It's been a good six months since Research in Motion first announced the RIM BlackBerry Bold (aka RIM BlackBerry 9000). Originally slated for a summer release on AT&T, the launch date kept getting pushed back...and back. Frustrated with the delays and wooed by other new smartphone releases, we moved on (and so did many of you) and nearly gave up on the Bold. However, now that we finally have it hand, the love affair has begun all over again.
A short, but sweet, news bulletin for BlackBerry fans: on Wednesday, T-Mobile announced the immediate availability of the red RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 smartphone. It joins the black version, which has been on sale since October 13. You can get either colors for $149.99 with a two-year contract. The Pearl Flip is the first BlackBerry to sport a clamshell design. For more information, read our full review of the RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220.
If you're thinking of buying a T-Mobile G1, you might want to run to the nearest Wal-Mart instead of a T-Mobile store. According to CNNMoney.com, Wal-Mart will sell the first Google Android smartphone in 550 stores nationwide starting Wednesday and for a lower price.
T-Mobile currently sells the G1 for $179.99 with a two-year contract, but Wal-Mart will offer the device for $148.88 to new customers or current subscribers who are eligible for an upgrade. You'll, of course, still have to commit to a two-year service agreement.
Symbian, the U.K.-based maker of the world's most popular smartphone operating system, is going through big changes.
As well as being taken over by Nokia, the company is preparing to convert its closed code into open source.
ZDNet.co.uk caught up with Symbian's research chief, David Wood, at this week's Symbian Smartphone Show at Earls Court in London, to discuss the complications of such a process, as well as what the next few years hold for smartphone technology.
Q: It seems as though everyone is waiting for the Nokia takeover to happen before the code starts getting stripped. When is the acquisition likely to be completed? Wood: We expect the approval for the deal sometime in Q4 this year. It's not an exact science. It's been approved in most parts of the world that need to approve it, but there's a small number left. That will happen almost certainly this year, and that will then allow us to do some of the integration. We can't do any integration at all now--it's illegal. What we're doing now is a lot of planning, but no actual change in what we're doing.
In the first half of next year, the Symbian Foundation will be established. On day one, sometime in March or April, the first version of the Foundation software will become available.
What can we expect from that version? It won't be stripped of third-party code yet, will it? Wood: Correct. That will be available only to people who join the Foundation and who sign up to the Foundation license. There will be some parts that are open source.
So the Foundation license is not the open-source license. Wood: The Foundation license is very similar to the open-source license, but it allows the companies to share the code only within the Foundation. It's a community source license, with as much as possible in common with the eventual (open source) license that will take over.
There is some code available as open source from day one, but completion (of the open sourcing) will be sometime in 2010. It's a sensible engineering approach--a stage-by-stage release of the code.
I was speaking earlier to the chief executive of a software firm whose code is currently in Symbian. He said there was no problem in having some proprietary elements within open-sourced code, and that this was acceptable under the GNU General Public License. That doesn't sound right. Wood: We're not using the GPL--it's the EPL (Eclipse Public License). The EPL is indeed able to link to proprietary software. The GPL is less clear. In fact, a straight reading of the GPL says if you link to other software then that other software falls under the same license. Under the EPL, if you link to other software then there's no obligation on that other software to take the same license. EPL is weak "copyleft," whereas GPL is the most famous example of strong copyleft. So I agree with that part, that there could be code that's linked to. This is to encourage innovation.
We're not saying all software should be free of charge. We do realize that there will always be new, interesting software that people will want to monetize by selling for a license. If you change the Symbian code, that has to be given back--you can't hang onto that, so that's the copyleft part of this message.
But there is code from this company within Symbian's code--won't that have to be scraped out? Wood: Something has to be done, and I don't really want to talk about an individual case, but in principle several things could happen. We could throw money at a supplier, and we could say to them: "We will buy this off you in perpetuity and we will make it available." Or we could say we'll leave this outside the platform and we can put something else in instead. It won't be quite the same, and we might go back to the kind of offering that we had in previous versions of Symbian. It's always possible that someone else will come along and do comparable software and make that available. There should be plenty of ways for companies (whose code is currently within Symbian's code) to recoup their investment, either by selling the software (to Symbian), or by developing a better version and making that available for an additional fee. … Read more
Updated at 8:56 a.m. PDT with information about store availability.
After a slight delay, Sprint announced on Friday that the HTC Touch Pro will be available for purchase at Best Buy stores nationwide starting October 26 and will be available in all Sprint stores and online on November 2. The Touch Pro will cost $299.99 with a two-year contract (after a $100 mail-in-rebate and a $25 or higher data plan).
We know a lot of you have been waiting for this Windows Mobile smartphone, and it looks like we'll be getting our hands on the device … Read more
Q: What's the difference between portable navigation devices (PNDs) and smartphones with built-in GPS? Why do we have to pay for GPS service on smartphones, even they have built-in GPS antennas, whereas for in-car GPS, we don't need to pay a monthly subscription? Is there a smartphone which will also function as a PND that will avoid paying monthly subscription to mobile companies? --Wize Chap via e-mail
A: Wize Chap, I completely understand your confusion. On the surface, PNDs and GPS-enabled smartphones seem to offer the same services and navigation tools--maps, points of interest, turn-by-turn directions--so why in … Read more
There's been plenty of buzz and anticipation over the T-Mobile G1, dating back to the day when Google Android was first announced and the smartphone was known as the HTC Dream. What would the Android platform offer? What would the Google phone look like? Could it be better than the iPhone?
Well, we got our answer a few days ago, along with a number of other tech sites (check out TG Daily for a nice roundup), and I think it'd be fair to say we all came away with the same general consensus: lackluster design and not quite … Read more
The T-Mobile G1 is officially on sale now, but maybe you're still on the fence about it. What's Google Android all about? What's up with the design? Is it better than the iPhone 3G? Perhaps you're wondering which of these 3G smartphones is faster? Well, glad you asked.
In this quick Prizefight, CNET TV's Brian Tong and I pit the two against each other in a 3G speed test, clocking the time it takes for each device to load CNET News from start to finish. Now, there are a couple of things to remember. Both … Read more
This is it! This is the news we've been waiting for since May. On Wednesday, Research In Motion announced that the long-awaited RIM BlackBerry Bold will finally be available starting November 4 at AT&T for $299.99 with a two-year contract and after a mail-in rebate.
Though the smartphone was originally slated for a summer release, as we all painfully know, the Bold was delayed time and time again. Part of it was the lengthy carrier certification process and most recently, RIM said it held off on the release to make sure the 3G experience would be … Read more
On Tuesday, HP added two new iPaq smartphones to its portfolio. But before you go getting too attached, you should know that for the time being, they'll only be available in Europe. Partnering with Vodafone, the HP iPaq Data Messenger and the HP iPaq Voice Messenger will first be offered in the United Kingdom and then eventually make their way to the rest of Europe.