iPhone firmware 3.1 BETA

Firmware version 3.1 has just entered BETA.

Here are some of the highlights.

Bluetooth support for Voice Control.  So finally, my iPhone “smartphone” will be able to do wihat my old Motorola Razr did from day one.  Tap the button on a Bluetooth headset and initiate a call simply by speaking.

MMS may or may not be supported. Depends on AT&T approval.

Small improvements to the video editing.

There are a few other minor features, but I’m expecting there will be a number of bug fixes in the release that won’t make the public annoucements, including anti-jail break features.

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Summer of the Smart Phone

Let’s review what is announced/rumored for this summer.

Palm’s Pre is due out in two days.  Will it be enought to save Palm? Hell, Sprint could use the boost too.

Two days after that,  the new iPhone firmware is release, and probably new iPhone hardware as well.

Later this month, Nokia’s N97 is due out

After that,  Google will release another rev of Android and multiple Android phones will be hitting th streets.

New iPhone hardware

According to Fortune Magazine, Apple is building 5-6 million new iPhones at their Chinese factories.

The rumor is to expect two new models in either June or July.  One will be faster, with more memory and a better camera at least. The other would be a step backwards, a less powerful, but cheaper model.

Another issue facing Apple & iPhone users is AT&T’s 3G network. It seems AT&T is a bit nervous about millions of new 3G phones hitting it’s network this summer and is rushing to upgrade in order to handle the load.

Skype on the iPhone

So that rumor was true.  I downloaded the Skype app from the iTunes store.  It only works over the WiFi connection, so AT&T continues to get its blood money/minutes.

One feature that is missing is support of Bluetooth headsets. I want to talk to my Skype friends hands free using my Jabra headset.  Hopefully the folks at Skype will have that fixed in the next version.

New iPhone hardware rumors

Apple has changed the rules for the Rev 2, 3G iPhone sales. Customers can buy “unlimited quantities” without the AT&T contract that subsides the price.  This is the same tactic Apple used to clear out Rev 1 hardware before they announced the 3G iPhone.

The Apple Developers Conference, June 8-12, would be a good place announce a new rev of the iPhone hardware that will use the new firmware to the best advantage.  Apple could use a new iPhone to offset the Palm Pre and new Android phones.

New Skype on the iPhone rumors

From GigaOM we have the latest rumors about a Skype application for the iPhone. The buzz is that it will be announced next week.  I’ll believe it when I see it on the iTunes app store.

Cell carriers are going to start coming around to the reality that for smart phone users, they are a data carrier.  Voice is secondary and they want greater flexibility.

Update: Ok, I believe it.  I downloaded the Skype app from the iTunes app store today.  It only works over WiFi, but if you can get a WiFi connection, you can talk to your Skype buddies without AT&T having anything to do with it.

3.0 iPhone software

The big news, Cut & Paste!

The new software is supposed to announced tomorrow.  Rumors of a tethering app as well, but expect AT&T to want extra for it.