The Mobile Roundup

It's been a surprisingly busy week for the end of summer, as Apple inked a deal to get the iPhone in <a href="">China</a>, Nokia turned to Linux for the powerful <a href="">N900</a>, and Research In Motion made moves to get a <a href="

Marin Perez, Contributor

August 28, 2009

5 Min Read

While there wasn't a massive industry trade show this week, there was some major news. We saw Nokia hint that it might make a laptop, Microsoft confirmed that it wouldn't build its own smartphone, and white hats offered $10,000 to crack the iPhone 3G. But a few stories did slip through the cracks, and I'll walk you through them after the jump.Asus Rolls Out Windows Mobile Smartphone

Asus decided to wait until this week to show off its latest Windows Mobile smartphone, and it's not too shabby. The P835 has a 3.5-inch touch screen with 800-by-480 resolution, and it's powered by Windows Mobile Professional 6.1 (no word on if it'll be upgradable to 6.5)

It uses the company's Glide user interface to mask Windows Mobile's overall clunkiness, and it has all the connectivity options you'd expect from a high-end smartphone. One cool thing is that it will come preloaded with Opera Mobile, which is a mighty fine browser. It also has a 5-megapixel camera, which is quickly becoming the standard.

It's definitely a solid smartphone, but it's hard for me to get too worked up for this thing, as I'm fairly certain it will have limited availability outside of Asia.

(Photo Credit: Asus)

Comes With Music Coming To United States

Ars Technica said Nokia's Comes With Music service will be coming to the U.S. market "sometime in 2009." If you're unfamiliar with it, it's a subscription music service that lets Nokia handset owners download unlimited tracks from the four major labels to their handset. Users don't have to pay a monthly fee, as the subscription will be baked into the price of the phone.

Once the subscription runs out (12 to 18 months, depending on the handset), Nokia said the user can still keep the tracks they've downloaded. The songs are definitely wrapped in digital-rights management, but you can transfer them to your computer.

I'm still a little unclear how you get to keep the songs after your subscription runs out, and if you can move those songs from the PC to a different player (I doubt it). But I do believe this is an interesting experiment for the music labels and the handset makers. The music industry knows it will never get back to the salad days before Napster, and this could potentially provide a steady source of revenue. Nokia also has been branching out beyond just making handsets, and services like this could make its cell phones more attractive. Plus, it's a diabolical way to make some users upgrade their handsets on a 12- to 18-month timeframe.

The only problems I can see with it are the DRM issues once the subscription is up and the added costs. Ars said it can add as much as $120 ($30 per label) to the total price of the handset, which is way too much. When you consider that Nokia's best phones are often sold unlocked in the U.S. market and routinely go for more than $500, this could be a major hindrance to widespread adoption.

Verizon's BlackBerry Bold?

If you're a BlackBerry fanatic on Verizon Wireless, it's understandable to be jealous of the AT&T users and the BlackBerry Bold. As I mentioned in my review, the Bold is probably the best BlackBerry so far. But fear not, as the Boy Genius Report has nabbed some details on the CDMA version, which is being called the Niagara.

  • The OS actually we're told is 4.7.1 (but possibly, possibly, be OS 5.0 depending on launch date).

  • No Wi-Fi.

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support along with WCDMA support (bands not specified, but most likely 2100 MHz).

  • CDMA 1x/EV-DO Rev. A device.

  • Release date unknown, but we'd say May/June if we had to bet.

  • 3.2-megapixel camera (though we heard a rumor there might be a camera-less version, but that's unconfirmed).

  • The Web browser supports JavaScript 1.6 (not huge news, but at least the browser is slowly improving).

If this is true -- and the Boy Genius is normally spot on with BlackBerry leaks -- I have to yell at Verizon for stripping out Wi-Fi again. The company crippled the Storm by not allowing Wi-Fi, and I would really hate to see it again because it just doesn't make any sense. When you buy any BlackBerry you're forced to buy a data plan before you can activate it, anyway, so Verizon's still getting that monthly data money from you. Whether you use its 3G all day or once a month doesn't matter to Big V, as you'll still be paying that $30 or so. That's why it's mind-boggling that they would not allow Wi-Fi; all it would do is ease congestion on its mobile data network.

(Photo Credit: The Boy Genius Report)

Sayonara, Rocky Mountain News

I'm sorry, but this doesn't have anything to do with the mobile market, but I wanted to pay homage to the Rocky Mountain News. As you may have heard, today is the paper's last day, as it was unable to overcome the tough economic times, as well as the decline of the print industry as a whole. While we can sit here and argue about whether this was inevitable or not, I thought it would be a nice to show off its coverage of the closing.

Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

Wrap It Up

Well, I think that's all for me this week. I'll have a few reviews up soon, and was thinking that I really want to incorporate some more smaller or startup companies into my coverage. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail at [email protected], or follow me on Twitter and send me a tweet.

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