Tag Archives | Phones

Technologizer Predictions: What Could Be in 2009

Technologizer PredictionsBack on December 31st, I asked the Technologizer community to make technology-related predictions for the year ahead. You made scads of them–from ones that seem like sure bets for 2009 to ones that might never come to be. Highlights follow after the jump–thanks to everyone who contributed. Once 2010 rolls around, let’s rate the accuracy of these predictions, then start prognosticating all over again. 

Oh, and we have a winner for the Seagate FreeAgent XTreme external desktop hard drive I promised to give away in a random drawing. It goes to Dave Moyer–congratulations!

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SlingPlayer Mobile: Coming Soon to an iPhone Near You

slinglogoSling Media’s Slingbox TV place-shifting box was meant to hook up with the iPhone. (Which is a self-serving thing of me to say–I own a Slingbox and an iPhone, and one of the things I miss about my old AT&T Tilt phone is the ability to watch stuff stored on my TiVo back home on it.) So I’m tickled that Sling is demoing an iPhone edition of its SlingPlayer Mobile software this week at Macworld Expo. It says it’ll finish it up by the end of this quarter. I’m a little worried about just how quickly streaming live TV over the iPhone 3G’s Internet connection will drain my battery down to zero–but I’m still looking forward to getting my hands on it.


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A Few Details About Palm’s New Phone?

CrunchGear is reporting just enough rumor about the first phone based on Palm’s upcoming “Nova” OS to be tantalizing but unsatisfying: It’ll supposedly have a slide-out keyboard and a software store. And the new OS is said to be “amazing.” I’m looking forward to Thursday’s Palm event at CES, when all–or at least more than nothing, which is what we know for sure now–will be revealed…


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Next Stop for iPhone OS and Android: Computers?

iPhone OS LaptopTwo new rumors this week are different in the details but share an interesting overarching theme: TechCrunch is reporting that Apple is working on an iPhone OS-based tablet computer that’s essentially a giant iPod Touch for release this fall, and VentureBeat has a fascinating post that not only shows Google’s Android OS running on an Asus Eee PC but says the OS is hardwired to run on netbooks, and that Android netbooks will likely show up in 2010. We don’t know for sure that Apple will ever release more computer-like devices based on iPhone OS or that Android will migrate to laptops, but both ideas are utterly plausible. More plausible, in fact, than the possibility that both OSes will stay phone-only forever.

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Wal-Mart to Sell the iPhone: Nothing to See Here

walmartiphoneIt’s felt all but official for weeks, but now it’s officially official: Wal-Mart will begin selling iPhones on Sunday. The one thing that was intriguing about the rumor version of this news was the theory that it would offer a 4GB version for $99. But as I suspected, the retailing behemoth will sell the same 8GB and 16GB models as everyone else. (At a tiny discount–the 8GB will be $197 and the $16GB will be $297.)

As of Sunday, iPhones will now available at Apple Stores, AT&T stores, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart. And I hope that this marks the end of it being worth of note when Apple lines up additional retailers. (It does feel inevitable that RadioShack will join the lineup eventually, given that it currently sells both iPods and phones.)


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Can Nova Save Palm?

mancallednovaBusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows has a good piece up on Palm’s upcoming next-generation phone operating system, which is code-named “Nova.” The story doesn’t give away any real details on the new platform, other than to confirm that it’ll be unveiled at CES next month. (I’ll be at the event  and will liveblog it here at Technologizer.) But as recent articles about Palm go, it’s surprisingly upbeat, pointing out that Palm product chief Jon Rubenstein was a key player at Apple during that company’s unexpected comeback, and that he’s hired lots of smart folks to pump life back into Palm’s ailing, aging product lineup.

Palm may have gone through extended, public agony trying to come up with an all-new OS for its phones, but it’s effectively clamped down on leaks about its look, feel, and functionality. That sets up its CES launch for one of two likely scenarios: a consensus that Nova is surprisingly good and possibly worth the interminable wait, or one that it’s a disappointing laggard that won’t revive Palm’s fortunes. I’m not betting on any scenario, but as a longtime Palm customer who still feels a twinge of guilt for having abandoned its products, I’d certainly be tickled if reality was closer to the first one.

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Apple Patentmania: 31 Years of Big Ideas

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Apple may be famously secretive, but there’s one guy the company has been confiding in for more than three decades now. That would be its Uncle Sam, in the form of the U.S. Patent Office. The company’s patent filings are a remarkable record of Apple’s brainstorms, from its biggest blockbusters to its most humbling flops to concepts that never got off the drawing board. The thirty-eight images that follow include multiple examples of all of the above. Click on the filing dates, and you’ll go to the patents where the drawings originated, mostly at the indispensable and addictive Google Patents.


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AT&T’s Web Site Starts Selling iPhones Again

iphonestampGood news, and just in time for those of you who were planning to dole out one or more iPhones for the holidays, or gift one to yourself: The AT&T Wireless site is now letting you buy iPhone 3Gs online. It’s the first time you’ve been able to do the whole transaction without leaving the house since the original iPhone, which both AT&T and Apple sold online, made way for the 3G.

The 3G’s move to a more traditional carrier subsidy model meant that you needed to get the phone activated in person; AT&T did offer a two-step transaction that involved starting the sale online and then sealing the deal at a store. But now it’s apparently figured out how to do the activation for purely online sales. Which is not surprising considering that it does that for plenty of other phone models.

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This isn’t the same unique, exceptionally consumer-friendly situation that existed with the first iPhone, in which you could buy a shrinkwrapped iPhone and then handle the service signup at your leisure (or give the phone to someone else). The phone’s associated with your account as part of the sale process. But hey, it’s a step in the right direction.

As I write, Apple’s Web site is still directing customers to Apple anf AT&T retail outlets to buy an iPhone, but you gotta figure that online sales via the Apple Store are also on their way.

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How Low Can iPhones Go? Wal-Mart Says $99. Maybe. (Actually, I Kind of Doubt It.)

walmartiphoneBoy Genius Report, which has a pretty good record for reporting stuff about phones before anybody else, has posted about the possibility of a $99 4GB iPhone to be sold exclusively by Wal-Mart. It does look like Wal-Mart will become the fourth iPhone seller (after Apple itself, AT&T, and Best Buy). But Boy Genius goes to pains to say that the $99 bit is a rumor from a source of unproven reliability. And as I think about it, it seems unlikely.

For one thing, I’m not sure how well the math works: At the moment, an 8GB iPhone is $199 and a 16GB one is $299. That’s a $100 premium for an extra 8GB of memory, so it’s not clear that reducing the memory by 4GB would save Apple and Wal-Mart enough to slash the price of an entry-level iPhone by $100. And a $99 iPhone would be big news and a big hit–I have trouble believing that Apple would allow Wal-Mart to rack up all those sales and deny its own stores, AT&T ones, and Best Buy to get in on the action.

Then there’s the fact that a $99 4GB iPhone would represent a major cutback in the phone’s capability to hit a low price point. That’s certainly a Wal-Marty thing to do, but it sounds out of character for Apple, which stopped selling the 4GB iPhone (which originally sold for $499) as soon as it could.

I’m not saying it won’t happen. I’m just saying I can think of more reasons why it won’t happen than ones why it might. I do think, however, that there will be some sort of sub-$100 iPhone eventually–maybe one that’s a lot like current models, once component prices have come down and Apple has released a true next-generation iPhone or two. But not now. Probably.


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Vlingo: A New Way to Talk to Your iPhone

vlingoWe have an iPhone mini-trend on our hands: voice-controlled search. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Google’ clever Mobile App for the iPhone, which lets you perform Web and local searches by lifting the handset to your ear and talking. Today. Vlingo, the developers of a BlackBerry voice app, released a version for the iPhone. It’s both a direct competitor to Google’s offering and one that’s quite different in functionality, pros, and cons.

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