HTC Thunderbolt to have simultaneous voice and data over 3G

As previously rumored, the HTC Thunderbolt will apparently support simultaneous voice and data over 3G thanks to it’s MDM9600 multi-modem radio. Nothing is 100% official yet but according to the picture above the feature is going to be fully supported or advertised by Verizon and is more of a proof of concept for now.

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HTC Saga Android flagship device in the wild again

HTC’s upcoming flagship Android smartphone, dubbed the HTC Saga (or probably the HTC Desire 2), has been shot in the wild again today. As seen in the picture above, the device looks fairly similar to HTC’s recently released handsets which are not really spectacular in my opinion. The HTC Saga is expected to be officially unveiled during MWC in a few weeks.

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Motorola Xoom Superbowl TV ad takes aim at Apple’s system

Motorola is bringing the heat to the tablet market this year. The Motorola Xoom TV ad named “Goodbye 1984″ is a direct attack towards Apple’s closed system. The same can somewhat be said about Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 / Zune / Xbox 360 but given their irrelevant marketshare they are probably not worth mentioning I guess (MS also doesn’t have any Tablet / Slate answer until Windows 8). Anyway, check out the teaser after the break:

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LG Optimus 3D pictured in the wild

The LG Optimus 3D Android smartphone which is set to be unveiled on February 14th at MWC just got shot in the wild for the first time by mister blurry-cam. The device sport a 4.3inch LCD 3D and what looks like the same hardware specifications as the LG Optimus 2X (Tegra 2 SoC etc). I’m going to get my hands-on with the device at MWC and make sure to shoot some nice videos of it in action (even though the 3D effect won’t really show up in videos..)

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Windows Phone 7 off to a really bad start in the US

Crappy marketing equals crappy sales. There’s no way around this and today’s NPD report should give you an insight on why Microsoft doesn’t want to report phone activation numbers and only talks about license sales: Windows Phone 7 entered the market with a lower share than either Android or WebOS at their debuts and has been outsold by Windows Mobile 6.X devices in Q4 2010. Now that’s not really good at all. Windows Phone 7 is credited with only 2% of the US smartphone share while Android (which I admit is a relatively mature platform now) is at 53% and has even surpassed Symbian worldwide.

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HTC 7 Mozart headed to T-Mobile US

The latest rumor making the rounds this weekend is pointing at an imminent launch of the HTC 7 Mozart on T-Mobile in the US. As of right the only Windows Phone 7 device is sold by the carrier is the HTC HD7 (the Dell Venue Pro is also exclusive to TMo but only sold by Dell and at Microsoft’s Stores) so it should come as no surprise that another WP7 devices is on the way. But don’t get your hopes up for 4G/ HSPA+ support because the QSD8250 SoC powering the device only supports HSDPA 7.2Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps Data Speed (full specifications here).

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Developing for Windows Phone 7 can be a painful experience

Here’s an really interesting reality check that will help you cut through the PR talk about the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. Microsoft and its supporters (I’m one of them but I’m not blind) love to boast about the 7000+ apps currently available and the 2K+ registered developers. Unfortunately, just like in Apple’s Appstore case, everything isn’t rosy. The certification process is seriously flawed. How many totally buggy and unusable applications are currently certified? Tons of them! Even so called “featured applications” like IMDB or AP Mobile suffer from serious bugs since October and have never been updated/fixed. Anyway, what’s even worst than certifying unusable applications it’s the fact that MS is rejecting updates that are meant to fix buggy applications! Here’s the story of Shawn Wildermuth, who’s a Microsoft MVP and developer of several WP7 applications (note that he also was really active prior to the platform launch with great WP7 dev tutorials). He finally decided to pull out his GooNews application from the Marketplace and no longer update or support his other apps because of Microsoft abyssal support:

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Windows Phone 7 certified Micro-SD from PNY unveiled..maybe not

The ongoing Windows Phone 7 Micro-SD  support saga has now taken a new turn with the appearance of the first Windows Phone 7 certified Micro-SD 32GB card from PNY. Back in November, SanDisk posted a list of WP7 Samsung Focus certified cards , then took it down for no apparent reason and nothing was heard ever since on this subject. Keep in mind that Windows Phone 7 doesn’t “support” removable micro-sd cards and that doing so will void your devices warranty unless you have a Samsung Focus which has a user accessible slot.

UPDATE:Well scrap that. The only thing Windows Phone 7 compatible are the pre-loaded movies on the card not the micro-sd…. marketing lameness..

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HTC Thunderbolt launching on February 24th ?

Verizon’s first LTE smartphone, the HTC Thunderbolt, is now rumored to launch on February 24th for $249 on a 2-year contract, $329 on 1-year contract and $599 unlocked. The HTC Thunderbolt will be in direct competition with the iPhone 4 launching 14 days earlier but will apparently boast one single feature that is sure to make all Apple fans envious: simultaneous Data and Voice thanks to the LTE radio. In terms of hardware specifications the Thunderbolt is basically an HTC Deisre HD with a front facing camera and LTE modem.

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Android event taking place on February 2nd

Google has just sent out invites for a special Android event on February 2nd to formerly introduce Android 3.0 aka Honeycomb to the press. The tablet oriented OS was first shown a couple of weeks ago during the D conference and later during CES when the Motorola Xoom was unveiled. Unfortunately the public and members of the press weren’t allowed to try it out so next weeks event will be the first time people outside of Google and its OEMs finally take a in-depth peek at Honeycomb. Sure you can already “try it out” through the SDK emulator but nothing beats using an OS on an actual device. Google will also hopefully tells us what are their plans for Android 3.0 on smartphones because as of right now the latest official word from the company is that people shouldn’t expect to see it appear on handsets before the end of the year. The next smartphone oriented version is supposedly Android 2.4 aka Ice Cream Sandwich.

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Sony takes aim at Windows Phone 7′s Xbox Live and XNA framework

You have probably all seen or heard of Sony’s Next Generation Portable PSP2 announcement yesterday. I won’t go into details about the device itself but will just point out that this thing is really a monster in terms of raw hardware specifications and power. Sony has in my opinion done an outstanding job this time around but one of the most interesting part of the event was the announcement of the PlayStation Suite framework for Android 2.3 devices and the PSP2 NGP that directly targets Microsoft’s XNA framework and Xbox Live service. So what is really the PlayStation Suite? It is many things:

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Windows Phone 7 developers newsletter: Payouts starting today and updates coming soon

Microsoft has just sent out a mail to all registered Windows Phone 7 developers a few minutes ago detailing some of the upcoming changes and updates to the platform. Payouts have finally started and developers have apparently already received money on their bank accounts a few days ago. Microsoft also reiterated the fact that the platform is going to receive updates in the coming months but didn’t really detail anything beyond copy/past and faster app loading. Hopefully the company is also planning on securing the Marketplace…:

First Windows Phone 7 Developer Payouts Processed
We are very happy to announce that all developer payouts have been processed this month as promised on December 9. If you haven’t received your payments yet, make sure you provided us with your bank and tax information. Please note that developer payouts will only be processed for those who reached the U.S. $200 payout threshold. More information on payouts eligibility can be found here.

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Button-less HTC Android smartphone out in the wild too

It’s leaking today…Hot on the heals of the mysterious HTC device spotted in the metro he comes the recently rumored at Pocketnow button-less HTC Android device posing in the wild too. The back of the device looks identical to the ugly HTC Incredible and the front shows that there’s no hardware buttons, unless there are capacitive and only light up when the phone is on (that would be stupid…). I really wonder how that thing will work given that Android relies heavily on the phones hardware buttons to access all the applications and device menus.The phone is also Verizon branded like the Incredible. More pictures after the break:

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HTC’s upcoming flagship Android phone snapped in the wild

Here are the first live pictures of HTC’s upcoming flagship Android phone ( HTC Saga or HTC Desire 2) that will probably be officially unveiled next month during MWC in Barcelona. The device was snapped in the Taiwanese metro and looks similar to the latest HTC devices released in the past months. I do admit that I’m not really fond of HTC’s new design style but I4m probably in the minority here. Anyway,not much is known about it but I’m willing to bet that it packs an MSM8255 and Android 2.3. More pictures after the break:

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Dell plans to launch more Windows Phone 7 handsets this year alongside Android 3.0 tablets

BBC reporter Tim Weber just had a chat with Michael Dell at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier today and was told that the company will launch several Windows Phone 7 devices and that demand for the Venue Pro was exceeding their expectations:

Windows Phone 7: Michael Dell tells me demand for these phones is higher than Dell can supply, but guards “we don’t make *that* many”. Michael Dell, btw, was carrying two Dell phones, 1 Windows Ph7, 1 Android; said Dell would launch several new WinPh7 models

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Samsung Galaxy S 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 to be announced on February 13th

Nothing really surprising here but according tot the event planning document posted above Samsung is set to launch not only Samsung Galaxy S 2 but also the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2  (Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Galaxy Tab II) on February 13th in Barcelona just ahead of MWC. Still haven’t received my Samsung invite for this event yet but will obviously have tons of videos and pictures of both devices once I get my hands-on there ( Sony Ericsson’s invitation indicates that their event will take place around the same time on the 13th so it’s going to be a bit tricky to cover both events given that I’m alone..).

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Android 3.0 SDK Preview released

Google has just released a preview of the Android 3.0 SDK that can be downloaded right now for all you Android developers out there looking to build applications for the soon to be released Honeycomb tablets. Here’s what’s new in the SDK:

- An early Android 3.0 system image for use in the Android emulator
- An Android 3.0 library with non-final APIs
- A new WXGA emulator skin for an extra large Android Virtual Device
- New documentation for Android 3.0, including a complete API reference, new developer guides, and an API differences report between Android 3.0 and 2.3.

UI framework for creating great apps for larger screen devices: Developers can use a new UI components, new themes, richer widgets and notifications, drag and drop, and other new features to create rich and engaging apps for users on larger screen devices.

High-performance 2D and 3D graphics: A new property-based animation framework lets developers add great visual effects to their apps. A built-in GL renderer lets developers request hardware-acceleration of common 2D rendering operations in their apps, across the entire app or only in specific activities or views. For adding rich 3D scenes, developers take advantage of a new 3D graphics engine called Renderscript.

Support for multicore processor architectures: Android 3.0 is optimized to run on either single- or dual-core processors, so that applications run with the best possible performance.

Rich multimedia: New multimedia features such as HTTP Live streaming support, a pluggable DRM framework, and easy media file transfer through MTP/PTP, give developers new ways to bring rich content to users.

New types of connectivity: New APIs for Bluetooth A2DP and HSP let applications offer audio streaming and headset control. Support for Bluetooth insecure socket connection lets applications connect to simple devices that may not have a user interface.

Enhancements for enterprise
: New administrative policies, such as for encrypted storage and password expiration, help enterprise administrators manage devices more effectively.

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Google plans to improve the Android Market in the coming months

Unhappy with the current state of the Android market, Google is planning to introduce several improvements this year to help third-party developers sell more applications. There’s no denying that the market is somewhat of a mess right now and far from being on the same level of the iOS or even Windows Phone 7 Marketplace in terms of user experience and especially application discovery (and when I mean applications I’m talking about real genuine great applications which are buried under tons of crap). Here’s what’s apparently coming:

- In-app payments system similar to what’s currently available on iOS.

- Carrier billing: Already available on some carriers all over the world (same for Windows Phone 7) but Google wishes to have more carriers on board.

- Improve user discovery of apps in Market.

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Over 2 Million Windows Phone 7 devices sold to carriers and retailers

Microsoft doesn’t seem to want to communicate on the end-user sales numbers but has indicated today that 2 Million Windows Phone 7 devices have been sold to carriers and retailers in Q4 2010. This is 500K more than the latest announced number in December but obviously still way behind it’s main competitors (iPhone and Android):

“We’re still in the early stages,” Microsoft Senior Product Manager Greg Sullivan told Mobilized in a phone interview on Wednesday. “When people use this phone, they really, really like it.”

Microsoft will definitely have to answer lots of questions about Windows Phone 7 sales and forecasts tomorrow during its Q2 2011 earnings conference call. But keep in mind that Microsoft only sells Licenses to OEMs not phones. This is still a far cry from the projected 30 Million sales that Microsoft hopes to accomplish this year.

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