Covet your costly and feature-rich touchscreen phones as you wish but in this day and age, forking over big bucks for a phone just isn’t always the smart way to go. While this may be one of the facts of life, carriers such as Orange are doing their best to deliver feature-rich handsets at low prices. One such device is the newly announced Orange Vegas. Available in both black and pink, the dual-band GPRS touchscreen device features a 2.4-inch display, 1.3 megapixel camera, FM radio, MP3 playback, 128MB of internal memory and support for a microSD card up to 4GB — all packed into a handset that weighs 84g. The price? A totally affordable £48.50 ($71 USD) on pay-as-you-go. The best part? When a Vegas user tops up his or her account with £10, it comes along with 300 free texts, a £10 credit and unlimited access to Bebo, Facebook and MySpace. Something tells us this thing will sell pretty darn well. The only thing we might take issue with is the choice of name — Vegas is anything but cheap and sensible.
On Monday, April 20, Panasonic and NEC are expected to unveil nine devices that run on the Linux-powered LiMo operating system. While not much is known about the soon-to-be-announced devices at this time, proponents of open source operating systems will apparently have plenty of cause for celebration in 2009. Current members of the LiMo Foundation include Motorola, NEC, Panasonic, LG and Samsung, though the latter two have yet to unveil a single LiMo device to date. Still, the foundation does have an all-star line-up of carriers backing it up as NTT DoCoMo, Orange, SK Telecom, Telefonica, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone have all announced they will be carrying LiMo devices at some point this year. While there might not be too much to account for at the moment, the LiMo picture is apparently about to get a whole lot clearer.
We just got a tip that Orange UK would be the first carrier in Europe to launch a Pay As You Go BlackBerry device. Here’s the deal: it’s an exclusive-colored BlackBerry 8120 (Indigo, which is available on T-Mobile USA, might just be an UK exclusive) that will sell for £145. What about the monthly fee? A laughable £5/month. A pretty awesome deal that we’re told launches tomorrow. You can also most likely look for the PAYG service to color-up the rest of the BlackBerry devices Orange UK offers over time, provided this goes well. We guess we were right about BlackBerrys coming in boxes… Any Orange folks out there interested in picking up one of these?
According to a report issued this morning, European carrier Orange is considering dropping the Bold from its lineup after being unable to solve “ongoing technical issues.” Orange employees familiar with the matter have said the Bold has the highest rate of return in its category, something which is not sitting well with the higher-ups due to a previous issue with the Bold. Back in October, Orange halted sales of the Bold due to a high incidence of dropped calls, crashes and poor overall performance. After a more stable OS release from RIM however, sales of the Bold resumed. If Orange were to pull the Bold for the second time it would most likely remain sidelined for the duration of its market life which would deal a huge blow to RIM. To compound matters, this move would give a great deal of additional publicity to the woes of RIM’s latest flagship products, the Bold and the Storm. For the time being Orange has declined to comment on the matter, as was the company’s position before the Bold was pulled last year.
At the time of the first recall, every Bold on the Orange network was running OS 184.108.40.206, a very buggy release indeed. Since Orange reinstated the Bold however, it moved to OS 220.127.116.11 – also not the the most usable version issued in recent history. In all fairness to RIM and Orange customers, perhaps Orange should hurry up and release a new OS build like 18.104.22.168 or beyond (though many are a severe step backwards) as several other carriers have done.
Apple must end its exclusive agreement with Orange and allow other mobile providers to sell the iPhone in France according to a decision handed down today by France’s Competition Council. This temporary injunction was announced as part of an ongoing investigation into a complaint filed by Orange rival, Bouygues Telecom SA. In the complaint, Bouygues Telecom claims Apple’s exclusive deal with Orange is a serious threat to competition amongst mobile operators and is costly to consumers who are forced to switch providers in order to purchase an iPhone. The Competition Council, in its initial ruling agrees in part with Bouygues complaint, and states that the exclusive agreement between Orange and Apple “by nature introduces a new factor of rigidity in a sector that already lacks competition”. This temporary injunction will remain in effect until a final decision is made by the Competition Council. As expected, Bouygues Telecom is pleased with decision and is looking forward to selling the iPhone in the near future while representatives at Orange have not been available for comment.
In an internal memo to employees, Orange announced that it has suspended the sale of Blackberry Bold handsets citing “software issues” as the reason for the suspension. The suspension is an interim measure while RIM attempts an industry wide fix. Sounds like AT&T is not the only carrier having problems with this disaster known as the Bold. At least AT&T was savvy enough to wait to release the handset instead of saddling their customers with this pile of garbage highly problematic device.
Internal Orange Statement on the Bold:
“Following reports of software issues with the BlackBerry Bold handset across a variety of mobile operators, Orange has decided to act in the interest of its customers by suspending shipments of the device in the UK. We are currently awaiting feed back from RIM as to when an industry wide fix for these issues will be in place, and expect this suspension to be an interim measure. We apologize for any inconvenience this issue may cause you. BlackBerry/RIM are doing everything they can to resolve this issue and will be completing full testing and validation to ensure future handsets do not have any quality issues. This may take a couple of weeks so it’s up to us to do what’s best for our customers.
So… yeah. Exactly.
Since RIM completely screwed the pooch on this one (you know, like, delays for seven years?), we’re going to try and make it up to you! We’re giving away 5 BlackBerry Bolds for your local service provider. The 5 we are giving away are: AT&T, T-Mobile Germany, Rogers, Orange UK, and PCCW HK. The winner of the AT&T Bold won’t get their unit until launch since all devices we’re giving away are purchased from the respective carriers. You’ve got to play to win they say. Not so much when you’re dealing with a BGR giveaway, though. To enter, just email us a photo of your current BlackBerry. The more damaged the BlackBerry is, the higher chance you have of winning. Get it? Also drop in a comment from the same email with what carrier you’d like. RIM made you mad by making you wait, they might have even had you think impure thoughts. Now you can lay back and relax, ’cause your good friend Boy Geezie and the rest of the folks at BGR are going to hook you up!
- Send pictures to blackberrycontest at boygeniusreport dot com
- Make sure you comment here in addition to sending in the picture. Also specify what carrier you want!
- You can enter as many times are you like, just make sure they are different BlackBerrys
- *Highly damaged BlackBerrys are a plus*
- We’re going to add all pictures to our world-famous gallery. If you don’t want your picture included (freak) don’t enter.
- We’ll run this until this Sunday, August 24th at 11:59PM ET
- The BlackBerry Bolds in the photo are not the units you will be receiving. You will be receiving a brand new Bold in box that is locked to the requested carrier.
UPDATE: Wow, we’ve got almost 200 entries already! But! You need to comment also, people.
Take this for what you will, but one of our ninjas tipped us off to an iPhone ad currently being Portugal by wireless carrier Optimus, which is a subsidiary of Orange. According to the ad, Optimus is going to be offering the iPhone 3G with a monthly tariff on both post and pre-paid accounts. Yep, you read that one correctly. While AT&T has explicitly said that they will not be offering the new iPhone 3G with any sort of pre-paid options, it looks like other carriers are reserving the option to provide the handset without a lengthy contract. The ad doesn’t give any indication as to what we might expect the unsubsidized pricing to be, but we’re working hard to dig up that info. Unfortunately, we’re not expecting any miracles here on the US side of things, as AT&T has been very explicit about the contractual requirements of the iPhone agreements. Remember when the rest of the world was madly trying to import American iPhones? Things might be going the other way this time around.
In move that would be very welcome over here in the States, it looks like Orange France might be offering incentives to attract current iPhone owners to the next generation device. Apparently, the company is offering current iPhone owners a new 3G iphone for 50 Euros if they trade in their old device. Current users wishing to upgrade and hold on to their current handset can expect “generous subsidies”. Orange hasn’t released any official statement on the matter, so we’re not sure how widespread the incentive program may be, but if any other global iPhone carriers want to jump on the subsidy bandwagon, we’d be all for it.
Read [Link is in French]