Here's a roundup of a wild week in smartphone news. Apple, Nokia, Research in Motion, Verizon, AT&T and others all got in on the action.
BlackBerry Bold 9700 makes its debut
RIM confirmed one of its worst-kept secrets this week in formally announcing the BlackBerry Bold 9700, a business-oriented mobile device set to be available from AT&T and T-Mobile in November. The Bold 9700 is a more compact version of the 9000 model, with some interesting additions, such as support for VoIP over Wi-Fi, that may have special appeal for business users.
Nokia slaps Apple with patent lawsuit over iPhone
Nokia is suing Apple for infringing on 10 patents for technologies used in the iPhone, including wireless data, speed encoding and decoding and encryption. The patents in question, according to a Nokia press release, "relate to technologies fundamental to making devices, which are compatible with one or more of the GSM, UMTS (3G WCDMA) and wireless LAN standards.
Verizon fires shot across iPhone's bow with Droid smartphone
Verizon issued a direct challenge to the iPhone with the launch of its advertising campaign for the Motorola Droid, the carrier's first smartphone based on Google's open source Android platform. The first ad for the device popped up on Oct. 17 and highlighted some of the iPhone's shortcomings, such as its lack of a non-touchscreen keyboard, its 3.2 megapixel camera, its inability to run simultaneous applications and its closed platform. The ad claims that for everything the iPhone doesn't do, "Droid does."
Arm Holdings introduced a faster and more energy efficient processor for smartphones and other devices that should give Intel's Atom chip a run for its money.
Windows Mobile 7 gets a little closer
Though Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.5 has only just been officially released, newer builds of the operating system are popping up in what are called cooked, modified or hacked ROMs for smartphones. Together, they're being unofficially dubbed version "6.5.1." and seen as a preview of an early 2010 Windows Mobile update, and even a harbinger of Version 7, due later that year.
RIM develops better BlackBerry browser
RIM is expanding its effort to redefine the Web browsing experience for BlackBerry users. In a recent job posting on LinkedIn, RIM asked for an expert C++ programmer who is firmly grounded in the open source Webkit browser engine. The position apparently is fleshing out the program team RIM reeled in when it acquired Torch Mobile in August, creator of the Iris mobile browser, also based on Webkit.
AT&T, Apple to shift to open marriage? AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega “strongly implied” that the carrier will soon no longer have an exclusive deal in the United States to distribute the iPhone. "We have a legacy of having a great portfolio...that will continue after the iPhone is no longer exclusive to us," de la Vega said. "We think we will continue after the iPhone...to drive [results]...." Meanwhile, AT&T had its best quarter ever in terms of activating iPhones.