Archive for March, 2009

Record More Video with Video Recorder

Friday, March 27th, 2009
Video Recorder for the Sidekick

When the video recording capabilities for the Sidekick arrived, many people were disappointed by the limitation of only 20 seconds of video capture. Cramped Thumbs, a new Sidekick applications developer, decided to do something about that and have released Video Recorder, a Sidekick application that lets you record up to 50 seconds of video. Why is it still limited to only 50 seconds? Apparently recording and encoding video really pushes the Sidekick past its normal capabilities. So until we get a new powerful device *cough*sidekickblade*cough* enjoy recording at least more than twice as much as your other Sidekick friends. The app costs $1.99 and is available in the catalog now.

Here’s an example video shot with a Sidekick LX:

You’ll need Quicktime to view the embedded video.

Microsoft Live Search (aka Maps) Application Available on Sidekick

Friday, March 27th, 2009
Sidekick Maps and Directions via Microsoft Live Search Application

I’ve been waiting a long long time for mapping software to come to the Sidekick. For many years all that was available was either slow and tedious web-based mapping or the Google Maps developer app that was only available to developers. Finally the cries of many a lost Sidekick user have been answered. MSDanger has released the MS Live Search app (built by Requiem Software Labs) into the catalog on 4.x devices (2008, LX, and Slide) today. It takes care of all your mapping and searching for local businesses needs. You can do street mapping, aerial views, get directions, and even view traffic. You can also search for businesses and types of businesses near an address, movies, and even find the cheapest gas near you. And the best part? It’s totally free and there are no monthly fees!

For all you Sidekick 2009 Blade junkies out there, this is big news too. Remember when I posted about the next Sidekick having “Microsoft Live Local Search and Maps”? Well here it is. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that these maps would work hand in hand with the GPS capabilities of the Sidekick 2009. And the fact that the app is free makes me think it’ll come standard on the Sidekick 2009

Here are some screenshots:

Zune Software Possibly on the Sidekick?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Ever since Microsoft bought Danger there’s been much speculation on the marriage of the Zune line with our familiat Sidekicks. While there haven’t been any official announcements on whether or not we’ll ever see these two technologies merge, it’s still interesting to think about. In a recent talk with Steve Ballmer he made some comments about the future of Zune and Microsoft’s vision for smartphones:

SB: “We’re going to keep going with Zune”. It’s two things: Service and a device. The Zune service, that’s going to fan out its footprint. Hardware will continue to improve. “The question is whether even if we flog them heavily, is their profit upside”. We’re going to keep going “I won’t say full steam ahead, because that implies acceleration of investment, but we’re going to sustain our investment.” We like it and the future may be the software/ecosystem on other devices.

On to smartphone market:

SB: Smartphones will go from 10% to 70 or 80% of market next few years. So what will people want? Good experience built in, w/out downloading stuff. You want good price range. iPhone is very expensive phone, without a keyboard. Some people can’t afford them. Sweet spot is phones that cost $150 to $200 to make — forget retail price. iPhone is about $500. We want to provide vendors with ability to make Windows phones up and down the price scale.

Unless you assume Apple and BlackBerry are going to sell the lion’s share of most phones, which I don’t, I think the play for us is to provide broad innovation at many price points.

A $500 phone is not going to work for everybody in every market. The most popular phones in China and India cost about $25 to build. We can’t get our software on that.

SA: Do you care about “touch” on phones? The blogs say you are.

SB: Windows Mobile 6.5 has touch on it. The way Apple does touch drives cost. They way they do it on the iPhone is not an inexpensive component. We’ll do it in a way that you can afford to do it on most phones.

My first thought was “No, please don’t replace the DangerOS” but was then it was pointed out to me that the Zune software integrated into the DangerOS, replacing the current MediaPlayer could be a nice change. This is something that we won’t see for the Blade for sure, but it’s an interesting possibility for future devices. Steve comments on the sweet spot for prices on smartphones gives hope that the next Sidekick may not cost a fortune. Here’s hoping! If you want to check out the full Q&A with Steve Ballmer, here’s the article.

via engadget. Thanks Mike!

Telstra Blade Release Date?

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

We’ve had the following information for a bit, but haven’t been able to nail it down as true or false, so take it as a rumor. It’s an email from an Australian bloke who says:

ok, excitement asside, i have just travelled down to one of my telstra dealers as i said i would in my last post…

i strolled in and wondered over to the hiptop display and picked it up, having a squiz more or less, when a strapping young lad asked if i needed any assistance.
so i decided not to piss fart around and i got straight into it; “hiptop ’09 blade” i said, “do you know anything about it?”
to which he positively responded with a “why yes i do”…
i continued with a few basic questions about it:
– is it definitely coming to australia?
– when is it coming out?
Around June/July ish, around the time the new iPhone is released (rivals much??)
– will it still be a $30 plan??
he didn’t confirm this, however he said that that was the main reason it was such a popular phone so he said he believed it would continue this tradition.

that pretty much concluded our chat. and i was happy with the information. (i couldn’t believe it, telstra ACTUALLY knew what they were talking about for once!!)

so there we have it, i hope the info i got is of use to you!!

keep in mind i am in australia, so this only applies to the aussies 😛 sorry to those in america still searching for information!!

and yes, i know you may be suspicious about this email but all i can do is give you the information telstra gave me which is legit.
any questions just email back.

He also mentioned in comments that he emailed Telstra, but they’re tight-lipped and said they won’t be carrying the Blade. So take it for what it’s worth. For what it’s worth, a release date of June/July sounds possible, whereas the April 1st guess is looking less and less likely.

Here, you might want this.

Thanks Stevo!

Photobucket App for Sidekick Available

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Do you use Photobucket to share photos? You’ll be happy to hear that there is now a Photobucket application for the Sidekick that will let you send photos directly to the service and manage your account from your device. Rumors about the Sidekick Blade said that this app would be available, and here it is for existing devices (Slide, LX, and 2008).

The application will set you back $1.99 to purchase, and then a recurring fee of $1.99 each month thereafter. So it looks like this is geared more towards hevy users of Photobucket. To get it, just check out the Download Catalog. Here are some screenshots of the app:

More info on Photobucket’s blog post. Screenshots are via PoweredByDanger’s post.
Thanks to everyone that sent this one in

More FCC Proof of a Sidekick 2009?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
Option Wireless FCC Photo 1Option Wireless FCC Photo 2

Michael left a comment on one of my previous posts about the Sidekick 2009 FCC Filings? about an additional filing for the same device from Option N.V. with two more photos, and a bit more info. Here’s what he had to say:

On that list is a document called Modular Approval Letter which has a couple more pictures (to show the location of the Bluetooth antenna and antenna connector), and which states that the device consists of:

‘Modem OS: AMSS
CPU: Qualcomm MSM7201A
Display interface: MDDI interface
Memory: 128MB SDRAM / 256MB NAND Flash
Keyboard Input: Digital interface supporting full QWERTY keyboard
Camera interface: digital interface to camera sensor
Other I/F: microSD card slot x1, microphone, speaker, vibrator, trackball interface, Stereo headset port, USB port, A-GPS, Bluetooth
RF: UMTS/HSDPA Band I, Band IV, Band V
GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900

If a bit of online research I did is accurate:
The HSDPA Bands I (2100MHz), IV (1700MHz), and V (850MHz) are used by T-Mobile.
The Qualcomm MSM7201A integrated chipset has been used in existing mobile devices including the G1.

Certainly seems that this is to be part of a smartphone type of mobile device for the T-Mobile network…

Great detective work Michael! The Qualcomm MSM7201A is a pretty common CPU and is used in many devices, including the G1. All the features seem to line up with the expected Sidekick 2009 too. If you want to take a peek at the PDF that lists all this, it’s on the FCC site and we’ve mirrored it here: Option Wireless FCC Modular Approval Doc.

What do you guys think? Sidekick 2009 or not?

Sidekick Slide Radio OTAu

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Not too exciting, but everyone keeps emailing about it. If you haven’t gotten it yet, there’s a Sidekick Slide OTA update going out right now. It will update your Slide themes and change to a Tinkerbell theme. Just kidding, it’s just some radio updating. No new features or anything. The new radio firmware version is v0.4.2.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

T-Mobile’s Unlimited Voice Plan

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Tmonews (and everyone else it seems) is reporting that T-Mobile’s Unlimited Loyalty Plan is going live around the country. In short, if you’ve been a customer in good standing (i.e. paying your bills) for over 22 months then you’re eligible to sign up for the $49.99 monthly plan that allows for unlimited voice calls. You can also add an additional line via the whole Family Plan stuff for just $39.99. While this may not be as useful for some of you Sidekickers, what with all the texting/IMing you do, it’ll probably help shave a few bucks off your bill for some of you!

Sidekick 2009 FCC Filings?

Monday, March 2nd, 2009
Option FCC filing - Sidekick 2009?

With the mention of FCC filings, we’ve gotten several messages about a filing from Option Wireless in mid-January. We took a look at this originally, and were not really sure whether this could be the Sidekick. The more we look at it and research, the more it looks like it just might be. First off, the filing itself is _not_ for a Sidekick, but for a “GSM/UMTS/GPS Module CU1407”. Basically just the radio and GPS (not the cpu, circuit board, keyboard, etc).

The photo, as you can see with our added markups (click for full size), really looks like it could be the right side of a Sidekick 2009, with the 4 buttons, and space for a trackball, not to mention the port in the lower right that could very well be a mini-usb port. We can’t think of anything else that would look like a Sidekick 2009 so much.

So why aren’t we calling this one 100% for sure?

A minor point is that the last two Sidekicks (LX and 2008) have both used Enfora radios. Since the Sidekick 2009 is a 3G phone, it’s very possible that MSDanger would be switching to a different manufacturer.

Also, in the filings there’s this bit:

The antenna(s) used for this transmitter must be installed to provide a separation distance of at least 20 cm from all the persons and must not be co-located or operating in conjunction with any other antenna or transmitter.

This is fine for cards that are meant to go in laptops (Option’s normal product), but totally unacceptable for mobile phones that are held against your head. We’re hoping that this is just Option covering their butts and putting the responsibility of brain-tumor-testing on Sharp/MSDanger because they do also say “If the final product after integration is intended for portable use, a new application and FCC is required.”

And finally, this is not technically a filing for the Sidekick 2009. It’s just for the radio module that might be used in the Sidekick 2009, but has the potential to be used in any other devices. So while the confidentiality agreements say an expiration of April 13th, 2009 don’t get your hopes up for an April 1st release just yet. We still need to see the Sidekick 2009 show up.

Can you tell that we really want this to be the Sidekick 2009? If you want to take a peak at the FCC filings for yourself here they are: FCC ID: NCMOCU1407