Budget Android handsets are poised to takeoff in 2011, a new report from Digitimes suggests. The firm states that it expects 20 million to 25 million entry-level Android handsets – defined as devices priced below $150 – will be sold globally in 2011. That figure is up from the 2.5 million to 3 million that were sold in 2010. Digitimes suggests that chips designed in China and Taiwan will drive white box OEMs to create budget-conscious handsets that will be attractive in emerging markets. An estimated 10 million to 13 million of those handsets are expected to be sold in China alone. Digitimes is known for having a mixed track record, but we do know that Android handsets — such as LG’s Optimus — were priced in the $100 range on many U.S. carriers. Similarly, last night Boost Mobile announced its new $179.99 Samsung Galaxy Prevail handset, which will be an attractive option for prepaid buyers. More →
Apple’s iPad 2 goes on sale Friday in 25 countries around the world, and early reports from Australia are showing monumental lines for Apple’s latest tablet. AFP quotes an Apple fan as having waited over 53 hours in line for the iPad 2 launch in Sydney, Australia, with hundreds of people waiting behind him. In addition to Austrlia, people have lined up across the globe and most are only hours away from bringing one home from the store — if inventory holds up. The list of countries where the iPad 2 is now available includes: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Reublic, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
UPDATE: Hit the break for a video from Toronto, Canada sent in by a BGR reader. The video was shot of the Apple Store at the Toronto Eaton Centre, and it was taken at approximately 9:30 a.m. The iPad 2 doesn’t go on sale until 5:00 p.m. More →
Credit card giant Visa has announced a new payment service for U.S. consumers set to launch in the second half of 2011. The new offering closely mimics services offered by PayPal, allowing users with a Visa-branded credit, debit, or pre-paid account to transfer money amongst each other. “Consumers in the U.S. will soon be able to receive and send funds to any eligible Visa credit, debit or prepaid account, anywhere in the world,” reads the press release. “By simply entering the recipient’s 16-digit Visa account, email address or mobile phone number, consumers can send funds directly from their bank account to a recipient’s Visa account.” The company has also partnered with payment networks CashEdge and Fiserv, allowing them to integrate their person-to-person payment platforms with the new service. The personal payment program outlined by Visa is already offered outside the U.S. in dozens of different countries. The full press release is after the break.
It looks like Big Red is doing a little wheeling and dealing with its entire DROID smartphone lineup. Via the company’s web store, Verizon Wireless is offering online-purchasers of any DROID-branded smartphone an additional $100 off the subsidized, two-year contract price. With the new, temporary pricing schema in place, the DROID X (CPO), DROID R2D2, and DROID Incredible (CPO) will retail for the always enjoyable sum of $0. If those three handsets aren’t to your liking, the DROID 2 Global can be acquired for $99.99, the DROID PRO will set you back $79.99, and the DROID X (non-CPO) will retail for $49.99. Of course, the DROID BIONIC (not to mention the HTC ThunderBolt) is right around the corner. But if you don’t have that burning desire for the absolute latest and greatest, why not save yourself some cash? More →
The recent resurgence of “iPhone nano” rumors has Wall Street analysts working overtime. They already love Apple, which has basically been printing money lately, and rumors of Cupertino cooking up a smaller, cheaper iPhone could certainly send Apple’s mobile profits even further skyward. In fact, one analyst thinks a cheap version of Apple’s iOS-powered smartphone could expand its addressable market by a whopping 600%, therefore potentially giving iPhone profits a 250% boost. Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi thinks Apple needs either needs a cheaper iPhone or more carrier agreements in order to increase its smartphone market share — a notion that borders on the obvious. The former option, a cheaper iPhone, could be achieved by building a smaller phone with a smaller display panel. But Sacconaghi loses us entirely when he pitches another possibility that Apple might address new customers by offering an iPhone that doesn’t require a data plan. Apple has more muscle than any other cell phone maker right now, no doubt, but carriers would never sell an iPhone that didn’t help them reel in the dough on precious data plans. More →
Sixteen WiMAX operators from around the world convened in Taipei this week to draft an international roaming agreement for their 4G networks. The WiMAX Forum Global Operator Summit, as it is being called, had just shy of seventy representatives working on the deal. Global roaming is projected to be a $67 billion business by 2015.
“The WiMAX Forum Global Operator Summit was created to specifically address overcoming both business and consumer perceptions that data roaming is expensive, and to explore ways to help operators grow revenue,” said Ron Resnick, president of the WiMAX Forum. “WiMAX has an established ecosystem with nearly 600 deployments around the world. The opportunity for operators to offer their customers roaming is there, and it is an excellent way for operators to add another viable revenue stream and earn returns on their 4G network investments.”
Representatives from both Sprint Nextel and Clearwire attended the event. Full press release is after the break. More →
According to a report by Droid-Life, a software update for the DROID 2 Global handset it on the way. The update, which weighs in at around 16MB, fixes several international calling bugs, including: device resets when switching from GSM/UMTS mode, errant “No Service” signals, and a blank screen when activating call forwarding. The report also boasts of “improved audio during voice calls” and “reduced user interface lock-ups,” which are always a good thing. No word on when the software will officially begin hitting handsets, but we’re sure it won’t be too long from now. More →
Earlier this morning, we told you that retail giant Best Buy began pulling Motorola’s DROID 2 Global and DROID Pro from store shelves. Although the cause was initially rumored to be a handset pricing dispute between the two companies, that simply is not the case. In an email to BGR, a Verizon Wireless spokesperson noted that the company has not mandated or otherwise requested Best Buy to remove the devices from its shelves. The spokesperson went on to emphasize that there is not any kind of recall (hardware, software, or otherwise) that would explain such an action. To hammer that point home, Verizon’s official Twitter account let this 140-character cherub loose this afternoon:
DROID 2 Glob and DROID Pro are great phones. Stop by your Verizon Wireless store and try ’em out! #droid
Best Buy has yet to respond to BGR’s request for comment. For the time being, Best Buy is playing this one pretty close to the vest.
Here’s a head scratcher. Several of our Best Buy ninjas have come forward to let us know that Best Buy Mobile is informing employees that it will no longer be selling the Verizon Wireless’ DROID 2 Global and DROID Pro. Explanations run the gamut, several sources have referenced that exploding (probably not exploding) handset we reported about last week, while others are blaming a handset pricing disputed between the big box retailer and America’s largest cellular carrier. Whatever the reason is , it has not been clearly communicated to employees or the media at this time. We’ve reached out to both Best Buy and Verizon Wireless to see if either party would like to clarify why the two members of the DROID family are no longer on BBY’s store shelves. We’ll report back with any clarification we get.
‘Tis the season, we suppose. Motorola’s latest, and most enterprise-focused DROID device has now dropped to the very appealing price of only $49.99 with new two year service agreement from Best Buy Mobile. Both online and physical store locations are offering the deal, and from what we have seen so far, this is the lowest out of the door price for this handset. Now, you’re ultimately going to have to make the call between the DROID Pro or the Motorola DROID 2 Global (if global DROID devices are up your alley, that is), but the price gap has definitely just been made a bunch wider. Make sure to check out our DROID Pro review to help you decide, ok?
Motorola is up to bat with their most competitive corporate device in years — they’re aiming squarely at the fine boys and girls at RIM — and coupled with the latest Android OS and the nation’s largest voice and data network, they mean business. Does that mean they have come up with the best business-focused handset on Verizon Wireless? How on earth will you be able to choose between a Motorola DROID Pro, a BlackBerry, or another Android handset? Hit the break to find out our thoughts!More →
One of the worst kept secrets in the mobile industry was undoubtedly Motorola’s DROID 2 Global edition smartphone. Rebate forms, web appearances, commercials appearances, photos, videos… you name it and the revamped handset got it before its official release date. Now that the worldly D-Deuce is out of the closet and official, Motorola has done the honors of posting a hype-video on YouTube touting the computing prowess of the 1.2GHz handset. If you’re eagerly awaiting the release of the D2G, and want to get yourself all fired up: slam a few Red Bulls, do a couple dozen push-ups and hit the read link… the video is waiting for you. More →
We knew that we would have the opportunity to pre-order Verizon Wireless’ DROID Pro today, but we didn’t really expect to see the DROID 2 Global. Late last night, Verizon quietly added the D2 Global edition to its handset lineup; the device is live on the the site and available to order. The spec sheet on the DROID 2 Global mirrors that of the original DROID 2, with the exception of an added quad-band GSM and tri-band UMTS radio for world roaming capabilities, an upgraded 1.2GHz processor, and a white exterior (we’re assuming black is coming). The more worldly Droid 2 will retail for $199 with a 2-year contract and, if all rumors hold true, will completely replace the original D2 in the next month or so. Go ahead, hit the read link and have a look for yourself.
Thanks to everyone who sent this in! More →