Computerworld is reporting that Apple, Inc. is reneging on the initial claim that “all the iPad 3G models are unlocked,” as the Cupertino company will be SIM-locking the Japanese version of the iPad 3G to WCDMA carrier Softbank Mobile. Softbank, currently the exclusive vendor of iPhones in The Land of the Rising Sun, will purportedly be selling the iPad 3G subsidized with a price tag comparable to other unlocked international versions of the device. In Japan, the practice of SIM-locking is far more commonplace — and stringent — than here in the States. Carriers are not required to, and therefore don’t, offer unlock codes to their customers and third-party unlocking services are, for the most part, non-existent. Apple’s decision to reverse course in the eleventh hour is not likely to win over the hearts and minds of potential iPad 3G buyers in Japan still on the fence — especially those who prefer a rival WCDMA network such as NTT DoCoMo. The iPad 3G is scheduled to go on sale in Japan on May 28th. More →
Windows Mobile fans take note — 30 new handsets powered by your mobile OS of choice will supposedly be debuting before you again sing a drunken version of Auld Lang Syne. Benjamin Tan, senior director of the GCR Mobile Team Unit at Microsoft China, let loose the rumor that an avalanche of new Windows Mobile 6.5 handsets from HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson, Acer, Toshiba, HP and more will be released in the waning months of 2009. Carriers who have jumped on board this Window Mobile bonanza include AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone, NTT DoCoMO, Softbank Mobile, SKT, Telstra and Telus. Bottom line: no matter where you are located or what you prefer in a smartphone, there will apparently be a Windows Phone to suit your needs in 2009.
The iPhone 3G might be selling like hotcakes here in the US but it looks like other countries may be a bit reluctant to hand over standard functionality such as MMS and copy/paste in exchange for the smooth touchscreen ride the iPhone affords. According to a press release issued by SoftBank Mobile early this morning, the Japanese carrier is preparing to introduce some unheard-of pricing for the iPhone 3G — free. And you thought $99 was a good deal… Starting Friday and extending though the end of May, SoftBank’s “iPhone for everybody Campaign” will offer the iPhone 3G 8GB for free or the iPhone 3G 16GB for $117 to new subscribers. There is a mandatory 2-year contract involved of course, and but the iPhone data plan will run $44.75 per month as opposed to the standard $60. So basically, new SoftBank subscribers are looking at an instant savings of around $230 on either iPhone 3G model — standard pricing is $230 for the 8GB and $350 for the 16GB — and they’re saving over $15 each month on data. Ok AT&T, what’s up?