Edelweiss Smartphone Overview
Incredibly Powerful New Edelweiss Smartphone Developed by Emblaze Mobile, Manufactured by Sharp in Japan & Powered by ACCESS (PalmSource) ALP Operating System Provides Possible Insights Into Future Palm NOVA Devices Due in 2009
If I had to vote for the worst marketing organisation in the world I would have to vote for ACCESS (ex-PalmSource) and also EMBLAZE Mobile – two companies that are apparently about to release a stunning smartphone called Edelweiss (image above) without apparently wanting to let too many people know about it…
So what’s the deal? An Israeli “technology design house” called EMBLAZE Mobile has been working alongside the Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer SHARP and also Japanese mobile operating system developer ACCESS (owner of PalmSource and original Palm OS) to release the first ALP (ACCESS Linux Platform) powered smartphone in the world (due next month in Russia).
Until recently such an announcement would have made me yawn a bit but after looking at this smartphone more closely I have to admit that I’m getting _extremely_ excited. For starters as you can appreciate from the various pictures in this post the device itself looks pretty slick and the fact that it’s manufactured by a company such as SHARP gives me the confidence that it’s extremely solid and well built.
Next is the fact that the Edelweiss hardware specifications pack quite a powerful punch (vast understatement):
- Main Display: 3.5” LCD FWVGA at 480 x 854 pixels! with 262,000 colours
- Touch Panel: Capacitive, glass, anti-fingerprints, anti-glare
- Tactile Feedback: Vibration Feedback
- Memory: 8GB or 16GB Internal
- Camera: 3.2 Megapixels, autofocus, 3x Digital Zoom
- Processors: Dual processor (TI OMAP 3 Series Processor + BB Processor)
- GPS / AGPS: Built-in GPS Module
- Wireless Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g (54Mbps), HSDPA (3.6Mbps), Bluetooth 2.0
- Sensors: Tilt, Proximity and Light Sensors with adaptive handling
- Sync & Charge: MicroUSB connector with _full_ USB 2.0 support
- Audio Connector: Standard 3.5mm audio jack for stereo headset and voice communication
- Cellular Technologies: GSM (Quad Band), GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA (UMTS Triple Band)
- Battery: Lithium Ion, 1450mAh with 8 hours Talk Time and 550 hours Standby Time
- Video Codecs: MPEG, MPEG4, H261, H263, H264, 3GP, 1420, OGG, WMV, MOV, QT, ASF, 3GPP
- Audio Codecs: MP3, WAV, WB/NB, AMR-NB, AAC, AAC+, MIDI, Real Audio
- Physical Dimensions: 115x56x12.3mm (exactly same thickness as iPhone 3G)
- Weight: 130 grams (iPhone 3G is 133 grams)
I don’t know about you but the above specs certainly got my FULL attention and I feel that if it had been Palm making this device it would undoubtedly be receiving a LOT more attention than this…
As seasoned smartphone owners know however, the hardware is only one part of the equation so what about the operating system software? I have not unfortunately had the opportunity to hold one in my hands (yet) but a few flash video files (screenshots below) on the Edelweiss website nonetheless make a very good impression.
For starters, the Edelweiss sports a “scrolling Today screen” (above) containing any number of “widgets” (part of the recently announced NetFront Browser Widgets) that can presumably be added or removed as you like. A few of these widgets seen here include: Weather, Clock, Twitter, Calendar, World Time/Weather, News, Web Search and more.
Additionally, as described in the specifications the Edelweiss includes a tilt sensor to among others easily and quickly switch from portrait to landscape mode. Above you can see the Pictures application which offers full scrolling, zoom, panning and more functionalities. [Note that the upper left corner of the device has Orange as the carrier and I wonder if we might yet see Edelweiss coming out in the UK…]
Next is the “Widget Player Guide” (screen above left) and also the Launcher which here includes Contacts, Calendar, Video Player, Photos, Call Log, Doc Viewer, NetFront Browser, Music Player, Tools and Memo.
All of the above applications are clearly part of the new ALP operating system but it’s worthwhile noting that thanks to ALP this Edelweiss smartphone offers compatibility with both native Mobile Linux, existing Palm OS Garnet software (powering current Treo and Centro smartphones) as well as Java (J2ME) applications.
Overall the design and specification of the Edelweiss smartphone are clearly superb as it has virtually everything that a power user might ever want or need to have – from the super high-resolution large touchscreen, dual processor, 3.2MP camera, USB 2.0 connectivity, WiFi, GPS and so much more.
It’s true that I’m not personally a fan of touchscreen-only devices without keyboard but clearly many others are and the Edelweiss would seem to be a perfect solution for them – if only it ever makes it stateside or becomes available unlocked somewhere else. Either way I definitely would like to get my hands on one…
Having said this it is worthwhile noting that EMBLAZE Mobile is also working on another project with SHARP and ACCESS named Monolith – “a futuristic project to create an integrated communications device with a unique user interface and graphics design, the likes of which has never been seen in the industry” according to the company. Monolith is scheduled for release sometime in 2009.
Now all of this brings me back to Palm and the promised new NOVA powered devices coming in 2009. Could we possibly be seeing this level of specifications and software features from Palm soon? Will we see a touchscreen-only device? Considering how long we’ve all been waiting I certainly hope so!!!
I’m curious to see how you would feel if Edelweiss had actually been a Palm smartphone:
In the meantime, while I’m certainly not unhappy at all with my current Treo Pro I have to admit that the thought of a future smartphone from Palm with an operating system more closely associated with the usability of the existing Palm OS certainly keeps me excited about things to come in 2009…
Treonauts are always full of energy…