It's been an interesting week in the mobile space, as Verizon had a strong quarter thanks to the Storm, Sprint said it would be axing 8,000 jobs, and Apple got an important patent for the iPhone. But there were a few stories that we didn't get to highlight, and I'll go over them after the jump.Acer, i-Mate Bringing Out Smartphones
It looks like the crowded smartphone market will get some new players, as PC maker Acer is on the verge of unveiling new handsets at next month's Mobile World Congress. Not much is known about the devices, which were learned about from the press invitation. Acer did say, "Now Acer enter the Smart Handheld market with an exciting range of easy-to-use devices designed to offer phone capability, simple one-handed usability, and complete connectivity." Besides the buzzwords, we can reliably tell that there will be multiple handsets, and The Boy Genius doesn't have its hopes up, as it thinks it will run Windows Mobile.
Little-known handset maker i-Mate also will be strutting its stuff at next month's show. The Windows Mobile device maker said it will unveil a "revolutionary" handset. That's about all it's said, and I'm wary when companies use such hyperbole for their products. But maybe i-Mate could pull a shocker; it's just unfortunate that the device would probably only make its way to the United States as an expensive, unlocked handset.
Britney And The Ocean 2
I'm one of the few and proud Helio Ocean owners. That dual-sliding, 3G-happy, not-quite-a-smartphone was a breakthrough device that was quickly overshadowed by the likes of the iPhone and others. Well, it looks like Virgin Mobile (which now owns Helio) has let the cat out of the bag and said the Ocean 2 would be launched alongside a Britney Spears tour.
The good folks at MobileCrunch have already got their grubby mitts on it, and they've posted a nice unboxing gallery. There are very few details on the specs of this device, and it honestly doesn't look like much of an upgrade. I know this probably won't affect most of you, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to get a little nostalgic about my Ocean.
Nokia Names Mobile App Winners
Forum Nokia is the developer community wing of the cell phone manufacturer, and it's put up $150,000 in a Calling All Innovators mobile application contest. The full list of finalists can be found here, but a few of them really seemed cool.
GreenDrive -- An application that promotes vehicular fuel efficiency by sensing current and impending road conditions that influence fuel consumption and providing real-time driving directions for the shortest route in the quickest time legally allowable.
mPedigree -- This application allows users to text-message at no cost a quality-authentication code found on the packages of anti-malarial and other medications to a provisioned mobile short code in order to guard against counterfeit drugs believed to be responsible for an alarming number of deaths, especially in the developing world.
X Dancery -- This application, fully optimized for the S60 5th Edition's touch-screen UI and motion sensor technology, and with advanced 3-D-graphics rendering capabilities, analyzes any MP3 file to automatically generate a unique tempo-based game for each selected musical track.
I have to tip my hat to Nokia for having somewhat noble goals with its contest. Altruistic or not, this contest will bring some very usable apps to the Symbian ecosystem, and that's always a good thing.
Weird Of The Week
Well, that's all for me this week. Next week I'll have some hush-hush meetings with RIM and Windows Mobile, so be on the lookout for some major news to come out. In the meanwhile, feel free to drop me a line at [email protected], or send me a tweet on Twitter.