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Mobile morsels: Android news this week, Windows Phone 7 next

It's been a busy week in the world of mobile devices -- even if you set aside largely groundless speculation about what carrier might sell the iPhone next. (Notice how nobody ever asks about Nextel getting the iPhone? Just you watch; Apple will surprise us all!)

One reason for so much mobile news is the wireless-industry trade show that wraps up today in San Francisco. Carriers have used this opportunity to roll out new products, most of them phones running Google's Android software.


* Verizon Wireless: In addition to providing more details about its rollout of a 4G "LTE" network, as outlined in Cecilia Kang's post on Wednesday, Verizon introduced the Motorola Droid Pro. It looks as if this is Motorola's attempt to run over RIM's BlackBerry, with a physical keyboard below its screen and a long list of business-friendly features. No pricing announced yet.

* AT&T introduced USB receivers for its upcoming, faster "HSPA+" and LTE services and three Motorola Android phones. The oddball of the bunch is the Flipout, a square-shaped device on which the screen pivots clockwise to reveal a physical keyboard. Note an issue unadvertised by the carrier: These models, like the earlier Android phones, disable the usual option to install applications from outside Google's Android Market.

* Sprint announced new Android models from LG, Sanyo and Samsung, plus a layer of personalization software called Sprint ID. The company defines this as a "predefined mobile experience, complete with apps, widgets, ringtones and business tools tailored to a specific interest." Yahoo and Electronic Arts will ship Sprint ID "packs," and the carrier will provide its own to cover such pursuits as "Entertainment," "Fashion and Beauty," "Business Productivity" and "Golf Enthusiast." Something tells me I'm too old for this stuff.

* T-Mobile announced the extension of WiFi calling to its Android phones, but the carrier's big news was an item it couldn't have planned on bragging about: Android hackers discovered that the T-Mobile G2 that T-Mobile introduced last month comes hardwired to undo such common tinkering operations as installing a third-party Android bundle in place of T-Mobile's software.

One other bit of mobile news will come on Monday, when Microsoft will introduce Windows Phone 7, its belated, badly needed replacement for Windows Mobile. The company's launch starts at 9:30 a.m. in New York; I'll be there to see the dog-and-pony show and get some hands-on time with the hardware. Any Win Phone 7 issues you're particularly interested in getting details about? Please post your coverage requests in the comments.

Have other questions about the state of mobile technology--or the kind that stays put on your desk or in your living room? I'm online from noon to 1 today for my fortnightly Web chat. Or just post your question in the comments below.

By Rob Pegoraro  | October 8, 2010; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  DRM, Mobile  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Battling media boxes: Apple TV vs. Roku
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If you can't beat 'em copy 'em. The Droid Pro does look like a Blackberry but then the worst thing about the Droid is its physical keyboard. It is better than an on-screen keyboard, but well behind the BB.

Posted by: slar | October 8, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

When will WP7 support multitasking, Flash, tethering, HTML 5, and connection to VPNs? Have they fixed the problem of less than 24 hrs battery life for WP7 phones? Will VoIP ever be possible? Will Microsoft ever allow phones that can read micro SD cards? Will alternative browsers (besides IE 7) be available? When will WP7 support Windows Rights Management Services? When will WP7 be able to sync with Microsoft's own Live Mesh? How soon will WP7 CDMA phones become available? How soon will T-Mobile be offering WP7 phones?

Posted by: trentreviso | October 8, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Windows Phone 7 will be worth the wait. After all it has already been proven that it can outdo the Blackberry 6.0 browser and can go neck-in-neck with Android and iPhone browsers. And even more encouraging is the fact that the OS is far from a finished product. So you can easily expect further improvements to come in place.

Posted by: xiaoa | October 8, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know more about the browser's capabilities. I develop websites for smartphones, and this phone will potentially change how I do it. How standards-compliant is the new phone browser? Does it support media queries, border-images, and that sort of thing? Hoping the answer is yes.

I know the average person isn't concerned about these questions — people just want websites that work. The question is how much work it'll be for people like me to make these websites.

Posted by: tonybreed | October 11, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

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