Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bringing smart phones to the masses

Smart phones, or phones that enable Web access and e-mail, are heading for the mass market.

Palm's new $99.99 Centro, the sleeker, hipper update to the business-centric Treo, is the latest example of a phone that provides all the data-centric features of a business device with the price point and design of a consumer phone.

"What we've known as the smart-phone market is quickly becoming just the cell phone market," said Iain Gillott, founder of iGillottResearch. "These phones used to cost $500 and $600. Some still do, but we're seeing more and more of them come down in price and targeted for consumers."

Traditionally, in the United States, the smart phone market has been dominated by Research in Motion's BlackBerry devices and Palm's Treo line of phones. Initially, these devices were thought of as corporate productivity tools allowing people to send and receive corporate e-mail.

While the corporate market is humming along quite nicely, carriers and cell phone makers also see huge potential in the mass market where teen-agers and even soccer moms, who want e-mail access and Web surfing on the go, could benefit from smart phones. Of the 213 million cell phones operating in the United States today, only about 4 percent of them are smart phones, according to market research firm M:Metrics.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Nokia to sell $25,000 Ferrari phone

he luxury unit of Nokia has started selling a phone designed jointly with Ferrari for about 18,000 euros ($25,400) at its stores in London, Paris, Hong Kong and Singapore, it said on Thursday.

The Vertu unit produced the Ascent Ferrari 60 phone to celebrate Ferrari's 60th anniversary.

"We worked very closely to develop this limited edition of 60 phones. Detailing on the phone is inspired by detailing on a number of Ferrari cars," said Vertu spokeswoman Elizabeth Maragh.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Apple to zap hacked iPhones

Apple has warned iPhone owners who have used unauthorised programs to unlock the cellular service feature of their handsets that they may end up with a phone that doesn't work after the company's next software update for it.

Since the iPhone debuted in June, hackers have posted a number of methods online to make it possible to use the iPhone on cellular networks other than AT&T, which is the exclusive official carrier for the iPhone.

The news will come as a blow to scores of Australian iPhone enthusiasts who have brought the $US399 phones out to Australia and hacked them so that they can work on local mobile networks.

Apple executives say they have discovered that many of those unauthorised unlocking programs cause some software damage to iPhones.

Now, a software update that Apple plans to issue later this week that will add features such as accessibility to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store may end up making the touch-screen mobile phone completely inoperable if it has been hacked into.

"This has nothing to do with proactively disabling a phone that is unlocked or hacked," Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in an interview.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Nokia 6301 handset

Nokia 6301 handsetNokia recently launched the Nokia 6301 handset, which allows seamless use between GSM and WLAN networks through Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) technology.

The candybar form factor phone weighs 93 grams and measures less than 13.1mm. It features a 2-megapixel camera with 8x digital zoom and full screen viewfinder.

The handset has a 2-inch QVGA screen, 30MB of internal memory with support for up to 4GB microSD cards in addition to an integrated hands-free speaker, MP3 player and FM radio functions.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Orange to Sell Apple's IPhone in France

France Telecom will start marketing Apple Inc.'s million-selling iPhone in France through its wireless arm Orange.

Thursday's announcement came days after Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs visited Britain and Germany to unveil similar deals with mobile operator O2 and Deutsche Telekom AG.

The iPhone, a combined cell phone-iPod media player that also can wirelessly access the Internet, will go on sale in all three countries in November — in time for the holiday season.

The latest deal was announced by France Telecom CEO Didier Lombard during a conference in Hanoi.

Apple said last week that it had sold 1 million iPhones in the United States in the first 74 days it was on sale, shortly after slashing the price by a third. The iPhone debuted in the United States on June 29, with service exclusively through AT&T Inc.

France Telecom will be counting on the popular iPhone to raise sales, boosting its share of the cell phone market. Jobs said Tuesday his goal was to sell 10 million iPhones in 2008, representing 1 percent of the global handset market.

Officials with Orange would not say how much the phone will cost in France.

Consumers in Britain will pay 269 pounds ($536) for the 8-gigabyte model — or about $139 more than what Apple charges in the United States. In Germany the phone will cost 399 euros ($553). Both European price tags include value-added tax.

The company cut the 8-gigabyte iPhone to $399, from $599, and discontinued the $499 4-gigabyte version. It apologized to those who had paid full price and offered $100 credits to early buyers.

Nokia Unleashes First Unlicensed Mobile Access Cell Phone.

Nokia, the world’s largest maker of mobile phones, on Thursday unveiled the world’s first phone that can provide voice calls both over conventional GSM networks as well as via wireless local area networks (WLANs). While the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) technology deserves applauds, its wide adoption is under question as it does not has obvious benefits to end-users.

The new Nokia 6301 cell phone can boast with stainless steel frame, 2” 320x240 pixels screen, 30MB of internal memory, built-in MP3 player, FM radio, microSD card slot, support for GSM 900, 1800 and 1900 networks and other peculiarities of a business-oriented cell phone. The Nokia 6301 weighs 93 grams and measures less than 13.1mm thin. The Nokia 6301 comes with an attractive desk stand, the Nokia Desk Stand DT-23, to hold the phone and keep its battery charged while connected to WLAN. The main feature of the device is support for the so-called Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) technology.

UMA technology makes it possible for users to seamlessly roam and handover between wireless local area networks (Wi-Fi) and wide area networks (such as GSM) using the same dual-mode device. Instead of constantly communicating with a base station, UMA allows the phone to also make calls through WLAN internet networks, provided that those networks are capable of establishing secure IP connection through a gateway to a server called a general access network controller (GANC) on the carrier’s network.

Nokia claims that with UMA technology ensures excellent indoor coverage both at office and home as WLAN/UMA provides excellent coverage and sound quality even in areas where mobile phone reception has previously been poor. Besides, UMA benefits operators as well, allowing them to deliver voice and data services to subscribers over WLAN, substantially increasing mobile service availability while decreasing the costs related to network deployment.

Orange will be one of the first operators to offer the Nokia 6301, as part of its Unik/Unique portfolio.

“The Nokia 6301 is a stylish new addition to our Unik range of converged fixed and mobile phones. Orange’s Unik offer brings together the convenience of a single phone and tariff at home and on the move and the widest range of UMA handsets. The Nokia 6301, with its sleek candy bar design and attractive stainless steel exterior adds to the appeal of Unik for Orange customers,” said Yves Maitre, senior vice president of devices, Orange.

The Nokia 6301 is expected to begin shipping to select markets in Europe during the fourth quarter of 2007 with an estimated retail price of €230 before subsidies or taxes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Google Gphone still on the way, say sources

Google will definitely launch its own-brand handset but has yet to finalize the handset's specifications, OS, production contractor and operating partners, according to sources at Taiwan handset makers.

Although market rumors previously stated that Google is likely to use an EDGE solution developed by Texas Instruments (TI) for its planned handset, recent developments indicate that Google is also evaluating the possibility of launching a 3G handset initially.

TI's handset chipsets will find their way into the Google phone should the company decide to roll out an EDGE-compliant handset, but Qualcomm could turn out to be the winner if Google decides to bet on a 3G model, the sources noted.

However, the choice of a 3G platform might force Google to postpone the launch of the so-called Gphone to the first half of 2008 instead of the latter half of this year as expected due to the change of platform and problems related to licensing of patented technologies, the sources indicated.

High Tech Computer (HTC), meanwhile, is being marked as the manufacturing contractor for the Gphone due to the company's expertise in ODM and brand business and its mutual cooperation with a number of telecom carriers worldwide, said the sources.

Google may also try to launch a handset running on a self-developed OS, to compete with Windows Mobile and Symbian platforms, the sources speculated.


A Musical Smartphone, Aiming to Increase the Cool Quotient

A funny thing happened when Motorola first introduced its Q smartphone. It found that many buyers were casual users, not BlackBerry converts itching for an e-mail fix. The company decided to make the Q look a little cooler and added music and easy-to-use messaging features — thus the new Q Music 9M.

The 5-ounce 9M, which costs $249 with a two-year contract and discounts, has a 2.5-inch screen and rubberized keys and back panel. It runs on Verizon’s high-speed data network and works with the V Cast music service, so you can wirelessly download songs for $1.99 over the air — although you can also put your own music into the phone’s 64 megabytes of memory or a supplemental mini SD card (not included).

The phone also has a unique user interface that focuses on many of the music- and media-playing functions and hides most of the complex features. A small program automatically connects to many standard e-mail services, including GMail and Hotmail. Meanwhile, the red-and- black color scheme will help in your efforts to look cool and casual.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Nokia business phone marks convergence push

Nokia has unveiled a new corporate phone handset as part of a wider strategy to provide enterprise mobility through fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).

The Nokia E51, available from the fourth quarter 2007, is a traditional candy-bar design that features 3G and Wi-Fi support, as well as closer integration with IP telephony infrastructure from vendors such as Cisco and Alcatel.

Antti Vasara, Nokia's senior vice president of mobile devices for enterprise, said the latest handset is aimed at users who primarily make voice calls, but also need to keep an eye on email and manage their schedule.

With an updated version of Nokia's Intellisync Call Connect client, the device can integrate with a broader range of IP telephony kit and eliminate the need for separate desk and mobile phones, the company said.

"The new thing is mobile unified communications. This device can be your desk phone as well as your mobile phone. When in the office, it can be connected to your corporate phone system and have the same functionality as a desk phone. Why have several numbers and devices?" said Vasara.

As part of its convergence push, Nokia has a partnership with BT Global Services.
Global director of mobility Rakesh Mahajan said that FMC should not be viewed as just about cost savings.

"Firms want productivity from employees, the ability to respond to customers more quickly, to collaborate better, and be more responsive. We're working with Nokia because voice is important, but in future, users also need to manage email from a single device, and have access to sales force tools."

As part of Nokia's E-Series, the E51 can be configured with an ActiveSync client for Microsoft Exchange email systems, as well as Nokia's Intellsync Device Management that enables the handset to be remotely provisioned, locked-down, and wiped in the event of loss.


Google unveils mobile ads service

Internet search giant Google has introduced a mobile version of its AdSense advertising platform. The company says that AdSense for Mobile will contextually target ads in relation to mobile content and will allow its publishing partners to earn revenue from their mobile websites through targeted placement of mobile text ads.

Google says the product is intended for its existing AdSense partners who have created websites specifically for mobile browsers and who want to monetise their mobile content via contextual advertising.

Like Google’s other AdSense products, mobile text ads will be run on an auction model.

The system automatically reviews the content of a publisher’s mobile websites and delivers text ads that are relevant to the site’s audience and content.

Publishers will then earn their money whenever a mobile user clicks on the ads.

The services will be available to mobile publishers in 13 countries, including: Ireland, the US, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, the Netherlands, Australia, India, China and Japan.

Apple picks O2 for iPhone

Apple confirmed on Tuesday that O2, the largest UK mobile operator, will be its exclusive UK network for the iPhone.

The US computer maker’s mobile telephone-cum-digital music player, with touch screen web browsing, will cost £269 in the UK. It will go on sale on November 9.

iPhone users will pay 02 tariffs starting at £35 a month. They will sign up to contracts that run for a minimum of 18 months.

The iPhone is available for $399 (£200) in the US. It was sold for $599 at the US launch in June, but Apple cut the price earlier this month.

Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, gave details of the iPhone’s UK launch at the company’s flagship UK store in London’s Regent Street.

He said the price variance between the US and UK markets was principally due to taxation differences, as well has higher distribution and service costs in the UK compared with the US.

Mr Jobs declined to detail of the revenue-sharing arrangement between Apple and 02, but the operator is expected to pass at least 10 per cent of the revenue generated by iPhone users from phone calls and data functions, such as web browsing, to Apple.

The iPhone’s most obvious weakness is that it does not operate on third generation mobile networks, which offer higher web browsing speeds compared with their 2G equivalents.

Mr Jobs and Matthew Key, chief executive of 02’s UK business, pointed out that the iPhone could run on wi-fi networks, which offer faster data download speeds than 3G.

However, wi-fi connections are concentrated in towns and cities. In other areas, the iPhone will run on 02’s 2.5G networks.

Mr Jobs said in a statement: “We are delighted to be partnering with 02 to offer our revolutionary iPhone to UK customers. US iPhone customer satisfaction is off the charts, and we can’t wait to let UK customers get their hands on it and learn what they think of it.”

Apple is expected to confirm this week that France Telecom’s Orange and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile will be its exclusive iPhone network partners in France and Germany respectively.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Rivals fear Apple iPhone will bite into profits

The year’s most eagerly awaited gadget, Apple’s iPhone, will finally be unveiled in London tomorrow. It has already been snapped up by more than 1 million Americans.

The touch-screen handset is the size of a credit card and has a music player and internet connection. Its arrival will set the scene for a pre-Christmas price war as Britain’s mobile phone operators fight to keep their customers.

Steve Jobs, the head of Apple, will launch the device at the company’s Regent Street store. He is expected to announce a partner deal with O2, Britain’s biggest mobile operator with 17.8 million customers. Apple is confident that the phone will sell well at full price. To get it, customers will have to sign up with O2.

The prospect of losing customers to a rival during the year’s busiest trading period has triggered panic among other operators and handset makers. In recent weeks they have rushed out new feature-rich phones and services.

Vodafone is offering with its range of Christmas 3G phones a subscription music service that allows users to access 1 million tracks on the move for less than £2 a week. Nokia is introducing an online music service to rival iTunes, Apple’s music catalogue. More new deals and services are expected.

The phone companies are also offering existing customers enticing deals to stay. But David MacQueen, head of mobile media at the business analyst Screen Digest, doubted that the rival products would have much impact. He said: “The iPhone is about style and design. People will walk into a shop and ask for an iPhone in the way they won’t demand a Nokia.”

The device is expected to retail at about £200 and buyers are expected to have to sign up to a two-year contract. Those who ditch phone contracts early will suffer penalty charges from their current providers.

Customers in the US, where it went on sale in June, had been forced to agree to a minimum $60-a-month (about £30) plan with AT&T. Charles Dunstone, of the Carphone Warehouse, said that the iPhone should benefit all phone companies, in encouraging people to use phones for more than just calls and texting.

Operators spent £22.5 billion on 3G licences and have tried desperately to get customers to use phones to download e-mails and music, but 90 per cent of revenues come from calls and texts. Phone companies claim that Apple has already taken the gloss off the O2 deal by slashing the price of the phone in the US by a third, to $399, only 68 days after its launch.

Analysts believe that such a swift price cut undermines the phone’s long-term prospects. It may also encourage British customers to hold back from buying the phone straight away in the hope of making a similar saving.

Some say that the O2 deal has been reduced in worth by the launch of the iPod touch in the US. The new device is an iPhone in all ways bar the ability to make calls.

Ben Wood, of the telecoms research group CCS Insight, said: “The iPod touch risks dampening demand for the iPhone.

“Users will quickly realise they can purchase the iPod touch and get all the benefits of the iPhone plus an additional 8GB of storage at the same price without having to commit to a lengthy contract term.”


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Verizon Wireless sues FCC over 700MHz auction

Thanks to jealousy and crybaby antics by Verizon, the FCC’s auction, set to be held next year, for the prized block of spectrum might be pushed back. Several early reports are calling this new lawsuit the first shot in what is sure to be a long legal battle. Now with the papers filed, the auction for more than a thousand wireless licenses are surrounded in a cloud of doubt.

RCR Wireless news broke the story late Thursday, when they posted some of the legal documents in their story. Verizon says the FCC’s auction, “violates the U.S. Constitution, violates the Administrative Procedures Act … and is arbitrary, capricious, unsupported by the substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law.”

The move for a lawsuit comes just over a month after the FCC approved open access rules for the auction, which requires winning bidders to allow open and unrestricted access to the spectrum. Originally, AT&T and Verizon were against the open access rules, but late last month AT&T switched their views and publicly backed FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and his proposal for open access.

Most comments and criticisms of this story point to the same thing; Verizon does not want to lose their grip on the consumer wireless market. The neutrality issue is a strong case here; companies like AT&T and Verizon lock subscribers into contracts, and services that block access to other things. The best example of this is Verizon’s VCast, which offers online content but only from approved Verizon partners. No one on the Verizon network can access and use content offered by AT&T and Sprint. The FCC’s rules would require that type of open access and that would mean a potential loss of millions of dollars in revenue for the wireless companies as they are today. Simply, they do not want to change, regardless of public opinion.

Speaking out, Richard Whitt, Washington telecom and media counsel for Google said, “The nation's spectrum airwaves are not the birthright of any one company. They are a unique and valuable public resource that belongs to all Americans. The FCC's auction rules are designed to allow U.S. consumers—for the first time—to use their handsets with any network they desire, and download and use the lawful software applications of their choice. It's regrettable that Verizon has decided to use the court system to try to prevent consumers from having any choice of innovative services. Once again, it is American consumers who lose from these tactics.”

Frontline Wireless said in a statement, “Verizon’s lawsuit throws a wrench into the auction to promote competition and innovation for consumers through open access and give public safety an interoperable, national network. Verizon is challenging the FCC for doing what Congress required it to do in the first place—ensure that auction policy is guided solely by the public interest,” adding that it was ironic that Verizon, “would file this challenge because, under anti-trust precedent, it would not be able to hold this spectrum.”

Verizon has stated publicly that the “brief will speak for itself” and has issued no official comments on the suit or the negative public opinion on the matter. Free Press, a media reform group that has long supported the open access rules brought by the FCC and supported ventures similar in the past said Verizon is sending “lawyers, FUD and money” in an attempt to overturn the FCC’s decision.

The negative impact this could have on Verizion has been glossed over in the coverage of the suit. Consumers have long wanted open access and more content free of hidden fees and costs. The lawsuit, if it slows or even delays the FCC’s planned auction, can mean the loss of millions of customers who simply want to leave a network ran by monopolists.

“Verizon is wrong here and the FCC should be upheld. For too long they and some of the other big players (but mainly VZ) have tried to dominate by overly restrictive rules and burdensome technology. The marketplace should be won by premiere service, quality products and innovation, not by lockdown and intimidation. If you produce a service or product to be used on the network or phone, they should allow it (if it is within legal content issues, minding the DMCA), not by disabling them. Time for real competition by fair means,” reads one online post about the issue, mirroring the sentiment held my many others online.

There is no set trial date in the case and likely, there will be no initial hearing until later this month or early October.


Apple Posts iPhone Credit Instructions

Apple Inc. has begun allowing people who bought iPhones before the higher-end model's price was abruptly slashed to apply for a $100 store credit.

The company said the credit would be available for people who bought either the $599 8-gigabyte, iPhone or the $499, 4-gigabyte model before Aug. 22. People who bought the phones more recently are eligible for refunds.

Those early buyers must fill out a form on Apple's Web site to have the retail or online store credit delivered to them electronically.

The credit can be redeemed only inside the United States, and cannot be used inside the iTunes store or for Apple store gift cards, according to terms listed on the company's Web site.

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs announced the credits a day after irking early iPhone buyers Sept. 5, when he cut the price of the expensive model by $200 and said the cheaper device would be discontinued. The price cut came less than 10 weeks after the hybrid cell phone-iPod's highly anticipated June 29 launch.

The credit claim form on Apple's Web site requires users to enter the phone number and serial number of their iPhones. They then get a text message with an access code that's needed to generate the store credit in the form of a credit number and PIN. The deadline to submit a claim for the $100 is Nov. 30.

The deadline for people who purchased iPhones between Aug. 22 and Sept. 4 to submit refund claims is Sept. 19.

Apple shares dropped 5 percent the day Jobs announced the price cut, which the company said would boost holiday sales. The stock regained some of the ground lost on Monday, when Apple announced it had sold its one-millionth iPhone.

Apple's stock rose $1.02 to $138.22 in midday trading Friday.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Nokia, others back mobile memory standard

Seven of the world's top mobile phone technology companies are backing the development of a new flash memory standard to be used in mobile phones, digital cameras and other consumer electronics devices.

The new industry standard, called Universal Flash Storage (UFS), is an attempt to drive data-transfer speeds and memory storage capacity up on memory cards and embedded memory, so users can keep more songs, photos and video data on mobile devices, the companies, including Nokia Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co., said in a joint news release.

UFS would greatly speed up the time it takes to access data on a mobile device. A 90-minute movie that takes about three minutes to access today would take only a few seconds using UFS, the companies said.

Currently, the UFS standard is under construction by the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association (formerly known as the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council), and companies involved in the project expect to have a standard finalized by 2009.

Micron Technology Inc., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, Spansion Inc., STMicroelectronics NV and Texas Instruments Inc. also announced their support for the creation of the UFS standard.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nokia Revamps its Mapping Apps

Nokia has updated its mobile mapping application - Nokia Maps and PC Map Loader - with some new features and improvements.

Nokia's mapping application enables mapping, routing, downloading maps and street plans, and saving the favorite spots as landmarks to share with friends.
The new version of Nokia Map has 2 new features - a GPS status indicator and data download counter. The GPS status indicator alerts users when the mobile is connected to satellites, while the data download counter added in the map view allows users to keep a check on their data usage.

The updated version comes with a new streamlined user interface with improved nearby search and detailed categories.

In addition, this version also includes a bonus 3-day trial navigation license free of charge. This trail enables users to try out the service over a weekend holiday or a short business trip and discover the convenience of having a personal navigation device integrated into their mobile.

Besides, the new improved version of PC Map Loader transfers the maps up to 10 times faster as compared to the first version and enables downloading the voice guidance files.

The new versions of Nokia Maps and the Nokia Map Loader are freely available to download for selected devices at

The mapping and routing is available for free by Nokia. However, the user needs to pay the network provider for the data transfers.

Meanwhile, the company is updating the map coverage during the second half of 2007 to cover 150 countries including India.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Palm makes bid for consumer smartphone market

Palm today launched the Treo 500v, its first foray into the consumer smartphone market. The Palm Treo 500v will be sold in the UK and in seven other European territories exclusively through Vodafone. As with its predecessor, the Treo 750v, the 500v runs an adapted version of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 6.0 operating system.

Importantly, anyone signing up for “a fairly standard” 12-month Vodafone mobile phone contract will pay nothing for the handset itself. Particulars of exactly what the subscription cost would be were not available at the press launch for the Treo 500v but will be disclosed imminently.

Vodafone already offers the Treo 750v – a handset described by a Vodafone spokeman as a “high-end business smartphone” for free on a £35-a-month phone contract. It’s likely that contracts for a Palm Treo 500v will start at less than this.

Vodafone also has an exclusive deal with BlackBerry maker RIM (Research In Motion) to sell its 8310 handset – another smartphone aimed at the consumer and ‘prosumer’ end of the market - at least until the end of October.


Free iPhone unlocking solution released for download

Dubbed "iUnlock," the SIM unlocking tool represents the fruits of a multi-month effort on the part of the unofficial "iPhone Dev Team" -- a community of independent contributors who've banded together to discover and develop additional uses for the inaugural Apple handset.

Unlike commercial efforts from groups such as iPhoneSIMfree and UniquePhones, iUnlock was released Tuesday evening as a free download, and has since begun to spread rapidly across the web. Several iPhone owners and members of Apple online communities claim to have tested and verified the solution as genuine.

In its current state, however, the iUnlock solution is not for the technically-challeneged or faint-of-heart. It requires a "jailbroken" iPhone, rudimentary knowledge of using a unix terminal, experience with SFTP and some patience. Some tutorials on how to apply the hack have also begun to crop up, but they're currently rough around the edges.


Monday, September 10, 2007

BlackBerry 8830 good iPhone alternative

Apple's decision to lower the price of the iPhone from $599 to $399 strikes me as a smart move now that they're starting to run out of early adapters willing to pay an enormous premium to own the coolest phone on the planet. Besides, that cool factor already started to wane once it became obvious that there is an ample supply of iPhones. You don't have to be an insider or willing to wait in line to get one. All you need is a valid credit card.

Another factor is that a lot more people have now had a chance to put the iPhone through long-term, real world tests and the reviews aren't quite as gaga-eyed as they were back at the end of June. Like several other technology journalists, I borrowed an Apple iPhone on June 29. Getting to try out new technology without having to put money up front is one of the perks of being a reviewer. Sometimes I fall in love with what I review and buy the product. More often it goes back. The iPhone went back last week.


Vodafone's new handset lineup to include iPhone rival

Vodafone Group plans to launch several phones for holiday shoppers in Europe, including a high-end, touch-screen rival to Apple’s iPhone.

The British mobile phone operator has an exclusive agreement to offer the F700 smartphone from Samsung Electronics, said Jens Schulte-Bokum, head of the global terminal division at Vodafone.

The F700 is based on proprietary technology developed by Samsung. The phone, which Vodafone plans to customize and co-brand, has been referred to by industry pundits as an “iPhone killer.”


Apple Eyes the Wireless Auction

Talk of the government's pending auction of valuable wireless spectrum has focused largely on one intriguing newcomer to the bidding: Google (GOOG). But another tech powerhouse has considered joining the bidding as well: Apple (AAPL).

Two sources tell BusinessWeek that Steve Jobs & Co. have studied the implications of joining the auction, which will be held Jan. 16. The winners will get rights to use the spectrum that analog TV broadcasters are handing back to the government in 2009, given their mandated move to digital television.