoming products) in recent memory. Enter the Motorola CLIQ. We’ve been fortunate enough to have one or two units of our own, even though there’s already been hands on sessions and a couple of reviews, we’re finally ready to tell you about it. We labeled this as a preview instead of a full review because we’re about two months out from launch. We’ll follow up to this post with findings from a unit T-Mobile sends us if there are any differences and additional thoughts.
Oh you thought we fell off. Nope — we’ve just been tearing apart BlackBerry’s latest flagship over the past week or so and our review is finally perfectly crafted. The BlackBerry 9700 replaces the Bold as RIM’s newest flagship device. Even though it’s not released yet — look for it anywhere from mid-October to mid-November depending on what part of the globe you reside in — it’s BlackBerry’s most advanced QWERTY device to date and combines all of their next generation features together in a smaller and lighter package. We’ve already detailed our thoughts on RIM and how they are doing on the software side of things and this review will be mostly hardware focused. We will also follow up with a Part 2 review as we did with the BlackBerry Tour since this model is not a production unit.
If you’re a T-Mobile subscriber itching to get your hands on the latest and greatest, it looks like November 11th might be a date you want to jot down in your planner. Why, you ask? According to one of our ninjas, a T-Mobile higher-up has pegged November 11th as the tentative launch date for both the BlackBerry 9700 and the Motorola CLIQ. Wow. Have two more highly anticipated handsets ever launched with the same carrier on the same day? Now, to be crystal clear, this date is relayed to us as tentative so nothing is set in stone just yet. Where the CLIQ is concerned, the 11th definitely lines up well with the late-October pre-sale and the 9700 has been rumored to launch in November as well. On a related note, we’re hearing AT&T will launch the 9700 around the same time as T-mo, while Rogers will once again beat the US to the punch with a mid to late-October launch.
In a move that doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, Orange UK has officially announced that it will be carrying the Motorola DEXT, the European version of the CLIQ, as its second Android smartphone. The DEXT will be offered in early October for as little as £0 to those who opt for a 2-year contract with a monthly tariff of £34.26. It’s not exactly cheap, all things considered, but it’s also not as if you can find many plans Stateside that offer 900 minutes, unlimited texts, data and use of Orange Maps for around $56.50 per month.
Thanks to one of our top ninjas, we’ve been able to score this shot of an internal T-Mobile PowerPoint clearly showing the Motorola CLIQ release date listed as October which further supports our previous story about a mid-October launch. Don’t get freaked out there isn’t a picture of the CLIQ in the PowerPoint but a placeholder instead — it was only publicly announced two days ago, and you know, things have a tendency to leak…
UPDATE: Sorry for the confusion. The slide above says November, but our guy says its older and provided it to us for information purposes. There is a newer internal slide that does show October.
While Motorola announced a “before-the-Holiday” release time frame for the Motorola CLIQ, we’ve been able to confirm that units will be shipping out to T-Mobile corporate stores, warehouses/fulfillment centers on or around September 29th. Do you know what that means? We’ve been told that the Motorola CLIQ will pop it’s head out for a mid-October launch on T-Mobile. We don’t have pricing details at the moment, but you can bet your bippy it will won’t be above $199 with a 2-year, possibly lower. We’re working on getting supporting materials, but this is pretty much a go!
Note to phone manufacturers: When giving press/bloggers hands on time with the handset that is the crucial first step in your rebuilding process, please do so in desirable lighting as opposed to darkness. Ambiance is great on a first date — not so much when you’re tying to check out a new phone. Moving along, we finally had some time alone with the Motorola CLIQ a short while ago and we have to say, we were pretty impressed. This is not a high-end handset by any means of course, but it’s not supposed to be. Moto set out to create a social network-friendly handset for the younger crowd and in that regard, we think the company really excelled. Where the seasoned mobile enthusiast is concerned, the CLIQ gives us a glimpse of what’s in store for higher-end handsets like the Sholes that are still forthcoming. So sit back, relax and hit the jump for our initial thoughts and a handful of dimly-lit pics and a video.