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Showing posts from February 10, 2008

HTC Update Advantage Fails To Fix Biggest Problems

First details are starting to emerge of the refreshed HTC Advantage. The super-size PDA itself is little changed, it still packs a massive 5" screen and is as big as some of the UMPCs on the market. However the 8Gb micro drive has been replaced by a 16Gb flash drive. The pretty awful, magnetically attached keyboard remains, although in this version it seems to have 'gained' flat keys and a vibration feature to let you know a key has been pressed. No word on whether it has gained backlighting.

It appears as though the new Advantage retains all the failings of the old, something that is unlikely to be fixed until such time as a true replacement appears, hopefully more closely resembling the older HTC Universal, which did a much better job of packaging an integrated keyboard, large screen device.

Play launches DRM-free Download Service

Play.com has launched its DRM-free download service providing much needed competition for iTunes and undercutting its prices too.

320Kbps MP3 tracks are available from the big four music publishers from just 65p per track. And its that 'from' that is the important part of the deal. Whilst Apple continues to insist on a standard price per track, irrespective of artist, age, or popularity, Play appear to have agreed to the publisher's demands to be able to set per track pricing.

Given Play's regional focus it will be interesting to see what, if any, affect this has on iTunes pricing.

Still for those of us who don't have an iPod, yet still want to buy music online, this marks a great step forward. Here's to more competition.

HTC To Build X1

Sony Ericsson's forthcoming Windows Mobile device will probably not suffer the disastrous design failings of its recent UIQ devices, as HTC has been revealed as its production partner. A company which knows more about building Windows Mobile devices doesn't exist.This bodes well for this new phone, as its tantamount to an admission that Sony-Ericsson's recent disasters have been of its own making and its needs help to produce something less likely to antagonise its customers (see P990, M600, P1 and W950 for reference!)

Sony-Ericsson Goes Windows Mobile

After the Palm based Clies, then the Symbian UIQ Pxxx range, Sony(with Ericsson) have gone full circle and launched a Windows Mobile device, due to be the shops in the latter half of this year.Looking like a cross between a Nokia N810 and a Sony Walkman phone the Xperia X1 marks a whole new direction for the Japanese-Swedish combine. And we all know why don't we?Sony-Ericsson tied its colours to the UIQ mast on the grounds that touchscreens and PDA functions would make it a leader. In fact what has happened is that endless faukts with the devices which have made it to market (P990 and P1 for example) has robbed the platform of customer loyalty. Coupled to the imminent laucnh of Nokia S60 based touch system it looks like they've made a wise decision to bail out whilst thy still can.

Microsoft In Danger

Or rather Microsoft owns Danger, manufacturer of the Hiptop, AKA Sidekick, which has a certain cachet in the US where it has become the anti-Blackberry, the messaging device of choice for a younger, hipper generation. The cost of the deal to Microsoft hasn't been disclosed, but I'm guessing that those in Microsoft's Windows Mobile division aren't feeling overly secure in their positions tonight.

However Microsoft tries to spin it, this is an admission that they have failed to capture the non business market and that the Hiptop has succeeded as much for what its not - a Microsoft product - as for all the celebrity endorsements.

The danger (sorry bad pun alert!) for Danger is that coming under the Microsoft umbrella will stop it doing the things that made it so good.

Now Microsoft has to find an MP3 player that has been super successful and buy the company that makes it. Shouldn't be too hard to find something better than the Zune - although something as good as the…