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Weekly Contest: Who runs the wireless industry?


Who’s the boss?Yesterday was a busy day, what with the rather spicy rumor we dug up. While it’s smarmy stuff like gutting one device to milk an exclusive on another that we generally associate with the dirty business of multibillion dollar corporations, it’s always a bit of a smack in the face when it actually happens. Regardless of whether the rumor of AT&T gimping the BlackBerry 8820‘s GPS to stay noncompetitive to the iPhone pans out or not, a lot of conversation has been sparked on the subject (a hell of a lot more than we usually see around here, anyway).

Doug’s talk with Jim Balsillie on the subject of RIM’s three masters totally comes into play with this news. At the end of the day, the carrier is RIM’s customer. Is there an alternative? BBCoolers, both old and new, for this week’s contest we ask: Can a manufacturer-led wireless industry work? Is Apple proving that it can? Is Qualcomm proving that it can’t? Would RIM be better off with one less master? There’s no question that both carriers and manufacturers have their vital part in the grand scheme of things, but in the end, the carrier is the one providing the service to the end-user, and if the manufacturer wants his slice of the pie, he has to play the carrier’s game. Is there any changing that business model? For now, we’ll be offering the usual three Bplay games to the most well-rounded and thoughtful answer, but we’ll root around BBCool HQ and see if we can find something a little juicier. This is, after all, a very special Weekly Contest.

Check out last week’s winner

Qualcomm lawyer quits losing battle


SumoLou Lupin, Qualcomm’s legal counsel and senior VP must have been putting in some hefty overtime lately. In fact, the increasingly one-sided battle highlighted by yesterday’s ruling that Qualcomm pay Broadcom $39.3 million probably caused him to resign. Qualcomm’s starting to feel its teeth rattle as a result of the battery it’s taken over the last couple of weeks, mainly with Broadcom winning a video compression patent issue and the lack of progress being made on the power management patent front. A recent addition to Qualcomm, Carol Lam, will be taking up the reigns until a full replacement can be found.

New GPS chip hijacks existing hardware


GPSCellGuide has been working on a chip which turns existing mobile processors into GPS emitters, allowing manufacturers a small and cheap way of integrating GPS functions with their handsets. With slim, GPS-enabled handsets like the BlackBerry 8820 coming out, saving space without skimping on features are of prime importance. CellGuide’s CGX5900 chip boasts a 3m accuracy, which is impressive considering that 10m is the par. In addition, it tracks satellites by taking a single snapshot of the sky, which translates to saved battery life and with the help of some patented algorithms, fewer calculations churning through the processor.

BlackBerry 8820 coming to Spain first


BlackBerry 8820There might be rumors of seeing the new Wi-Fi enabled BlackBerry 8820 on North American shores in another week or so, but the European release has been officially confirmed on Orange, and will be out in Spain by mid-August. The new device will be packing both data transfer and GAN voice handoff when in Wi-Fi range. Outside of that, it’s looking more or less just like an 8800, complete with GPS, with the added bonus of being RIM’s slimmest device to date, as well as supporting high-capacity microSD cards. Spain’s been a bit of a hotbed lately, what with their Pearl 2 launch announcement yesterday.

Full press release behind the jump.