Weekly Review – July 15th

The week started with One Mobile Ring reporting Google has updated Docs for mobiles, The HTC Sensation arrived on T-Mobile, new experimental features came to Google Maps and we published an initial impressions review of the HTC ChaCha.

Earlier on in the week, HTC announced Gingerbread is coming to their Desire this month, the ViewSonic Android tablet is now half price, a new Acer Iconia Gingerbread A501 tablet has arrived and we published a top ten mobile phone app list for the iPhone.

Midweek, Microsoft announced more mobile phones are on the way, where the company also leaked four new Windows Phone 7 handsets, a Facebook app is now available to all phones and the Desire Z got some Gingerbread.

Later on in the week, BlackBerry App World reached 1 billion, ZTE launched own name handsets, we published exclusive hands-on pictures of the ZTE Skate, and O2 launched location-based vouchers.

At the end of the week, we published hands-on walkthrough in pictures of the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray, along with images of the Xperia active, a hands-on walkthrough on video of the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray and even more pictures of the Sony S2.

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The biggest story of the week came from Microsoft, who aired at their Worldwide Partner Conference four upcoming Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’ devices for the first time, from Acer, Fujitsu, ZTE and also Samsung.

Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of the Original Equipment Manufacturer Division, Steve Guggenheimer, aired unseen handsets from these new manufacturers of Windows Phone 7 devices.

Acer is set to bring one of the largest names in OEM brands to the mobile phone scene, where Fujitsu brought along to the event the world’s first Windows Phone 7 water-proof handset with a highly capable camera, whilst ZTE is one of the largest OEM manufacturers in the handset world and also new to WP7 – after being well-known for making devices for the likes of Orange and Vodafone.

Steve Guggenheimer also aired for the first time the upcoming Samsung Windows Phone 7 handset, which has the look of the new Samsung Galaxy S II. He noted the mobile will be thin and light, which is a theme running throughout the new Windows Phone 7 mobile phones. These new series of upcoming handsets will have better chipsets, larger screens with better resolution and an improved batter life which hasn’t been seen in the past.

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The next most significant piece was when ZTE announced it has partnered with mobile phone distributor Brightpoint in the UK, to launch ZTE own branded mobile phones.

ZTE is well known for making mobile phones for companies such as Vodafone and Orange, with the ZTE Blade, as the Orange San Francisco and the Orange Monte Carlo – also known as the ZTE Skate.

One Mobile Ring attended the launch event of the ZTE partnership with Brightpoint, where we have exclusively learnt the ZTE Skate will be priced at under £250 when the phone arrives on the shelves around October time this year.

This move for ZTE to retail their own handsets and under their own name mimics the decision HTC made back in 2007, when they launched the ‘Touch’ handset under their own brand name. The High Tech Computer Corporation prior to that only provided OEM handsets to O2, in the XDA range and Orange, in the SPV series – with the mobile phone networks own name attached.

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The third largest news item came from Research In Motion, who unveiled it has reached a new milestone in items downloaded from its BlackBerry App World, with that figure hitting one billion and in just over two and a half years.

The massive amount has been reached by the store for BlackBerry handsets in over 100 different countries, with over three million downloads each day.

There have been many feature improvements over the period of time since BlackBerry App World first appeared on Research In Motion mobile phones, along with enhancements to the look and feel of the store.

This announcement comes off the back of Microsoft’s news from this week, where the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace has now hit 22,000 applications and in just over eight months since launch.

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The following most significant story was when we published a hands-on walkthrough of the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray here.

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The fifth biggest piece was One Mobile Ring publishing a hands-on walkthrough of the Sony S2 dual screen tablet here.

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The next most significant news came when we published the exclusive hands-on pictures of the ZTE Skate here.

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The seventh largest story was HTC making public the news that their former flagship Desire handset will be receiving Android ‘Gingerbread’ 2.3, at the end of the month.

HTC unveiled this latest news on Facebook, from their HTCUK account and in a message that reads: “Hi everyone. As some of you have seen already, we have more news about our build of Gingerbread for Desire. Our testing has gone well so we will begin rolling out the update by the end of July. Thank you again for your support”.

This news has come off the back of the deep controversy of late where HTC first announced the handset will not be gaining an update to the latest version of Android, where the company reversed their decision due to a public outcry and then stated the update will be arriving on the HTC Desire after all.

Initially, HTC announced: “Our engineering teams have been working hard for the past few months to find a way to bring Gingerbread to the HTC Desire without compromising the HTC Sense experience you’ve come to expect from our phones.”

The message goes on to state: “However, we’re sorry to announce that we’ve been forced to accept there isn’t enough memory to allow us both to bring Gingerbread and keep the HTC Sense experience on the HTC Desire. We’re sincerely sorry for the disappointment that this news may bring to some of you”.

An updated message from HTC stated, “Contrary to what we said earlier, we are going to bring Gingerbread to HTC Desire”.

A further message some days later cleared up the news with: “To resolve Desire’s memory issue and enable the upgrade to Gingerbread, we will cut select apps from the release. Look for status updates starting next week. We apologize for any confusion”.

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The following most significant item came from Facebook, who has launched the ‘Facebook for Every Phone app’, which offers a fast Facebook experience on over 2,500 different phones.

The application includes Facebook’s most popular features, such as News Feed, Inbox, and Photos, along with enabling the ability to upload photos and find friends from the mobile’s contacts.

Facebook for Every Phone app is both easy to use and low impacting on the phone’s data allowance, where the social networking company has collaborated with many carriers worldwide to offer free data access to this app for 90 days – including Three in the UK.

The application has been optimised to use less data than other Java apps or mobile sites, making it much more affordable for people to use when the 90-day period ends.

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The penultimate piece of news was when Clove took stock of the latest Acer Iconia Android tablet and without just WIFI capabilities, as the A501 arrives with 3G abilities too.

Acer’s WIFI-only Iconia Tab A500 made its public debut at Mobile World Congress this year in Barcelona, where the 32GB model went on sale mid-March and also hit the headlines of late, where it received a £100 price cut along with a storage cut to 16GB, from 32GB.

Iconia Tab A501 runs from Google’s mobile OS, which is especially geared up for tablets in Android ‘Honeycomb’ 3.0, along with various additions to the platform by Acer - such as their own UI and the clear.fi media sharing system.

The tablet arrives with a 10.1-inch 1280×800 WXGA capacitive touch screen, running from a Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core cortex A9 1GHz processor, with a 5 megapixel camera and 2MP variant on the front, a microHDMI port, 32GB of storage capacity with access to WIFI and 3G networks for internet access.

Clove is retailing the Acer Iconia Tab A501 for £534 SIM free and unlocked, where the WIFI only version is still priced around £449.99 and £349.99 for the 16GB variant.

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Lastly, Google has introduced a new feature in their latest version of Google Maps, with the ability to download maps on the Android version to a handset.

The recently released Google Maps 5.7 has a new off-line feature under the Google Lab option; the place where the experimental abilities of the mobile mapping software is located, in order to enhance the overall usability of the software.

The latest addition to the laboratory section is known as ‘download map area’, which allows for a selectable area of the map to be brought down on to a mobile device. This ability can be used before travelling and over WIFI, saving on the data allowance or even before going abroad where the roaming costs are still very high.

After enabling the feature inside of the Google Labs any area of a map can be selected, where there’s an option to download that section and in detail over a radius of 10 miles – where the data connection will no longer be used, when travelling within that vicinity.

Google Maps itself started as a labs feature way back in 2005 and has now proven to be a useful tool, for every mobile device that doesn’t have a built-in sat nav application.

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Originally published at OneMobileRing.com

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