It was a short week thanks to Labor Day and a lot of companies are no doubt holding on to big announcements for 4G World next week. Still, there was plenty of news about handsets, with Motorola unveiling its first Android device in San Francisco on Thursday. Nokia, Palm and Samsung also announced devices. Nokia Siemens Networks and Juniper Networks got the go-ahead for their joint venture, and AT&T announced a wave of network upgrades in major cities.
Here’s a recap of some of the week’s news:
• Motorola announced its first Android handset, the Cliq. The Cliq features a social-networking-focused user interface called MotoBlur, Wi-Fi, a 5-MP camera, 3.5 mm headphone jack, HTML browser from Google and turn-by-turn navigation. T-Mobile USA is the exclusive carrier partner for the device.
• Nokia announced it has developed a square handset that swivels open to reveal a full qwerty keypad, the Nokia 7705 Twist. The handset will be carried through Verizon Wireless and features a 3.0 megapixel camera, Web browsing, V CAST Music with Rhapsody and voice commands. In further device news, Verizon will be carrying two new Samsung messaging phones.
• Sprint will be offering Palm’s latest device, the Pixi. The adorably-named device has a thin design, full keyboard and personalization fashion options. Sprint also made a pricing gaffe this week when it accidentally offered a $100 rebate on the Pre when it meant to offer only a $50 rebate on the device. The mistake was quickly fixed, but added to ongoing criticism of Sprint’s performance.
• Nokia Siemens Networks and Juniper Networks received regulatory approval for their joint venture. The deal, announced in June, aims to create a unified carrier Ethernet solution.
• Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom said they would merge their respective T-Mobile and Orange brands in Britain pending regulatory approval, a deal that would create the country’s largest wireless carrier. The merger of T-Mobile and Orange would bump Telefonica SA from its No. 1 spot and affect Vodafone, which currently holds the nation’s No. 2 spot with a 24 percent market share.
• AT&T will upgrade its network to HSPA 7.2 in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami this year. The carrier plans to extend HSPA 7.2 to 90 percent of its existing 3G network footprint by the end of 2011. The announcement came as welcome news to AT&T’s iPhone subscribers, some of whom have voiced complaints about network performance.