Motorola faces iPhone with Droid army

Verizon Wireless and Motorola have unveiled what could be their best shot yet in the battle against Apple Inc’s iPhone — the long expected Droid. Motorola says Droid is the most technically advanced smartphone out there. Its promises:

    A speedy Cortex A8 ARM Processor and a Texas Instruments OMAP application chip that it says makes the device run 30 percent to 50 percent faster than other smartphones, including iPhone. First dibs on Android 2.0, the newest version of Google’s mobile software. A new free navigation service to battle dedicated GPS makers like Garmin and TomTom. A higher resolution screen that’s better than iPhone

“Once they see the display I think they’ll be hooked,” Motorola Chief Executive Sanjay Jha told Reuters.

Verizon’s Chief Marketing Officer John Stratton promised to spend more money advertising this device than any phone in its history. He said that it could be seen as a ”big risk” for Verizon,  which started working with Motorola a year ago, to bet on a handset maker that had been steadily losing ground.  But he said his company liked working Motorola so much that it plans to sell more Motorola Android phones in 2010.

“It almost looks like there’s a whole Droid army lining up,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at research firm Interpret. Gartenberg likes the phone’s design, but reserves criticism for how it syncs consumers’ music. Not easily, apparently.

Verizon and Motorola showed off the highlights of the device today.

HP refreshes touch PCs

Hewlett-Packard took the wraps off its latest line of touchscreen PCs, a category that seems to be edging its way into the consumer consciousness.

The growing popularity of smartphones means people are much more comfortable computing via touch — rather than typing — and new devices are crowding into the market. Touchscreen computers also allow companies like HP to innovate on the traditional PC paradigm, offering fresh applications and stretching the limits of what a traditional PC can do.

“This is not just a gimmick, you have to make it something that’s would be useful for people,” said John Cook, vice president of marketing in HP’s consumer PC unit.

Motorola and Google: a bar-room marriage

It’s easy to frame the latest tech business developments as epic clashes of giants and alliances of superpowers.

But Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha finds more inspiration for his metaphors in saloon bar lovers.

After unveiling the Cliq smartphone at the Mobilize 09 event in San Francisco on Thursday, Jha explained to the crowd how it was he turned to Google executive Andy Rubin and the Google Android operating system for the new phone.

Cliq or Dext? Whatever you call it, Motorola’s big play

Motorola launched its Hail Mary pass in the smartphone market and it goes by the name of Cliq, or Dext, depending on where you live. One would assume plenty of branding research went into the names (Cliq in the U.S. and Dext elsewhere), as this is the company that created such easy-to-remember names as Razr, Rokr and Rizr.

Motorola, once a cellphone leader producing iconic products, has fallen well behind the competition as the smartphone market continues to sizzle and consumers flock to devices like the iPhone (which, incidentally, goes by the name “iPhone” everywhere it sells).

With so many new smartphones coming to the market, analysts say the key to success is differentiation — which is often a software issue rather than a hardware one. Motorola hopes its MOTOBLUR software, based on Google’s Android platform, will help it carve out a niche.

Apple hasn’t rejected Google Voice iPhone app after all

Apple, Google and AT&T all filed their responsesFriday to the FCC’s requestfor more information in the Google Voice app saga. The story line thus far has been trying to determine the reasons behind Apple’s decision to reject the iPhone app.  Some blamed AT&T for the thumbs down, believing that the iPhone’s exclusive U.S. carrier feared the app would provide competition for voice services on the smartphone.

But Apple said AT&T played no role in the rejection. In fact, the iPhone maker said the Google Voice app hasn’t even been rejected.

“Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it,” Apple said in its response. “The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhone’s distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail.”

Take the BlackBerry Tour

I’ve been pretty excited about the new BlackBerry Curve 8900 that my office handed me to replace a prehistoric 8800-series machine. Now there’s a new BlackBerry device, the Tour, which is making its debut this summer. So naturally, I rushed to check out the specs on the web to see what I missed.

Here’s what it’s got: 4.4 inches tall, 2.4 inches wide and 0.6 inch thick. There’s a 3.2 megapixel camera, enhanced media player with 256MB built-in memory, video playback and recording capability, and other consumer-friendly features. At under 5 ounces, it’s a little heavier than the Curve 8900, but it doesn’t look that much different.

But Research in Motion Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie told Reuters this latest phone is a “big step forward.” They’re calling it a “world phone”, which means globetrotters can easily access voice and data services on networks outside their home country.

Guess what? People are loving the Pre

The verdict is in: The Pre smartphone from Palm is a hit, at least with the reviewers. Sure, there are dissenters and everyone noted some problems with the device, including battery life, limited applications, and the fact that some programs simply loaded too slowly.

Still, for the most part, reviews were of Pre were positive. In fact, all the big names out there — Mossberg, Pogue etc — predicted it could be an real challenger to iPhone. That alone is saying something.

Since we’re here to save you time, we offer a review of the reviews…

iPhone’s first chapter – a timely update

(Here’s an updated chronology. This first posted June 9)  




Jobs_iPhoneJanuary 9Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs unveils iPhone in the tech industry’s most anticipated new product introduction of the decade.

June 29 – Apple and U.S. carrier partner AT&T Inc start selling iPhone as technology enthusiasts form long lines outside Apple stores.Scoble

July 25 - After big build-up, first weekend sales figures reports disappoint investors. Apple and AT&T sold 270,000 iPhones in first 30 hours; but customers only activate 146,000 of the devices due to initial AT&T service problems.

iPhone 3G: lower price, more profit

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks about the new iPhone at the Apple Worldwide Developers ConferenceDon’t think that Apple’s executives are great humanitarians or just a bunch of really nice guys for cutting the price of the new iPhone in half. They are in it for the money — and they stand to make more and more of it with this second generation iPhone.

Research firm iSuppli “virtually” cracked open the 3G iPhone “using insights from our analysis staff to develop estimates of iPhone content, suppliers and costs.” (It plans to really deconstruct the phone when it is released on July 11.)

ISuppli concluded that each iPhone costs $173 to make. It will sell at retail at $199. When you tack on an estimated $300 Apple gets in subsidies from wireless carriers, that puts the value of each iPhone to Apple at about $500.