Feb 12, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Indulge shows up on MetroPCS: LTE, Android 2.2, 1GHz processor

We don't have any official pictures yet, but there's now a placeholder entry for a so-called SCH-R910 Galaxy Indulge from Samsung on MetroPCS' official site, in all likelihood that device we'd previously seen leaked a couple times as the Forte. This would be the first LTE smartphone on MetroPCS since the previously-released Craft is a dumbphone -- and depending on the release date, they could potentially beat HTC's Thunderbolt for Verizon to become the first LTE smartphone offered on any carrier in the US. Besides LTE support, specs look to include a 1GHz processor (Hummingbird, we're guessing) along with WiFi and a 3.5-inch HVGA display all running atop Froyo. Pricing? $399, which seems expensive until you remember that these guys don't do contracts. We're assuming we'll be hearing more about this bad boy soon, so keep an ear to the ground and we'll do the same.

HTC Freestyle hitting AT&T on February 13th for $100

It's not going to steal any thunder from its Inspire 4G big brother -- but if you're looking for an HTC thatdoesn't run Android or Windows Phone 7, your wait is nearly over on AT&T (though you won't be saving any money in the process). The Freestyle was announced back at CES last month, the first device in AT&T's lineup to run Qualcomm's Brew MP feature phone platform with a 3.2-inch display, full HTML browser, 3.2 megapixel camera, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD compatibility up to 32GB, and a familiar Sense UI experience ported from HTC's smartphone devices (and first seen in Brew MP guise on the Smart last year). Look for it to land in stores this coming Sunday, February 13th for $99.99 on contract after a $50 mail-in rebate; considering that the Inspire goes for the same price, we don't think that makes a lick of sense, so we wouldn't be surprised to see that price fall a bit in the next few months. Follow the break for the full press release. 

IDC says 100.9M smartphones sold in fourth quarter, PCs outsold for first time

In case you had any lingering doubt that the smartphone is the new personal computer, just take a glance at IDC's new global smartphone sales numbers for the fourth quarter of 2010 where we learn that some 100.9 million units were pushed in the three-month period -- up a whopping 87.9 percent year over year. That figure compares to 92.1 million PCs sold during the same quarter, which, though a record for the PC industry, was left in the dust of the smartphone's stratospheric rise. This marks the very first quarter in history that smartphones have outsold traditional computers -- and considering the trajectories that both industries are in, we'd be surprised if they ever flip-flopped again. If anything, IDC and other analysis firms might need to readjust the nomenclature in their reports in a few years if (or when) convergence platforms like the Atrix 4G with its Laptop Dock start to gain traction. Of course, to Bill Gates and others, this technological cross-pollination comes as no surprise -- and really, who can argue with a handheld that's packing PC power?

Android 2.4 reportedly coming in April, headed to ViewSonic ViewPad 4?

Last we heard at CES, Viewsonic's ViewPad 4 handset was on track to launch with Android 2.2 in mid-June, but it now looks like there might be a pretty significant change of plans. Pocket-lint is reporting that it's heard from a source at Viewsonic who says the ViewPad 4 is now set to launch in April... with Android 2.4. According to the source, however, that update will not be dubbed "Ice Cream" as some had suspected, but will instead simply still be called Gingerbread. So what does the update bring if not a name change? Compatibility with dual-core apps designed for Honeycomb, primarily, which Pocket-lintspeculates is one of the main reasons we've yet to see many Android 2.3-based devices hit the market (Nexus S, aside).

IEEE will push next WiFi to 1 Gigabit-per-second speeds, two-letter designations in 2012

IEEE will push next 802.11 version into 1Gbps speeds, two-letter designations in 2012
WiFi, you've come a long way, baby. Since those groovy days of plain 'ol 802.11, to your first single-letter designation, all the way up to your latest 802.11n ratification you've gotten faster, broader, and almost everywhere. Best of all, you've still got room to grow. If all goes well and Cusack's documentary doesn't prove accurate in 2012 you'll grow to 802.11ac, delivering a blistering 1Gbps and beyond. That's more wireless bandwidth than we'd know what to do with right now, but we'll find a way to use it. We always do. Together.Okay, so there's a good chance that the developing 802.11ac Gigabit wireless standard will receive its official seal of approval long before 2048, but by 2015? Given that it took 802.11n a full seven years to move on from Draft N status, we aren't holding our collective breath. Regardless, there's obviously a need for a far faster interface than what we're using now, and the Wi-Fi Alliance is obviously doing everything it can to keep on keeping on. According to a loose study by In-Stat, Planet Earth will go from zero 802.11ac devices in 2010 to one billion by 2015, with Vice President of Research Frank Dickson noting that a draft of 802.11ac should be cleared at some point in 2011. As for backwards compatibility? Looks like you'll just have to wait and see.


Confirming earlier rumors, Ferrari took the wraps off of its latest design, a totally new grand touring-oriented 612 Scaglietti-replacing shooting brake called the Ferrari FF.

Set to formally debut in early March at the Geneva Motor Show, this latest Ferrari truly stretches the brand’s design language to a new limit. In many ways, it looks like one of the mega-buck one-off designs commissioned by extravagantly wealthy sheiks, but this new model is set to be a volume offering – at least by Ferrari standards. Hit read more for details and a picture gallery.

MUST READ - Nokia CEO Stephen Elop rallies troops in brutally honest 'burning platform' memo

This could probably be the moment we have been waiting for> it could be the turning point from which Nokia can win back the shine that it has lost in the past few years. "The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don't have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable." This is just one of many, many pieces of stark knowledge allegedly dropped by recently-appointed Nokia CEO Stephen Elop -- formerly of Microsoft -- in a roughly 1,300-word memo to the company's employees that we've received today. Though we can't vouch for the authenticity, it's notable that the memo contains a portion previously reported by The Register and heard by sources at TechCrunch Europe, so it would seem that we've simply received the whole thing. Elop goes on to suggest that his company is "standing on a burning platform" and must "change [its] behavior," suggesting that the adoption of a non-homegrown platform like Android or Windows Phone 7 is a more realistic possibility than ever before.

We've now heard from multiple trusted sources that this memo is indeed real, and was posted to an internal Nokia employee system. That makes it one of the most exciting and interesting CEO memos we've ever seen -- and we're absolutely dying to see how Elop plans to shake things up.

Overall, the communique laments Nokia's lateral movement while Apple and Google have started eating its lunch on the mid- and high end and Shenzhen-based off brands have started to cut into its traditional dominance in emerging markets, leaving Espoo with virtually zero market leadership. It's a stark revelation that seems befitting of a man brought in from the outside -- he's neither Finnish, nor raised in the Nokia system -- and he promises to start revealing the way forward this Friday at the company's Capital Markets Day event where grandiose plans have been unveiled in the past.

Whether the memo is legitimate or not, the frequency and intensity of big-time rumors floating around Nokia ahead of Capital Markets Day (and MWC next week) have been pretty wild: we've heard they'll be announcing a partnership with Microsoft possibly revolving around Windows Phone 7, that a boatload of executives would be shown the door, and that Elop would start looking to Nokia's new Silicon Valley campus as its center of gravity, with execs and senior management expected to start spending more time outside Finland.

We'll know far, far more about what's going on over in Espoo in the next few days, but in the meantime, here are some choice quotes from the memo:

  • "...there is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected. Apple disrupted the market by redefining the smartphone and attracting developers to a closed, but very powerful ecosystem."
  • "They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range."
  • "Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry's innovation to its core."
  • "We have some brilliant sources of innovation inside Nokia, but we are not bringing it to market fast enough. We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market."
  • "...Symbian is proving to be an increasingly difficult environment in which to develop to meet the continuously expanding consumer requirements..."
  • "Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem."
  • "We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven't been delivering innovation fast enough. We're not collaborating internally. Nokia, our platform is burning."
Read the full memo after the break. 


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