Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Android on Sprint! Good news and bad news...

Its official! Sprint is getting at least one Android phone in 2009!

Its hard to believe that it was almost 1 year ago that Sprint CEO Dan Hesse proclaimed that Google's Android OS wasn't "good enough" for the Sprint brand, despite Sprint being part of the Open Handset Alliance that is backing the Google phone OS (and releasing buggy phones all the time- who are we kidding, Dan?).
I personally think Mr. Hesse is making up excuses for T-mobile getting it first...
But whatever the case may be, this is good news, especially for those of us on Sprint who have been waiting for a peice of the Open-Source pie!

Now for the bad news...
Well, its not bad news for everyone, but I'll just call it less-than-good-news.

Lately, Sprint has developed a bad habit of forcing anticipated hot new phones to be on special "everything" plans, like the Palm Pre and the Samsung Instinct.
While some smartphones, like HTC's Windows Mobile handsets, seem to be immune to this phenomenon, I have reason to beleive that this handset will not be an exception.

There have been rumors of a new Samsung phone running Android called the InstinctQ, which just passed WiFi certification. So far, the other two Samsung phones called "Instinct" were exclusive to Sprint, so if this rumor is true, it points to what may very well be the new Android handset Mr. Hesse was referring to.
The problem is, like other handsets marked "Instinct" (original Instinct and Instinct S30), Sprint has them exclusively and forces them to work only on their more expensive plans.

This is surely bad news for anyone on a budget plan, family plan, or grandfathered plan (SERO users, I feel your pain). You heard it here first, folks- I do hope I'm wrong about this... please, if anyone finds anything that shows I may be wrong, let me know!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Thoughts re: The Touch Pro 2

As the current owner of an HTC Touch Pro, I've been eagerly anticipating the Touch Pro 2's release in the states.

That is, until I started reading more about it...

There are quite a few improvements made over the current generation, including a new widescreen display which tilts, and a dedicated conference calling system on the back (as opposed to a standard speakerphone). They also managed to make it a bit slimmer despite it being wider and longer to facilitate the huge 3.6 inch display, and improved battery life (the T-Mobile literature claims 8.5 days of standby!).

The strange thing is, they didn't seem to really change it much under the hood- RAM, CPU, even the camera megapixels, are all about the same as the Touch Pro.

Not that there's anything wrong with that- the Touch Pro takes great pictures and has plenty of memory to go around, but you have to ask yourself why they didn't make this device more of an upgrade. Its the same complaint people have with the 3GS- its just not necessarily significant enough an upgrade from the 3G to buy a new device now.
Then the real con:
It appears that they removed the D-pad! One of my biggest gripes with the Touch Pro is its lack of buttons compared to other (older generation) Windows Mobile devices. It makes the OS harder to navigate, but at least you always have the D-pad when you want precision input. Alas, Touch Pro2 took even that away!

At least the HTC put a couple of hardware buttons on the bottom (which the Touch Pro did not have), but it really seems silly that we can't have a D-pad AND buttons! What's wrong with having our cake and eating it too, HTC? Why does it have to be one or the other?

As far as the OS goes, HTC is planning a WM6.5 official upgrade, which is nice, and a new TouchFLo interface that works in landscape mode.

Now, I'd like to point something out about TouchFlo...
I don't like it.

In fact, I did some slightly scientific studies of my own, and found that it took more steps to navigate the OS and get the information you need with TouchFlo than just the plain old Windows Mobile today screen!
The new TouchFlo might be better, but I've found the same is true of all touch-friendly mobile interfaces. But I'll save that for my next post... until next time.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Palm Pre "faster" than iPhone 3GS

...or, at least according to ZodTTD, creator of infamous game system emulators for handheld-devices.

As many of us know, Apple announced a new iPhone, the 3GS, within days of the Palm Pre's launch. The release was widely beleived to be something to steal some of Palm's thunder since the Pre seems to be treading on all sorts of Apple's turf (syncing with itunes comes to mind).

So what did Apple do?
They made the iPhone, um, Speedier (hence the "S" in the name?). Yes, the primary difference between the iPhone 3G and the new 3GS is the speed of the CPU and graphics. Most of the time, end users won't notice any performance difference (the platform was already pretty speedy), however it is widely beleived that this speed boost will spark a whole new set of high end games, further pushing the iPhone platform as a gaming device.

Ready for the irony?
ZodTTD, developer of PSX4all (an app that plays full-blown Playstation games), has just released a Palm Pre version of his game platform. And you know what? The Pre outperforms the iPhone 3GS!

Read more about it here:

Sorry Apple, you will always have your fans, but maybe you should have made the 3GS more than a marginal upgrade, at best.