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Smartphone Market Poised For Change


The smartphone market is in for some major
market shifts in the coming months.

Google and Research In Motion (RIM)
unveiled new converged tablet/smartphone
operating systems, Nokia launched its first
Windows Phone 7 smartphones, and AT&T
launched its first 4G LTE smartphones while
Apple expanded distribution of its iPhone 4S
to four U.S. carriers.

In smartphone OS changes, RIM unveiled
a unified BlackBerry BBX OS for future
smartphones and tablets to combine the
best attributes of its BlackBerry smartphone
OS and the QNX tablet OS. Products incorporating
the BlackBerry BBX OS S will be
available sometime next year, a spokesperson

The OS will support future BlackBerry
Cloud services, native and HTML5 apps,
more advanced graphics, and so-called “Super
App” capabilities, such as deep integration
between apps, always-on push services, the planned
BBM Social Platform for social networking and other capabilities.

In the Android OS world, Samsung and Google unveiled
the first smartphone using the new Android 4.0
(Ice Cream Sandwich) OS. The Galaxy Nexus will roll out
globally in November in 4G HSPA+ and LTE versions,
with at least one of the versions becoming available in the
U.S. in November.

The phone, designed jointly by Google and
Samsung, operates in HSPA+ mode in the
850/900/1900/1700/2100MHz bands, so AT&T or TMobile
could offer it in the U.S. Bands for an LTE version
weren’t announced. The companies did not specify which
U.S. carriers would offer the device.

The phone features large 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED
720p display paired with a narrow 4.29mm bezel to
keeps the phone’s overall size despite the large screen.
Other key features include a 1.2GHz dual-core processor.

With the new Ice Cream Sandwich OS, the phone
sports multiple enhancements over previous generations
of Android OSs, including facial recognition to unlock the
device and such camera enhancements as zero shutter
lag and ability to take panoramic pictures by moving the
camera from left to right.

A redesigned user interface uses gestures rather than
button presses for navigation. It also eliminates front-panel
hard buttons.

The new OS also delivers such camera-related features
as face detection, onboard photo-editing tools, automatic
backup of photos in the cloud, ability to take time-lapse
videos, ability to take high-resolution photos while taking
a video, and zooming while recording.

For its part, the Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) OS got a
boost when Nokia began rolling out its first two Windows
smartphones in foreign markets with plans to bring a portfolio
of Windows phones to the U.S. early next year.

The first two phones, the premium Lumia 800 and more
affordable Lumia 710, use 4G 14.4Mbps W-CDMA/HSPA+
cellular technology, but president/CEO Stephen Elop said
Nokia will add CDMA and LTE versions of Windows phones
“to address specific local market requirements.”

The much-anticipated introduction is the first tangible
result of a strategy announced eight months ago to switch
the company’s smartphone focus to the Windows OS
from the Symbian OS.

 In the U.S., the launch will be accompanied by Nokia’s largest
marketing campaign in years, a spokesman told TWICE.

Of the two phones, the premium Lumia 800 is more likely to end up in the U.S. because it
operates in HSPA+ mode in the U.S.
850/1900MHz bands as well as in foreign
900/2100MHz bands.

Though the phones use the standardized
Windows Phone OS, Nokia said it
is differentiating its Windows phones
in part through design and craftsmanship
but also by the inclusion of three
free apps and services. They include the
Nokia Drive turn-by-turn navigation app,
which turns the phone into a portable
navigation device whose maps and the
routing algorithm reside in the phone. A
second free app is MixRadio, Nokia’s free
global mobile music-streaming application
offering hundreds of music channels
as well as off-line listening.

 A third free app with service is the ESPN
Hub, letting users access sports news, statistics
and videos.

For its part, AT&T planned Nov. 6 availability of its
first two 4G LTE smartphones, joining multiple LTEequipped
data devices.

The two LTE phones, both of which are Android
smartphones, are the $199 HTC Vivid and $249 Samsung
Galaxy S II Skyrocket. The HTC Vivid boasts
dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 4.5-inch qHD (960
by 540-pixel) display. The Samsung Skyrocket features
dual-core 1.5GHz processor and 4.5-inch Super-
AMOLED Plus (800 by 480-pixel) display.