Maybe the day and age of replacing that mobile handset every few months has come to an end. Not just because of tighter consumer spending, but also because the latest generation of mobile phones now offer robust features that make you actually want to hang on to it for a while. More importantly, the latest software can be upgraded, so these existing handsets can take advantage of new apps and get better bells and whistles.
One example of this is that T-Mobile will be releasing a major firmware update to the G1 handset, which is powered by the Google Android OS. This update will add key must-have features – you know the sort of things that should have been there in the first place – such as a virtual keyboard and more notably, stereo Bluetooth support. The update will also power up the basic Linux kernel that is the heart of the operating system, and this should address the few bugs that weren’t previously worked out.
In other Google news, the search engine company has released a new Image Search feature for the Android OS, as well as for the iPhone platform. The search functionality will let users scan for images, where they can see up to 20 images on a single result page. Users can filter these image searches by faces, clip art, line drawings and photos. So next time you think you recognize something you can do an image search on your handset. The Image Search is now available for mobile users in the United States, the UK and in Japan.
Satellite Radio Beams to iPhone
While many portable media players and even mobile handsets have boasted the offering of FM radio – as if there isn’t already a small portable device that can be used to receive FM radio – iPhone users can now receive another type of radio, namely Sirius XM Radio. The satellite radio service, which is now made up of the two former competitors, will soon be streaming content to iPhone and iPod Touch users.
Later this spring Sirius XM will make its way to the mobile handsets, which is likely good news for investors of the company as it has been struggling to avoid filing for bankruptcy protection. The reason for the serious problems for Sirius is that the biggest source of new customers had been auto buyers, and with car sales down the service has been slow to get new subscribers.
While total the number of subscribers is actually up 10 percent from last year, the service faces the potential of crashing ala Skylab in the late 1970s! So the iPhone might be a way for the company to turn things around. Sirius and XM each dabbled in the portable player market, but having a device that can do just a bit more than listen to the radio is so new millennium.