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Asus looking toward Android, millions of WinMo’s and the BlackBerry Storm is passing

It's the weekly Pocket Picks round-up

Asus looking toward Android, millions of WinMo’s and the BlackBerry Storm is passing
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Kia Ora!

Hard to believe 2009 is here already, and there isn’t a single flying car, meal-in-a-pill or alien holocaust to be seen. Sci-fi lied to us!

Still, there are some elements of technological extreme filtering through as we enter the last stretch of the new millennium’s first decade.

According to O2, we celebrated the New Year by sending over 166 million text messages in a 24-hour period from 7:30 AM on December 31st. Good job so many phones now have a QWERTY, or 2009 is going to begin with an RSI epidemic.

Despite the MacWorld Expo this week, it’s surprisingly quiet on the iPhone front. We’d hoped for some light to be shed on the iPhone Nano concept, or other juicy piece of hardware unveiling, but it would seem Apple is a bit exhausted after such a hectic six months.

The one bit of exciting news for iPhoners is that music will now be available to download over 3G, rather than requiring a wi-fi connection or syncing with a PC.

Of course, there are plenty of iPhone owners who feel this should have been available from the outset, so this isn’t so much an improvement as a fix.

The iPhone isn’t the only hot new handset in need of attention, however. A rumour is circulating that the BlackBerry Bold (nee Storm) is to be ditched by Orange due to unresolved problems with the hardware. Early adopters of the sweet looking handset – and probably the closest rival to the iPhone – are complaining of dropped calls, poor reception and difficulties with the user interface.

Orange has already suspended shipments of the Bold once, and if gossip is to be believed, it’s patience with the gremlin-laden handset is wearing thin.

So that would seem to be another supposed iPhone challenger falling by the wayside, though Microsoft’s outspoken Steve Balmer has been behind the podium once again to remind us that (although you never actually see any) Windows Mobile handsets are selling by the million.

According to some dubious calculations by Balmer at the CES show in Las Vegas, over 20 million Windows Mobile phones have been sold in the last 12 months – though it seems his figures are based more on third party inclusion of the aging OS, rather than actual consumer adoption.

And it might not be long before Steve and co will need to feign indifference to another competitor in a slightly different market – ultra mobile PCs.

Asus has seen considerable success with its excellent and affordable Eee range of mini-laptops, which attained much of their affordability by taking the initially controversial (though retrospectively astute) decision to drop Windows as an operating system – plumping for the free Linux OS instead.

Now Asus is apparently toying with the idea of adopting Google’s Android operating system for its Eee PC range, and considering several hackers have already managed to get Android up and running on their ‘puters, this could present yet another significant shin kicking for Microsoft.

Since Apple didn’t announce any exciting new handsets, it looks like a fairly quiet hardware week.

Mobile phones are a subject that comes up quite regularly in eco-friendly circles – mainly in terms of properly disposing of your old handsets, though Motorola’s new model takes sustainable manufacturing to a new level.

The Moto W233 Renew is built from recycled plastic bottles, and promises an impressive – and environmentally friendly – nine hours of talk time, making this about as green as any mobile phone we’ve ever seen.

But if novelty value is of more importance to you than tree hugging, check out the Logic Bolt – a superb new handset from Logic Wireless that comes with its own built-in projector.

It will be able to accept external connections and project the image up to 64 inches, with around two hours of battery life while running the big screen display.

Other than tedious sales presentations, it’s a little hard to imagine what kind of use the projector will get, though watching a film against the wall of a train in full size widescreen is an intriguing notion – so long as the rest of the passengers keep their heads down and stop rattling their crisp packets.

Kia Ora!