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Manufacturers Gearing up for the Summer Season

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GLOBAL – Undettered by the glooming economy, handset manufacturers across the world are ready to inundate the handset market with a long list of handsets.

Leading the list is Sony Ericsson with four confirmed and one rumoured handset releases for the coming season.

Next in the line is Samsung with two (Pixon 12, and the mystery handset due on June 15) confirmed and one rumoured device; followed by Blackberry with one announced and one rumoured handset; Nokia, HTC, LG, INQ Mobile, and of course, Apple; each with a handset due for the coming season.

 

 

Apple iPhone 3G S

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Announced in a little over 24 hours at WWDC in San Francisco, the iPhone 3G S is an attractive mobile phone for the coming season. There weren’t many surprises in Phil Schiller’s keynote, other than that the iPhone retaining the same look and form factor. In the iPhone 3G S, the ‘S’ stands for speed: the phone is packed with a faster processor (clockspeed unknown as of now), a 3 megapixel camera with auto focus and video recording at 30 fps, video editing, voice dialing and voice command, built-in compass, and of course, it will be running on the iPhone 3.0 OS

The new operating system brings with it MMS support, data teethering (which unfortunately will not be supported by AT&T when it launches this June 19th), cut-copy-paste across applications, and Spotlight search.

The rest of the specifications remain the same. The iPhone 3G will still be available in the market at US$99 on a 2-year contract for the 8 GB version, while the iPhone 3G S will be priced at US$199 for the 16 GB unit, and US$299 for the 32 GB model for a 2-year contract (all prices for the US). The device will be available in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK this June 19th, followed by phased launches across the globe reaching 80 countries by August 9th this year.

Blackberry Pearl Flip 8230

 

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Verizon Wireless and Research In Motion (RIM) have announced that the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 smartphone will be available in the US beginning this June 19th (same as iPhone 3G S). The handset sports two high-resolution screens: an internal TFT display with 240×320 pixels of resolutions,  and an external TFT display with 128×160 of resolution; with an ambient light sensor; along with a 2 megapixel camera with zoom and flash, video recording, a large SureType QWERTY backlit keyboard, microSD memory card slot (supporting up to 16 GB of external memory), Bluetooth, Blackberry Internet Service and Blackberry Enterprise Support, voice dial, Mediasync, Blackberry maps, VZ navigator capability (subscription service providing audible turn-by-turn directions to any address in US),  and as with most Blackberry phone, it lacks Wi-Fi. 

The BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 is priced at US$129.99 after a US$70 mail-in rebate for a 2-year contract. VZ navigator subscription is priced at US$9.99 per month, and visual voice mail at US$2.99 per month.

Blackberry Gemini/Curve 8520

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Kevin Michaluk of Crackberry, who leaked the first images of the Blackyberry Gemini, is very much impressed by this rumoured replacement for the Curve 8300.

The Gemini is the first Blackberry device to sport an optical trackpad and dedicated mediaplayer buttons. The device has been given a rubberised look along the periphery and in general has good aesthetics. The 3G is glaringly absent as per-leaked specifications, and no word yet on other specifications, pricing or launch. Only time can tell how well a Blackberry sans the trackball will fare in the very competitive smartphone market.

Nokia 5630 XpressMusic

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Nokia launched its slimmest XpressMusic device in selected European markets (Finland, Germany and Italy) with phased releases across the world to be followed soon.

The 5630 runs on the latest S60 3rd edition Feature Pack 2 software platform, and is powered by a 600 MHz processor, probably the fastest S60 candy bar to date with 128 MB RAM and 256 MB internal memory. The phone is also one of the first Nokia devices to feature two brandings: XpressMusic and Ngage.

It has the specifications of a high-end S60 phone featuring a 3.2 megapixel camera with LED flash, auto focus and video recording; Wi-Fi with UPnP technology, quadband GSM connectivity and dualband HSDPA connectivity, a 2.2″ TFT display, a microSD memory card slot (expandable up to 16 GB, with a 4 GB preloaded in the box), Bluetooth 2.0, and USB 2.0.

The phone is available in three colours: red, blue and silver, and priced at €200.

Sony Ericsson C901 GreenHeart

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Sony Ericsson is going the eco-friendly way with its GreenHeart branded phones. Thse devices feature at least 50% recycled plastic, electronic manual reducing paper requirement by 90%, and compact-packing reducing carbon-footprint. The MH300 GreenHeart headsets contain 100% recycled plastics, there is a low-power EP300 GreenHeart charger, and all devices contain water-borne paint reducing exposure to toxic volatile organic carbons (VOCs).  

The Sony Ericsson C901 Cyber-shot is the company’s first GreenHeart phone, and it features a 5 megapixel camera with 16x zoom, autofocus, Xenon flash, face/smile detection, geo-tagging (via cell ID most likely, as there is no GPS connectivity), smart contrast and red-eye reduction; along with a 2.2″ TFT screen with ambient light sensor, accelerometer, quadband GSM and dualband HSPPA connectivity, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, and a M2 memory card slot (expandable up to 8 GB of external memory).

The operating system, which runs on Java MIDP 2.0, comes with preloaded applications such as picture editor, blogging software, YouTube, Google Maps, Walkmate (an application comparing the number of steps walked to the equivalent distance travelled by car), and a CO2 calculator.

Sony Ericsson Naite

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The Sony Ericsson Naite is a mid-end phone featuring quadband GSM connectivity, dualband HSDPA (other than US), triband HSDPA (US) connectivity, a 2.2″ TFT screen with ambient light sensor, 100 MB internal memory, a 2 megapixel camera with video calling and video recording at 320×240 pixels at 15 fps, a microSD memory card slot (expandable upto 8 GB), Bluetooth 2.0, and USB 2.0.

The Naite comes with a preloaded application called ECOmate which helps users take eco-friendly options in their everyday life, as well as a Carbon Footprint Calculator to show the user how much CO² can be saved by walking instead of taking a car.

The phone will be available in two colours: vapour silver and ginger red.

Sony Ericsson W395

 

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Sony Ericsson had announced the W395 as the company’s lowest priced Walkman-branded slider phone to date. It comes loaded with quadband GSM connectivity, a 2″ TFT screen with 176×220 pixels of resolution capable of rendering 256k colors, scratch resistant surface, 10 MB of internal memory, a 2 megapixel camera with autofocus and video recording, a M2 memory card slot (expandable upto 4GB, with 1 GB preloaded in the box), GPRS and EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0, USB 2.0, and Java MIDP 2.0 support with downloadable games.

The W395 will be available in dusky green and blush titanium.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X2

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Pictures of rumoured Xperia 2 have surfaced on internet on a number of reliable sources in the blogosphere. Pictured above is the image from Engadget showing the Xperia X2 with its full QWERTY keyboard.

The specifications include a 3.5″ WVGA OLED screen, an 8.1 megapixel camera with autofocus,  support for PS3 remote play, 512 MB RAM, and a better processor as compared to the Xperia X1.

The device is also understood to be powered by a Sony Ericsson-customized Windows Mobile 6.5 version with support and upgrade options to Windows Mobile 7 as and when it is launched.

Samsung B5100

Samsung is rumored to be launching yet another Symbian S60-powered phone to its line-up with the B5100.

There are no images of this phone available so far, but as per UnwiredView, the B5100 seems to be very similar to a Samsung i7110 with a metallic casing.

Leaked specifications include a display with 240×320 pixels of resolution, HSDPA  connectivity, a 3 megapixel camera with LED flash, DivX video support, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and USB 2.o.

Samsung Mystery Phone

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In an innovative marketing campaign, Samsung is going to unveil its phone to public eye through a live competition aptly titled “Samsung Unpacked”to be held in London, Dubai and Singapore on June 15th.

Specifications and pictures of the device to-be-launched have been kept under wraps (sans the X-ray image), and the competition will involve unpacking a multi-layered box from a player on each day starting on June 10th until June 15th.

By the X-ray image and the specifications of leaked B5100 discussed above, it can be expected that the mystery phone may be the B5100 and that may explain the absence of images from our sources.

HTC Hero

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The HTC Hero is rumoured to be unveiled during HTC’s “Come See..” event to-be hosted in London on 24th June at 11:30 am.

HTC hosted a similar event in London and later in Singapore for the launch of the Touch Diamond. Engadget speculates that the rose in the event poster is referring to the HTC’s Rosie Interface. This interface has been hacked on to G1s by several hackers, and the interface is shown with several improvements in regards to the aesthetics of interface, with functional widgets for weather and twitter.

Twitter phone by INQ Mobile

INQ Mobile is a fully owned subsidiary of Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., which specialises in offering affordable handsets that appeal to the upwardly mobile generation, offering instant access to web services such as Facebook and Skype.

The success of their Skype phone, with over 700,000 units sold since 2007, has prompted INQ to launch Facebook and Twitter phones. Their INQ1 aka Facebook Phone won the “best handset award” at the Mobile World Congress held in February 2009.

With a Twitter phone, INQ would be targetting the micro-blogging community. The upcoming device is expected to be priced lower than US$140.

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By , Chief International Correspondent on Jun 9th, 2009 GMT +2

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