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 Eric Ogren
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News & Commentary Posts: 2323
Articles by Eric Ogren
posted in July 2008

Nokia Drops Phone Prices, Puts The Squeeze On Competitors

7/31/2008
Nokia has an empowering, vice-like grip on 40% of the world market for mobile phones. Even with its market-leading position, it is stepping up the pressure on its rivals, and recently cut the cost of many of its phones by about 10%. Is this the first sign of a price war?

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LG To Add Dolby Mobile Sound To Its High-End Phones

7/30/2008
As a certified audiophile, I am always looking for improvements in the quality of music playback in mobile phones. To date, very few have impressed me. Looks like LG could be changing that sad song to a happy one, though, as it announced it will begin putting Dolby Mobile sound into its premier phones later this year.

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An Open Letter To Apple And AT&T: Why Did You Brick My First-Generation iPhone?

7/29/2008
Anyone who upgraded from a first-generation iPhone to the iPhone 3G had to sync the new hardware with iTunes in order to finalize the activation process. By so doing, you effectively killed the cellular radio in the first-generation iPhone. Sure, the 1G iPhone can play media, browse the Web via Wi-Fi and access the Apps Store, but it can't make phone calls. What gave Apple and AT&T the right to disable my $600 piece of property?

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AT&T Paranoid About Xohm/Clearwire Merger, Cries To FCC

7/25/2008
It may have been out of the headlines the last few weeks, but out of sight does not mean out of mind for AT&T when it comes to the merger between Sprint's Xohm WiMax service and Clearwire. It recently filed a petition with the FCC trying to block the merger in what would be a serious competitive threat to its own 3G network.

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Gmail Adds Easy Email Encryption

7/25/2008
E-mail can be a major security headache. That's why corporations take pains to ensure that their sensitive e-mails are protected. Sometimes that means using encryption. Gmail users always get encryption protection when signing in, but now it's easier to encrypt messages and everything else, too.

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Verizon Wireless Kills Off The Palm Treo 755p

7/24/2008
Well, that was a short-lived affair. Verizon Wireless has announced it is phasing out the Palm Treo 755p. Verizon only began selling the 755p several months ago, and apparently now favors the younger, hipper Centro to serve as its sole offering running the Palm platform. I can just barely make out "Taps" in the distance.

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Mobile Social Networking A Big Fat Failure So Far?

7/24/2008
Despite the online popularity of Web sites such as MySpace and Facebook, a recent study shows that 93% of mobile users fail to access their social networking sites from their mobile phones. I fall into the small percentage of people who use their mobile phones for social networking pretty much every day. Why is such a small minority networking from their phones?

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Google Hosts More Malware Than Anyone Else

7/24/2008
Security firm Sophos has been poking around the Internet on the hunt for malware and found out that Google's Blogger service is the world's No. 1 repository for the evil code. Some 2% of all malware can be found on Google's servers. Google, time to clean house.

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Early Review Of The Unreleased BlackBerry KickStart Appears

7/23/2008
Since the clamshell KickStart from Research In Motion isn't ready for prime time yet, I think it's a bit premature to give it such an extended review, but the addicts at CrackBerry.com disagree. They've given the unreleased phone a thorough look-see. What do the editors over there think?

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Google's Knol Finally Goes Public. A Wikipedia Killer?

7/23/2008
Anyone remember this? Google first announced Knol, a user-generated, online encyclopedia, back in December 2007. It's been in hibernation since then, as it spooled up its design, added content, and otherwise coalesced. Well, today it finally went live, albeit with only several hundred articles. Can it really take on Wikipedia?

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Google Maps Wants To Help You Walk From Point A To Point B

7/23/2008
People who are walking around cities often need point-to-point directions just as desperately as those in cars. Google figured this out, and has added walking directions to its Maps service. After a few test runs, I can say with confidence that it does a pretty good job, at least in NYC.

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Slydial Lets You Be A Jerk To Your Coworkers, Friends, And Family

7/22/2008
You know you've done it. C'mon, it's OK, you're not alone. G'head and admit it. You've called someone secretly hoping to get their voice mail so you didn't have to talk to them. Feel better now that that's off your chest? The good news for you is, Slydial lets you skip the risk of that person actually answering the phone and instead calls straight into their voice mail. Voila! Confrontation avoided.

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Opera Mobile Thumbs Nose At Apple, Says It Has More Mobile Web Users Than Anyone Else

7/22/2008
Guess what? Big surprise. Opera's Mini browser is apparently pretty popular. In Opera's latest "State of the Mobile Web" report, we learn that most Opera users (worldwide) have a Nokia phone, but nine of the top 10 phones for Opera Mini in the U.S. are BlackBerrys. Opera also pointed out that its users pushed 46.7 million MB of data for operators. That's a lot of mobile data, people.

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Motorola's 'Adventure' Is One Tough Mother

7/21/2008
If you need a cell phone to withstand high levels of abuse on a daily basis, there are only two words in this entire blog that you need to care about: mil spec. Phones that meet military specifications for high levels of punishment are designed for active duty. That's what makes the V750 Adventure from Motorola so rugged.

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Qik Offers Its Mobile Video Sharing Service To The Masses

7/21/2008
Ever wanted to stream live video from your phone to a friend or family member somewhere? What about archive video you've shot from your phone directly to the Web? Qik lets you do both. Today, Qik officially entered public beta. As long as you have a smartphone running Windows Mobile or S60 (and a data plan!) you're ready to share whatever your little heart desires.

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Google Updates iPhone Usability Further, Makes It Speedier

7/21/2008
Google's latest improvement now allows users to save bookmarks to specific Google services directly on the desktop of their iPhone as icons. Rather than standalone applications, however, these are just links to the Web-based services. Also, ever mindful of how fast its services are, Google has picked up the pace a bit.

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AT&T Bungles Free Wi-Fi Offering. Again And Again And Again

7/18/2008
Several months ago, AT&T teased iPhone owners with on-again / off-again free access to AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots. In the end, the service was canned. This morning, a URL on AT&T's web site once again offered free Wi-Fi to iPhone owners -- and it was yanked, yet again. AT&T, what's the story?

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Want A New iPhone? Be Prepared To Wait

7/18/2008
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is number-crunching for the 3G iPhone again. His latest prognosis? The current supply shortage is going to last well into August. Aren't you kicking yourself for not getting in line last weekend?

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Google, What Has Happened To Your Spam Filters?

7/17/2008
A casual glance at my spam folder today shows nearly 850 bulk messages sitting there. Thanks, Gmail, for catching those and preventing them from reaching my in-box. Now, about the spam e-mails that have been reaching my in-box, such as the one I received this morning that is written in German, what gives? Oh, and the Nigerians have found me again.

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I Stink At Recycling Old Cell Phones. Do You?

7/16/2008
New data compiled by Nokia suggests that merely 3% of old cell phones are recycled. The bulk end up in a drawer somewhere. That got me thinking, and sent me searching around my house for all my old cell phones. I am ashamed to admit that I found 10. Eek. It's time we all got with the program.

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3G iPhone Round Up: Firmware 2.0.1, 24 States Sold Out

7/16/2008
Anyone using a 3G iPhone, or a first-generation iPhone that was updated to firmware version 2.0, is likely familiar by now with its inherent bugginess. Apple already is working on a fix, according to reports. Also, if you didn't brave the lines to get a 3G iPhone over the weekend, you probably won't get one any time soon.

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Google: Some Android Developers Are More Equal Than Other Android Developers

7/16/2008
Apparently open doesn't really mean open and equal access means nothing. Despite promises that Android would be an equal opportunity platform for all developers, some are receiving special treatment -- "Animal Farm" style. Android Developer Challenge finalists have been given access to an unreleased version of the SDK that isn't available to all the other developers.

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First Cities In 3-D Arise In Google Earth

7/15/2008
Today Google announced the names of the first few municipalities across the United States that have taken advantage of its 3-D tools to create 3-D models of their own cities within Google Earth. This means if you use Google Earth, you can view a 3-D version of these towns, complete with buildings.

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Did Anyone Hear The Newest Google GPhone Rumor?

7/14/2008
Despite evidence pretty much proving its falsehood, this is one rumor that Just. Refuses. To. Die. Depending on which tech blog you choose to believe, the GPhone does exist or doesn't exist. No one seems to be listening to what Google has to say on the matter.

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Apple Sells 1 Million 3G iPhones In 3 Days

7/14/2008
Despite the activation process debacle experienced by many, people lined up in droves for the device. Apple sold one million 3G iPhones around the world over the weekend. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said: "iPhone 3G had a stunning opening weekend. It took 74 days to sell the first one million original iPhones, so the new iPhone 3G is clearly off to a great start around the world." I wouldn't say a "great" start, Steve-o.

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iPhone Firmware 2.0 Is Available

7/10/2008
Yep, you read that correctly. It isn't officially available through iTunes yet, but the file is out there and can be downloaded and installed on your iPhone. I am updating the firmware to 2.0 on my iPhone this very moment. There's a link to the file inside this post.

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BlackBerry Thunder Touch Phone = FAIL?

7/9/2008
Some people have gotten their hands on the forthcoming BlackBerry Thunder, the supposed touch-screen, uber-smartphone for the business user. The complaints are fairly harsh, with words like "annoying", "bonkers", and "a joke" being used to describe it. I say ignore the din.

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Early Reviews Of The 3G iPhone Say 'Meh'

7/9/2008
The usual crowd has had a chance to review the 3G iPhone before anyone else (Baig, Mossberg and Pogue). The reviews heap praise on the 3G iPhone's Web-browsing speeds and improved audio quality, but battery life is a serious issue, with the device going dead before the end of one business day (at least once) for both Baig and Mossberg. In all, they say it is better than the original.

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Google's Precipitate Rains Your Docs Down From The Cloud

7/8/2008
Have a mish-mash of files spread between your PC and the cloud? Searching both for a document because you can't remember where you stored it costs time ... unless you use Google's new search tool called Precipitate. Precipitate is a desktop-based search client that scans your local machine and the cloud for your stuff so you only have to search once.

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Windows Mobile Finally Gets Facebook App

7/7/2008
Facebookers using BlackBerrys, the iPhone, and some other platforms have had access to a mobile version of Facebook suited to their devices. Up until now, Windows Mobile had been left in the cold. FriendMobilizer decided it was time the WinMo crowd joins in the mobile Facebook fun, and crafted its own application.

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Google Creates Street Views Of Tour De France Circuit

7/7/2008
I am a big fan of bicycle racing. Ever since Greg LeMond won his first Tour de France in 1986, I've followed the sport closely. Though the race has been tarnished with doping scandals, those who are fans of the race now have another tool with which to enjoy it. Google used its Street Views technology to map out the entire race course so you can get a ground's-eye view of what the racers see as they battle for the yellow jersey.

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iPhone iPhanatics Line Up A Week Early For 3G Release

7/7/2008
Only in New York City... Last Friday, on July 4th, no less, about 10 people decided to get in line at the 5th Avenue Apple store for the 3G iPhone -- a full week before its release. Heavy rains dampened their spirits and some called it quits after just one night, but others were there for a cause and stuck it out over the weekend. They only have four days to wait.

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OMG! Law Enforcement Turns To SMS To Fight Crime

7/3/2008
More and more communities across the U.S. are instituting SMS-based tip lines so citizens can text in messages about crimes. Some police departments hope the idea will catch hold with teens and those in their 20s. I can see the messages flooding in now: Help, bank being robbed! Send cops!

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Google Brings Full-Album Downloads To Picasa

7/2/2008
Google's photo sharing site, Picasa, is one of the many Google services I take advantage of to share my pictures with friends and family. Often there are times when someone wanted to be able to download an entire album, rather than snag each image one by one. Before today, that was not possible. Now it is.

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Study: Text Messaging Number One Feature For Cell Phone Shoppers

7/2/2008
A new survey says that the majority of people, nearly three-quarters, seeking a new cell phone list SMS capabilities as the No. 1 must-have feature. The Internet and mobile e-mail aren't far behind. My favorite part of the study is that only 0.5% listed battery life -- without which cell phones are merely blocks of plastic and metal -- as the most important feature.

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Google Makes Tweaks To Blogger

7/1/2008
I have to admit that it has been about a month since I've updated my own personal blog, which I publish using Google's Blogger. Since the last time I checked, Google has added a number of nifty updates to its set of blogging tools, including the ability to add lists of other blogs into your own.

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Study: GPS Could Save Trucking Industry $53 Billion

7/1/2008
GPS technology undoubtedly is an effective tool for providing real-time mapping and location-based services. Aside from helping businesses move their assets from point A to point B without getting lost, they also can help save gas money, to the tune of $53 billion for the trucking industry alone.

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AT&T Tells Us How Much We're Going To Spend On The 3G iPhone

7/1/2008
Today AT&T finally provided specific details on who will be eligible for the 3G iPhone, and how much they're going to have to pony up to pay for it and its associated services. The bad news is, existing iPhone users are going to see their prices go up. But AT&T will offer contract-free iPhones at some point for $600 and $700, respectively, for the 8-GB and 16-GB models.

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