Feb 14, 2011

Motorola Atrix 4G pre-orders begin at AT&T

March 6th is the official street date, but you can lay down your money for Motorola's modular smartphone right now, as the Atrix 4G and its suite of incredible Webtop docks are now available for pre-order. $200 buys you the biometric HSPA+ smartphone on a two-year contract, and it'll cost you an additional $300 to turn it into a portable netbook of sorts -- though as we feared, you'll need to pay $45 a month for the DataPro 4GB + Tethering data plan (on top of your phone bill) to actually use it on the go. Another bummer is that the HD Multimedia Dock (enabling desktop-like functionality) will run $130, a good bit more than we thought we'd see it for. All in all, the Atrix is looking like quite an investment, so perhaps you'd be best served waiting for our full review. But don't let us tell you what to do with your hard-earned dough! 

HP Veer too small for 3.5mm headphone jack and microUSB port, gets magnetic connectors instead

It was bound to happen sooner or later with phones becoming increasingly anorexic, but we can't say that HP's solution to not having room for a 3.5mm headphone jack or a microUSB port is... um, awesome. Just as consumers had their voices heard when HTC decided to require an ExtUSB adapter to use standard headphones with the T-Mobile G1, we're guessing that quite a few potential Veerbuyers will be soured by the idea of carrying around yet another dongle just to have access to a very basic port. After all, what's the point in toting around the world's smallest webOS device if you're also forced to lug around one (or two) of the world's most annoying adapters? According to Pre Central, the Veer will ship with a pair of these clips -- one of 'em attaches a USB cable for charging, while the other adds a headphone jack. Of course, Bluetooth listeners needn't worry over the latter, but those who'd rather not mess with a Touchstone will need to be extra cautious when it comes to packing your charging cable and USB nub. We'd obviously prefer the oxygen we breathe to simply recharge our gizmos in a feat of perpetual engineering, but till then, it looks like Veer owners will be tied tight to at least a couple of accessories.

Video - HP's "Touch to Share" eyes-on, starring the TouchPad and HP Pre 3

Tablet manufacturers love to talk about how magical their devices are, but HP's Touch to Share truly is something else -- you simply bump a paired Pre 3 into an HP TouchPad slate, and the data beams over the air -- in this case, loading a website URL a la Chrome to Phone. While it uses the same induction coil technology to connect the twain as HP's Touchstone dock (and Bluetooth to actually pipe those packets through the ether), you don't actually need a Touchstone to make the magic happen this time around, only a pair of compatible devices. Representatives tell us that you do have to pair them beforehand, as well -- you wouldn't want an errant Pre 3 owner to swipe your banking session while you're on the go, now would you? Don't miss the video above.

Samsung Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Fit, Galaxy Gio and Galaxy mini fill out our Android universe

Samsung's decided that 10 million Galaxy S devices just aren't enough for us, so it's trickling down the brand name, Android OS and TouchWiz UI into some more affordable form factors. In order from left to right, the Galaxy Ace is a 3.5-incher that most closely resembles the S patriarch, though it makes do with an 800MHz processor and HVGA screen resolution. It's said to be available immediately in Russia, to be followed by Europe, India and China soon. The Fit takes us into lower spec territory, with a 3.3-inch QVGA screen and 600MHz speed, while the Gio packs an even smaller display but raises resolution back up to HVGA. The Galaxy mini has to go down as a blatant LG Optimus T KIRF, which might be its sole notable feature, given the 3.1-inch QVGA display and 600MHz capabilities. All three are targeting the same territories as the Ace, meaning the US will likely be spared from this affordable Android whimsy. Hit read more for details specs.

LG Optimus 2X and Optimus Black priced at €499 by Amazon Germany

Amazon's German outlet has started listing LG's two latest and undoubtedly greatest phones: theOptimus 2X (seemingly renamed the Optimus Speed here) and the Optimus Black. Both run Android 2.2 on 4-inch screens, with the former offering a dual-core Tegra 2 processor capable of 1080p video recording and HDMI output, and the latter cranking up the display brightness to a quite unreasonable 700 nits. The Optimus Black also has one of the thinnest profiles on a smartphone of its class at 9.2mm, and will be one of the first phones to offer WiFi Direct connectivity. Intriguingly, Amazon's Optimus Speed / 2X listing also shows a brown color option for the handset, though only its black SKU is subject to a neat €50 discount bringing its price to €499, the same as the cost of the Optimus Black.

Video - Nokia Bubbles lets you intelligently unlock your N8 in a pop

Nokia Bubbles lets you intelligently unlock your N8 in a pop
The humble unlock screen gets ever fancier, and Nokia Bubbles is one of the fanciest we've seen yet. Like a variety of aftermarket lock screens it enables you to control your media player or initiate calls before you even unlock your handset, but does so in an interesting way. You just grab the bubble for what you want and drop it on what you want to do. A simple unlock entails dragging the key onto the lock, and if you have a missed call you can grab that person's bubble and drag it to a phone to call them right back. Grab the music bubble to go straight to the music player and, well, you get the picture. Okay, so it's not quite as much fun as playing Puzzle Bobble, but it is ever so slightly more useful. Check it out in the video below, or go ahead and give it a download if you're on Symbian.

Nokia Spends More On R&D Than Anyone Else

The regular reader will know of my love affair with all things statistical and infographical so it should come as no surprise that I scour the web for interesting data sets. Today I found the graph below:
It's a breakdown of the R&D spend from some of the world's biggest mobile manufacturers. Now that would be interesting in and of itself, but look at Nokia's position on the chart, it's way way way out in front of all the rest. In 2010 Nokia spent over $4 billion on R&D. The closest anyone else got was Samsung with £ billion, a full billion less than the Finns.
The most obvious question to ask in response to this graph is where the hell this money is going? Nokia hasn't exactly been setting the world alight recently with its products so just what is it doing with all that R&D money? Let's hope that it's not being sunk into Symbian, but rather something that actually has a shot of creating some real buzz and excitement for Nokia.

Nokia's marginalization of MeeGo came as a surprise to Intel

Yesterday's announcement by Nokia that it's switching to Windows Phone 7 as its primary smartphone platform has already had, and will continue to have, great repercussions for plenty of parties besides the Finnish company and its new best bud Microsoft. One of the biggest effects of that deal was that Nokia now no longer considers MeeGo -- the open-source OS it was co-developing with Intel -- an item of priority, classifying it as a "learning project." No prizes for guessing Intel's nowhere near happy about that, but would you have also guessed Nokia kept Chipzilla in the dark about its new direction until the day it announced it to the world? Such is the word from TechCrunch's well placed sources, who also say that Nokia dedicated only a three-man external team to the development of UI customizations for MeeGo. Not exactly the hugest investment in the world, we'd say, and when you consider Nokia and Microsoft already have concept devices drawn up, you've got to think plans to abandon MeeGo as a sincere flagship strategy were materializing in Espoo a long time before this event. It would probably have been nice to tell Intel, though, just to be classy. Hit the source link for more detail, including confirmation that Nokia's N9-00, its first planned MeeGo device, was canned -- apparently due to complaints from operators about its hinge.


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