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Posts Tagged ‘smartphones’

T-Mobile Shadow: hands-on impressions and photo gallery

Posted by comtech3 on January 28, 2009

January 27, 2009 9:01 PM PST

Posted by Bonnie Cha

In addition to the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900, T-Mobile also announced the retail availability of the T-Mobile Shadow on Tuesday night. The Windows Mobile 6.1 device was first announced at CES 2009 as the replacement to the original Shadow and can now be purchased online and at T-Mobile stores for $149.99 with a two-year contract.

I actually have the T-Mobile Shadow in hand but only received it a few hours ago, so I’m still checking out the smartphone and putting through its paces. I’ll have a full review for you tomorrow morning, but for now I wanted to share some initial thoughts and hands-on photos of the smartphone with you.

From afar, the T-Mobile Shadow looks like a more modern, hipper version of the original Shadow. By the numbers, it’s the same size as its predecessor at 4 inches tall by 2 inches wide by 0.6 inch deep and 5.3 ounces, but the smartphone now sports curved edges, shinier face, and a new paint job that gives it a fresh look. I received the white/mint version (it’s also available in black/burgundy) and found it quite attractive, especially the back where it slowly transforms from white to mint.

However, that’s about where the attraction ends. Up close and in the hand, I couldn’t help but think that the T-Mobile Shadow looked like a toy and didn’t really see any vast improvements or benefits over its predecessor. In fact, I actually favor the original model’s design. The new Shadow has a smaller 1.6-inch QVGA display that doesn’t look all that sharp or bright, showing just 64,000 colors at a 320×240 pixel resolution. The navigation toggle/wheel below the screen also feels loose and cheap. I did like the user interface for its cool animated effect and how it organizes the phone’s applications into eight main categories, all of which are accessible right from the Today screen.

T-Mobile Shadow

T-Mobile Shadow

(Credit: Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive)

The Shadow offers the same slider design as the first Shadow. To access the SureType 20-button keypad, just slide the screen up. It requires a good push but the sliding mechanism feels strong and the screen securely locks into place. What greets you when you finally open the phone, however, is a bit disappointing. Allow me to illustrate.

Two co-workers happened to be around my desk when I received the phone (one who was actually considering purchasing the T-Mobile Shadow for herself) and as soon as I pushed up the screen, they both immediately went off about how the worn down and ugly the keypad looked–that’s never a good sign. But they’re right. While the buttons are large and easy to press, the backlighting is really uneven and dim and only illuminates about five buttons. It just looks bad. I’m even more disappointed considering that HTC made the Shadow, and the company has quite a reputation for making some high-quality devices.

Features and performance
The new features didn’t particularly wow me either. The main difference is that the Shadow now ships with Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard out of the box and includes a faster processor (260MHz versus 200MHz) and UMA support so you can now make calls over Wi-Fi using T-Mobile’s Unlimited HotSpot Calling service. Everything else is pretty much status quo. I think I would have at least liked to seen an upgraded camera, 3G support, or integrated GPS.

Call quality was decent with good volume and fairly clear audio. There was some slight background hissing but nothing incredibly distracting. We did run into a bit of that notorious Windows Mobile sluggishness in the way of a pause or few-second delay when launching applications or performing some tasks. I’ll obviously give you a more in-depth look at some of these issues in my full review on Wednesday.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve only had a few hours with T-Mobile Shadow so I won’t deliver my final verdict yet. However, if I had to describe my experience thus far, I guess I would say I feel underwhelmed. It feels like HTC and T-Mobile simply tweaked the design slightly, threw in a couple new tricks, and put it out for sale without bringing any real innovation or benefit over its predecessor. I just don’t see anything compelling for current Shadow owners to make the upgrade.

That said, I feel like the T-Mobile Shadow has a place and purpose. I think it’s a good device for customers crossing over from a regular cell phone to their first smartphone, since it introduces the extra functionality in consumer-friendly package. Perfect for T-Mobile’s younger demographic.


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T-Mobile Shadow makes official appearance

Posted by comtech3 on January 9, 2009

January 8, 2009 7:38 AM PST

Posted by Bonnie Cha

T-Mobile Shadow II

We’ve been hearing rumors about it for a couple of months now, but the T-Mobile Shadow (yep, just the Shadow, not Shadow II) had its officially coming out party on Tuesday night at CES 2009.

Taking over for the original T-Mobile Shadow, the updated version, which was manufactured by HTC, sports a fresh look with curved edges, a shinier face, and comes in two new color combinations: black with burgundy and white with mint. The other major additions are a faster processor (260MHz) and UMA support, so you can now make calls over Wi-Fi using T-Mobile’s HotSpot service.

Aside from those differences, the T-Mobile Shadow is very much like its predecessor. The smartphone features a QVGA non-touch display and a slider design with a SureType-like keypad. Under the hood, it runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard Edition and features integrated Bluetooth (stereo Bluetooth supported), Wi-Fi, a 2-megapixel camera, and a microSD expansion slot that supports up to 8GB cards.

Though T-Mobile did not announce an official availability date or pricing, the carrier did say it would be released in the coming weeks and we’re guessing the pricing will be around the $149.99 range. In addition to the Shadow, T-Mobile also added the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 to its lineup earlier this week. Good to see some new smartphones at T-Mobile finally.

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Palm to preview Nova OS and first device at CES

Posted by comtech3 on December 16, 2008

December 15, 2008 9:54 AM PST
Posted by Bonnie Cha

It’s been a while since Palm has caused a stir, but the company certainly has people talking with its planned January 8 CES event. As CNET News reporter Tom Krazit reported last week, it’s expected that Palm will preview its new operating system, codenamed Nova, at CES 2009, and the rumors look to be true based on new information from a Business Week article.

According to Peter Burrows at Business Week, Palm will unveil Nova and the first of a family of products in Vegas, but it’s not looking to go after the iPhone or BlackBerry. Instead, Palm Executive Chairman Jon Rubenstein said the goal behind Nova is to create a flexible platform that supports a number of customer needs and to create products that bridge the gap between work-oriented BlackBerrys and the fun-oriented iPhone. Before joining Palm, Rubenstein was the senior vice president for hardware engineering at Apple.

Rubenstein and Palm executives wouldn’t get much more specific about product details, other than that the team hopes to create phones that “make smarter use of data about you.” The company also hopes to release products by mid-2009. I’ll be at the January 8 event, so check back then for the full report and my first impressions

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Sony Ericsson, HTC planning Google Android phones for 2009

Posted by comtech3 on December 11, 2008

December 10, 2008 1:31 PM PST

Posted by Bonnie Cha

On Tuesday, 14 new members joined Google’s Open Handset Alliance, showing their support and furthering the development of the Google Android mobile operating system. Among the fresh additions is Sony Ericsson, and it looks like the company isn’t wasting any time and has hit the ground running.

According to several sources, Sony Ericsson is planning on releasing an Android handset by summer 2009 and a company spokesman has gone on to say that the first models will be on the higher end while it will release more mass-market devices at a later time. In addition, HTC is said to be working on a whole portfolio of Android devices, also with an expected release date of summer 2009. HTC was the manufacturer of the first Android smartphone, the T-Mobile G1, which was a little questionable in the hardware department, but now that HTC has acquired One & Co Design Inc., for its handset designs, perhaps we’ll see some sleeker devices? Either way, all very exciting stuff. Summer can’t get here quick enough.

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AT&T HTC Fuze reviewed; available now

Posted by comtech3 on November 12, 2008

November 11, 2008 7:00 AM PST
Posted by Bonnie Cha

Ever since Sprint got its HTC Touch Pro in early November, the rest of the cell phone community (non-Sprint users) has been getting a little antsy to find out when they might be able to get their hands on the Windows Mobile smartphone. Well, for AT&T subscribers, that day is today.

HTC FuzeOn Tuesday, the carrier officially took the wraps off the HTC Fuze, which is now on sale for $299.99 with a two-year contract and after a mail-in rebate. The Windows Mobile 6.1 device has many of the same great features as its CDMA cousin, but also offers some design tweaks and AT&T services. But is it worth $300? Are there better options?

Read our full review of the HTC Fuze for AT&T to find out.

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