The Palm Pre

Palm has announced their new smartphone, the Pre.   It’s not out yet, but it does look interesting.  Big color screen, a slide out physical keyboard, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G, calendar/email synch, accelerometer, 3 Megapixil camera, 8 Gig RAM, USB connector and support for additional add on memory.  

It looks like Palm is stepping up the plate in challenging the iPhone and phones using Google’s Android OS.   It will be interesting to see how the OS holds up under actual use and the application support.  Palm has a very deep application pool to draw from.  How compatible this OS is with the API for the old OS will effect how much of that application pool the Pre can draw from.

The price of texting

I’ve posted before about my opinion of cell phone text messaging the prices the carriers charge for it. Here’s the short form, it’s a major profit center for the carriers.  They are charging a lot for a very low cost feature.

It seems that the Senate antitrust subcommittee has figured this out and is demanding a look underneath the carrier’s collective kimono in order to find out just how much profit they are making over texting.

The First Android Phone

Popular Mechanics has a review of the T-Mobile G-1 phone.

Here is the short form review.   A nice 1.0 product.  A bit bigger than the iPhone, but it has a physical keyboard! Folks with stubby fingers have been complaining about the iPhone virtual keyboard since day one. The G-1 also has a vitural keyboard as well, so take your pick.

The big plus for the G-1 is the Android software.  Unlike Apple’s iPhone OS, it’s open and neither Google or T-Mobile will “gateway” applications the way Apples does through iTunes.

Since its written by Google, expect nice integration with Google’s online apps.  The Android GMail interface is mentioned as the best mobile GMail app so far.

It will be interesting to see Android based phones on different hardware and supported by different carriers.

No Bluetooth support in Android 1.0

According to the Android Developers Blog, Bluetooth support has been dropped from the upcoming Android 1.0 release.

The reason is that we plain ran out of time. The Android Bluetooth API was pretty far along, but needs some clean-up before we can commit to it for the SDK. Keep in mind that putting it in the 1.0 SDK would have locked us into that API for years to come.

The honesty is refreshing, but that is a major chunk of basic functionality missing.

Keep in mind, that Android plans on doing a lot more with Bluetooth than supporting wireless headsets. So I’m expecting a 1.1 release to follow up pretty quick with Bluetooth and GTalk functionality.

Android rumors

Perhaps the Google Android team is getting a bit nervous, with actual working LINUX based smart phones on the horizon.  Or it could be that iPhones are still selling like they were coated with crack and that Best Buy is going to start selling them as well.

Whatever the reason, the rumors of Android not being available to consumers until 2009 are getting competition from rumors that Android based phones may be availiable sooner.  The word is T-Mobile will have the device.

Update: T-Mobile uses a GSM network.

HT to Morgan Webb.

GSM vs. CDMA

Comment wise, one of the most popular posts here is about Cell Phone technology.  The comments have drifted in to cell phone protocols.

There are two main protocols, CDMA and GSM. CDMA is a legacy protocol only used here in the US. The rest of the world uses GSM.  This is an issue for hardware manufacturers, since the phone has to be built to support one or the other.

At least two of the major US carriers, Sprint and Verizon, still use CDMA.  So there still is a fairly large market for phones designed to use CDMA.

AT&T bit the bullet years back and coverted their network to GSM.  This probably gives them a slight advantage in pricing when buying phone in bulk from manufactures.  It also allows them to compete in the International market, since their phones will operate outside the CONUS.

Another advantage to GSM is the SIM card.  The part of the phone that identifies it to the network is designed to be an enduser replaceable device.  This makes the actual phone independent of the network (something that gives Verizon execs and Steve Jobs nightmares).

My iPhone, and my previous phone are both GSM devices, so I was able to take then SIM from my iPhone (Apple bricked it for about 12 hours) and put in my RAZR phone.  You can’t do that with a CDMA device.

Just from a technical, networking engineer viewpoint, my vote goes for GSM.

Linux Phone

Here is the Neo Freerunner, running openmoko.

Update: It’s a GSM device.

It’s good to have backups.

I’ve been pushing having reliable backups going back to my days as a service tech on corporate PCs back in the early 80s.  I’ve always been amazed with the number of tech saavy people I’ve met who don’t bother with backups.

I was one of those who’s iPhone was bricked for 12+ hours by Apple’s poor handling of the iPocalypse.  So I went to my backup solution.  I pulled the sim and put it my old Razr.

The image on the phone is one of my pictures.  It’s a Raven sitting on an old Roman wall in front of one of the oldest buildings in the Tower of London.