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According to gizmodo, this is the Motorola Zante, a new danger-based device that we’ve been hearing rumors about for many months. It’s reportedly a much thinner sidekick with updated features. But what i want to know is which one of these is the real Zante. The picture on the left is the first Zante’s that appeared on the net. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that the keyboard is a grid, the way most smartphone keyboards are laid out. When these renderings first appeared i noticed immediately, because as a former sidekick user, i know the one thing that sets these devices apart is their keyboard, which normally has offset keys like a full-sized QWERTY keyboard. I was disappointed that Motorola might have abandoned one of the sidekick’s biggest strengths in the name of making it thinner and more modern. but i knew these images were just renderings and so i reserved my judgement.
then yesterday, the image on the right surfaced. notice that in this image, the keys on the keyboard are offset from each other. in fact the keyboard looks almost exactly like the sidekick 3. If this is really the final rendering of the Zante, then it seems that Motorola has finally done away with the D-pad normally found on the left. Which only makes sense, since it became redundant after Danger introduced the trackball on the right to replace the old scroll wheel.
Of course all this analysis is still based on rumor, not fact. But if all these images are surfacing now, it can’t be long before this device is officially unveiled.
Earlier this month, T-Mobile announced that it will launch converged cellular/Wi-Fi calling services across the U.S. In order to take advantage of this service, you will need a cell phone that also includes a Wi-Fi radio. Software on the phone will allow the phones to make and receive phone calls from either cellular or Wi-Fi networks, and will also allow seamless hand-offs between the two different types of networks. Of course, T-Mobile already has a handful of these converged devices, including the Dash and the recently released HTC Wing.
But this new service will also pave the way for some higher-end devices from Nokia to reach American shores. Specifically, devices like the E series smartphones such as the E65, E61i and E90. The first two are already available in Europe (and via certain sales channels to U.S. buyers), and the E90 will be available in another month or so. This could be the stepping stone Nokia needs to win back some market share in the U.S.
While Nokia has had limited success the last few years with low-end phones, it has struggled with bringing its higher-end devices to the States. Business-class devices, such as the E series, make the most sense. Many businesses expense and/or allow employees to write off smartphones. If T-Mobile were to supply subsidized Nokia E series devices, and bundle them with the new converged Wi-Fi calling features, it could be the right move to gain some leverage with U.S. business buyers.
Neither Nokia nor T-Mobile has tipped us off to any such plans, but it makes sense for both players. Nokia finds a new foothold and T-Mobile gets to offer compelling phones for business users. Nokia has already committed to providing converged phones for T-Mobile and this service. While it does offer a mid-level feature phone with this capability, it would be a good move for Nokia to step up and get some of its flagship devices on store shelves in the U.S.