This Week in Smartphone Schadenfreude, May 3rd Edition

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Not evil twin to Phone Different Week in Review, not an invasion by Fake Steve, This Week in Smart Phone Schadenfreude brings you all the feel-better news you need about the smartphone world outside Apple's current media dominator. (Who knew there was such a world? We were just as surprised! Inelegant, interface challenged, keyboardy, crashy, single-touchy place -- best not to linger...). Join us as we mock review the big news from last week at our sister sites. Everybody loves sibling rivalry!

Official: RIM's Finally Flipped!

What, you thought we'd go straight to the outage double-header? Come on. While we certainly agree there's no better time to hit a mobile than when it's (service is) down, even we have some small modicum of mercy. (And by mercy we mean it happens so often it's not really considered news anymore...)

So we're switching gears, just as Crackberry.com tells us RIM has flipped out. Good news, RIM has taken a short break from trying to iClone the Apple iPhone. Bad news, they've decided to clone the Moto RAZR instead... StarTac much?

Seriously though, we applaud diversity and innovation, and can't wait to see Blackberry's next exciting form factor. The brick? The suitcase? The rotary-dial booth? Sarcastic minds want to know!

Storm Warnings

Remember that short iCloning break we mentioned earlier? Neither does Blackberry, apparently. Not content with merely copying the iPhones silver bezel and rounded slab factor, Crackberry.com tells us they've now got their sites set on the touch-screen too.

Known as the Storm -- or not -- RIM affectionately refers to it as the Apple Killer because, as we all know, being able to murder fruit falls right below HTML email on the feature list. Box, consider yourself checked!

No specs or date or anything but desperate promissory vapor yet, though. When exactly did RIM become Microsoft?

Speaking of Microsoft and iClones...

As Redmond gets the Mobile OS X 1.0 competitive WinZuneMob 7.0 ready for beta sometime around two-thousand-and-never, hardware partner HTC is picking up the iClone slack with not one but two little "Inspired by Apple in Cupertino" numbers.

First up, running version 6.6.6 (or 6.1, it's so hard to keep track!), is the Sony Ericsson branded XPeria (proudly sporting a VISTAperia Capable sticker, no doubt). WMExperts.com expects it to ship mid-September, and in typical Windows fashion it will try to compete with the similarly expected iPhone 2.0 by throwing in every feature they can think of, including a slide-out kitchen sink.

Second up is the Diamond Touch or Touch Pro or Out of Touch or whatever millionth derivative of the Touch trademark they're overcompensating with next. Similar specs (though smaller screen -- c'mon HTC, we know if you try really hard you can iClone Mini your way into a postage-stamp 720p!) hampered by the same OS.

Looks like it might just be rocking a "squircle" control there, doesn't it? Could this be the fabled Zune Phone? We're one Monday morning Monkey Boy dance away from knowing for sure...

Microsoft Kills the Digital Stars

Does MSN Music play on WinVistaZuneMob devices? We don't really know, since we don't really know anyone who uses MSN Music... or WinVistaZuneMob. But if they did, and you do, they won't for much longer.

Proving once again how Digital Rights Management (DRM) is all about enhancing consumer enjoyment (TM, RIAA), Microsoft has announced it will soon be enhancing the amount of time consumers will enjoy no longer listening to their MSN purchased music.

As of August 2008, turns out MSN Music will be turning off, meaning no more authorizations. Sure, you can keep on using any machine you already authorized, provided you never, ever, change it or its OS. (No worries there, though, hey Vista sales numbers?)

Hmm, maybe this is why Microsoft tossed the "PlaysForSure" name last December. After all, can't call it "PlaysForSure" if it doesn't anymore, right? So what did they rebrand the new, non-working name to? Oh, right... "Certified for Windows Vista"...

All Access Pass

Typical bonanza week for Palm news...

So, anyway, Dieter Bohn (the man who totes more smart phones than the FCC) caught up with Access, formerly Palm Source, formerly Palm, the makers of Palm OS Garnet, (which has literally shipped on every Treo since the stone age), Palm OS Cobalt, (which has literally never shipped), and now the Access Linux Platform (which is only taking slightly longer to develop than Longhorn at this point).

His conclusion? Things are going better than he previously thought. (Of course, any long time listener of the Treo Central Treo Cast knows how low a bar that was to crawl over...)

And In No Other News...

Remember last week:

Our Norfinwedish friends over at Nokia may have convinced Sony BMG to join Universal Music in offering the "unlimited" Comes-With-Music-And-Hefty-Price-Bump market-fart. Maybe. It's been delayed until mid-2008, probably to get the DRM working extra-poorly. At least that's all Engadget can Google-translate for now. No doubt they're preoccupied getting a post ready for when the service goes bye-bye, the DRM locks down, and everyone's stuck with "unlimited" Can't-Be-Authorized-Again-Silence...

Sounds even better after the MSN Music debacle, doesn't it?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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This Week in Smartphone Schadenfreude, May 3rd Edition

1 Comment

Geeeez.... nice image on the blog post. Somebody's cruising for a bruising. hahaha. You're lucky...i NEARLY flew out to Quebec this weekend to see Yelle live in concert in Montreal on Friday. Tickets were sold out so I didn't, but had I been there and seen this post, I woulda hunted ya down and given ya a a good ole fashioned CrackBerry beating. LOL. What's funny is back in 1997 my first cell phone was actually a StarTac analog...then a StarTac Digital..then another StarTak digital as I jumped off a SeaDoo (made in Quebec!) into a lake and ruined my first one so replaced it, then a Samsung flip..and then moved to the Berry.
Keep up the great posts!