Dislike Android? The Pixi 3 comes in Windows and Firefox, too

Here’s an interesting new smartphone strategy from Alcatel: The company’s new line of Pixi phones will give consumers a choice between Firefox OS, Android, and Windows Phone.

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Alcatel wants its Pixi brand to be the first major smartphone brand that is “platform agnostic.” Alcatel already makes various phones running the three operating systems, from the Firefox-running Fire to the Windows Phone-powered Alcatel One Touch View.

There will be four sizes of the Alcatel Pixi 3, ranging in screen size from 3.5-inches up to 5-inches. The smallest phone won’t support an LTE connection, but the others will. Specs aren’t available but I wouldn’t expect these “affordable” phones to be world-beaters. These devices will be optimized for cost and value, using a selection of low to mid-range components.

In 2014, HTC released its One M8 hardware in both Android and Windows Phone variants. So it’s not unheard of to sell the same phone in multiple operating system flavors. Alcatel’s Pixi 3 phones probably won’t triple-boot. It’s much more likely that a consumer can choose which operating system she prefers when purchasing the device.

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[company]Alcatel[/company] also announced a smartwatch on Friday.  From the provided photos, the creatively-named Watch looks a lot like a Moto 360. Alcatel isn’t an officially announced Android Wear partner and the announcement doesn’t mention Google’s smartwatch OS. The company even has its own smartwatch OS. But it’s not out of the question that Alcatel’s “affordable smartwatch” runs Android Wear. The announcement says it connects specifically to Android phones.

Pixi used to be a Palm trademark when that company was making WebOS phones. Recently, a company chaired by Alcatel’s United States president bought the Palm brand and associated trademarks from HP. Alcatel has made Pixi-branded phones in the past, so the revival of the Palm sub-brand doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be seeing an Alcatel Treo or Pre in the near future.

Samsung Reclaim: Eco-friendly Cell Phone

Since I now have an iPod touch that can get a Wi-Fi signal from my Overdrive hotspot, when I lost my venerable Treo 755p, I decided to see if I could do without a smartphone — and the expensive monthly plan that most of them require.

AT&T Specifies iPhone MMS Go-Live Date

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AT&T (s att) customers can finally get their multimedia messaging on come the end of September, according to a company spokesman speaking to TUAW’s Mel Martin today. The official go-live date is Sept. 25, which falls only a tad short of the company’s original late summer prediction for the service.

Spokesman Brad Mays ascribes the lateness of MMS’ arrival to the unmatched size of AT&T’s iPhone user base. The U.S. provider does have far more subscribers than any other carrier globally, and its network has shown signs of strain already. No doubt significant infrastructure build or reconfiguration was required to enable MMS support. Read More about AT&T Specifies iPhone MMS Go-Live Date

Can Pre Save Palm From Being Put Out to Pasture?

Today, after a nearly year-long delay, Palm announced WebOS, a brand-new web-centric mobile operating system, and the Palm Pre, its first WebOS-powered device. With this twin release Palm hopes to stage a comeback in the mobile business. But while most gadget gurus seem to be quite taken with the newest shiniest object, I remain highly skeptical of Palm’s chance to succeed with this new effort.

Another $100 Million for Palm From Bono & Pals

palmhqIt must be Christmas, as the guys at Elevation Partners are feeling generous enough to invest another $100 million into beleaguered smartphone maker Palm (s PALM), which has been slip-sliding away for a very long time. Elevation Partners, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based private equity firm headed by Roger McNamee, previously invested $325 million in Palm (for about 25 percent of the company) and brought in new management — many of them former Apple (s aapl) executives — to save what was once an iconic brand and chief instigator of the smartphone revolution.

From the outside, none of those attempts seem to be working. Last week, the company reported a net loss of $506.2 million for its second quarter of fiscal 2009. Sales sank to $171 million and its shipments decreased 13 percent. In American Football terms, they have to feel like the Arizona Cardinals at the end of last night’s 47-7 drubbing by the New England Patriots. Read More about Another $100 Million for Palm From Bono & Pals

Study: iPhone More Reliable Than BlackBerry, Palm

A new study published Nov. 8 by independent warranty provider SquareTrade has shown that over the course of the first year of ownership, the iPhone is more reliable than both BlackBerry and Palm handsets.
The study dealt with failure rates for a sample pool of over 15,000 new phones covered by SquareTrade warranties, which are after-market additional coverage packages. By the numbers, the iPhone had a 5.6 percent rate of malfunction, compared to BlackBerry’s 11.9 percent and the Palm Treo at 16.2 percent. Problems which counted as malfunctions according to the study included lockups and freezing, battery issues, Bluetooth/camera problems, antenna/case defects, screen/input method failures, call quality and power issues.
SquareTrade also projects failure rates up to the two-year mark. The two-year numbers are projections and not measured data because the iPhone had only been available for 15 months at the time the study was conducted. Projected totals see the gap between the iPhone and BlackBerry handsets decrease somewhat, but Apple’s device still comes away with the best score at 11.3 percent. BlackBerry is predicted at 14.3 percent and Palm comes in last at a fairly high 21.0 percent.
The iPhone’s second year numbers are much higher than both the BlackBerry and Palm devices, and this is where the study becomes questionable. SquareTrade is, after all, in the business of selling warranties for handsets, and it is in their best interest to predict a sharp increase in failures during the second year of ownership of a device which many people are just about to begin their second year of owning.
That said, the study’s findings that are based on firm, measurable data are interesting. The iPhone bosts a significant advantage in call quality, for instance, which is somewhat contrary to the persistent complaints of dropped calls over 3G.
Another area where the iPhone wins big is in battery problems, where both the BlackBerry and the Palm have more than double the number of complaints. Despite burning through a charge so quickly, Apple’s battery is apparently consistent and dependable.
All three companies posted high numbers in touchpad/screen/keypad problems, although Apple still came out lowest of all. Of problems reported, the vast majority of the iPhone’s were related to the touchscreen, which does not bode well for the durability of the relatively new interface tech over the life of the device.
The full study is available here (PDF) from SquareTrade.