PDA News – GSM coverage, GPS PocketPC, N-Gage understatement

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AT&T to convert system; mobile users affected

When I have to report on news like this, it makes me glad I can do it online so that I don’t hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth. AT&T is currently in the process of converting much of its network over to the GSM 850 band, a move that is bound to disrupt and effectively obsolete many existing mobile devices on their network. The affected markets are largely on the west coast–most of California, and parts of Oregon, Washington, and Nevada–along with another knot around the New York metro and northern New Jersey, and yet another that encompasses most of Florida.

Devices which are not compatible with the new system, and thus likely to suffer decreasing levels of coverage and service, include the popular T68i Bluetooth phone, ALL current BlackBerry communicators, ALL current PocketPC Phones, the Nokia 3650, and the MPx200.

Congratulations boys and girls at AT&T–in one fell swoop you just tactically nuked your entire high-end-data-plan user base.

To users of certain phones, AT&T is offering ‘upgrades’ to compatible phones with fewer features and less battery life. For instance, users of the T68i Bluetooth phone are offered the T226 which has no Bluetooth and significantly decreased battery life. Memo to AT&T: find the guy in the PR department whose resume listed ‘Professional Sadist’, and fire him.

The good news for Treo 600 users is that their devices already support GSM 850, so they will actually benefit from the changeover, reaping improved coverage–though for a time they may have to be careful of the BlackBerries being thrown at them.


Emirate 1 features GPS, GSM, Bluetooth

Here’s something different. ADCOM, a communications company based out of the United Arab Emirates, is creating a new PocketPC called the Emirate 1. The device is designed with built-in GPS tracking, GSM/GPRS voice and data, and Bluetooth wireless, as well as an Intel Bulverde processor, 1600 milliamp-hour battery, and USB port.

Pricing will be decided around the time of the launch, which is scheduled for July. The device will initally be available in the Persian Gulf coast region, though the company also plans to find a distributor for the device in the U.S. and the rest of the world. The ADCOM project manager has also stated that they intend to try and use the latest operating system if it’s available in time for the Emirate 1’s launch.



Nokia CEO understates N-Gage situation

I happened to be reading through an article on Brighthand today concerning a rumor about a second-generation N-Gage by Nokia. The rumor itself was nothing terribly earthshattering–mostly, in fact, talk about correcting things that really should have been done right in the first place. However, while reading the article, the following paragraph reached out to me:

Nokia predicted at the device’s launch that it will sell 6 million of N-Gages over the next two years. Recently, Jorma Ollila, Nokia’s CEO, confessed that sales of the device have not met company expectations.

All together now… Three… Two… One… DUH! Congratulations–you just won the prize for Best Executive Understatement in Describing a Massive Bomb.




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