Fan of Google Maps? Use it a lot on your cell phones? Maybe you use Loopt to stay in touch with friends and family and check out what they’re up to and where they are? Well, starting today, Google’s new Latitude feature looks to steal their lunch. Google not only lets you see yourself on the map, but your friends as well (assuming they accept your invitation and opt-in to sharing their location with you). Google Maps for mobile with Latitude is available now for Android (it’s in the current RC33 update that’s being rolled out), Blackberry, Symbian S60 and Windows Mobile. The Apple iPhone version will be available soon as part of the Google Mobile App. And, if you don’t have a smartphone (uh, why are you even visiting this site?), you can even add the Google Latitude Gadget to your iGoogle homepage. If you use Google Gears or Google Chrome, the location of your desktop or laptop can be tracked, too. Pretty awesome stuff. Just don’t go askin’ any BGR writers to share their location, we’re pretty private people, you know.
We said it, you doubted, we said it again and now it’s finally here – Fido has launched the BlackBerry Pearl 8100. That’s right – it’s 2009 and a wireless carrier just launched the Pearl 8100. Okay, so the 8100 is pretty much obsolete at this point and the fact that Fido has the nerve to ask for $400 month-to-month or $25 over 3-years is nothing short of absolutely insane. Hey, nothing is stopping you from bringing in something hot like a Bold or Curve 8900 instead. God knows you’ve earned it for being so patient during the long, arduous wait! Anyway, just like we said the data plans are as follows:
Electronic Arts reported its earnings yesterday and while things are hardly as catastrophic as, say, a company like Sony, EA did manage to fall short of projections. Revenue came in at $1.65 billion, short of the $1.90 billion projection and revenue for the fiscal year yielded around $4.2 billion compared to a projection of $4.68 billion. As a result, EA announced some big moves in an effort to slow the bleeding – 1,100 layoffs and the closing of 12 game studios. That’s the bad news of course. The good news is that EA finally plans to get on board and begin focusing major efforts on Nintendo’s Wii, the run-away leader as far as console sales are concerned. This might not be the best news Microsoft and Sony have heard all week as they will likely see several currently-exclusive titles hit Nintendo’s console, but an active EA presence on Wii will bring a new dynamic to the console. More importantly, it will give EA access to to a huge audience that had been previously untapped. How EA’s franchises will translate to the popular console remains to be seen but if there’s one thing that can boost EA’s revenue, it’s the Wii.
It’s hardly a surprise at this point, given the carrier’s historical dominance, but it’s still worth noting. According to the almighty JD Power and Associates, T-Mobile has earned the highest possible ranking in their survey of customer service provided by the major cell companies in the US. T-Mobile, widely acknowledged as one of the industry leaders in providing spotty service exemplary customer service, has won the top honor 7 out of the last 8 years, losing narrowly to Verizon in last year’s contest. JD Power determined the following specifics about T-Mobz’ commitment to its customer base:
Garmin and ASUS have just announced that they’ve entered into a strategic alliance and have subsequently re-branded the Garmin nuvifone as the nuviphone G60. What’s more is that both companies have promised to deliver several devices in 2009 with another device slated to make a charming pirouette entrance at Mobile World Congress. With the entire nuvifone lineup obviously very navigation oriented, the million dollar question is what OS will the lineup will be running. Apparently a ASUS chairman said at today’s press conference that it has yet to decide which OS to use with the G60 and that “[ASUS has] expertise in WinMo, Linux and Android, but we believe the software is more important than the OS.” While the aforementioned statement seems on the surface to be an example of extravagant exaggeration, we suppose that there is some truth to it as the people who are going to be picking up a G60 aren’t going to be doing so because of whatever OS it ships with. Now if you have a good memory for these kind of things you’ll recall that it wasn’t too long ago that we though the G60 would for sure be shipping with Android based upon statements from Garmin’s Asian Pacific Marketing Director, but then again companies obviously reserve the right to change their minds at any time. Expect to see the G60 out by the end of this quarter – a daunting task considering it’s still OSless…
As part of the Alltel merger, Verizon Wireless was required to divest nearly $3 billion in wireless assets as shown in the dark blue and red areas in the map above. According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T is rumored to be one of three interested parties seeking to scoop up these soon-to-be-available markets. Other potential buyers include Providence Equity Partners LLC and a joint venture that includes the private-equity firms of Carlyle Group CYL.UL and Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts & Co. Because of its strong financial position, AT&T could easily out bid these other investment groups and walk away with the lion’s share of these markets. Regulatory approval may stand in the way of AT&T’s rumored plans as the purchase of the divestitures must be approved by the DOJ. It is unclear whether the DOJ would approve such an acquisition by an already large wireless carrier such as AT&T. As of the writing of this post, both AT&T and Verizon Wireless have declined to comment on the rumors. Until these rumors are debunked, the question remains whether customers in these divested markets would be better served by a larger and more experienced wireless carrier like AT&T or a smaller firm such as one of the aforementioned.
Sprint customers, have you found yourself wondering what Hesse & Co. have in store for you this year beyond the illustrious Palm Pre? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. While we can’t post the list itself, one of our ninjas came through with a tasty internal document that may shed some light on things for you. It doesn’t cover all of the handsets Sprint has in store for 2009 but it does shed some light on a few handsets we’re all eagerly awaiting. Note that this is an End of Life (EOL) list so the replacement devices may add an element of confusion. Some of the handsets listed below are already released, such as the Motorola i365 and the Samsung M220, yet they are listed next to dates in the future. This simply means that these handsets will fill any gaps left by the corresponding EOL device. As for the handsets on the list that are not yet released, the EOL dates represent the target death of the EOL handset (in the warehouse, existing store inventory will still be sold) and the target in stock-date at Sprint’s warehouses for its replacement. In other words, these replacement devices are projected to be in stock by the dates specified so a release on or around said date is most likely a safe bet. So without further ado, hit the jump and soak up all that Sprint handset goodness we’ve extracted from the EOL document for you.
T-Mobile has announced that they are going to be carrying the Samsung Memoir this month. We could never have guessed… A pretty little thing, the Memoir’s main selling points are is its 8 megapixel camera with autofocus, 16x digital zoom and Xenon flash. A virtual full-QWERTY keypad and aGPS make up the other goodies this phone offers along with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. Now, the heart and soul of the Memoir is its camera and Samsung has made it easy for users to upload their pics to flickr, Kodak Gallery, Photobucket or Snapfish with the simple tap of the touchscreen. Thankfully this won’t be too much of a chore if you’re within T-Mobile’s funky 1700MHz 3G spectrum, but a lack of WiFi is going to make an awful lot of people sad considering that T-Mobile’s 3G network is currently as widespread as Eminem’s new album. Anyway, we’re quite excited to get some hands-on time with the Memoir — we love us some camera phones. Hit up the jump for a couple more pics and the press release.
The Motorola Renew isn’t exactly an unheard of device, but T-Mobile has gone and scooped ‘em up. Don’t expect to be taking 8-megapixel flicks here, as this is as low-end as you basically get. How low end? Well, how does $9.99 on a two-year sound? Yeah, it’s that inexpensive. There are some perks to owning a Motorola Renew, however. First of all, you’re looking at around nine whole hours of battery life — awesome. Second, the entire case of the phone is made from recycled water bottles and thus is 100% fully recyclable. Additionally, the box it comes in is also made from recycled material and the phone ships with a postage-paid envelope to a recycling center when the phone’s time on the earth is done. Not to get all gushy over the green aspect of the device, but as a final aside, Motorola has completely offset the carbon dioxide required to make, distribute, and operate the phone through investments in reforestation and renewable energy sources. Pretty damn cool, if we do say so ourselves.