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Survey: Consumers smitten with smartphones

Most new smartphone users are now consumers, a dramatic change from just a few years ago when the gadgets were primarily in the hands of business types, according to a survey released Wednesday by research firm CFI Group.

The survey "CFI Group Smartphone Satisfaction Study 2009" found that smartphone users are no longer just reading e-mail or scheduling appointments but also surfing the Web, streaming video and music, downloading games, and snapping pictures. Smartphones are now seen more by consumers as minicomputers than as cell phones, according to CFI.

Predictably, Apple's iPhone is credited with igniting the … Read more

The 404 Holiday Weekend Throwback: Episode 187, 11/18/08

Have a great Independence Day and enjoy this 404 Throwback episode #187 from September 18, 2008 featuring CNET Smartphones Editor Bonnie "The Bonch" Cha!

We finally get our hands on the much coveted Bonch aka Bonnie Cha, Senior Editor for CNET.com. No, we don't grill her on the latest cell phones at CTIA or the proper way to make a Superman cape. Instead, we try to guess Sarah Palin's e-mail password, run through a list of Jeff's mancrushes, do the Cha Cha on the air, and take a visit to the Sex Museum, aka Wilson's cellar.

Wow, did someone open up a tank of nitrous oxide in here? Today's show is literally 40 minutes of constant laughter, and we owe that to our special guest, Bonnie Cha! She's a Senior Editor of mobile phones at CNET and one of the first people I ever met at the San Francisco office. Please don't be operating heavy machinery while listening to today's show! We do taint, tarnish, and otherwise frack up Bonnie's "innocence" by explaining the science behind "Supermanning that ho," which goes over surprisingly well with her. We also debut a service called Cha Cha that allows you to text or call a 24/7 concierge service that will literally answer any inquiry, such as "Is the 404 going to be taken off the air tomorrow?" or "Why is Bonnie's nickname The Bonch?" Of course, all of these questions can be answered using another service; here in 2008 we call it Google. Furthermore,why would I use the Cha Cha when I know Wilson will always be within arm's length of a computer? The man is physically tethered to the Internet. Finally, we take a look at the NBC fall lineup and Bonnie asks the question that's on all of our minds: Jeff, how can you like Sex and the City and still urinate standing up?

EPISODE 187 Download today's podcast Read more

Dialed In 71: The Palm Treo Pro is not the Pre

This week we discuss Palm's latest phone for Sprint, and no, it's not the Pre. We also go over the new Nokia phones, our take on the Verizon Hub, more reviews, and of course, we answer your questions.

Listen now: Download today's podcast

News Nokia tunes up new music phones Nokia 5310 now in white Cricket launches Samsung SCH-R211 Alltel hops on Palm Treo Pro bandwagon Reminder: Palm Pre Webcast tomorrow at 11 a.m. PT

Reviews HTC Touch HD Palm Treo Pro (Sprint) Samsung Hue II Verizon Hub LG CF360

Upcoming reviews Samsung SGH-T119 HTC S743 (… Read more

Alltel hops on the Palm Treo Pro bandwagon

Just a day after Sprint announced the March 15 availability of the Palm Treo Pro, Alltel did one better and revealed on Thursday the immediate availability of the smartphone.

The Treo Pro can be purchased online or at Alltel retail stores for $199.99 with a service agreement and after discounts. The device runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition and has Wi-Fi, GPS, and EV-DO Rev. A support. You'll also be able to use the smartphone as a modem for your laptop.

Like the Sprint version, Alltel's model offers Internet Explorer Mobile 6, as well as a … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 923: Slumdog smell-ionaire

A company says it has made a virtual reality helmet that will give you sights, sounds, temperature, and even smell. Which makes us wonder if that's a good thing. Would you want to see movies with smell? We also talk about a new Internet TV box that's 50 bucks and carries major studio movies and TV shows. Is it the one?

Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 923

Kumo coming? Live Search headed for overhaul, rebranding http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2009/03/live-search-rebranding-is-coming-will-it-be-kumo.ars

Amazon offers e-books on Apple devices http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10187752-93.htmlRead more

Sprint Palm Treo Pro coming March 15

First, let's just be clear that we're talking about the Palm Treo Pro, with an O and not an E, since that one letter and wishful thinking can lead one to see otherwise and incite mild hysteria (uhh, not that we know anything about that).

On Wednesday, Sprint finally confirmed the rumors and announced that it will add the Palm Treo Pro to its smartphone lineup starting March 15. The Windows Mobile 6.1 device will be available online and in retail stores on that date and will go for $199.99. That is, of course, after rebates … Read more

Palm Pre launch date rumors abound

Though we're only two months into 2009, it's not too much of a stretch to say the Palm Pre is the most anticipated smartphone of the year.

Ever since it was announced at CES 2009, the Pre has created quite a buzz for its functionality and interface, and in our opinion, it comes closest to rivaling the iPhone pound for pound. Of course, the question remains of whether the Pre will actually deliver, but perhaps more at the forefront of people's minds: when will it be available?

At CES, Palm and Sprint said they expect to ship … Read more

Sprint Palm Treo Pro shows up at Best Buy

Last week, several blog sites, including Engadget Mobile, reported the appearance of the Palm Treo Pro on Sprint's Web site, but as soon as it appeared, it disappeared.

While this may be a case of someone getting a little too trigger-happy, the idea of a Sprint Treo Pro is certainly not a fluke, and in fact, the smartphone is now up on Best Buy's Web site.

The Windows Mobile smartphone is advertised for a whopping $699.99 (though we suspect and certainly hope the price will drop with a service agreement) and is currently listed as backordered. Up … Read more

Palm, Sprint accidentally offer clues to Pre's future

When Palm's new smartphone, the Pre, debuted at CES, many GSM users (this reporter included) were chagrined to note that the maiden device was branded for Sprint, a CDMA carrier.

Almost all of Palm's past smartphones have had both CDMA and GSM flavors, and there's no reason to expect anything different from the Pre. And, according to rumors swirling around the Internet, we'll see the first GSM Pre at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, this February.

The first GSM device will likely be an unsubsidized and unlocked version. Internet clairvoyants are guessing the … Read more

Why Pre is the right move for Palm

Before I gave in and started using an iPhone, I was a stalwart Palm supporter. In the late '90s, I was actually a beta tester for the very first Pilot 1000 device. It was light years ahead of what anyone else was doing at the time, and it "just worked."

Palm led the handheld industry through most of the 2000s, but due to a lack of innovation after the introduction of the Treo 600 series of smartphones, Microsoft's Windows Mobile slowly ate away its market share. But Redmond's offerings didn't catch on with consumers, and that gave a second lease to the Palm OS and its family of products.

Then there was the Foleo, a Linux-based Netbook that perhaps arrived ahead of its time. When it was introduced in mid-2007, reactions were mixed. It was one of the first devices from a reputable and established company to fill the gap between smartphones and laptops, but critics weren't receptive to its $500 price tag and lack of compatibility with third-party software.

But Palm was also quietly tuning a version of Linux for its next-gen handsets. Last week at CES, Palm announced a new operating system, called Web OS, and the first device to run it, the Pre. It also announced an application store, called Pre Catalog. And that's when things got very interesting: the Pre blew everyone away.

Critics, pundits, and all kinds of bloggers (including myself) knew Palm had something to show. We also knew that if Palm didn't hit a home run, it would be game over, if you'll forgive the mixed metaphors.

As it turned out, Palm hit what appears to be a grand slam. Palm has a competitor to the iPhone and the G1. For the first time in years, gadget fans were drooling over a Palm device.

In short, Palm went from a company that nobody cared about to a leader in the smartphone field overnight. No small accomplishment, considering that no real demo units have been sent out, and a mass launch is still months away. This much excitement over a phone hasn't been seen since Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone two years ago. … Read more