By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
BELLEVUE, WASH. — Over-the-air uploads by T-Mobile USA of an updated Android OS will give G1 smartphone users an onscreen QWERTY keyboard, video recording and playback, a home screen with widgets, and a variety of other new features and improvements to existing features.
T-Mobile expects Google’s Android 1.5 OS will be uploaded to all users of the 3G phone by the end of May. The phone, which features touchscreen and slide-out hard QWERTY keyboard, was launched last October with Google’s open-source OS.
Other updated Android features include stereo Bluetooth, auto pairing, and the ability to upload photos to Picasa and videos to YouTube.
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — The BlackBerry Curve unseated the iPhone 3G as the best-selling smartphone through consumer channels during the first quarter, when BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) boosted its share of smartphone sales to consumers to almost 50 percent from the fourth quarter’s approximate 35 percent, The NPD Group reported.
The sales exclude purchases by enterprises for their employees.
The Curve benefitted from a “buy-one-get-one” promotion by Verizon Wireless and its availability through four major U.S. national carriers, said Ross Rubin, NPD Group director of industry analysis.
The top five, in order, were the RIM BlackBerry Curve (all models), Apple iPhone 3G (all models), RIM BlackBerry Storm, RIM BlackBerry Pearl (all models, except Flip) and the T-Mobile G1.
KIRKLAND, WASH. — Inrix said it has improved the reliability, timeliness and scope of its real-time traffic reports, now said to be 85 percent to 95 percent reliable, compared with 80 percent to 85 percent 18 months ago.
The new Inrix data will be available in the updated Ford Sync due in June and might be included in Internet-connected portable navigation devices from companies such as TomTom, TeleNav and Best Buy, whose house brand is Insignia.
Today, the company is monitoring 160,000 miles of roadway, up from 55,000 miles, and it has broadened its coverage area to 126 metropolitan markets, now including major cities in Canada. Road-speed changes are reported to Inrix within a minute and then broadcast to drivers within two minutes after that, whereas 18 months ago, the speed changes took eight to 10 minutes to reach Inrix, said Scott Sedlik, product marketing VP.
CHICAGO — Navigon is exiting the U.S. PND market because of an “unsustainable business climate,” said marketing VP Matt Mowat.
Navigon will retain a downsized staff in its Chicago office as the company will pursue the OEM automotive and smartphone-GPS markets, said Mowat, who retained his post, as did president Michael Roach.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.