AT&T won’t offer Android-powered handsets any time soon

via Boy Genius Report by Zach Epstein on 11/7/08

The key to Android’s success in the US will undoubtedly be carrier adoption which is still the only effective way to sell handsets in this country – just ask Nokia how its Nseries and Eseries lines are doing here. One carrier however, just isn’t going to cut it. The T-Mobile partnership was a great move for both parties involved and it was a tremendous start to Google’s mobile OS efforts here in the US. T-Mobile was all for it as it brought them hype and exclusivity and Google was all for it as, well, it let them launch a handset. Google has a long road ahead of it on its way to becoming a successful player in the US market however, and having its OS publicly rejected by two of the four major US carriers was surely not a goal. First Sprint CEO Dan Hesse made the now-famous comment that Android isn’t “good enough to put the Sprint brand on,” and now AT&T has made a similar sentiment public. AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega told The San Fransisco Chronicle that while AT&T has been looking into Android for a while, it has no plans of offering an Android-powered handset any time soon. One of the reasons given, which may have been a nice little pot-shot at Google, was that Android needs to “open up more” and offer some “non-Google” applications. Burn. For de la Vega to publicly say that Google’s open OS needs to “open up more” isn’t a good sign. Hopefully next year when the app store is a but more flushed out AT&T will sing a different tune.

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HTC announces S740, think Touch Pro’s baby brother

via Boy Genius Report by The Boy Genius on 8/26/08

HTC Touch Diamond not working out for you? We get it, you want a physical QWERTY keyboard. Oh, Touch Pro a little too big? You want something a little more simpler, huh? Starting today, HTC looks to fill that gap. They’ve just announced the HTC S740 and it features the same styling as the Touch Diamond and Touch Pro, features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a numerical keyboard on the front. The only difference? It runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard. Here’s a run down of the specs:

  • 116.3 x 43.4 x 16.3 mm
  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • WCDMA/HSDPA: 900/2100 MHz (we’d guess there is a 850/1900MHz UMTS/HSDPA version in the works, supports HSDPA 3.6Mbps and HSDPA 7.2Mbps)
  • 2.4″ QVGA screen
  • 3.2 megapixel camera
  • Qualcomm® MSM7225, 528 MHz
  • 256MB flash ROM, 256MB RAM
  • microSD slot
  • 140g
  • 1000mAh battery
  • Wi-Fi b,g
  • aGPS
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • FM radio

Pretty much the most feature-packed Windows Mobile Standard device, no? Enjoy the pics while we phone up our HTC ninjas — we want this thing!

Adobe Unveils Photoshop.com Mobile Beta

via Boy Genius Report by Zach Epstein on 8/26/08

If there are two things that Adobe knows like the back of its collective hand, they are photos and mobile software. We don’t know anyone young or old who doesn’t automatically say “Photoshop” when someone mentions photo editing. As for mobile software, Flash Lite currently resides on over 500 million handsets and that figure will only grow. So when Abode told us that today it would be unveiling the first beta version of its photo-centric mobile software, we can’t say we were surprised. After a demo however, we were also pretty excited. In a nutshell, the initial offering of Photoshop.com Mobile will be the third leg in a trifecta of account syncing – allowing you to capture and automatically (or manually) upload images from your mobile phone and have them sync between your mobile, Photoshop Express (online) and Photoshop Elements 7. In other words, your photos are automatically synced across mobile, cloud and desktop / laptop even as you edit and save them. Awesome! If you think that’s not a big deal, go ask Apple how it’s doing with MobileMe. From Francisco Kattan, director, Product Marketing and Developer Relations, Mobile and Device Solutions at Adobe:

With the rising popularity of camera phones and rich Flash based mobile applications, Adobe is giving consumers the ability to share their mobile photos at any time. With Photoshop.com Mobile Adobe is taking the first step to deliver on the promise of rich multi-screen experiences that seamlessly work on the desktop, in the browser and on mobile devices.

When it launches toward the end of September, Photoshop.com Mobile will be available for the following six Windows Mobile devices: Samsung Blackjack I, Samsung Blackjack II, Motorola MOTO Q 9h, MOTO Q Music 9m, Palm Treo 700 w/wx, and Palm Treo 750. More Windows Mobile handsets will be supported by year end 2008 but don’t fret if you don’t have a Windows handset. Adobe has a couple of partnerships in the works including Photoshop Express support for ShoZu that will make certain aspects of the mobile portion of their service available to hoards of additional handsets. Of course this might not offer the same rich experience as its Flash Lite-based Photoshop.com Mobile app but it will defintiely tide us over until more versions are launched. In terms of pricing, the Photoshop.com Basic account which offers 5 GB of storage is completely free while a Photoshop.com Plus membership offers more services such as templates and interactive online albums along with 20 GB of online storage for $49.99.

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Are iPhone 3Gs developing cracks?

via Engadget by Thomas Ricker on 7/30/08

In what appears to be an increasingly common problem, hairline cracks are beginning to form on Apple’s new iPhone 3G. While most of the cracks are reportedly affecting the white model, this is likely due to the increased visibility of the dark fracture on the white case as opposed to any differences in materials between the white and black units. At the moment, the issue seems largely cosmetic and doesn’t appear to interfere with the operation of the phone. Now bust out the magnifying glass and let us know if you’re seeing the same.

Update: Reader Darius shows off a whisker crack on his kid-glove handled black iPhone 3G with the help of some blue lighting — meow. See it after the break.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

Samsung launches BlackJack III — in South Korea

via Engadget Mobile by Chris Ziegler on 7/21/08

Sorry if we got your hopes up for a second there, AT&Ters; we’re still not sure if this one’s ever coming to the US, and today is most definitely not the day. Instead, the SCH-M480, which appears to be alternately known as the BlackJack III and Ultra Messaging 2, has been launched on Korea’s own SK Telecom for something in the range of 600,000 won (about $592). The Windows Mobile 6 Professional handset is a dead ringer for the i780 that’s been launched for a few months now, featuring a lovely 320 x 320 touchscreen, HSDPA, WiFi, and a 2 megapixel camera; not really a direct successor to the BlackJack II since the latter runs Standard, but we could still see a whole host of folks going for the upgrade — if it ever comes to AT&T, that is.

Separately, Boy Genius Report is claiming that AT&T will be getting its very own BlackJack III come October of this year, albeit with a 3 megapixel camera, up from the 2 megapixel sensor seen here. With these fancy new pink and blue versions of the BlackJack II, though, who the heck needs it? We kid, we kid.

[Via Pocket PC Thoughts]

Read – Ultra Messaging II
Read – US BlackJack III in October?

Number port stats suggest curious trends in iPhone 3G launch

via Engadget Mobile by Chris Ziegler on 7/22/08

Sure, Apple alleges to have flipped over a million iPhone 3Gs at this point, but what does that mean? The devil’s in the details, as always; yes, true, the first one took 74 days to reach that same milestone, but it was available in less than one-twentieth the number of countries and an even smaller fraction of carriers. Hell, the very definition of “sale” is under scrutiny here, with some suggesting that Apple’s making reference to the number of phones it’s sold to its carrier partners, not end users — a metric that would make sense from Cupertino’s perspective since Apple’s payday technically ends there.

Here’s where it gets interesting — Engadget has obtained a handful of stats regarding number ports in and out of T-Mobile USA handled by a national wholesaler. Specifically, we have data surrounding the launch of the first-gen iPhone and the iPhone 3G, and get this: of more than 1,000 ports in total, ports to AT&T represented under 40 percent of the firm’s total outflow in the days surrounding the 3G’s launch, versus nearly 70 percent the last time around. Furthermore, they took roughly the same number of inbound ports from AT&T during the same period, meaning that T-Mobile effectively lost no net ground due to the 3G’s launch. Granted, the porting stats from a single wholesaler represent just a microcosm of the big picture, but even accounting for some loss of precision when you extrapolate that data, you’re looking at a pretty significant downturn in interest from T-Mobile subscribers. We still think Apple’s probably laughing all the way to the bank either way — and iPhone 3Gs are sold out virtually everywhere right now — but you’ve got to wonder if AT&T’s not freaking out a little bit at the number of new subscribers it managed to entice, and whether its competitors are all breathing cautious sighs of relief at some surprisingly reasonably churn rates.

LG’s Chocolate 3 doesn’t melt during hands-on

via Engadget by Darren Murph on 7/11/08

Wait, Verizon actually decided it would be a good idea to make official a cellphone today? Oh yeah, that’s right — the Chocolate 3 was announced with a Sunday availability date today, but for those hoping to see the wrapper unfold a few days early, today’s your lucky day. The cats over at Laptop were able to acquire the new flip and test it out ever-so-briefly, and while initial impressions seemed rather positive, we reckon it’s the photos you’re really after. Dig into the read link for the full gallery.

Palm’s Treo 800w being received, hands-on pics to prove it

via Engadget by Darren Murph on 7/11/08

Last we knew, a 436-page Treo 800w manual popped up from deep within the confines of Sprint. Fast forward a few days, and a few diehards are already trumpeting the receipt of their precious new Palm. Yep, that handset you see above is indeed the 800w, and if you care to ask some early adopters how things are going, feel free to hit the read link and surf on over to the forums.

iPhone 3G and firmware 2.0: the day after

via Engadget by Chris Ziegler on 7/12/08

So many of you are probably still in your jammies, reveling in the afterglow of yesterday’s purchase, repeatedly opening Maps on your glossy new iPhone 3G and watching in exaggerated wonderment as your location is determined with frightening speed and accuracy. Others might be standing in a line snaking hundreds of bodies long into your friendly local Apple Store, reading this post from the comfort of your Motorola RAZR V3 and realizing that these are some of the last moments you’ll be using a physical keypad. Still others are bemused by the fuss — but whatever your stance on the phone, it’s pretty hard to ignore the buzz that’s floating around in the aftermath of day zero. Here are some of the goings-on we’re tracking:

  • The masses of humanity continue to collect. Massive stock shortages don’t seem to be an issue (yet), but patience is not a virtue we hold dear to our hearts, so we really can’t blame these people.
  • Some buyers are reporting a yellow tint to their screens — probably not enough to notice without another unit side-by-side for comparison, but real nonetheless. Of course, the first iPhone suffered from the occasional crappy backlight, bum touchscreen, or negative black, so we wouldn’t be surprised if a few lame displays made it out of the factory floor for this model as well; we’re following up with Apple on this and we should have more for you later today.
  • We took the iPhone 3G on a decent drive around New York, and found its tracking to be impeccable. In a situation where we might have veered off the path following Google Maps directions, the blue blip kept us right on track. Despite what you’ve read (we’re looking at you, Mr. Pogue), we see no technical reason that the aGPS can’t provide turn-by-turn directions, provided there’s software to take advantage of it.
  • There are some complaints floating around about 3G reception, but it’s been just fine on our review units around the world so far. How’s it treating you out in [your location here]?
  • iphone-dev has a video up of BootNeuter going about its business on a first-gen iPhone that’s been upgraded to firmware 2.0, and the process is looking as slick and painless as ever. Unlockers who haven’t shelled out for the 3G, commence your salivating.
  • MobileMe seems like it’s up for the moment, but don’t breathe too hard lest you bring the whole thing down again.


Update:
We just spoke with Bob Borchers, senior director of product marketing for the iPhone, and he had some very interesting info regarding the “yellow screen” phenomenon we’ve been hearing about. According to Bob (and Apple), the screen’s color temperature has been purposely altered on the new iPhone to produce warmer, more natural tones, sharper images, and deeper blacks. The company says that 1st gen iPhone screens appeared colder and less defined, and they made some adjustments for the new models. In our opinion, what he says is right on — the screens do look better on the iPhone 3G versus the older variety. What do you guys think?

SHIFT: What if cellphones cause cancer?

via DVICE by S.E. Kramer on 7/3/08

cancer_phone.jpg

The concern that there may be a connection between cellphones and cancer has been around for years — the first lawsuits that tried to make the connection were filed in the mid-1990s. There are many studies out there that have found no correlation between the two, and some more recent ones that have.

Additionally, many people criticize the studies that let cellphones off the hook, as it were, arguing that the technology has just not been around long enough for us to know for sure either way. After all, we don’t expect people who have smoked for only a few years to have developed lung cancer. Yet.

I’m not here to argue that cellphones cause cancer. I have no evidence to contribute, just an ardent hope that scientists will continue to study the subject rigorously. Instead, I want to ask the question that I haven’t seen addressed anywhere else: What if cellphones do indeed put us at risk for cancer? What if some years from now it’s shown that using a cellphone for 35 years doubles, triples or quadruples your risk for brain cancer (or cancer of the salivary gland, perhaps)? If the results were concrete, but the government didn’t intervene, would you stop using your cellphone? Could we live without mobile phones and, even given some risk, would we want to? Is it possible to go back to landlines, or are cellphones so important now (already!) to our quality of life that we’d be willing to take enormous risks to continue to use them? Click Continue to follow my thought experiment through to a few troubling conclusions.

We Don’t Know — Really
On technology websites, where the bent is usually pro-product (iPhone!), critics can get especially harsh when anyone mentions the word “cancer.” But even our government, which is under pressure from an enormous pro-cellphone industry lobby, maintains that not enough is known to debunk the connection. Here’s what the National Cancer Institute has to say on the subject of the possible cellphone/cancer connection:

“Brain tumors develop over many years. Scientists have been unable to follow cellular-telephone users consistently for the amount of time it might take for a brain tumor to develop. Although research has not consistently demonstrated a link between cellular telephone use and cancer, scientists still caution that more research needs to be done before conclusions can be drawn.”

The FDA has not gone so far as to make any recommendations about your cellphone use, though it does note that if it’s something you’re concerned about, you might want to keep conversations short and get an earpiece. Other governments have gone further: in 2000 the British government recommended that parents limit their children’s cellphone use.

But What If We Did?
As with everything, if cellphones carried with them an increased risk for cancer, it would be along a spectrum of risk. At its most extreme, we might discover that everyone who uses a cellphone heavily for more than X years will die. Period. In that case, cellphones would be outlawed.

But few things in life are shown to have that sort of correlation with death — some people even survive long-term heroin use, which is illegal, never mind risks that the government allows us to take (or can’t regulate) like drinking, sun exposure, obesity, smoking, motorcycle driving and unprotected sex with strangers. Given our government’s current attitude towards science (it can’t even agree about global warming or evolution), it’s unlikely that even a slew of fairly convincing studies would persuade the government to rip phones away from our at-risk skulls. The onus would be on us to make a decision about whether the risk of giving up our landlines for the convenience of cellphones (as I have) is worth taking.

Yes, more studies would probably make us upset, but upset enough to hand in our BlackBerries, Treos, RAZRs and iPhones? I wouldn’t bet on it, though perhaps soon cellphones, like cigarettes, will be for the 18+ crowd only — those old enough to know what risk-taking is.

If there were a known risk, I would probably still keep my phone. Is it my inability to think in the long term, or have I just let go of any organizational skills that would make it possible for me to function without a cellphone? Probably the latter. I find this knowledge upsetting, but if it were shown that cellphones increased your risk for brain cancer by five times (instead of, say, doubling a risk for something that’s already very rare), I might just be able to get an address book and landline up and running again.

Headsets: Not a Panacea
My editor encouraged me to say that one easy way to solve the whole cellphone/cancer problem — should it exist — would be for everyone to use a headset. Since Bluetooth technology may pose risks similar to those present in cellphones, the headsets that would help you sleep best at night would be of the kind that attaches to your phone via a long, dorky wire. Those wires would be helpful, and might help to stave off a move from society away from mobile and back to landline technology.

But let’s say that cellphones were shown to triple your risk of brain cancer. Would you really want to carry one around in your pants pocket, even with a headset attached? In addition to worrying about problems with your brain, you might have to worry about the phone’s effect on your sperm count. If something is shown to cause cancer in your head, it no longer becomes quite as fun to carry around in your pocket, or as convenient to give to your children.

Cellphones: Force of Good
When we think of cellphones in society, it’s easy to just think of the negatives — loud chiming in movie theaters, overhearing inappropriate conversations in buses, the new tendency of our friends avoid making plans until the very last minute (and when they do, not to bother to look up directions until they’re on their way) and mobile phone-related car crashes. But if cellphones were just a nuisance, they wouldn’t be as popular as they are.

Even if it’s eventually shown that the phones clearly increase our risk for cancer, there are some strong arguments to keep them around. In emergencies, they’re invaluable. If a car hits you, strangers with cellphones can call an ambulance immediately. Assuming that you’re knocked out but your phone has survived, they can also contact your family for you. Even given a proven risk, it would be tempting to continue using a cellphone since though it may kill you slowly; it’s the easiest way for you to contact 911. But unless you had one of those phones with a very cheap plan that can only call 911, it would always be tempting to use the “emergency” phone for less-than-critical calls.

What Would It Take to Make You Change?
What about you? Do you avoid holding a phone up to your ear, like these prominent neurosurgeons do? How much proven risk would push you to give up your cellphone entirely? What if instead of doubling your chance for cancer, the phone only increased it by 20%? Is that an acceptable risk? Or in that case would you expect to die from lung cancer or in a car crash long before other health problems kick in? All this writing has convinced me to go out and find a headset good enough that I might actually use it. And to up the amount of texts I can send a month. Not that there’s necessarily a good reason to do either. That I know about. Yet