Android enthusiast blog Android Central has revealed that the rumored Samsung Replenish will soon launch from Sprint. Details on the Replenish are still slim, but the above screen shot mentions it is a “green” device powered by Android. The blog claims that the phone will be announced on April 15th and land in Sprint stores by May 5th. It’s possible that this device could replace, or is, the Samsung Rant 3, which we’ve heard is a 3G touchscreen messaging device with an eco-friendly solar rechargeable battery door. If the Replenish is indeed set to launch next Friday, we’re a bit surprised that it hasn’t yet been announced — carriers and manufacturers typically like to blow out that “eco-friendly” fluff as much as possible. More →
As tech writers we get to play with a ton of phones, but nothing really takes us back to our high school days like playing with a Sidekick — and we just had a chance to sit down with the first one powered by Android. Built by Samsung, the Sidekick 4G features Android 2.2 (Froyo) and, despite our initial fears that it would be a lackluster device compared to the high-end beauties recently announced, we were pretty pleased with what the Sidekick 4G offers. It includes a horizontal-slider form factor, a throwback QWERTY keyboard with rounded keys, and more power under the hood than any Sidekick before it. Hit the jump for our hands-on with the Sidekick 4G, and some initial impressions.
Yobongo, if you haven’t heard, is a new iPhone app that meshes location-aware messaging with a chatroom-like environment, and it’s kind of amazing. By using a custom algorhytm and different variables including your location, people you have chatted with previously, or even people you know, Yobongo connects you with up to around 10 people in a single “room” and well, from there it’s one big conversation. I’ve been using Yobongo for around a week, and while the beta test didn’t use our location to work (there was most likely no one nearby since the service hasn’t launched yet), it’s a pretty incredible experience. For starters, the UI is beautiful, well thought out and extremely polished, and it’s minimalistic enough without being bare. Using the app is very straight forward — you just open it and you’re instantly placed into a room using the aforementioned data points. Messaging is very fast, almost real-time, and that’s something co-founder Caleb Eston aimed to achieve; Yobongo’s big vision is that it’s a communication system that leverages location in such a way that hasn’t been done before, we don’t believe. The iPhone app launches for free in early March in the App Store, though you can sign up now to be put on the wait list on Yobongo’s website. Hit the break for a video of the app in action. More →
Piggybacking on an offering available to Sprint customers for some time, AT&T will launch an unlimited “Mobile to Any Mobile” calling plan beginning tomorrow. Details on the plan, for the time being, are scarce. What we do know is that users will be required to have the $20, unlimited text-messaging plan ($30 for family plans) to be eligible for the program. No word on whether there will be an added fee for the any mobile-to-mobile privilege, or if it will now be a part of the unlimited messaging plan. Seems like a pretty good deal if it’s included free of charge… thoughts?
UPDATE: Unlimited, any mobile to mobile calling is included free with the unlimited text messaging plan. The full press release just crossed the wire and is waiting for you after the break. More →
Facebook on Thursday denied earlier reports that HTC is preparing to unveil multiple Facebook-branded smartphones next month at Mobile World Congress. “This is really just another example of a manufacturer who has taken our public APIs (application programing interfaces) and integrated them into their device in an interesting way,” Facebook’s head of business development Dan Rose told reporters.”The rumors around there being something more to this HTC device are overblown.” Rose did not comment on whether or not Facebook is currently working on branded cell phones without HTC’s involvement. More →
According to a report filed by GearLive, AT&T is preparing to update its text messaging offerings with the changes taking effect next week. The changes themselves are pretty straight forward. In a two for one swap, Ma’ Bell will be discontinuing its $5 per month, 200 message and $15 per month, 1,500 message plans replacing them with a $10 per month 1,000 message offering. The $20 per month, unlimited messaging plan will be left untouched. Those who currently subscribe to one of plans being discontinued will be allowed to keep the feature until their next change of service. What do you think? Is this move going to save or cost you money? More →
As Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 push kicks into high gear ahead of the holidays, great devices like the HTC HD7 will help foster interest in the new smartphone operating system. Microsoft’s massive advertising campaign certainly won’t hurt either. Putting eyes on the new OS is only half the battle, however, as Microsoft struggles to regain mind share in a category it helped build a decade ago.
Times have changed since the introduction of Pocket PC 2000, and smartphone platforms now battle for billions rather than scrounging for scraps. The global market for smart devices has exploded and in the process, consumers have evolved. Pedigree isn’t enough for smartphone users anymore — the market is changing far too rapidly for major players to rely on blind allegiance to keep customers aboard. Apple has taken the industry by storm, Google’s Android OS is gaining market share at breakneck speeds, and successful platforms like Symbian and BlackBerry are on the verge of revitalization. Smartphone brands need to fight for users more today than ever before.
And on top of all this commotion in the industry, a new mobile currency has been born: apps. More →
Our friends over at Facebook were nice enough to hook us up with an invite to the initial roll-out of the company’s new messaging service announced this week. We’ve been messing around with the system for a few hours and thought we would put together some initial impressions for those who are interested or curious. Hit the jump and let’s get to it. More →
Verizon Wireless today announced the upcoming availability of two new feature phones, the Pantech Crux and the LG Octane. The former, a full touchscreen offering from Pantech, features a 3-inch display with a virtual QWERTY keypad, a variety of widgets, mobile IM and email support, a 1GB microSD card with support for up to 32GB, integrated social networking features and a full HTML Web browser. The LG Octane sports a landscape-oriented clam shell design and features dual displays, a physical QWERTY keypad, a 3.2-megapixel camera, up to 16GB of microsSD storage, email support, Visual Voicemail and a full HTML Web browser. The Pantech Crux will cost $49.99 with a new 2-year agreement after a $50 mail-in rebate, and the LG Octane will be $99.99 on contract after a $50 mail-in rebate. Both devices will be available online and in stores starting tomorrow, October 28th. More →
There is a bit of a soap opera going on in the Middle East between Canadian handset manufacturer Research In Motion and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The synopsis of the situation goes like this:
- The Saudi government said it would shut-down BlackBerry messaging services beginning on August 5th. The closure was due to concerns over national security stating that RIM was not in compliance with local laws.
- The United Arab Emirates expressed similar concerns.
- On August 5th BlackBerry messaging services in Saudi Arabia were shut-down for a short period of time before being brought back up again.
Today, Bloomberg is reporting that Saudi Arabia is allowing RIM, and wireless providers, to continue providing BlackBerry messaging services to customers and has not communicated another deadline for compliance. As the article reads, “the fact that there is no new deadline indicates they are close to a solution.” The Communications and Information Technology Commission, the country’s telecommunication regulator, has said it wants a system in place that will allow it to monitor BlackBerry communications in order to prevent terrorism and ensure national security. The report says that Saudi Telecom Co. and the two other major wireless carriers are all testing systems that would “avert a threatened suspension of the messaging service.” More →
In accordance with government wishes, Saudi Arabia’s three mobile wireless companies have shut down BlackBerry messaging services to their users. The Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission cited security concerns when it announced on August 3rd that: “the manufacturer of the devices [RIM] couldn’t meet the regulatory requirements of the commission and it is not in accordance with the regulations and conditions of licenses issued to service providers, at its present state.” The AFP reports that any wireless company that does not turn off the encrypted messaging service could face up to a $1.3 million fine. The BlackBerry devices are still able to make and receive phone calls. Services are due to be suspended in the United Arab Emirates beginning on October 11th. More →
Well we knew it was coming, and now it is here. Today, Verizon Wireless made the Samsung Intensity II — a QWERTY-slider messaging phone — official. The device has a full horizontal slide-out QWERTY keyboard with external numeric keypad, 2.2-inch QVGA (240 x 320 pixels) screen, 1.3-megapixel infrared camera with night vision, Bluetooth, and micro-SD card slot (with support for up to a 32 GB card). The device will be available from Big Red for $49.99 on-contract (after a $50 mail-in rebate) in the next few weeks. We’ve got the official release all linked up for you. More →
After releasing the Razzle last year, Verizon Wireless is teaming up again with Pantech to launch another entry-level messaging handset. Touted as the successor to the Razzle, the Pantech Jest is a standard slider with QWERTY keyboard, 1xRTT connectivity, 2MP camera with camcorder, Bluetooth, up to 16GB microSD expansion, GPS, 2.5mm headset jack, dedicated messaging key, and oh-so-important vanity mirror. The Jest is expected to launch in all channels via direct fulfillment with the launch coming as soon as Razzle supplies are depleted, which may be as soon as next week. Hit the jump for a full rundown of specs and a few more slides from the deck.
Thanks, anonymous! More →