If you didn't get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we've opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week brought a new handset from Sony to the US and UK, updates to Nokia Creative Suite and three new (and very inexpensive) smartphones from Blu Products. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore all that's happening in the mobile world for this week of May 13th, 2013.
Sprint was clearly hungry for capacity when it bought spectrum from US Cellular last fall, and it's at last getting its fill -- some of it, at least -- by closing the deal today. The carrier has officially taken possession of 20MHz in airwaves across Midwestern cities like Champaign, Chicago and South Bend, as well as 10MHz in St. Louis. The customer handover isn't quite as grandiose as was mentioned in November, however: Sprint is ultimately adopting 420,000 US Cellular customers, rather than the originally claimed 585,000. It should be a relatively bump-free transition, no matter who's included in the group. Sprint expects the switch to take several months, and it's keeping the US Cellular network active while customers go hunting for discounted phones.
Stitcher just announced a new car mode for its iPhone app, bringing a simplified interface that works in both portrait and landscape positions. Accessible by tapping the Stitcher logo at the top of the screen, car mode offers a pared-down version of the app's standard UI, with bigger buttons and only the essential audio controls. It's nowhere near as flashy as Stitcher's BMW integration, mind you, but the point is to keep your eyes on the road and off your iPhone's screen. The app gets a few other updates this time around: a front page with top headlines, one-tap access to shows and podcasts you're searching for and improved playback when you're picking up in the middle of a show. Head to the source link below to give the app a spin, and drive safely!
During BlackBerry Live this week we got to speak with Vivek Bhardwaj, BlackBerry's Head of Software, about the future of BB10. In light of the the platform's first major software update rolling out to its devices, we asked about the plans for future releases. Bhardwaj told us that the plan is for them to come at a regular cadence of one major code update per year, with other, incremental updates for specific devices sprinkled in as needed. A particular focus is to do so while delivering devs fully realized hardware and to avoid fragmentation in the code base -- making it easier to create BB10 apps.
While he wouldn't dish details about features coming to BB10 in those updates, Bhardwaj did explain that he's working on making BB10 a platform particularly suited for use not only in cars, but also in the healthcare and financial services industries. That focus is a part of the mobile computing ethos espoused by CEO Thorsten Heins meant to have BB10 devices be users' personal, portable computing terminal that is simply plugged into a screen -- whether it's a desktop monitor, a car or somewhere else -- that delivers a uniform experience. When asked whether those screens would include TVs, Bhardwaj didn't rule it out, but he did say that home experiences weren't a priority because it's a crowded space and BB10 "is all about getting things done." As a result, the number one focus is building out a compelling automotive platform, with healthcare and financial services coming in a close second. So, folks thinking BB10 was BlackBerry betting on consumers instead of the enterprise, think again. The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same -- at least when the folks in Waterloo are involved.
Google I/O is always full of surprises, and we came across yet another elusive bit of hardware on the show floor today: Google Glass "prescription edition". No, it's not actually called that (we made up the name), but what you're looking at is definitely Glass that's been neatly integrated with a pair of prescription glasses. Unfortunately we don't really know anything else about this device, but we've reached out to Google for comment. Are these a one-off custom design built by combining Google Glass Explorer Edition with off-the shelf eyewear? Is this a Glass prototype that's intended specifically for people who wear prescription spectacles? Share your thoughts in the comments and don't forget to check out the gallery below.
Brad Molen contributed to this report.