The low-cost Raspberry Pi Linux computer is set to become available for purchase later this month for $35. The firm behind the budget computer announced on Monday that the first batch of boards will enter manufacturing on February 20th and will be available at the end of the month. The single-board computer is equipped with a 700MHz processor, 256MB of RAM, SD card support and both HDMI and RCA outputs. Despite the low cost and small size — which is roughly equal to a credit card — the Raspberry Pi computer is powerful enough to run games such as Quake III Arena and power 1080p video, however the company intends for the device to be used in schools to teach the basics of computer science. A second Raspberry Pi model with 128MB of RAM will be released for $25 at a later date. More →
Global shipments of low-cost Android smartphones are expected to explode over the next four years. A new report from market intelligence firm In-Stat suggests that annual shipments of sub-$150 Android phones will reach 339 million units in 2015. In-Stat says that consumers in the market for smartphones with such a low unsubsidized cost only have one option — Android — leaving current (Symbian) and future (Nokia’s secret new OS) platforms high and dry. Even in 2013, however, In-Stat views fragmentation as an issue and says the spec requirements of newer Android builds like Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will keep it off low-end phones. Read on for more. More →
Apple will release not one, but two new iPhone models this September, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore wrote in a note to investors on Monday. The Cupertino-based tech giant has a new iPhone 5 model lined up to replace the current iPhone 4, but it also has the rumored “iPhone 4S” in the works — a supposed modest upgrade that will maintain the same physical design as the current iPhone model. The 4S model, Whitmore believes, will launch as a $349 prepaid phone with a data plan that works much like the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G; users will be able to choose from multiple data plans and purchase them on a monthly basis without being locked into a contract. “With Nokia and RIMM struggling, the time is right for Apple to aggressively penetrate the mid range smart-phone market (i.e. $300-500 category) to dramatically expand its [total addressable market] and market share,” Whitemore wrote. More →
Did we nail it or what? Today Rogers announced the creation of chatr, the low-cost wireless brand we exclusively told you about last week. Created to serve what Rogers calls a “niche” market that is not currently served by its flagship and value brands Rogers Wireless and Fido, chatr will offer no contract voice and text plans as well as unlimited talk and text plans. Data is not a part of chatr’s game plan. According to Rogers, the big draw of chatr is not only its great plans, but that for the first time it gives urbanites who simply want to make calls and send texts affordable service from a “network they can trust.” We were pretty curious about the timing of this launch, what with WIND Mobile now being half a year old and Mobilicity having only been on the scene for six weeks, so we asked Rogers about it. Surprisingly, they were adamant that they could not care less what their competitors are doing or where it is they are operating. They were quick to point out that chatr has been one year in the making and that it actually designed to mimic business model that allowed MetroPCS to go from a small time carrier to the 5th largest in the United States. Sadly this was about as much extra information as we could squeeze out of Rogers. As much as they want to get chatr up and running today, they’ve still got a few more things to do behind the scenes before it launches by the end of summer. This means that they can’t get into specifics about when the network will launch. But as we have said before, thanks to our connects we know that Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa are a lock. Anyone planning to wait with baited breath?
Nokia on Tuesday introduced six new mobile phones and two new services that target emerging markets. The phones will include the 7100 Supernova and the XpressMusic 5130 and will retail for €25 to €90 ($32 to $115 USD). The first handset to hit the market in late 2008 will be the Nokia 7100 Supernova, a slider with a touchscreen and 1.2MP camera. Following the Supernova will be the XpressMusic 5130, Nokia’s low-cost music phone which is slated for a Q1 2009 release. The remaining four phones are standard candy bars and include the Nokia 2323, Nokia 2330, Nokia 1202 and the Nokia 1661. The Nokia 1202 claims the title as Nokia’s lowest priced mobile phone to date coming in at a mere €25 ($32 USD). A phone is useless without supported services and Nokia is set to launch new services that aim to bring low cost email and educational services to the masses. Nokia’s Mail by Ovi will deliver mobile email and Nokia’s new Life Tools will deliver agricultural information and multilingual education services designed especially for rural and small town communities via SMS. The Mail by Ovi service will be available globally on all S40 handsets by the end of 2008 and the new Life Tools is expected to go live in 2009.